Blog

Low-Energy Speaker? 3 Simple Ways to Rev Yourself Up

Smithsonian via Flickr We've come to the 6th of 7 essential skills of a good speaker in my C.R.I.S.P.E.R formula (see here for the overview article). The 6th skill is energy. When we speak in front of others, we need energy. Not bouncing off the walls, but enough the audience doesn't 'tune out' in front of us, but instead get carried along with our energy. Enough that they can get our message not only through our words, but through how our body and face communicate with them. An audience takes their cue from us. "Life begets life, energy begets energy. It is by spending oneself...

Practising Your Presentation: Why Don’t You Do It Properly?

Practising your presentation I've learned over my years of experience both as a speaker and a Classical pianist, that fear about an upcoming talk - or concert - is simply telling me to prepare: to get ready for the event. To give you an example:  when I was much younger and more foolish, I was booked to give a presentation on the 'art of performing in business' to a management team. I was using PowerPoint for the first time, and turned up to try a foreign laptop  in the hour before the actual presentation... I wasn't even familiar with using a laptop! I became more and...

3 Great Reasons From Neuroscience To Practise Your Presentation

Neurons in the brain: Dr Jonathan Clarke Today's post covers 3 great reasons to practise your presentation, taken from neuro-scientific research. Practice is No. 5 in my C.R.I.S.P.E.R series of good speaking skills (these skills are: being Clear, Relevant, Insightful, Succinct, Practised, Energetic and Respectful - the overview article is here).   Reason No. 1: thicker neural pathways create precision and certainty Every time you practise your presentation (indeed, anything: it could be your golf swing, or a piece of music), you're creating a thicker, stronger neural pathway for the subject in your brain, as the bundles of fibres become more dense - they end...

Be Succinct: Public Speaking without the Clutter

public speaking: be succinct Is your talk too ‘cluttered’ for your audience to act on? These structure tips will help. A few years ago I was looking at houses to buy, and visited properties that were ‘open for inspection’. At one house, the outside looked very appealing, well cared for and with a great garden. The real estate agent greeted me at the front door, saying “letting you know that tenants are still living here”. The front door swung open to reveal the most cluttered home that I have ever seen -  there was stuff everywhere! Not mess, just an overwhelming amount of...

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...