Author - Sarah Denholm

To influence have an opinion, virtual speaking engagement, and how to feel more confident

I. Influencing others when you speak To be influential when you communicate or present you need opinions, and you need to share them. (Tone and context are hugely important too of course - and for today's tip, I'm assuming they're appropriately in place!) Too often in my work, I see people with great knowledge and credibility who still prefer to deliver only information and hide their opinion or recommendation. This is a completely understandable – it's a lot safer to fly under the radar than voice ideas out loud to people who matter, or who have power over us – we're afraid...

Unconscious Speaking Habits May Be Holding You Back

Are you aware of what you do with your hands, or if you use many filler words (like, um, you know) when communicating? And that these unconscious speaking habits may be holding you back? Most people aren't that aware - and this is often a good thing! We have enough to do to get through each day without finding something else to work on, let's face it. And a few filler works like 'um' aren't an issue. (The problem comes when they multiply and become a barrier for the listener.) Likewise with gesturing. We gesture to help us think, and it's important...

Communication Challenge: Avoid Empty Phrases When You Communicate

A frequent challenge when speaking is to avoid adding empty phrases when you communicate. And there are a few popular ones doing the rounds at the moment which, in my view, weaken and dilute the message you're trying to convey. Avoid Empty Phrases When You Communicate When we want to get a point across at work, whether in a conversation, meeting or presentation, it's important to be clear and crisp (unless, of course, we're trying to create a smokescreen or divert attention from something undesirable!). And there are some empty phrases which just bloat our communication. Here's a recent quote from a high-level...

Communication Challenge: Talking Too Much When Trying to Convince

Talking too much when trying to convince or persuade others. Does this communication style sound like you? Talking too much when trying to convince! In my experience there are common reasons for talking too much, especially when trying to convince or persuade others. Here are 8 - see if you recognise yourself in one or more: You don't trust in the merit of your ideas (my last post on this is here) and are trying to convince yourself - even more than your listeners. You may think that if you just keep talking, something will click and work out. How many sales...

Communication Challenge: Not Fully Trusting Your Own Ideas

Do you ever diminish yourself or your abilities? A real communication challenge comes from not fully trusting your own ideas. There are many ways we can short-change ourselves when we communicate our ideas - whether that's to one person or a big audience. Today I'm talking about a common issue, with more to come in future posts. Not trusting our ideas fully enough. This one's particularly for you if you're in the business of creating change, influencing or persuading others. Not trusting in the power of our ideas to make a difference in the world is often the biggest internal block we have...

Good Public Speaking – Let Your Points Land

Our ideas are only as good as our audience's ability to consume and digest them. Whether that audience is 1 or 10,000. Let that really sink in for a moment. If that statement is true - and I believe it is - then our ability to communicate so that the audience hears us and "gets it" is even more important than we might realise. Great communication is about creating shared understanding. Would you agree? Good Public Speaking - Let your Points Land I often say that good public speaking – for example - is not about us, it's about our audience. And that our...

Is Self-Belief Essential At The Start?

When I decided to start my own business in 2009 I didn’t have any real belief that it would succeed. I started anyway, basically because I didn’t want to look back in 30 years and regret never having a go. So here’s my premise: you don’t have to believe in yourself when you start something new. Is Self-belief Essential at the Start? You just have to take action, and self-belief will follow. I often talk to my clients too about holding belief for them until they’ve built some for themselves. It's perfectly possible to outsource your belief at the start...and often a very...

Powerfully Persuasive Word According to Research

Today I'd like to give you a powerfully persuasive word which can help when your goal is to influence somebody. We all know that words influence us. There's plenty of research showing that our minds are easily 'primed' to move in a negative or positive direction. Even briefly seeing words about power - or lack of it -  make a measurable difference in our minds and emotions. Words can be powerfully persuasive - even when they seem innocuous or gentle. So we can use this to our advantage. Here’s one to try when wanting to persuade someone, particularly if they’re resistant to...

My Embarrassing Webinar Fail

At the end of a year where most of us have moved online (and lucky if we were even able to do that), I thought I'd go more light-hearted today and tell you about my first webinar attempt and how it went wrong. Hopefully you haven't experienced a bad event as the event organiser yourself - but I'm sure we've all seen enough awkward online moments to be able to relate! My embarrassing webinar fail: When I ran my first webinar years ago - probably 2013 - on a software platform which used Google Hangouts for delivery, I sensibly decided to do...

What flavour qualities make a great communicator?

Whether we’re talking to a large audience, boardroom table or individual, these are specific flavour qualities which I believe are essential to truly stand out when we communicate. And these aren’t “presentation skills” per se, they’re attitudes we bring to the interaction. They also apply to conversations at work, home or socially. What flavour qualities make a good communicator? The base ‘cone’ ingredient is made of “aim to make it more about them, not you” (definitely adhere to this ingredient if you're giving a presentation!) and the three flavour scoops are: Respect Empathy Non-judgement These connection ingredients may seem obvious, but bear with me here. They're...