To celebrate International Women’s Day 2020, we thought it would be interesting to share a bunch of great public speakers from TED with you.
These talks are entertaining, educational, inspirational and we love them!
So, put the kettle on, put your feet up, and have a listen to some really cool women with something great to share.
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The Danger Of A Single Story
Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and she warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we, therefore, risk a critical misunderstanding.
Paula Johnson: His And Hers… Healthcare
Every cell in the human body has a sex, which therefore means that men and women are different right down to the cellular level. Yet too often, research and medicine ignore this insight — and the often startlingly different ways in which the two sexes respond to disease or treatment. As pioneering doctor Paula Johnson describes in this thought-provoking talk, lumping everyone in together means we essentially leave women’s health to chance. In conclusion, it’s time to rethink.
Anne-Marie Slaughter: Can We Have It All?
Anne-Marie Slaughter, Public policy expert, made waves with her 2012 article, “Why women still can’t have it all.” But really, is this only a question for women? Here Slaughter expands her ideas and explains why shifts in work culture, public policy and social mores can lead to more equality –Above all, for men, women and, all of us.
Tan Le: A Headset That Reads Your Brainwaves
Tan Le’s astonishing new computer interface reads its user’s brainwaves, therefore making it possible to control virtual objects, and even physical electronics, with mere thoughts (and a little concentration). In addition, she demos the headset, and talks about its far-reaching applications.
Elizabeth Gilbert: Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating
To say her book, Eat, Pray, Love was a smashing success is an understatement. Even she knew she couldn’t rival that success immediately, but she stayed true to who she is and always “returns home” as she puts it. For Elizabeth it is the art and process of writing that gives her the greatest joy. As long as she stays focused on that she can ride the waves of up and down book sales because regardless of how a book sells, she will write another one.
Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads?
Dame Stephanie Shirley: Why Do Ambitious Women Have Flat Heads? “Who would have guessed the programming of the black box flight recorders for the supersonic Concorde would have been done by a bunch of women working in their own homes, would pioneer the remote workplace?” Dame Shirley who escaped the Holocaust by being sent to London to live with strangers at age five is my fourth-best Ted Talk. Then she “got on with it” and became a successful tech entrepreneur in the 1960’s founding one of the most progressive all-women businesses based on work-from-home, job sharing, flex-time and employee ownership.
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/image-from-rawpixel-id-537836-jpeg-scaled.jpg17072560Olivia MacDonnellhttps://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngOlivia MacDonnell2020-03-06 14:39:362020-03-06 15:56:24To Celebrate International Women's Day - Great Female Public Speakers from TED Share Their Stories
Did you know that one of the least used, but most effective, strategies when it comes to negotiations of any kind … is silence. Why you might ask, well because silence gives you a number of advantages.
1. Learn From The Experts
What do the best negotiators generally have in common? They will always make their opponents wait for an answer.
When we are nervous or eager we have a tendency to jump in right after the other person has spoken. And the result? It looks like we’re nervous, insecure, or even worse, that we haven’t been listening.
2. A Well-Placed Silence Can Build Relationships
If you’re silent and wait, it conveys the impression that you are listening and thinking about what the other person has said. And, of course, it also sends a signal that you are weighing your answer carefully.
3. Silence Buys You Time
Silence buys you the time to prepare a response. The appearance of thinking, also buys you a few seconds to think.
Being chatty in negotiating is not very powerful, and it usually doesn’t achieve the desired result but the art of creative silence takes practice. Sometimes it takes concentration to simply do nothing.
Try practicing getting used to silence when you’re not under pressure.
These three reasons are why silence is one of the best negotiating tactics you can learn.
What do you think are great negotiation tactics?
Leave a comment below!
For more useful tips and ideas check out our other blogs here or contact us to see how we can help you to transform your voice and your communications.
Whilst you are here you might enjoy some of these:
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https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/Cumberbatch.jpg553726adopt15https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngadopt152019-09-02 16:17:192020-02-10 21:46:11Improve Your Public Speaking Skills With Lessons From Great Actors
Often we hear about a new school of thought from the world of presentation skills or public speaking. Experts in the art of persuasion seem to regularly unearth new and innovative ways of doing things that we’ve never heard of before. However these ‘new’ ways of thinking can often take the core of their teaching from innovators that have come before. Long before!
Throughout history speakers have employed a variety of basic skills when addressing the structure and effectiveness of their communications. Great orators like Cicero, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Martin Luther King, Jr., and even Hitler. They all had similar characteristics and structures when crafting their messages.
So, what are these similar characteristics?
Thousands of years ago, the Greek philosopher and scientist Aristotle identified these three areas of rhetoric, or the art of persuasion, as ETHOS, PATHOS, and LOGOS. Famous and effective communicators have used these elements of rhetoric time and time again to persuade and win over their audiences.
Aristotle defined rhetoric as “…the faculty of discovering, in any particular case, all of the available means of persuasion.” He believed that you need all the means of persuasion to get people to trust you and advocated using all three of his main elements of rhetoric to do the job.
1. ETHOS or ‘Argument By Character’
Ethos uses the speaker’s personality, reputation, and ability to look trustworthy in order to persuade. It embodies goodwill, sincerity, credibility, commonality, and praise. ETHOS is used in advertisements all the time to establish credibility. For example, a car company stating that they’ve won safety awards for their cars. This shows overall virtue of the speaker and good will towards the audience. John F. Kennedy uses this to great effect in his inaugural speech in 1961.
2. PATHOS or ‘Argument By Emotion’
Pathos is the appeal to an audience’s sense of identity, self-interest, or sentiments. This involves contrast, energeia (vivid experience, making someone feel in the moment, feel what you feel), and emotion control. A great example of PATHOS is Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream…’ speech where he appeals to morals and human qualities common to us all. Humour can also be an effective form of persuasion here. It calms people down and creates common ground with an audience on an intuitive level.
3.LOGOS or ‘Argument By Logic’
Logos persuades by making areasonable claim and offering proof in support of that claim. Here we use the power of story, framing ideas, and proof. Concession can be an important tool of LOGOS as you use your opponent’s argument to your own advantage; by conceding the validity of your opponent’s argument, you show you are listening and seeing their side.
One of the most poignant examples of using all three of these disciplines for persuasion is in children’s television’s Fred Rogers’ (Mister Rogers) appeal to the U.S. senate committee. In an attempt to save PBS’ 20 million dollar annual funding when it was in danger of being slashed in half in 1969. Mr Rogers faced one of the toughest most cynical senators on the committee and won.
Scottish philosopher David Hume recognised that you can never change someone’s mind in an argument with just reasoning and logic. In his view, we are animals primarily motivated and influenced by our intuitions and emotions. The majority of our convictions don’t actually come from facts.
Human reasoning is a servant to intuition
Arguments – Dance Not War
In Western culture we often treat or frame arguments like fights or like war. We attack our opponent’s positions and defend our own. We gain and lose ground.
George Lakoff, a cognitive linguist, suggests that a more appropriate and conducive analogy is that of a dance. In this metaphor, we reach out to a person, we are opposites but we work together, we are cooperating. The argument becomes more about agreement than disagreement.
We don’t enter into an argument with someone unless we have some common interest with them to begin with. Instead of a war between good and evil, we can begin to think about rhetoric and persuasion as a dance between mutually interested groups.
When we fight, it is about winning. When we argue, it’s about winning over. “A fight never persuades, it only inspires revenge or retreat. An argument gets people to do what you want – it’s a means to a solution.” ( Jay Heinrichs, Thank You For Arguing)
Next time you craft a presentation, keep in mind the three areas of persuasion
ETHOS, PATHOS, AND LOGOS are passed down to us from the ancients and used by our greatest orators. Look to win over, not just win. Dance, don’t fight. It just might give you the edge in winning over your audience.
“ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives. Contact us for details on our range of corporate/private voice, executive presence and presenting programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/winston-churchill.jpg444710adopt15https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngadopt152018-10-09 15:30:522018-10-09 15:30:52Imagine Understanding The Simple Art Of Persuasion: 3 Skills Ancient Rhetoric Can Teach Us
We’ve all felt that surge of panic or anxiety when standing up in front of a group of people, about to talk. Your body is smart, it reacts to stress, panic, or fear and tells you that something is way out of your normal, daily realm of existence. So how do we turn this around so that what the audience see is a composed presenter oozing physical presence;
‘Yikes, I am not in Kansas anymore’
Public speaking – like physical training and sport – requires training and practice; You need to put in the time if you want to take advantage of those speaking opportunities when they come up and really knock it out of the park so you get the result you want.
So where to start? The answer lies in our Physical Presence
Our physical presence is one big piece of the presentation skills puzzle. Combined with vocal presence, it helps establish an emotional connection with the audience along with the words we say. In this, our first of two Amy Cuddy TED Talks, Amy speaks about the impact our body language has on our chances for success.
Listen To Your Gut
We’ve all been guided by our ‘gut instinct’ at some point and with good reason. Our bodies are intricately and acutely sensitive to how we react to the outside world. The brain and gut are connected by an extensive network of Neurons and a highway of chemicals and hormones that constantly provide feedback.
Most of the time we make decisions from our brain, our intellect, and forget about what the ‘other brain’- our gut, is telling us. Have you ever felt ‘butterflies’ in your stomach? The ones you might feel when you’re in the first stages of love or attraction? We feel the same butterflies when we’re nervous of a talk we’re about to give. So the next time you’re stuck when you’re preparing a presentation, ask yourself, ‘What do I really want to talk about? What is my gut saying?’.
What Do You Want Them To Feel?
The impact of non-verbal messages are much stronger than words because the audience remembers them more and for longer. So, ask yourself what you’ve seen recently that made a speaker memorable? Was it the words they said or how they made you feel? Remember, what you feel up there as a presenter is what the audience gets. It’s like a mirror: What you feel, they feel. If you want the audience to feel excited, then find a way to manifest that in your own body. If it’s happy, then embody happiness.
Fake It Till You Become It
We’ve all heard the old adage ‘Fake it till you make it’, but it’s actually ‘Fake it till you become it’. Amy Cuddy did another TED Talk about physical indicators and gives scientific evidence supporting the theory that what we do physically effects how we feel. For example, smiling instantly makes us feel better. Even if it’s a fake smile manufactured by holding a pen between our teeth, we still get a release of positive energy. On the other side, slouching can make us feel defeated or depressed. Standing in a grounded, aligned posture with shoulders relaxed, feet hip width apart, and chest open elicits feelings of confidence and positivity and you will immediately exude physical presence
See It And Feel It
Michael Phelps won a gold medal at the Beijing Olympics because he was able to complete his heat without being able to see. His goggles filled up with water and he couldn’t see where he was going but because he had visualised that race over and over beforehand, he knew every stroke before he even got into the pool. This helped him be prepared for anything and when he couldn’t see, he didn’t panic.
In your preparation for a speech or presentation, sit down and breathe, close your eyes and see yourself giving your presentation See the room, feel where you’re going to move and when. See yourself smiling, see the audience. Go through every move so that when you actually present or go into the meeting, the situation is already familiar.
Prepare For Your Worst Case Scenario
This is a great one for dealing with nerves as well. Think of your worst case scenario, ie. losing your place or not remembering what comes next. Imagine it happening, and list the things you can do to deal with that situation. This way, if you feel prepared and can deal with the worst thing that could happen, then you be ready to handle anything else that comes along as well. Remember, it’s okay to make a mistake! It won’t effect your physical presence, in fact audiences are known to respond well to vulnerability. It makes you seem more human and helps them to connect with you.
Don’t wait until you step into the room for that high stakes meeting to prepare and put skills and techniques into place. Implement small changes beforehand and as you practice and prepare and you’ll reap the benefits tenfold. You’ll establish physical presence from the offset, be more able to connect with your audience, share your ideas, and get the results you want.
“ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland. We have worked with leading Irish and international companies and executives. Contact us for details on our range of corporate/private voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”
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We’ve all been there. You’re sitting in the conference room for a business presentation and you start to nod off. You zone out, you’ve stopped listening to the person up at the top of the room giving the presentation. Here are five key business presentation skills you can learn so that you can captivate your audience of staff or potential clients when it’s your turn to give one.
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
You know what a boring business presentation is like to sit through.
When the speaker’s voice has become so dull and annoying that it starts to sound like a mosquito buzzing in your ear.
But are you aware of the pitfalls so that you can avoid them next them you stand up to deliver a presentation?
Follow these five steps to avoid the Death by Monotony presentation.
First: How to Know What Makes a Boring Business Presentation
So what’s happening?
Most of the time this unfortunate situation arises because the presenter has fallen into the Monotony Trap.
They speak from one place in their voice in one rhythm and don’t vary either one at all, and this happens without them even knowing it.
Now, this could be someone your know. It could—let’s face it—even be you and you don’t even know it.
A monotone vocal delivery is one of the worst sins and most common mistakes you can make when it comes to public speaking. Luckily, there are lots of skills and voice coaching techniques you can implement to prevent it.
Here are just a few tips you can use to stay out of the monotony trap and keep your audience interested and engaged.
The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 1: Vary Your Pitch
Here’s one basic fact of physiology.
The ear needs to be entertained and kept interested
So first off, vary your pitch.
Pitch is your vocal range, it’s the movement in tone between the top of your vocal range and the bottom and everywhere in between. (We’ve written a whole article on pitch range and its importance here.)
As children, we naturally have a varied vocal range. As we learn to speak we explore the range of sound our voices can make.
Then as we grow older, something happens. We start to have opinions and start editing ourselves. We start to become self-conscious.
One big mistake we make is thinking that a deep, weighty, monotonous tone for credibility, maturity and gravity.
In short, we stop using the full range of our voices.
Experiment with your vocal range—it’s there for a reason. Remember that the ear needs to be entertained and kept interested so change it up, vary your tone, and use the full range of your vocal pitches.
Here’s a great example:
The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 2: Do Not Underestimate the Power Of Articulation & Pace
Next, make sure you’re articulating and speaking clearly and slowly.
It may seem obvious but do not underestimate the power of clarity.
We may have heard our message a hundred times but we forget our audience is hearing it for the first time. Everyone can afford to slow down their delivery.
We often rush and end up mumbling our words together because we want to get through the material as quickly as possible or are afraid of forgetting what we have to say next.
Think into your consonants, breathe, and you will slow down. This eliminates rushing and your audience will thank you for it.
The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 3: Use of Pause
Pause is perhaps the most effective and underused of voice coaching techniques.
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There’s a lot to be learned from studying the presentations and public speaking techniques of some of the world’s great leaders. Here we take a look at an Elon Musk presentation, and ask: Despite a number of obvious flaws in his technique, what makes his presentations so popular?
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
So, a few things about Elon Musk straight off the bat.
Musk is rich, he’s passionate about his projects and he’s most probably a genius!
And yet when he gets in front of an audience he can turn into a public speaking car crash.
He gave a presentation earlier this year outlining his very ambitious plans for rocket company SpaceX.
SpaceX plans to land an unmanned spaceship on Mars in 2022. (It will then start preparing for human visitors to arrive two years later!)
That presentation garnered him a lot of social media attention, but for the wrong reasons: there was his stammering, and his style of delivery, which was clunky and awkward.
And yet that long speech was watched over 400,000 times online less than 24 hours after it was posted.
So the question is.
Why are we still interested in watching an Elon Musk presentation when so much of his delivery is soooooo bad?
Well, here are a few insights that might make sense of this bizarre dichotomy of brilliance and bumbling.
1. He Gives You The Why Before the What
Elon Musk does big plans big style – humans on Mars in just a few years!
He tells you WHY his projects are important right off the bat.
When he outlined the SpaceX plan to go to Mars, he tells you ‘why’ it’s important before he tells you the ‘what’.
In this case, that SpaceX will ensure the survival of humans as a species and to inspire the belief that the future will be better than the past. He always gives his audience a reason to listen and engage with him.
2. Master the Art of Imperfection to Master the Art of Authentic Presenting
Musk is very good at making his audience feel like he’s just like them, that we’re all in it together, so his stammering and stumbling actually doesn’t bother us so much.
Many great speakers, like Steve Jobs, were great at Public Speaking. They talked as if they’re on a higher plane and that they’ve got everything perfectly down pat and present you with a finished product. That’s great and we buy into it.
But Musk does the opposite. He tells you that he and his employees have been figuring things out. He shares with you how a product crashed and burned and landed in the ocean. Musk lets us know that he has failed more than he’s succeeded.
That shows us Elon Musk’s humanity, and we love people who are human. Perfection is overrated, this is authentic presenting.
Musk and other imperfect speakers may not have the best delivery on the planet but they can make up for it with vulnerability,honesty, and passion for their subject. You can teach techniques for great delivery, but it’s mighty hard to manufacture real, honest feeling.
TAKEAWAY: Next time you present, be sincere and your audience will follow you anywhere, regardless of how much you stumble or stammer.
3. Elon Musk is the Definition of an Authentic Presenter: What You See is What You Get
True to one’s own personality, spirit, or character. Not false or imitation.
Musk gets down to brass tacks, lets the audience know that he’s down-to-earth and vulnerable, and lets his feelings show about what inspires him.
The idea of living out amongst the stars excites him and he tells the audience exactly that. He is telling us his dream—and audiences love people who follow their dreams.
Especially when it led them to become billionaire entrepreneurs.
There’s a lot to be said for credibility when presenting. Sometimes we gain credibility because of our position or from the amount of money we have or how many accolades we’ve collected. All these factors do carry a certain weight and give the speaker gravitas, ensuring they have a better chance to get the audience on-side before they’ve even stepped on stage.
Yet when it comes down to it, two things will always sway an audience.
Great delivery, and humanity.
TAKEAWAY: Next time you get up in front of an audience, give them a clear, confident, credible delivery and you’re on your way to a winner. Give them humanity, vulnerability, and passion in addition to that and you’re on your way to home-run World Series victory.
Here’s the full Elon Musk presentation from SpaceX. Watch for yourself
If you enjoyed this read – you’ll like these reads also
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But specifically on her phenomenal Golden Globes performance, allow me to break down and analyse the vocal delivery techniques Oprah used to ensure her message was loud and clear.
These are delivery techniques that you too can take into your speeches and presentations.
1. Showing up Authentically is a Key Vocal Delivery Technique
There is no question with this speech, Oprah delivered her message with authenticity and honesty.
The reality is that any audience will connect and engage with people who are truly themselves. Yes, the content is emotive, but you really get a sense that she truly believes her message.
Once there is authenticity in your message, then strong vocal techniques will be easier to access.
When you deliver a business presentation, how authentic are you with your audience? Or do you drop into presenter mode? Because, so many do.
Ahead of your next presentation, consider these two questions carefully:
What do you feel about your message to the audience?
What do you want your audience to feel about your message?
“Feel?” I hear you ask!
Not what you want them to know and understand, but what you want them to FEEL.
Do you want them to feel excited, curious, frustrated, sad? Whatever that feeling is, you need to think carefully about it, as it needs to be conveyed in your vocal delivery.
2. Great use of timing. She combines pause and pace brilliantly.
The space between your thoughts can be as powerful as the thoughts themselves. She makes great use of pause throughout her speech.
With such strong words she understands her audience needs this time to process her message. Pause is used to strong dramatic effect also.
We can implement pauses to gain different effects.
When we pause before a word or phrase, it creates the classic tension/release.
If we pause after, it allows the audience a moment for the information to sink in.
As opposed to highlighting specific examples in this speech I would simply urge you to listen to the full ten minutes for her use of pause.
It requires bravery for any presenter to accept that silence. If we trust the pause we will hold a listener’s attention.
There is no question about this. It’s so compelling.
When we use pauses, we can also vary the pace of our delivery and the two go hand in hand.
Varying our pace and using the power of pause keeps the rhythm of our vocal delivery varied and keeps the ear from falling asleep.
You can hear throughout this speech she varies pace – for important statements, you’ll hear she slows right down to emphasise the importance of her words. You’ll hear increases the pace to create energy.
For your next presentation, accept the silence.
Try this useful Tempo Technique to engage your audience
Speed up the tempo before you make that important point
Then slow down to deliver it
It carries your listeners forward and then make them wait. It’s a classic tension/release at work. It takes practice, but it’s a very clever device, and it’s powerful.
(Example: Listen to 5.00-5.16 minutes in Oprah’s speech)
3. The Power of Your Consonants in Vocal Delivery
This is where the voice geek in me comes out!
They don’t get much airtime, but consonants can really work for us when we speak and they are used well in Oprah’s speech.
They can grab our listeners’ attention and hold onto it. I believe they give speech emphasis and intent. People often think that they need to speak louder to make their messages stand out, but this is not the case.
I think by Oprah focusing on her consonants she really drives home her message throughout. Any time you want to drive home a point, implant a thought, do it by giving more thought to the consonants in your words. They will make what you say more effective and dynamic.
Try this useful Consonant Technique to drive your message home.
Lengthen the consonants in the word or syllable you want to emphasise.
This creates the illusion of being louder by bringing everything to a halt while we wait for that word.
4. The Importance of Power words: What They Are, and How to Make Them Powerful
All words are not created equally.
When we speak we do not pronounce each and every word and syllable with the same importance.
It is so evident in Oprah’s speech.
If you want your audience to listen and engage then you need to understand
What are power words, and
How to give these power words the power!
Power words are the 1-3 words in each phase or sentence that absolutely reduce it down to its basic meaning.
They communicate the essence of what we are saying.
These words require more time more emphasis, more vocal importance, if they are to resonate with the audience.
But how does Oprah do this? And how do we do it?
First things first: like Oprah does, you need to be authentically communicating your message. To be really connected to and truly believe your message.
Change of volume: Listen how Oprah either increases or decreases volume on specific power words
Pitch variation: She changes the pitch on certain power words to highlight and bring importance to them—she makes them stand out
Articulation: She will overly articulate certain consonants in the power words to bring the word out further—lest the audience forget!
Change of pace: She tends to speed up and then slows down on her power words/phrases.
Pause: She will pause before or after key power words
Try combinations of any of the above.
They are vital to a strong vocal delivery – that will be listened to and understood by your audience.
You can hear examples of Oprah using power words effectively throughout her speech, but skip to 8.00 mins and onwards for a series of great examples, such as:
“ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning“
“even during our darkest nights“
“when that new day finally dawns”
“the time when nobody has to say me too again”
5. Mastering the Skill of the “Clap Trap” is One of the Best Vocal Delivery Techniques
She doesn’t wait for the applause and she doesn’t wait for clapping to stop before she continues. Pausing and waiting for the audience to clap is a faux pas, it removes the sense of spontaneity. Carrying on with her message and refusing the applause implies that she is not expecting a clap, she is more focused on her message than herself. A speaker always needs to be more committed to the message than to accepting praise. This she does very well throughout her speech
Skip to minutes 2:22, 3:22 and 7:02 to see Oprah do this.
Be under no illusions, Oprah would most certainly have practiced and rehearsed this speech many times to refine her vocal delivery techniques.
It would have been a shame to have a great message delivered poorly. My message to you is that it’s not enough to have a strong message—your vocal delivery needs to support that importance of your message.
So, finally, record yourself when you’re preparing and practicing your words.
It is the only way you can hear exactly what you sound like and then you can make changes accordingly.
Are your showing up authentically in your speech?
Are you using pause and pace combined to engage your audience?
How are you making your power words standout and be POWERFUL?
Are you giving Consonants the importance they deserve?
Finally, don’t fall into claptrap mistakes!
Here’s Oprah’s Full Speech
ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.
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Presenting with technology such as slide decks (delivering presentations using the likes of PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or Google Slides, for instance) affords us great freedom and creativity for memorable presentations. But it can also go horribly wrong. Here’s how to overcome the all the most common presentation technology hitches.
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
Do you rely on presenting with technology?
Have you ever had any of the following happen to you:
a microphone cut out at the beginning of your presentation
a PowerPoint slide deck suddenly freezes
A presentation clicker is “as dead as a mouse” and no use at all
If you’ve ever found yourself in any of the aforementioned situations, don’t worry. You’re not alone.
Presenting with technology affords us great freedom and creativity these days when it comes to making memorable presentations.
It can also go horribly wrong.
Check out this “worst nightmare” parody:
How to Avoid a Presenting with Technology Disaster
When you’re presenting with technology, there are a few things you can do ahead of your presentation to shrink the odds of something going wrong, so that you can head off disaster at the pass.
Here are a few tips you can use to help ensure a smooth, slick presentation delivery that hits a home run when you present with technology.
1. Tech check before you present (or face a tech wreck in your presentation!)
Always do a sound check and tech check.
Whether you’re introducing a colleague or giving a 1-hour presentation, always make time to get into the space and liaise with the sound engineer or organiser before people come into the room.
Check the following:
Is your presentation clicker is working?
Make sure the clicker batteries are fresh
Check online links and that WiFi is working
Are your PowerPoint slides working properly?
How are your microphone and levels?
Of course there’s always a chance things might go wrong even after all that careful planning but the chances are far, far less and you can feel confident that you’ve done all your homework.
2. Ask for what you need – if you don’t ask, you don’t get
Find out if you have a choice of microphone and ask for what you need.
Whenever possible, eliminate any obstacles that come between you and the audience, the most obvious one being the dreaded podium.
There will be occasions where you won’t have a choice, such as awards ceremonies and dinner events where you will be expected to use the podium.
But if you have a choice, and you will have to ask sometimes, for presentations choose a lapel microphone, a hand-held microphone, or no microphone at all.
This will afford you freedom of movement and direct access to the audience.
3. Practice with your tech (or pay the price with your pride!)
This might seem obvious when it comes to preparation.
But do not underestimate the power of familiarity with your technology!
Especially when it comes to microphones and practising with your slide deck.
Practice your delivery using a surrogate hand-held microphone (a hair brush or even a serving spoon work in a pinch!), a microphone on a stand or using no microphone at all (as you would with a lapel mic).
It’s the simple act of imagining yourself in different situations that does the trick.
4. Do a “Recce”
When presenting with technology, in army-speak this is a “reconnaissance run”—checking out the landscape before executing the mission so there are no surprises.
In layman’s terms this means getting into the space you’ll be delivering in and getting the lay of the land before the actual event.
Some examples of things to think about during your “recce” mission.
Where you’ll be standing
Where the screen will be
How high the screen will be placed
How large the room is, so will you have to use a microphone or not
What will the lighting be like…?
Basically, this is a chance for you to get all the information you can before the actual event.
The chance of success goes up, and the room for glitches goes down!
5. Have a Plan B (a.k.a. Prepare for the Worst!)
Some of the best presentations are just one person and a flip chart.
No matter what happens, the show must go on, right?
So have a plan of action ready if the worst case scenario occurs.
What about if the electricity goes out, or your laptop decides to pack it in?
Always, always, always have a hard copy of your slides or notes with you for every eventuality.
If you’ve prepared and know your content, you’ll be able to deliver your presentation no matter what fate throws at you. And trust me, the audience will be with you every step of the way because we love an underdog.
At the end of the day, failing to plan is planning to fail.
The Presenting with Technology Recap
No matter how much we check our technology is working, things may inevitably go awry. That’s just the nature of the beast.
So in order to reduce the chances of a major technological glitch affecting your big presentation, you need to be prepared.
When you plan ahead you’ll at least be ready to pick up the ball and run no matter what.
Do a “Tech Check” in advance
Ask for what you need
Practice with any technology involved
Recce the room
Have a Plan B
Do your reconnaissance, practice, and plan for as many eventualities as you can and above all, Keep Calm And Carry On!
If you liked this you may find these an interesting read also:
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Be-tech-savvy.jpg34815000adopt15https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngadopt152017-12-12 10:08:422020-01-13 20:52:18Five Musts to Avoid All Presenting with Technology Problems and Disasters
Brene Brown is an Internet phenomenon. Her speeches have been viewed tens of millions of times on YouTube, TED and elsewhere online. But just what is it about Brene Brown that makes her talks so compelling? I want to share with you what can be learnt from her presenting style that will help you also become a confident presenter and perhaps transform how you approach your next presentation. Here we break down the key things to take away from Brene Brown’s confidence, to help you become a better speaker, presenter and communicator.
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
Firstly, who is Brene Brown?
Brene Brown is a researcher of shame, vulnerability, courage and empathy.
Like, there’s not many of those people around, right?!
She is also the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers.
But the real reason I’ve put this blog together is because Brown is a stunningly powerful presenter. Brene Brown’s confidence on stage is a sight to behold. Here we analyse why.
Brene Brown’s Confidence is Based on Wholehearted Living and Wholehearted Presenting
One important thing to know about Brown’s teachings is that she speaks about wholehearted living.
This roughly translates to:
By accepting vulnerability in our lives we can live more meaningful, more connected, successful lives.
Her research is based on following 10 guideposts which she urges us to practice daily.
But does she practice these guideposts when she speaks to her audiences?
In short, is Brene Brown a wholehearted presenter?
The answer is “Hell Yes!”
And you can learn so much from her if you want to connect in an authentic way with your audience.
Let’s discuss a number of her 10 guideposts in the context of her presentation approach, so that you too can bring Brene Brown’s confidence into your own presentations.
Guidepost 1: Cultivating Authenticity– Letting go of what people think
‘‘To be willing to let go of who you think you should be, to be able to connect” Brene Brown
Brown communicates with her audience as if she’s having a chat over coffee.
She talks in an authentic, conversational easy way. She has the courage to be herself (in true Texan fashion), to “show up authentically”, no pretense, no facade.
To adopt Brene Brown’s confidence and become a more powerful, impactful, confident presenter, we need to let go of what others might think of us—our colleagues or managers.
You need to have the courage to show up for your presentation as your true self, not trying to be something you are not—this honesty connects powerfully with any audience.
Guideposts 2 & 3:Cultivating Self-Compassion– Letting go of perfectionism, and Cultivating A Resilient Spirit– Letting go of numbing and powerlessness
Brown’s TEDx talk—“The Power of Vulnerability”—was originally going to be named something like “Variables Mitigating Self Actualising”.
Which begs the question: why the change?
Well, how often do we intellectualise our language? Speaking in conceptual language stifles audiences.
Why do we do it?
In truth, we do it to protect ourselves, to appear like we are worthy and perfect. We put “armour” on—complex language, or a data dump on a PowerPoint slide—to protect ourselves from being vulnerable.
We strip the humanness from our presentations, and this results in numbing and stifling both presenter and audience.
By allowing self-compassion (as Brene does in her talks) we allow ourselves the permission to be imperfect in our presenting. This allows us to show vulnerability, to show emotion when we speak, whether that’s fear, anger or asking for help if we need it.
By allowing this self-compassion, a presenter becomes more resilient as a result. And ultimately creates a more honest, authentic, stronger relationship with the audience.
Guideposts 4 & 5: Cultivating Gratitude and Joy—Letting go of Scarcity and Fear of the Dark, and Cultivating Meaningful Work—Letting go of Self-Doubt
Brown refers to scarcity as a mindset of “never enough, never perfect enough, never relevant enough…”
Many presenters live in constant scarcity, or what some people might recognise as “imposter syndrome”.
Brown admits to working daily to overcome her scarcity self-talk and to conquer her “imposter syndrome”.
Moving from “I am not worthy” to I am worthy and enough. In the context of becoming a confident presenter, we need to let go of our scarcity self-talk. This is a huge factor to overcoming fear/lack of confidence when presenting.
Guidepost 6: Cultivating Creativity – “Stories are just data with a soul”
One of the most striking things about Brown is the skill with which she weaves years of research with her personal, vulnerable, honest stories—both funny and painful.
I just love the quote: “Stories are just data with a soul.”
The vulnerability in her stories, metaphors and analogies resonate very strongly with her audience.
Stories help audiences to remember important points and they also build that important empathy with listeners.
In order to connect with audiences, there needs to be a balance of Evidence-Based-Content (Head content) mixed with emotive content (Heart content). Brown achieves this balance perfectly. This results in a fully engaged audience when presenting.
Throwing data coldly at audiences will numb them, and yet we see this all the time.
So I strongly encourage you on your journey be becoming a confident presenter that you close your laptop, get pen and paper out or go for a walk.
Get creative, brave, and playful with your presentation content. This is powerful and I would say mandatory to fully engage your audiences.
Guidepost 8: Cultivating Calm and Stillness
This one is, I believe, absolutely essential to becoming a confident presenter.
Listen to Brene Brown speak (I’ve included the videos at the bottom).
There is no rush, no anxiety, no sense of urgency. She pauses, to think and reflect.
Now this is confident presenting.
She’s not distracted with whatever content is coming next. She’s not worried about “getting through” her content. She remains present with what she is speaking about.
Of course she has researched and prepared her talk.
But she is also a big believer in the power of meditation and the importance of breathing, and we experience this as she speaks. Working to understand the role breath plays is vital to help connect with both our content and our audience.
Guidepost 10: Cultivating Laughter, Play, Intuition, Trust – Letting go Being Cool and “Always in Control”
Brown has fun in her presentations, and as a result the audience has fun.
She laughs at her stories, she laughs at herself!
Whilst her content is grounded in strong evidence, she allows herself not to take herself too seriously.
She doesn’t rely heavily on a script or slides, and she reacts to her audience’s reactions throughout. She “lets go of total control and certainty” – not totally but just enough!
Conclusion: How to Gain Confidence from Wholehearted Presenting
Implementing all of this in your own talks, speeches and presentations is easier said than done, of course, but as we’ve seen from Brown, weaving personal stories through your talks certainly makes it easier.
To reach the level of confidence embodied by Brene Brown requires preparation, practice and BRAVERY, but when achieved it will totally captivate an audience.
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Brene-Brown-an-authentic-speaker.jpg402525adopt15https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngadopt152017-12-04 11:48:152020-02-11 15:36:18With 32 Million Views Of Her TED Talk, We MUST Learn From Brene Brown About Becoming A Confident Presenter