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...

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...

FAQs about Public Speaking and Presentations

There are some questions which I'm often asked - FAQ's - about public speaking and presentations. So here’s a list of 5 of the most common ones – see if any of them are ones you'd be asking yourself. FAQ's About Public Speaking and Presentations Q1. What's one of the most common public speaking mistakes? A. Too much content. I used to have this problem all the time, and it came from a combination of enthusiasm about the topic, wanting to give a huge amount of value, and fear that I would run out of content and be left with nothing else...

How to Improve your Talk in 10 Minutes

Want immediate, clear feedback on ways to improve your talk in 10 minutes? I have a suggestion for you. My only proviso is, don't do this if you're an anxious speaker or highly self-conscious, or you may end up feeling worse and it could really set you back. Video yourself Get your phone or camcorder ready to go Set yourself up in the space with your notes, or slides if you're using them Start filming, and deliver your talk for a few minutes: say up to 5 as a general rule Five minutes is a good length of time to settle into your content...

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 or event of any kind, something 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...

Balancing Certainty with Curiosity As a Speaker

In this video, I discuss balancing certainty with curiosity as a speaker. There's so much opinionated certainty nowadays - particularly online. And I have strong opinions myself! So my thoughts are around the 'dance' of how we come across to an audience when we present. Of course we need to be certain about our data, facts and figures, and our key messages. But too much certainty and we can seem arrogant, dismissive, inflexible. The perfect antidote to this: balancing certainty with curiosity as a speaker. Being open to the topic as you prepare, and the audience in the moment, and...

Are Stories in Presentations Always Persuasive?

Using stories in presentations In today's video, I briefly discuss using stories in presentations to be more persuasive. The idea of using a story to help get your audience across the 'persuasion and influence' line is very common. Whether we're aiming to change people's mood, change their mind or get them to take real action. And when I talk about a story, I don't mean a cosy, fluffy tale, like someone reading to us in primary school or before we go to sleep! I simply mean using what I call 'humanity' to balance out facts, data, statistics. Most great presentations have...