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Practising Your Speech – how much is enough?

mtsofan via Flickr Working with a client this week during an individual coaching session, we were putting the finishing touches on a 5 minute speech he was preparing for a formal family celebration dinner. Ed had written a script which we first edited to create a logical flow; we then worked on humour, pacing and engaging delivery methods. I ended the session by suggesting that he practise the speech at least 5 times before the big night, just over a week away. Ed was astonished. He had never considered practising his speech - let alone my suggestion of a minimum of 5...

How to change your negative beliefs about speaking: 5 step plan

Choosing new beliefs I sometimes work with clients who have seen themselves as poor speakers for a long time, often many years. They may turn up for coaching or come along to one of my courses with the attitude of "well I'll give this a go, but it won't really change anything". Our beliefs run our lives - they underlie how we relate to the world. But you don't have to feel so stuck around public speaking, and you don't have to sabotage yourself by letting your past experience dictate the present moment. Sometimes I think that we over-complicate things...so with...

Want Greater Charisma When You Speak? Have Certainty

  When we speak in front of others, our goal is usually to get them to take action or think differently. We're offering them something -  ourselves and our message; an actual product or service. The audience will take their cue from us, and we need to be certain and congruent in our words, our body language and our energy to convince them. And the more we can do this, the more charismatic we'll be. Today we're going to look at using words to be more charismatic: if you're uncertain about your message, or lack confidence, you'll retreat to the perceived safety of...

Using Peripheral Vision Impacts your Public Speaking

plotting your imaginary graph Using your peripheral vision - opening out your vision field to its very edges - is a helpful tool to feel more relaxed, open and ‘spacious’ in front of a group (or indeed whenever you want to feel that way). How often do you do the opposite? This is pretty much the opposite of what we commonly do during the day: think about how often we might focus in on the computer screen, T.V., piece of paper, or even when we’re talking to someone. Why you need to practise It’s important to practise expanding our vision field, because it’s not an...

Overcoming Fear of Public Speaking: Playing at the Edges of your Comfort Zone

Stretching your comfort zone edges I've recently gone back to yoga classes after a break of 10 years or so, and one thing about doing the poses which confused me initially, was knowing how to distinguish between intensity during a stretch versus discomfort or pain. Intensity is another word for energy flow, and that's what you're after in yoga, and public speaking. But where does intensity tip over into negative, unhelpful territory, and how can you stop that from happening? The solution, I've found, is learning how to "play at the edges" of my comfort zone, my limits, without going too...

A Tip to Stop Self-Doubts Before You Go On Stage

Phoenietzsche via Flickr A client asked me recently about how to stop the fearful, negative thoughts which kick in like clockwork in the hours before she has to present. You probably know how she feels: so unhelpful, isn't it?! And while there are a few different ways to tackle this issue, there's a practical strategy - which I'll share in a moment - which I've been  using successfully with my speaking clients. I've also used it myself for years, before giving a keynote talk or playing in a high-pressure concert. And as I've been planning this article - while working my way...

Respect, And How to Stay Calm When Challenged

We've come to the 7th and final skill in my C.R.I.S.P.E.R formula for good speaking (see 7 skills of every good speaker for an overview). Today's skill is Respect, which we show in different ways when we're in charge of a group: by respecting  others' opinions and time, and ensuring we've done enough preparation. In fact respect is my number one attitudinal goal when dealing with audiences; and it's especially important to focus on if you're challenged by an audience member. I always aim to respond respectfully to comments and to remember  - not always easy in the heat of the moment -...

How to Practise Your Presentation: Practical Tips (And What Not To Do)

Group of Practice Golf Balls - vorakorn There are many different ways to prepare: today I'm going to talk about practising your talk in the outer world, but working with your inner world  - using mental rehearsal and relaxation techniques - are also important if you're nervous. Practising can help in showing you: what you need to fix in order to make your talk flow logically what you need to edit for clarity the possibilities for connection with your audience when you know your material so well that you get out of your own head how to feel more confident and comfortable (see my previous article on the neuroscience...

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...