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!
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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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 upMalcolm 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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Mark 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.
“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.”
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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 […]
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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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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
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!
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:
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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 11:48:152018-07-27 17:22:41With 32 Million Views Of Her TED Talk, We MUST Learn From Brene Brown About Becoming A Confident Presenter
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
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.)
Why not take a moment to listen to Bertie himself in action.
https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/kings-speech-techniques.jpg6561000adopt15https://www.confidentspeak.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/logo.pngadopt152017-11-21 13:48:092018-08-10 13:42:44The Real King's Speech Techniques: What You Can Learn About Breath and Speaking
Confident or arrogant? Charismatic or vulgar? Inspirational or embarrassing? Whatever your feelings about Conor McGregor, the Irish combat fighter is without doubt a top-class communicator. But what makes him so? With millions of fans hanging on his every word, it has to be worth exploring further. Here are six things Conor McGregor does right when he gets in front of an audience.
By Olivia MacDonnell, ConfidentSpeak
I was in my hairdressers a few years ago, having the “holiday conversation”.
You know the one? Where did you go, where did she go, etc.
So she told me she was just back from Vegas, where she was supporting her friend Conor McGregor at a boxing event. Back then I had no idea who he was, so she explained.
A few years later, and Conor McGregor is probably Ireland’s biggest export! He has made world success, riches, fame and power (and one hell of a swagger).
There is no question he is hugely successful at what he does for a living – although I’m still not sure exactly what that is. Something in a cage with very few rules, which all looks a bit nasty!
In 2017 McGregor got into a Las Vegas ring to fight the unbeaten Floyd Mayweather. Even making that fight was an incredible achievement in itself, given that the American was seen as an all-time great, unbeaten after 49 fights, and McGregor had never fought a professional boxing match before and was moving across from the world of Mixed Martial Arts for the occasion.
Three press conferences with 50,000 people in attendance – it’s impressive!
When was the last time three press conferences had an attendance of close to 50,000 people, with millions more tuning in online? Not ever, I expect.
I happened to be passing a television during the live London “McGregor v Mayweather” press conference and got lured in. (McGregor gets the microphone at around 16 minutes…)
So, from this press conference, what is it about Conor McGregor from a communication perspective that seems to engage and capture people? Let’s take this press conference and try and break it down.
You might even pick up a trick or two. You may not like him, but hold the thought.
1. Conor McGregor Shows up Authentically
Conor McGregor is truly and unapologetically himself, unfiltered. Whether or not you are a fan of him, the reality is that any audience will connect and engage with people who are truly themselves.
Yes, there is certainly showmanship, but there is no denying that what you see is what you get. When you deliver a business presentation, how authentic are you with your audience? Or do you drop into “presenter mode”?
Because, from my experience, so many do.
2. Conor McGregor Oozes Vocal Confidence
If you place your personal opinion of his “message to the world” aside for a moment, you cannot avoid the fact that he is incredibly focused on what he is saying.
It is delivered with absolute confidence and conviction. There is more often than not composure to his delivery. And dare I say it, with the exception a few questionable consonant misplacements, there is clarity in his delivery!
He has great use of pause, pace, vocal range. Whatever the result of their actual bout in the ring a few weeks later, here on the stage he simply outshines his “co-performer” Mr Mayweather. He “owns his space” vocally. I’m not saying shouting and aggression makes a great communicator, but I believe there are strong qualities to his delivery that are worth being aware of.
As people presenting in a business context know, vocal confidence is key. How often do you sit through presentations listening to a presenter delivering a monotonous, lifeless presentation and wishing you were somewhere else? Vocal confidence is not only key it is essential to succeed in business communication.
3. The McGregor Speaking Equation: Energy + Performance = Excitement
McGregor simply has bucket loads of energy and excitement – both physically and vocally. He understands that for public speaking engagements – he needs to raise his game in terms of energy. Yes, lots of shouting (which I’m not advocating), but he’s speaking to his audience, and the audience in his case are not complaining.
What can I say, he’s a performer and his has a captive audience. As a communicator, he elicits a state of energy within his audience.
And you know what?
Energy is contagious. Watch how he can lift his audience into a state of excitement, watch how he can equally enrage them seemingly so easily. He understands that he has the ability (and responsibility) to instil emotion or energy in the audience.
An audience wants to be entertained, and part of the entertainment comes from a presenter’s ability to evoke emotional states within the audience.
There is no denying McGregor can achieve this.
All too often presenters give little consideration to emotion in their presentation, in other words how you want your audience to feel within business presentations is ignored.
4. He Encourages Audience Participation
Watch how the audience follow his commands.
These commands are delivered very clearly, simply and with passion. If an audience is ♦following commands from a speaker, it means they are listening, it means they are following a presenter, it means the presenter has strong rapport with his audience. McGregor, is in control, he is leading his audience.
As he gives commands to his audience, he builds strong rapport. It would be interesting to study his language further, from a NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) perspective.
5. He *Loves* His Audience (Almost As Much As He Loves Himself!)
Conor McGregor’s messaging is tailored precisely for his audience. He speaks to his audience in their language.
He wants them to be part of the show. He includes them. His audience is at the heart of his messaging all the time and they love it.
Let me ask you this.
How tailored is your message for your audience?
Do you keep your audience at the heart of everything you say?
If you are appalled by Conor McGregor’s message and language and style, guess what?
You are not his chosen audience!
6. He Is Clearly Massively Prepared
I suspect that Conor McGregor practices, rehearses and hones everything he does until he feels confident.
He focuses this mind on a successful outcome and eliminates any self-limiting beliefs.
I have no doubt he prepares for success when he’s communicating too. That is evidenced by everything about his performance above.
When you are preparing for an important sales pitch or upcoming presentation, what is your preparation strategy for success?
Do you have one?
I would urge you to look at Conor McGregor at little closer.
If you don’t like him, that’s ok. Lots of people don’t!
But you can still learn from him and study what he is doing.
Maybe don’t replicate exactly everything about his delivery—I probably don’t need to say that!—but do create your own unique style by doing the following.
Present with Authenticity
Build Your Vocal Confidence
Bring Energy to Your Performance
Encourage Some Audience Interactivity
Know (and Love!) Your Audience
Prepare for Success
Conor McGregor is captivating millions of people the world over, so he is worthy of studying from a communication perspective.
And have fun doing it!
ConfidentSpeak is a Voice and Communications consultancy based in Dublin, Ireland.
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