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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.

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5 Steps To Get Rid Of That Dreaded “Bed Voice”

 

Bed Voice

Have you ever overslept, and rushed into a meeting or a webinar, or maybe it was a last minute conference call; or phone call from your boss ? Even if you are lucky enough to be one of those people who snap into alert mode as soon you wake up – I wish I was one of those people!! – we’ve all had moments where our voice seems to fail to catch up with our brain. It’s sometimes referred to as our ‘Bed Voice’

You know what I mean, that flat, heavy, sluggish voice we have first thing!

A client I worked with, on one of our 121 programmes, had to speak regularly on early morning radio. I always remember her being very conscious of her “bed voice”, and was keen to know how to shake it off.

So, in a nutshell, here is how you do it;

Step 1 – Quench that thirst!

One of the primary reasons for this “bed voice” is simply down to the fact that you (and your voice) are dehydrated after sleep  – hence muscles work a little slower and a little more sluggishly.  Drink a glass of water, drinking coffee (although it may be more tempting) will do little to help your voice.

 

Step 2 – Good Vibrations

Place your hands on your head – and hum a gentle ‘mmmm’ sound. Put the focus of the hum into the top of your head until you feel vibrations in your head. Repeat a few times.

 

Step 3 – Get humming

Gently hum up and down your pitch range.  So just like the scales on a piano, start on your lowest note and gently and slowly hum/glide your way up to the highest note you can go (without pushing or forcing) Repeat a few times.

 

Step 4 – Luscious Lips

Place your finger tips on your lips (palm faced in) and again gently hum a ‘mmmm’ sound.  Feel vibrations, or a tingly sensation on your lips and the surrounding area. Repeat a few times, and feel your bed voice start to disappear.

 

Step 5 – Massage

Give your entire face a massage  – your cheeks, lips, forehead, nasal area. In other words awaken your face, stretch your mouth and have a good yawn!

Check out this great talk from Julian Treasure on how to warm up your voice

So remember these five tips next time you need to get rid of your bed voice and enjoy the work out!

Olivia

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.

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Keep your audience engaged

6 Presentation Techniques You Can Learn From Comedians To Keep Your Audience Engaged

It can be difficult to keep your audience engaged during business presentations.   How do comedians keep their audiences engaged?   Some of us are naturally funny.  Others think that being funny is a gift from birth that only the chosen few are blessed with, and that the rest of us should stay far, far away from trying to make people laugh.  The fact is, being funny is a skill like anything else, like driving a car, learning a new language, or learning presentation techniques.

 

Comedians spend years crafting and honing their content and delivery, making them one of the few public speakers that clock up Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours that he says make a master.

 

Performers learn a lot the hard way. there’s just no other way to do it.  You can practice, practice, and practice until the cows come home but at the end of the day you have to get up in front of a real audience to test it out.

Here are a few interesting presentation techniques from the world of comedy to help speakers in the business world master the art of keeping audiences engaged.

Presentation techniques from the world of comedy

 

Rock It From The Start

Everyone knows that getting off to a good start sets the tone for the rest of your journey.  When you’re practicing your speech or presentation, the first 30 seconds will make or break you.

Psychologist Jennice Vilhauer does this effectively in her TEDTalk “Why you don’t get what you want…” If you don’t engage people and give them a reason to listen in the first 30 seconds, you’ll have a pretty tough time getting them back.  

A killer start to your presentation will set the tone for the rest of your talk and keep your audience engaged.  So practice this, hone it, and know it until you can do it in your sleep.

Know Your Timing

When you’re practicing, breakdown the sections of your content.  

  • First 30 seconds
  • Numbers of key areas
  • Stories
  • Wrap up
  • Takeaways

Time yourself so you know how long each takes and how much time the whole presentation will be and when in doubt, keep it short. you will keep your audience engaged, and they will thank you for it.

Don’t Wait To Work The Room – keep you audience engaged from the get go!

Comedians are clever at working the room.  They ‘cast’ someone in the audience so they have instant familiarity with the room.  Introduce yourself to people as they come into the room; don’t wait to find common ground with your audience until you start your talk.  

Break the ice with them from the outset, greet them as they come in, have a bit of banter with them.  You’ll automatically have back story with them when you start your presentation.

 

Warm Up First

All performers warm up and do something to get them in the ‘zone’ as TEDTalk presenter Julien Treasure talks about here.  Stretch your arms up over your head before you step onto the stage, take some deep breaths, loosen up your muscles or do some articulation exercises.  Whatever you do, do something.  This will help calm any nerves and also get your body and mind focused on the task at hand.

 

 

Self Critique

Whenever you get the chance to present or speak in front of an audience, always film or video yourself.  Always.  It’s so easy now to do it now with phones and tablets.  Get a friend or someone you know will be there to video you so you can watch it back and see exactly what you’re doing and sounding like.  Performers and comedians love this because it gives them instant feedback on everything they’re doing and how they are keeping audiences engaged.

 

Be Human

No one feels comfortable around people who seem like they’re perfect all the time.  We connect with people we trust, who feel familiar to us.  Really funny material comes from comedians who know it’s not necessarily about making people laugh; it’s about making people think, it’s about showing them that you know what it’s like to be human.  The audience finds something in you that resonates with them.  Comedian and writer Ricky Gervais talks brilliantly about this here.

 

 

As a public speaker, take heed of some of these techniques from comedians and see if they help in your performance.  Comedians face the toughest audiences in the world so they know what they’re talking about.  

Remember, good preparation and practice will pay off in dividends when it comes to getting up in front of an audience and delivering the goods.  

Great communicating is learned; no one is born a great speaker.

Remember that you’re a human being in a room full of human beings and every audience loves to see people succeed.

They want you to be great!  It makes their job of listening so much easier.

 

Contact us for details on how we can help you to engage your audiences and deliver memorable presentations

t – +353 1 9696056

e – info@confidentspeak.com

 

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Cicero’ s 5 Canons Of A Great Speech Still Relevant? Try Them To Help Banish Presentation Nerves

Great speechMark Twain once said ‘There are two kinds of speakers in the world:  Those who get nervous and those who are liars..’ And he wouldn’t be far off.  Everyone gets a dose of presentation nerves, some just hide it better than others!   Even the greatest orator in history Marcus Tullius Cicero once ran from the forum where he was set to speak because he was terrified with nerves.  

 

TED coaches, CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, even presidents get nervous.  But the trick is to look and sound cool, calm, and collected even when you’re not feeling the love.  

 

Cicero knew that you have to “fake it ‘till you make it”, but it’s actually more than that; it’s fake it until you become it.  Unless you’re soaked in sweat and physically unable to speak, audiences don’t know what you don’t tell them.  

 

The ancient Romans and Greeks invented this kind of thinking; they called the art of oratory actio as in ‘acting’.  A speaker is an actor, and the best actors are the ones who are most truthful, convincing, and authentic on stage.

 

These ancient orators also knew about nerves and that they can be an important part of pumping up your energy before you go on, and, if managed properly, you can channel that energy to give your performance passion, charisma, and memorability.

 

People won’t be able to take their eyes off you and they may not even know why.  Here’s Cicero’s 5 Cannons and how they can help you knock it out of the park even when you’re feeling like you can’t even suit up to bat.

 

The 5 Canons

Cicero, that great orator, came up with five aspects of giving a great speech or ‘Canons’.  There’s no substitute to combat presentation nerves than being well prepared and he was the king of relentless preparation and practice, as he was taught by his Greek tutors.

 

Cicero’s canons are thus:

Invention, Style, Memory, Arrangement, Delivery.

 

1. Invention:  The Hook

This is the nugget of what you want to say.  It’s the distilled essence of what your speech or presentation is all about and why people should listen.  

It’s usually around 40 words or less and about 12 seconds, roughly the length of a human breath, and it is one sentence.  But that’s it!  

Brevity is beauty.  Keep it simple and keep it short and audiences will love you for it.

 

2. Arrangement:  Road Map The Journey Of A Presentation

Before you open PowerPoint, sit down and map out your story. Every speech or presentation is a story that has a beginning, middle, and end, and once you’ve got that clear, it’s time to open PowerPoint and see what you need to support and illustrate your message that will add colour, texture, and memorability.  

Story first, PowerPoint after. This will ensure you are clear in your journey and will help you avoid using PowerPoint as a report or crutch.

 

3. Style:  Channel Your Inner Obama

Everybody has their own style and in order to develop that style, watch as many people as you can give presentations and speeches.  What are they doing well? Using pace, pause, pitch, volume?

Observe what they’re doing that works and, equally importantly, what doesn’t.  Steal from the best and leave the rest.  As you practice and video yourself, you’ll begin to discover and develop your own style.

No two speakers are the same so don’t worry about being like someone else.  Remember, it’s about being the best YOU, not becoming someone else.

Great sources are Youtube, TEDtalks, and people at your own company or place of work.

 

 

4. Memory:  Build Your Palace! It Helps Reduce Presentation Nerves

Presentation nerves are often brought on by that fear of forgetting. Mnemonics is the learning of techniques to aid in human memory.  A mnemonic device could be an acronym or image that helps you to associate information and recall it more efficiently.

 The Roman orators often used the image of a palace or great house with many rooms where they attributed sections of their speeches to different rooms in order to remember the information better.  

 

5. Delivery:  Bring It On, Superman

After you do your warm up (and everybody does something), the last thing you do is stand with your feet wide apart and hands on hips a la Superman/Wonder Woman and smile (master of all your survey)

It will help banish those presentation nerves and give you a sense of expansion, positivity, and being grounded.  

Then, picture your audience and send out a thought of generosity, ‘I love you guys!’ and make it all about them, not you.  

So take it from the guys who started it all and use the five canons and take heed of Cicero;

‘Whatever you do, do it with all your might.’

 

It’s all there for the taking so practice, practice, practice and give it your best shot.  The worst thing that can happen is you try and fail, so try and fail again, and then try again.

 

 As Samuel Beckett said;

‘Ever tried. Ever failed.  No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.’

 

“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 programmes for executives, sales teams and technical professionals.”

info@confidentspeak.com

www.confidentspeak.com

☎ +35319696056

 

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Harness your presentation nerves

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Have you ever sat there before a presentation and felt so nervous that your stomach is like a washing machine, and you wish the fire alarm would go off so you don’t have to open your mouth?  Well you are not alone.  Presentation nerves affect almost everyone who has ever stood up to give a speech […]

Voice Coaching Techniques

Avoiding Death By Monotony: The 5 Key Business Presentation Skills You Need

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

Avoid Death by Monotony - Five Business Presentation Skills You Need

 

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.

Pause is powerful, so learn to understand and use the power of pause in public speaking.

Former US President Barack Obama is a good example of someone who uses pause well and often.

We can implement pauses to gain different effects.

When we pause before a word or phrase, it creates the classic tension—release.

And when we pause after it, it allows the audience a moment for the information to sink in.

When we use pause, we also vary the pace of our delivery. Varying our pace and using pause keeps the rhythm of our vocal delivery varied and keeps the ear from falling asleep.

The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 4: Volume & Breath

What’s one key objective that too few people think about in speaking.

The need to be heard!

When it comes to volume, this where breathing properly comes in handy.

If you are getting enough breath into your lungs, you won’t have to worry about being heard because your voice will be supported.

Remember, breath = fuel for the voice.

We’re not talking about shouting here.

There’s a big difference between having a supported, resonant sound that fills the space and shouting. The former is about generosity, the latter is unpleasant and off-putting.

The Five Key Business Presentation Skills, 5: Make a Recording

Finally, record yourself.  Whether it’s your iPhone or your laptop, video taping yourself when you’re rehearsing has never been never easier.

It is the only way you can see exactly what you look like and sound like. More importantly it can help decide where you need to make changes.

You can also just use audio recording. Record just your voice and you will quickly know if you’ve fallen into the Monotony Trap!

Recap

When it comes to avoid the cardinal errors that add up to a boring business presentation, remember that language has music.

It has texture, colour, contrast, light and shade to it. The sounds we make and how we make them is the starting point of communication.

So be bold, be courageous, and be inventive with how you create speech and sound.

You are a storyteller and the best storytellers are people who speak to you, engage you, and keep your attention.

By putting into practice just these few simple voice coaching techniques you can avoid the monotony trap. You can become a memorable, captivating and engaging speaker.

One who will keep your audiences awake and wanting more!

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

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Why breathing is important for presentations

Five Reasons Breathing Is The Number 1 Tool For Great Communication

When was the last time you thought about your breathing? This morning? Yesterday? How about “Not at all”? Well, if you’re like most people the answer is most likely the latter:  Not at all. If you’re keen to learn some techniques for great communication, here are five tips on breathing correctly to optimise your speaking, performance and leadership.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

Breathing correctly is the most important thing for great communication

First off, if you don’t typically focus on breathing, don’t beat yourself up.

After all, it’s a pretty normal thing, because breathing is something our bodies do by themselves. It’s an involuntary function so whether or not we think about it, it happens anyway.

But I’m here to tell you that breathing is the number one tool for great communication, and spending the time to create good breathing habits and awareness will pay off in huge dividends in your meetings, speeches, and presentations.

Breathing is Vital for Great Communication

When it comes to your effectiveness as a speaker and communicator, good deep diaphragmatic breathing is your best friend.

Breathing is the one thing that voice coaches always, always, always bang on about!

We’re always trying to find new ways of telling you how important it is and what the benefits are of good, deep, diaphragmatic breathing.

And we tell you this with good reason.

Just look at the number of people who are taking yoga classes these days—it’s a revolution in mindfulness and deep breathing technique.

So What is Correct Breathing Anyway?

When you breathe from your belly, your lungs are expanding to their full capacity and the diaphragm, that dome shaped muscle at the bottom of your rib cage, moves down to allow the lungs to expand, and your belly moves out as a result.

Diaphragmatic breathing is a fancy term for breathing deeply from your belly, not high in your upper chest where your lungs are the smallest. Children breathe deeply and correctly from the womb, they don’t need to be taught.  It’s completely instinctual.

So if we know how to do it, then why don’t we do it?!

Typically, life happens!

We start dealing with fears and insecurities and this often manifests itself as tension in the body, resulting in shallower breathing.

As a result, we have to re-learn how to breathe naturally.

It is quite simple, but is it easy?

Actually, to do it effectively it takes practice.

Check out this video.

So why bother learning to breathe deeply and more naturally? What are the benefits of breathing correctly when it comes to speaking and presenting?

Actually, there are quite a few. Simple dedication to practising breathing correctly can ensure that you have great communication skills.

Breathing for Great Communication, 1: It’s Premium Fuel

Your voice needs fuel to perform at its best and breath is that fuel.

It supports the sound and helps to protect your voice from harm.

When you breathe deeply from the belly, you’re getting a bigger, higher quality of breath to fuel your vocal sound.

Breathing for Great Communication, 2: Think Clearly

Your brain needs fuel to run at its best too.

Good, deep breathing helps to get oxygen to the brain and supports clear thinking, so when you feel like you’re freezing or panicking because you can’t remember what comes next in your speech or presentation, take a moment to pause and breathe.

It gives you a moment to clear your head and remember the next thought.

Breathing for Great Communication, 3: Obey The Speed Limit

When we take time to pause and breathe, we automatically slow down our delivery.

Everyone, without exception, can afford to slow down. A good delivery pace gives both you and the audience time to breathe and process information.

What’s good for the goose is good for the gander!

Breathing for Great Communication, 4: Keep It Grounded

Breathing down in your belly, or ‘chi’ centre – as it’s referred to in martial arts – helps to centre your energy and gives you a sense of being grounded and balanced.  When your energy is more grounded and balanced, you are able to be more present in the moment. Being more present in the moment means being more connected to our audience.

Breathing for Great Communication, 5: Fight Or Flight

Getting nervous is largely due to irrational fears and that ancient ‘fight or flight’ part of our brain that kicks in to save us from a situation that our brain perceive as threatening, ie. getting up in front of a bunch of people and speaking.  Conscious, deep breathing, tricks the brain into calming down. It sends the rest of your body the message that everything’s ok and there’s no need to panic.

Our bodies already know how to breathe properly; we’re just reawakening the muscle memory that becomes lost over many years of bad habits.

I could talk about the theories behind good breathing technique and the benefits from practicing it until the cows come home. Learning a few simple techniques and practicing them on a consistent basis is the only way to truly experience the treasure trove of benefits that good, centred breathing can bring to you as a speaker and communicator.

Small Changes Reap Huge Benefits

So, tomorrow when you’re going through your day just take a moment every now and then and check in with yourself;

Am I holding my breath?

Am I breathing?

And take a few deep breaths.

A wise man once told me:

Life is like breathing. If you try and hold it, you’ll lose it. But if you’re aware and let it come and go, you’ll always be connected to it.

When we are breathing we are more present in the moment. The more present we are, the more effective we are as communicators because we are able to connect more fully with our audience.

So start breathing. The results—such as great communication!—might surprise you!

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

Final Word from Max Strom

Watch this TEDx talk by Max Strom for even more

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Be tech savvy when it comes to presenting with technology

Five Musts to Avoid All Presenting with Technology Problems and Disasters

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

presenting with technology - avoid all common technology problems

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.

Why?

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. 

  1. Do a “Tech Check” in advance
  2. Ask for what you need
  3. Practice with any technology involved
  4. Recce the room
  5. 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!

Read More

If you liked this you may find these an interesting read also:

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

 

Brene Brown an authentic speaker

With 32 Million Views Of Her TED Talk, We MUST Learn From Brene Brown About Becoming A Confident Presenter

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

How You Can Learn from Brene Brown's Confidence

 

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?!

Her TED talk—The Power of Vulnerabilityis one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 30 million views.

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.

All 10 of Brene Brown’s guideposts encourage us to show vulnerability in some way.

As a presenter in a corporate context, this requires immense bravery.  This bravery will ultimately give you a deep sense of connection with both your message and with your audience.

I strongly encourage you to explore wholehearted presenting if you want to become a confident presenter.

It really does work.

Watch Brene Brown’s confidence at first hand in her two most lauded TED talks below – “The Power of Vulnerability”, and “Listening to Shame”

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

The Real King's Speech Techniques for Breathing and Speaking

The Real King’s Speech Techniques: What You Can Learn About Breath and Speaking

The movie The King’s Speech won so many awards and so many admirers when it arrived in cinemas. But what can you learn about speaking from the real King’s Speech techniques? Read on for more.

By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak

The Real King's Speech techniques for breathing and speaking

A few years back I watched a documentary, which looked at the true story behind one of my favourite movies, The King’s Speech.

Winner of a host of awards, the critically acclaimed The King’s Speech highlights the inspiring story of Prince Albert (later to become King George VI) struggle to overcome his crippling stammer.

Prince Albert suffered with a nervous stammer from childhood and prior to his succession to the throne, his wife Elizabeth, sought the help of Lionel Logue, an Australian Speech Therapist practicing in London.

Albert was at first rather reluctant, but he began seeing Logue and partaking in his then perceived, unorthodox training, and his speech, gradually, improved.

Logue and the Prince (and later King) maintained a strong bond and Logue was present in the room to provide support for the King’s important wartime address to the British people in September 1939.

 

I remember that it stuck me at the time (and this was very evident from the documentary I watched) how vital was the importance of correct breathing in helping “Bertie” to overcome his stammer.

When he had control of his stammer he was described as having gravitas, with a slow paced, clear and articulate style.

As a voice coach, the importance of breathing is a constant focus of my training in helping to establish composure and confidence.

Five Important Points About Breath from the Real King’s Speech Techniques:

1. Awareness: Breath = Voice, so make sure that you are aware of your breathing.

2. Support: Breath is your key support for the voice.

3. Warm up: Always warm up first and make sure you are breathing deeply to support the sound. (Read this article on warming up your voice for every talk, speech or presentation.)

4. Breathe correctly: Breathe properly and into the centre of your body, and not your chest. (Read here for more on breathing properly)

5. Take a moment: Take the time to relax the body, and to concentrate on breathing.

Read More About the Importance of Breathing for Great Communications

Read our in-depth blog on the importance of breathing correctly for great public speaking 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

King George’s speech from September 3rd 1939

Why not take a moment to listen to Bertie himself in action.