How strong is your mind-to-mouth connection?

One of the things we’re always aiming for when we speak is to be clear. Sometimes to be impactful as well, but definitely to be clear. 

[Video content is below, too, if you prefer to watch.] And one of the key reasons that we don’t achieve this clarity goal is when our mouth is ahead of our mind: we don't have a strong mind-to-mouth connection.  When our mouth is running the show, any of these issues can happen. I'm sure you'll recognise yourself in at least one of them! Most people do at least one of these on a regular basis. We: Ramble ...

Don’t fight reality when speaking in public

Many of my clients try to fight or deny the reality of their situation when they have a presentation or important event coming up. And I've found, interestingly, that while it’s more for fearful or anxious clients, it's also common with highly confident clients who lack the time or focus to devote to their talks or presentations. Fighting your reality plays out in three different timeframes. You may recognise all, or just one of them:

1st: leading up to the event.

You procrastinate and put off preparing your slide deck or notes. In fact you may not give yourself any thinking time at...

Low Clarity Equals Low Impact When Speaking

Low clarity equals low impact and it's so common when speaking in public: in fact it's one of the key areas my client and I focus on. Whether you're experienced or just starting out, it's easy to forget just how important being clear with our goal(s) for speaking and messages are. It's also important if you want your words to be remembered.

Why is lack of clarity so common?

I usually find there's one big reason that can then lead into lots of smaller ones: Low thinking time prior to presenting or speaking. It actually doesn't matter either if people are experienced presenters who've been...

To Influence, Think White Space, Not White Noise

To influence, think white space, not white noise

Just as visual white space designed into documents and slides is a very good thing, so is verbal white space in meetings, presentations and conversations. Visual white space allows the content to breathe and to be digested without cognitive strain. Verbal white space does exactly the same. Ideas and solutions need room to be conjured up, and to be heard. White space in this sense could be seen as a metaphor for communication opportunities. How often do we get white noise instead? It's everywhere nowadays! So much certainty, so much content being churned out. It's relentless. And...

For Confident Public Speaking, Be On Your Own Side

For confident public speaking, be on your own side  

Confident public speaking or presenting can be challenging, to state the obvious! And sometimes you might make it even harder for yourself by getting in a bad loop of negative self-talk. It's harsh and critical, and easy to get fixated on bad past experiences. Which is entirely normal, by the way: your brain's wired to look for threats, and will try to warn you of anything coming up that might be 'dangerous' to your system. There are, however, ways to counteract this negative self-talk, without turning it into a fight. And without...

Powerful Internal Questions to Influence Up

Some powerful internal questions to influence up, if you're nervous or threatened by hierarchy. Hierarchy challenges can rear up for a lot of people. Even when confident, that sense of "less than" can be a real issue. It can help a lot to reframe what you're aiming to achieve. Asking yourself powerful questions such as "How can I contribute here? How can I help these people with my information?" can make a difference. Or finding a way to generate a feeling of 'peer to peer' discussion by asking yourself - prior to the conversation or presentation - questions such as: "What will make this feel...

A Powerful Way to Increase Speaking Confidence

Hello! A video for you with transcript below about one powerful way to increase your confidence in speaking.     https://vimeo.com/sarahdenholm/powerful-way Transcript: Ok, we talk to ourselves all the time, don't we? And we have automatic thoughts, and some of those thoughts and questions that we might be asking ourselves all day long, are, variations on different categories such as reassuring ourselves about something: we might be giving ourselves advice about what to do next. We might be talking negatively to ourselves that we're not capable of doing something or this is not going well. And a 4th category, and one that I particularly...

Confidence, perfectionism and making mistakes

On confidence, perfectionism and making mistakes

I've been thinking a lot about mistakes this week; two clients in very different situations have talked about their fear of making a mistake when they speak. How do you feel about mistakes? When I was a classical pianist, they were something I certainly had to contend with! If you have a tendency towards perfectionism, which has many tricky ways of showing up, this can manifest as an almost obsessive desire to avoid any kind of fumble or mistake. And it's a frighteningly constricted and tightrope-balancing act to enter a meeting or presentation space feeling this way. In my first profession as...

Smile Styles Send Signals When Communicating

Smiling when we communicate. Seems simple, doesn’t it? I used to think so! Yet our 'smile styles' send signals when communicating.

And while I don't want to over-complicate things, there are definitely some signals that you want to be aware of, if you're not already. These can apply whether you're communicating to a group, or 1:1.

Smile Styles We don’t just smile to convey happiness or warmth of course...we do polite, nervous, embarrassed, ingratiating or submissive smiles too (and more).

Some consequences and pitfalls of our different ‘smile styles’:

Smiling too little or not at all. 

We may forget to smile when it would be a very...

For Influence and Confidence, Question Lazy Labels

For influence, question lazy labels

We label and put people and ideas into boxes all the time: and we need to. These short-cuts for our brain are vital to let us get on with our day without stopping to second-guess ourselves. And it's much faster to label than to try to understand. However, by their very nature these labels stop us from thinking more deeply and being curious. And if you follow me regularly you'll know that I believe curiosity to be a major super-power for successful communication. The good news is that avoiding or questioning these label shortcuts can be a major...