Author - Sarah Denholm

Do you Struggle with Public Speaking?

Do you struggle with public speaking? Do you struggle with public speaking? Does the battle with fear or dislike of presenting exhaust you, or stop you from achieving your career goals? In this article I’ll discuss four lenses through which to look at your challenge. My hope is that it will help you with a different perspective and some fresh ideas - or to see old ideas in a fresh way! First, a quick back-story on my own experience and struggle with public speaking. I used to be one of those incoherent, incapable "I'm only pretending to be here, don't look...

How to Show Warmth to Any Audience

How can we deliberately show warmth to any audience? Or to a person we're about to communicate with 1:1? No matter what sort of a mood we're in before we speak, or how we feel about that audience? And fast? I've been working with a client this week on exactly this concept. I asked him how he believed he came across in meetings with his team when he opened the conversation - was there any specific process that he followed at the start? His reply was basically "No process...and how do I come across? It depends on how I'm feeling". This is...

Setting a Presentation Rhythm

A good way to get your audience's attention at the start of your talk is by setting a presentation rhythm. Lay out for them a plan about how your talk is going to unfold, and then follow that rhythm. You're basically giving an agenda, with rhythmic pace built into it. And it sounds simple, but I don't often see it done. The case for setting a presentation rhythm Rhythm is primal. Our connection to it starts before birth with our mother's heartbeat, and it's an integral part of our voice, speech and communication. And we've been communicating using rhythm for thousands of...

Audience Connection: Your Truth or Universal Truth

Audience Connection - Your Truth or Universal Truth As audience members in a presentation, one of the things we look for is a connection with the speaker. And one of the things that impacts that connection is when the presenter throws out a generalisation about a topic, and confidently asserts something that isn't true for us: either literally, or that doesn't fit with our values or beliefs. You could think of it like this, seen through the lens of audience connection: 'your truth' or 'universal truth'. Whether the speaker's assertion is a literal or beliefs trigger for us, it can...

Public speaking for beginners: practice, belief and ability

Today let's think about public speaking for beginners. Practice, belief and ability: how do they work when you're learning something new? Public Speaking for Beginners: Practice, Belief and Ability We all know the uncertainty and challenges which can kick in when we try something new. I bet if you think for a moment, something you've attempted in the past few years will come up for you. It can be scary to try something different, can't it? Our sense of self can take a knock as we're pushed off-centre. Negative self-talk usually kicks in at times. And in something like public speaking particularly,...

Balancing Certainty with Curiosity As a Speaker

In this video, I discuss balancing certainty with curiosity as a speaker. There's so much opinionated certainty nowadays - particularly online. And I have strong opinions myself! So my thoughts are around the 'dance' of how we come across to an audience when we present. Of course we need to be certain about our data, facts and figures, and our key messages. But too much certainty and we can seem arrogant, dismissive, inflexible. The perfect antidote to this: balancing certainty with curiosity as a speaker. Being open to the topic as you prepare, and the audience in the moment, and...

Public Speaking Body Language Loop

Public Speaking Body Language Loop In this video, I discuss the public speaking body language loop and how yours can help you, as well as signal competence to your audience. So many speaking coaches talk about public speaking body language, and there's a lot of advice out there. Here's a small part on video about how positive body language at the start of your presentation can become self-reinforcing and help you to move confidently into the rest of your talk . Transcript: Hello! So today I would like to talk to you about body language - obviously a huge topic, and there are...

Public Speaking Resilience Using the 3 C’s

Public Speaking Resilience Using the 3 C's In this video I talk about how important it is to boost public speaking resilience using your mindset. There's great research about what works to make people resilient in life, and these "3 C's" from two researchers - done over nearly 40 years - can be applied really well to public speaking too. Transcript - Today we're going to take a look at gaining more resilience and re-framing our thinking around public speaking. So how we frame something in our mind has a really big impact on our body. And if we say to ourselves "oh...

Are Stories in Presentations Always Persuasive?

Using stories in presentations In today's video, I briefly discuss using stories in presentations to be more persuasive. The idea of using a story to help get your audience across the 'persuasion and influence' line is very common. Whether we're aiming to change people's mood, change their mind or get them to take real action. And when I talk about a story, I don't mean a cosy, fluffy tale, like someone reading to us in primary school or before we go to sleep! I simply mean using what I call 'humanity' to balance out facts, data, statistics. Most great presentations have...

To Be More Persuasive, Think About Power

Persuasion is a crucial part of our everyday communication, whether at work or socially. And have you ever considered that to be more persuasive, you need to think about power dynamics? How does feeling powerful play out, both for speaker and audience? To Persuade, Think about Power To uncover more about this, let's look at persuasion and power and how these interact with another key factor in our communication style: warmth and competence.  Psychologists consider warmth and competence to be universal principles. In social perception terms, they're key ways we evaluate people, particularly when we first meet them. So how does considering power...