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Ever Been Told That You Speak Too Fast?

Speak Too Fast

Have you ever worried that you speak too fast?

Check out this guy, John Moschitta Jr. He is an American actor who is famous for his ability to speak fast and has appeared in countless American commercials as well as movies and Tv shows.

Moschitta has appeared in The Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Fastest Talker and has the ability to articulate 586 words per minute!

John’s ability to speak at a very fast pace but annunciate at the same time, is a gift. Something very difficult to do but not something you need in to be able to do in your every day life.

We come across a lot of people who feel they speak too fast and unless you have John’s gift, this can risk the clarity of your words. You also risk the audience “tuning out” as they simply cannot keep up with you.

•Pace is the speed at which we speak. It can be expressed in Words Per Minute

•Conversational speech can take place as quickly as 180 – 200 wpm

 •200 wpm is too fast for presenting information

•You should aim to speak at 120 – 150 wpm

•To avoid monotony is it important to vary your pace (this is known as rate)

Focus on the clarity of your words to stop speaking too fast. Allow yourself, to take the time you need to breathe you will automatically slowdown. So it is vital to slow down and allow yourself to pause and breathe!

You also need to be mindful that you need to vary pace – a good rule to consider is to slow down for the important information and speed up for background information – classic tension/release at work.

Here’s are some useful tips on pace

A good speech is one that is memorable. A good speech is usually not too long. One of the greatest virtues a speaker can possess is brevity. This begs the question, how does one go about constructing and delivering an address to an audience?

There are some basic principles that should be observed.

  1. Never speak on a subject about which you know nothing or are in anyway unsure.
  2. Do not be tempted to give an impromptu speech until you are very experienced.
  3. Try not to make too many points.
  4. Remember rehearsal is also extremely important.

Many top speakers spend hours practicing their delivery and this is time well spent. Paying particular attention to the voice is good advice because if you are not used to speaking in public, then you will need to establish how to project and produce your voice effectively.

Here’s another example of John at his, err… “Prime”, excuse the pun 🙂

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:

physical presence

Trust Your Body: Physical Presence Is Key To Great Communication

physical presence

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. Itt 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.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

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handling questions after presentation

How to Answer a Tricky Question During the Dreaded Presentation Q & A

When you’re giving a presentation, it’s probably fair to say that few people really relish the question time at the end. So when it comes to how to answer a tricky question during the presentation Q & A, what’s the best approach? How should you handle it? There’s really only one proven way.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Presentation Q & A: How to Answer a Tricky Question

I was flicking around Quora recently, the question and answer website where one often comes across a brilliant question and a series of brilliantly constructed answers.

 

You’re asking for a ‘crafty way to dodge a question’, but that really is one of the stupidest things a person can do. Audiences can see right through it and will lose confidence in your qualification to be speaking to them and they will lose respect for you. DON’T DO IT

Quora.com user Robert Frost

Mr Frost also included a handy flow chart in his answer, based on the relevance of the question and, crucially, whether you know the answer.

So what’s the best course of action when you’re asked a tricky question at the end of a presentation?

Presentation Q & A: How to Answer a Tricky Question?

Our opinion for the thorny topic of how to answer a tricky question, too, is that honesty is definitely the best policy.

Audiences can see through the bluff—they will know when someone is trying to pull a fast one.

If you don’t know the answer you should do one or both of the following:

  • Say you don’t know and that you’ll find out, because honesty is always the way forward
  • Open the question to the floor

Click on this link to see the other opinions are on this question!

Click here for several more very fine answers to this question over on the Quora forum

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

presenting advice

The Seven Habits of Successful Public Speakers

Everyone needs a bit of help when it comes to what can make or break a good presentation or public speaking engagement. A recent article in Entrepreneur magazine points out some of the great tips and habits of successful public speakers.

By Maria Tecce, ConfidentSpeak

The Seven Habits of Successful Public Speakers

The article was written by Johnathan Li and can be read in its entirety here.

But to sum up the seven key points, the habits shared by successful public speakers, they are:

1. Focus on the audience

World-class successful public speakers ask, “What do I want the audience think, do or feel differently after my presentation?”

Focus on sharing your message with the audience and you will become more successful.

2. Engage

One easy way is to engage people’s emotions: ask questions, tell stories or play a short video.

The more engaging your presentation is, the more attention you can get from the audience.

3. Be conversational

Successful entrepreneurs avoid buzzwords.

They use simple words to make sure that everyone understands what they say.

To get your point across, use simple words that even a 10 year old can understand.

4. Tell powerful stories

Stories help you stand out from the crowd.

The best stories are usually from your personal experiences because you know them best and nobody can challenge you.

5. Use slides that are visually engaging

Make sure every slide has one picture that expresses the whole idea and use as few words as possible.

This simple approach will make your presentation more memorable.

6. Get coaching

The key to peak performance is coaching.

Even personal development legend Tony Robbins has a coach.

7. Keep learning

Even top presentation experts keep learning.

They read new books, attend seminars and watch TED Talks (such as Brene Brown, Julian Treasure, Jamie Oliver, the guy with the frog (!) and others) to advance their skills.

For more on this article as well as a little bonus tip from Richard Branson click here.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main image via Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Richard Branson on Public Speaking

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: The Billionaire Businessman’s Top Tips On Handling Speaking Nerves

You might not think one of the world’s most successful businessmen (not to mention best-known billionaires) might suffer from nerves when speaking in front of an audience. But you’d be wrong. Here are three tips from Richard Branson on public speaking.

By Maria Tecce, ConfidentSpeak

Richard Branson on Public Speaking

Nerves and anxiety affect pretty much everyone at some point, whether you’re speaking to an audience of thousands or one-to-one in the board room.

Much of the time it is not a case of eradicating those feeling but managing them and mastering them.

Great presenters and speakers are not born, they are made, with hard work and preparation.

In a recent article, featured on Fortune.com, Richard Branson mentions Winston Churchill, author Gavin Maxwell, and Mark Twain as his own touchstones for successful public speaking.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Gavin Maxwell

When you need to speak in front of a crowd, close your mind to the fact that you’re on a stage with hundreds of people watching you and instead imagine yourself in a situation where you’d be comfortable speaking to a group. For example, imagine that you’re in your dining room at home, telling a story to friends over dinner. I know it sounds a little corny, but try it. This trick has certainly removed some of the anxiety for me.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Winston Churchill

Churchill … once said: “A good speech should be like a woman’s skirt: long enough to cover the subject and short enough to create interest.” Take this advice to heart. Even highly gifted speakers like Churchill would never ask an audience to listen for more than 25 minutes or so. Extending a presentation beyond half an hour will stretch any group’s attention span.

Richard Branson on Public Speaking: Lesson from Mark Twain

Twain was aware of the common misperception that in order to be a great speechmaker, one must be good at speaking off the cuff. Twain addressed this in 1899 when, speaking at a dinner given in his honor at London’s Whitefriars Club, he said: “Impromptu speaking — that is a difficult thing . I used to begin about a week ahead, and write out my impromptu speech and get it by heart.”

Throughout the piece Branson talks about a couple of his best loved tricks to beat the jitters and where his inspiration comes from in handling those nerves.

The full article can be read on Fortune.com over here.

And finally, remember the wise words of Soren Kierkegaard:

Most men pursue pleasure with such breathless haste that they hurry past it.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main image via David Shankbone / Wikimedia Commons

eye contact

The Power of Eye Contact: New Research and Proven Advice

Eye contact: is it good or bad when you’re communicating? New research suggests that forcing eye contact could have a negative effect, but in the right manner eye contact can be very powerful.

By Ariadne Laurenns, ConfidentSpeak

eye contactWe have all said it—especially if like me, you’re a parent.

Look at me while I am speaking to you.

Contrary to popular belief, though, uttering those words may result in far from the desired outcome.

New research has found convincing evidence that attempting to force eye contact when trying to change someone’s mind or persuade them of something may actually cause the listener to become less receptive.

During this research, subjects who were asked to hold eye contact with a speaker were less open-minded and more likely to hold on to their original opinion than those who were allowed to look elsewhere.

According to one of the study’s authors, social psychologist Julia A. Minson:

Eye contact is a very intimate thing,  so when you’re in a situation that feels confrontational, I think it’s more likely to put people off … Dogs aren’t going to look each other in the eye unless they’re about to fight.

Frances S. Chen, the other study author and a social psychologist, added:

It’s already a tense situation. That’s a very primal way that eye contact is used.

Prior to taking part in the experiment the subjects were asked for their opinions on various topics.

The researchers, using eye-tracking technology, then asked them to watch recorded speeches which supported the opposing viewpoint. The subjects were then asked whether their attitude had changed. Those who focused on the speakers’ gaze were less likely to have changed their opinion than those who looked at other parts of the speaker’s face.

Ms Chen said:

People were less open-minded and receptive the more they look at the eyes.

Throughout this research both spontaneous and forced eye contact were tested. In the first experiment an area of gaze focus was not specified whereas in the second, experiment, Subjects were told to stare at either the speaker’s eyes or mouth.

The results?

Maintained eye contact was less likely to lead to opinion change.

Eye contact is still an important and powerful social skill

We must not forget, however, just how powerful eye contact can be.

Here are some tips to help you use it effectively in both one to one situations and more formally in a speech or presentation.

How Eye Contact can be Powerful in Face-to-Face Communications

Eye contact helps to create  moments where you are able to tangibly feel what someone else is feeling. It creates empathy and an intimate bond…

  • Lean back as you increase the amount of eye contact – This will make the receiver more comfortable and avoid crowding them
  • Focus on one eye at a time and switch slowly and smoothly between them – This avoids a laser-like gaze with can be off putting
  • Try the ‘Triangle Method” (this really works!) – Focus on one of the persons eyes for a second, then move your gaze to the other, then to their mouth and back to the first eye using a natural flow.

How Eye Contact can be Powerful in a Speech or Presentation

This is made much easier and used to more effect the more you have rehearsed your talk and the less you have to refer to your notes.

  • Open your talk with eye contact – take a few moments to look around, smile and name eye contact with your audience before you start
  • Through out your speech make eye contact with individuals in your audience – this will help to create a sense of intimacy.
  • Make a particular effort to make eye contact at the end of your speech – This is when you will leave a lasting impression and drive home your message
  • Try meeting the eyes of a stranger on the street – (although this should be used with caution for obvious reasons) It’s a great way to build eye-contact-confidence – just keep your expression neutral and your gaze soft and brief.

You can read more on the research by Minson, Chen and their research teams at the Psychological Science Journal website.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main picture via Amanda Dalbjörn / Unsplash

great speech

The Speeches of JFK: How One Man Forever Changed the Way the Irish Were Perceived

To mark the 50th anniversary of JFK’s visit to Ireland, we decided to take a look at the speeches of JFK, and how we could captivate a crowd. (Note: This blog first appeared in 2013.)

By Ariadne Laurenns, ConfidentSpeak

The Speeches of JFK and How One Man Changed the Way the Irish Were Perceived ForeverJFK 50 took place over the weekend.

New Ross was the place to be as celebrations spanned the weekend in honour of the 50th Anniversary of JFK’s visit to Ireland in 1963 and indeed in honour of his visit to his home town.

Kennedy represented the ultimate success story of the Irish emigrant.

In three generations his families fortunes changing from famine emigrants to producing the most powerful man in the world.

Listening to the confidently delivered speeches made by his daughter Caroline and Grandson Jack, it was clear that ‘the apples haven’t fallen very far from the tree’!

The Speeches of JFK: My Favourite

Anyway the whole thing got me thinking about the speeches of JFK, and how the great man himself used his ability to captivate a crowd and inspire a nation with his oratorial style.

We all have our favourite speeches but mine has to be his Moon Speech, delivered at Rice University in September 1962, a year before he came to Ireland. During this speech he challenges America to put a man on the moon.

Despite the fact that this speech is almost 18 minutes in duration, this great orator holds his audiences rapt right to the end.

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

vocal skills

The Train Arriving At Platform Blah-Blah-Blah…

With the news that railway station public address staff in Australia will be trained by broadcast professionals in the art of microphone techniques and enunciation, is this to mark the end of one dreaded travel experience—the public address announcement no-one hears or understands?

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

vocal skills

We’ve all been there.

Sitting on the platform of a railway station or on a train.

Straining our ears to try to decipher the incoherent muffled announcements – which somehow always sound as though they are practically eating the microphone!

In a move to improve customer satisfaction, rail staff in New South Wales are to receive formal training in an attempt to improve the clarity and quality of their announcements.

Their training will be “conducted”—excuse the pun!—by broadcast training professionals.

It will cover enunciation, voice, delivery and scripting,  as well as microphone techniques (Phew!)

Listening to this example.

I wonder if Irish Rail follow suit?

 

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Main picture credit: Tomas Anton Escobar / Unsplash

presenting nerves

The Fear of Public Speaking? It’s a Dangerous Myth!

In Confessions of a Public Speaker by Scott Berkun, the author shares one fact that I have to share with you, because it’s vital for anyone who might suffer from a fear of public speaking.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Fear of Public Speaking MythI recently read a book by Scott Berkun called Confessions of a Public Speaker.

Overall, it’s pretty good, I enjoyed it.

But I thought I’d share this little fact with you that the author discusses that I couldn’t agree more with in relation to speaking in public.

I’m sure you’ve heard or read this fact about public speaking, it goes something like this:

Did you know that people would rather die that speak in public?

 

So where has this popular fact come from?

Because I have to say that, personally, I’ve not heard of anyone taking their own life, jumping off a building or leaving a suicide note based on an upcoming presentation!

So where has this popular fact come from?

Well the source is a trivia book “Book of Lists” by David Wallechinksy.

It includes a list of things that people were afraid of.

The Top 10 List of “Worst Human Fears”

  1. Speaking in public before a group
  2. Heights
  3. Insects and bugs
  4. Financial problems
  5. Deep water
  6. Sickness
  7. Death
  8. Flying
  9. Loneliness
  10. Dogs

The problem? The fear of public speaking is a complete myth

So how do we know it’s a myth?

Firstly, let’s start with the research process itself.

The research carried out by a team of market researchers who asked 3000 Americans a simple question.

What are you most afraid of?

They allowed them to write down as many answers as they wanted. There was no list to pick from, so the survey data was far from scientific.

Secondly, no information was provided about who these people were.

Therefore we have no way of knowing if these people were representative of the rest of us.

Let’s take a closer look at the top 10

If you look at the list above – heights, deep water, death, sickness and flying –  it’s probably safe to say that death should feature in the Number 1 spot!

The reality is that facts about the fear of speaking in public are often misleading because they are often quoted from people selling a service or product.

Most fear of public speaking comes from the fact that the speaker is selling something.

In addition, another factor is the frequency of the fear.

The truth is that when faced with a question like this, people tend to list fears of minor things they encounter in everyday life much more often than more fearsome but abstract experiences like dying.

After all, no-one has ever died and lived to tell the fearful story, but we often experience fear, stress and anxiety in everyday situations—such as peering over a steep cliff, or finding a massive spider in the bath, or the fear of public speaking.

And the outcome is that because these are fairly normal, regular occurrences that happen to most of us at least occasionally, our anxiety levels only increase the next time we have to experience that thing.

Conclusion?

No-one has died from giving a bad presentation!

About ConfidentSpeak

ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.

We offer a range of voice and communications programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals. Our packages are tailored for both individual and corporate level. We work with leading Irish and international companies and executives

Contact us for details by filling out this form, or call or email us via the details below.

Telephone:- +353 1 9696056

Email: info@confidentspeak.com

Enjoyed this post? Here are two more blogs about the fear of public speaking and other performance anxiety

https://www.confidentspeak.com/how-to-harness-the-fear-and-make-it-work-to-your-advantage/