Author - Sarah Denholm

Overcoming Fear of Speaking by Choosing a New Inner Landscape

Bluebell Wood - Rob Wiltshire I've just read a great article about procrastination from Timothy Pychyl in Psychology Today  http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/dont-delay/201003/procrastination-feeling-overwhelmed-helpless-and-ready-run-away where he talks about the wave of negativity that can overwhelm us when we sit down to a difficult task, and how learning to cope with this wave of mixed emotions is crucial in order to succeed at our goals. I mention the article on this blog because Pychyl's way of dealing with the negativity involves choosing to stand in a different space in his mind. This concept is something I use with clients around public speaking fear, so I thought...

Pitching your Idea: Clarity and Inspiration from Starbucks CEO

How's this for clarity of words and vision when doing a sales pitch? When CEO of Starbucks Howard Schultz was pitching to investors in the late 80's the idea of setting up coffee shops in the U.S. he didn't focus on the coffee. He said this instead: "we're going to build a 3rd place between work and home." Now that's an inspiring, big-picture concept. If you pitch ideas or products for a living, can you come up with your own big-picture concept that gets you inspired? Because if you're not excited, it's hard for your prospects to get revved up about...

How to Ensure that your Talk is Relevant

A vital skill for any good speaker is knowing how to tailor your talk to your audience, and it's no.2 on my C.R.I.S.P.E.R. list of essential skills (clear, relevant, insightful, succinct, practiced, energetic, respectful). Here are some suggestions for you, particularly if you're not yet an experienced speaker. It can be helpful to focus on two things: why you’re speaking on your topic (rather than anybody else) what the most relevant slant on your topic is for your audience 1. Why you're speaking One of the most important things that you bring to the table as a speaker is your experience and expertise, and going...

The Essential Speaking Skill of Clarity

Eyetest - Jeroen van Oostrom In my article last week I gave you an overview of 7 Skills of Every Good Speaker, from which I've created the acronym C.R.I.S.P.E.R (clear, relevant, insightful, succinct, practised, energetic, respectful). Here's my take on the first skill: clarity. On finishing reading a book: "confused, but in a more profound way" - Lily Tomlin Isn't this a great quote? Too many speakers leave audiences feeling this way. If you're speaking, and not completely clear in your own mind about your core message and sub-points, and you don't deliver them in a logical order, your audience will be confused. Here are some...

7 Skills of Every Good Speaker

I’m going to write a series of articles on skills that every good speaker possesses: today’s article is an overview, and I’ll devote an article to each individual skill in the coming weeks. I would be fairly certain that even if you think you’re not a good speaker, when you read the list below you’ll find that you already exhibit one or more of these essential qualities when you speak to groups. The 7 skills make the acronym C.R.I.S.P.E.R: Clear Relevant Insightful Succinct Practiced Energetic Respectful Let’s very briefly look at each one in turn: Clear – if you’re even slightly vague...

Do you Turn Towards or Away from Your Audience?

There’s a great book by Margaret Wheatley, a well-known U.S. leadership consultant, called ‘Turning to One Another’. In the book, which is about creating simple conversations, Margaret talks about “bearing witness”; this is the practice of sitting with another person. She writes: “when I bear witness, I turn toward another and am willing to let their experience enter my heart”. She finishes the chapter by writing “we can turn away, or we can turn toward. Those are the only two choices we have." do you turn towards or away from your audience? I think of these two choices when I’m working with...

What Are You Really Afraid Of?

what are you really afraid of?   Picture this: go back a few years, to when I’ve just completed my first ever keynote presentation, where I talked to a group of emerging corporate leaders about life lessons and resilience. It’s gone well, I get great feedback, and when I leave the group I’m on a high, totally exhilarated by the experience. I stop at the supermarket on the way home (exotic finish to my big debut, right?!) and am in the checkout queue when I’m suddenly swept with anxiety. I start to think about what I’ve just discussed with...