business meetings

Unconscious Speaking Habits May Be Holding You Back

Are you aware of what you do with your hands, or if you use many filler words (like, um, you know) when communicating? And that these unconscious speaking habits may be holding you back? Most people aren't that aware - and this is often a good thing! We have enough to do to get through each day without finding something else to work on, let's face it. And a few filler works like 'um' aren't an issue. (The problem comes when they multiply and become a barrier for the listener.) Likewise with gesturing. We gesture to help us think, and it's important...

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...

What flavour qualities make a great communicator?

Whether we’re talking to a large audience, boardroom table or individual, these are specific flavour qualities which I believe are essential to truly stand out when we communicate. And these aren’t “presentation skills” per se, they’re attitudes we bring to the interaction. They also apply to conversations at work, home or socially. What flavour qualities make a good communicator? The base ‘cone’ ingredient is made of “aim to make it more about them, not you” (definitely adhere to this ingredient if you're giving a presentation!) and the three flavour scoops are: Respect Empathy Non-judgement These connection ingredients may seem obvious, but bear with me here. They're...

Intimidated by People with Power over You at Work?

It's so easy for this to happen. Whether you’re giving a presentation or having a conversation, feeling intimidated by people with power over you at work - either higher up the food chain, or with some other power over you - it can be a real challenge. Intimidated by People with Power over You at Work? My experience I vividly recall working with my first CEO client, years ago now. We’d spoken on the phone, and I turned up for our first coaching session. I remember getting into the lift of this expansive, echoing marble foyer, heart pounding, as I tried desperately to...

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...

Presentation Content Mistakes: Too Much Information

One of the most common presentation content mistakes I see is to give too much information. Depending on your perspective you might also call it too much value! It's very easy - even for experienced speakers - to equate information with value. And we can do this in every day interactions and meetings too – this sometimes urgent need we have, to show or share what we know. When we'd be better to step back and shut up! To allow space for the information to breathe and be absorbed...and maybe to let other people's voices be heard instead of ours. A...

How Many Slides Should I Use?

I was working with a new executive client yesterday who had a list of questions for me including a burning one "how many slides should I use? I've got 62 at this point." He has an hour-long 5 year business plan presentation to give to his entire company in a couple of weeks. I'm often asked this question and obviously clients would love a definitive answer… however the true answer is "it depends". (But probably not 62!) How Many Slides Should I Use? A big point to remember around this whole 'slide' topic: you are the presentation, not your slides! Firstly: do you need...

Three Ways to Succeed With Your Public Speaking Goals This Year

Have you made a New Year's resolution to finally succeed with your public speaking goals? Have you decided, finally, to overcome your fear of public speaking, or become a better presenter? I assume that you're interested in the topic, or you wouldn't be reading this article! But have you come up with anything specific to work on? Or are you in for another year of avoidance, despite your best intentions? We usually have a sense of clearing out, of optimism and openness to new desires and goals as each new year rolls around. But we're not so good at making them...