Author - Sarah Denholm

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 Mistakes I’ve Made

Public Speaking Mistakes I've Made I've made many public speaking mistakes: especially in the early days, when I was feeling my way and still learning what worked and what didn't. So today I thought I'd give you three mistakes that I used to make - mistakes which threw up roadblocks for my audiences and stopped me being as engaging and professional as I wanted. Hopefully by sharing these errors, it might help you to avoid making them yourself! public speaking mistakes Mistake No. 1: too much content Cramming too much content into your talk: this one took me a long time to learn...

What Navy Seals Can Teach Us About Reducing Public Speaking Fear

[Updated 2020.] As you'll know if you've been around my work for a while, I used to suffer real anxiety around presenting to people (and music performance anxiety before that - it was a long road!). And when I work with clients on reducing public speaking fear, I use lots of different tools and techniques, depending on what people present with. About 10 years ago there was an interesting article in Psychology Today about four techniques the U.S. Navy Seals used to increase their training pass rates with new recruits. The original article is here. And because all four tools are ones...