Is Presenting a Conversation or a Performance?

Dialogue Bubble - digitalart What's your take on presenting: conversation or performance? Let me tell you about an experience I had recently. I went to a networking breakfast in the city, on a dark, wintry Monday morning: it was hard to get out of bed, but I was looking forward to the event because I enjoy meeting new people, and the guest speaker sounded good. He was someone who'd pushed himself to the limits in adventure travel, even seen death. A man whose tales of leadership would surely be inspiring and interesting. Yet from the moment he came onto the stage and began...

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...

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...

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 -...

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...

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...