Lis Manson Coaching Speak Your Way to Success! Fri, 18 Oct 2019 07:54:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Lis Manson Coaching 32 32 Why Your Brain Loves Good Stories Tue, 23 Apr 2019 12:20:57 +0000

It is quiet and dark. The theatre is suddenly silent. James Bond lays low along the edge of a building as his enemy takes aim. In the audience, heart rates rise and palms perspire. The result: an amazing neural ballet in which a story line dramatically alters the activity of people’s brains.

Many business people have discovered the power of story-telling in a pragmatic sense. They understand how influential a well-designed narrative can be. But novel science work sheds light on exactly how stories change our attitudes, beliefs, and behaviours.

Think back to your childhood. How wonderful was it to lose yourself in a good story? And the feeling is just as great today. Telling stories is one of the best ways to make an idea resonate with your audience. It is one of the most important things that you, as a public speaker, can do to make your presentation memorable.

A study conducted by Chip Heath gives us phenomenal insight on how stories help people remember information better than any other delivery system. Chip Heath teaches a class at Stanford University. For one exercise, he divides the students into groups of six to eight and presents them with statistics on crime patterns in the United States. Half the students in the group are told to make a one-minute presentation in support of the premise that non-violent crime is a serious problem. The other half are asked to create a one-minute presentation arguing that non-violent crime is not a serious problem.

After everyone has presented, the students vote for the person in their group whom they thought was the best. Then, the exercise is over . . . or so they believe.

Chip continues on to another topic and often shows a short video to distract the students. He then unexpectedly asks them to write down everything they can remember about the speeches they heard. 

This is how Chip Heath describes the results:

The students are flabbergasted at how little they remember. Keep in mind that only ten minutes have elapsed since the speeches were given. Nor was there a huge amount of information to begin with – at most they’ve heard eight one-minute speeches. And yet the students are lucky to recall one or two ideas from each speaker’s presentation. Many draw a complete blank on some speeches – unable to remember a single concept.

But here’s where it gets really exciting in terms of the power of stories:

In the average one-minute speech, the typical student uses 2.5 statistics. Only one student in ten tells a story. Those are the speaking statistics. The “remembering” statistics, on the other hand, are almost a mirror image: When students are asked to recall the speeches, 63% remember the stories. Only 5% remember any individual statistic.

This study is an absolute gem to demonstrate how powerful stories can be. Yet, many speakers shy away from stories, choosing instead to immerse their audiences with statistics and other bland details. By telling stories, on the other hand, you use one of the most effective tools in a speaker’s arsenal to persuade your audience.

The Power of 3’s Tue, 23 Apr 2019 12:16:13 +0000

Have you ever wondered… what do The Three Little Pigs, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, and The Three Stooges have in common? Why is the three-act structure the imperative approach to screenwriting in Hollywood? Even the rule of three is evident in religion, as illustrated by the Trinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

The reason for the rule of three is simple. The brain finds it easy to grasp threes because it’s a deep-rooted psychological trigger embedded in our subconscious since we were young. Our minds automatically tend to categorize, respond favorably, and remember things presented in threes. This is why the cornerstone of effective communication lies in the power of three. The next question is, how can you apply this magical rule to create persuasive presentations, or captivate people with your communication in everyday life? There are many ways of incorporating the power of three into daily conversations and dynamic results.

Firstly, the rule of three can be applied to story-telling so that your stories become more engaging and resonate with your audience. The Rule of Three works in stories because it’s a natural and instinctive pattern. Think in terms of three when you craft your content, and you’ll end up with a winning outcome. Secondly, when you are presenting people with choices, always stick to three. As human beings, our brains have evolved in a way that protects us from harm. As part of this innate protection mechanism, we like to have choices. We presume that if we don’t have a choice in a threatening situation, we may not find a way out of it. On the other hand, we also know when we are given too many alternatives, we can get confused or overwhelmed. This puts us at risk in making the wrong choice, which may cause us potential harm. Therefore, our minds like to be presented with options – however, not too many! Three choices enable us to avoid the wrong decisions, and select the one that is just right. And finally, the rule of three is found in art and music. Presentations are often comprised of art and music, and you can build a strong foundation by implementing the rule of three. For example, experienced photographers place the horizon line of their photograph one-third from the top or one-third from the bottom, but never in the middle.

Painters position the main objects in their paintings at one of the four intersection points, or hot spots, which are placed one-third from the right and left, and top and bottom of the canvas. When we consider colour, it is no surprise there are three primary colours: red, blue, and yellow. Even in music, the third note of every scale provides the most fundamental harmony that human ears find gratifying. These are all rules to remember when you organize visuals and illustrations into your presentation.It appears that the rule of “3” is simply a magic number when it comes to pleasing the human brain. Understanding the rule of three is a good way of incorporating it into every aspect of communication. The result is a winning formula bound to increase your success rate significantly!

The 3 Key Elements of a Powerful Sound Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:56:32 +0000

Whether you are speaking at a packed auditorium or presenting to a small team meeting, effective voice projection is essential if you want to be heard.

Effective voice projection depends on a combination of three key areas:

1) Breathing Technique

2) Resonance

3) Pitch

There are plenty of exercises to improve these areas. Below are a few which, if practiced frequently, will really develop the way your voice sounds and travels: You’ll be heard at the back of every room without having to shout.

1) Breathing Technique

Good voice projection necessitates organized working of the lungs, intercostal muscles, and diaphragm. The diaphragm is an umbrella shaped muscle which helps push air out of the lungs. The diaphragm should move down and push the belly out when breathing in, and move up, pushing air out of the lungs and pulling the belly in when you breathe out.

Place one hand on your belly (below the ribcage, over your belly button) and one hand on your back. Breathe in slowly, and feel the gap between your hands get wider as your belly moves outward. Take a few deep breaths in and out and feel the hand on your belly moving out and in as you do so. Now place your hands, with fingertips touching, across your belly, just below the ribcage. Breathe in and feel your belly move out, then breathe out making a hard, quick “Huh” sound. You should feel your belly contract as the sound comes out. Repeat several times. Practice this abdominal breathing regularly so that it becomes normal and natural (in the car, watching TV – anywhere). Then try making different sounds. Hear how much stronger and clearer the voice is, and how much more it projects when you breathe abdominally. 

2) Resonance

Resonators are the ‘speakers’ in your head. Your voice originates at your vocal cords and then resonates through your chest, throat, and head as it comes out of your mouth. To enhance vocal tone, you have to “open up” the chest, throat, and head cavities to allow the voice to resonate. Hold your nose and say “Many mighty men making much money in the moonshine” with as much force as possible. Then immediately let go of your nose and say the same phrase. You will immediately hear the difference in the force of your vocal sound.

Humming is another way of improving resonance: Hum at a comfortable pitch, then move the pitch slightly lower and pay attention to how your chest feels. Continue humming until you can feel the vibration in your chest. Try to increase the vibration in your chest. Then move the pitch slightly higher and pay attention to how your head feels. Let your mouth open gently. Hum until you feel the vibration in your tongue and lips, behind and above your mouth. Then continue humming, attempting to increase the vibrations in your mouth, tongue and lips. Finally, return to your chest again. Repeat the whole exercise, but always ensure you end with your chest in order to develop a full, luscious sound. 

Note: Remember to breathe frequently, and stop if you get light headed.

3) Pitch

Everyone has an optimum pitch (usually lower than your normal speaking voice). To find your optimum pitch, place your hand on your chest, at heart level. Breathe with your diaphragm (see above) and say a long “Oooooooh” starting with a high pitch and swooping down to the lowest pitch you have and then up again. Pay attention to the vibration on your chest; there will be a specific pitch level in which you feel more vibration than the others. This is your optimum pitch. The more vibration you can achieve the better. Practice speaking at or around this pitch (but NOT on a monotone!)

Powerful Presentations Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:46:17 +0000

Often, people think presenting is something separate from their everyday life. There is a belief that presenting is the act of showing some slides, getting behind a lectern or standing in front of an audience. We do not always have to be making big pitches to a board or representing your company at an industry conference, because, in actual fact, we are always presenting and influencing people every single day. We present to our customers, our staff, our suppliers and potential clients and whether we realize it or not, we are presenting ourselves every day at work.

However, the real question is… have YOU ever been the presenter who delivered a ‘less than successful’ business presentation or a pitch for your ideas? Have you ever facilitated a meeting that ended with your client walking out at the end, rushing to get back to work, with no intention of engaging in a business partnership with you in any way, shape or form? At the time, it felt like the meeting was a huge waste of time for you, for them and for your business. It felt demoralizing.

Many of us have had an experience of a business meeting that did not go according to plan! What went wrong? Either the presenter did not grab the audience’s attention from the outset or the presenter lost control of some point during the presentation.

Having effective communication skills will help you succeed in business and life. It does not matter how great your ideas and message are, if you do not inspire your audience and no one listens.

I have met many successful professionals who know how to communicate and present their ideas in compelling, influential, and memorable ways. It is not about their intelligence or their business acumen. Rather, they have one thing in common … and this is being able to connect and resonate with their audience, so much so, that they inspire and persuade their audience to take action!

Have you ever had the experience when you did not address your audience’s needs? For example, you may have been excited about presenting a new and innovative technique to increase sales for your department. You were so excited that you did not realize your team members were not familiar with the technical terms required to understand this new initiative. The result was your team members were discouraged and the initiative feel flat because you failed to address their expectations.

Have you ever answered the phone to a prospective client? Unfortunately, this ‘potential client’ had already spoken to your three closest competitors as he shopped around for the best solution to his problem. What did you do wrong? You did not present your product in a way that was persuasive. Often, prospective clients judge you in many different ways before making a buying decision and one of the biggest judgments used is communication skills.

Presentation Skills really matter! 70% of people believe presentation skills are essential to their success at work. However, most presentations fail. In case you are not convinced yet, did you know that audience members or clients will typically give you less than 5 minutes to prove yourself before switching off completely? According to the most recent survey in North America conducted with a variety of employees from small, medium and large businesses, if you are an effective business presenter, you are in the minority.

Only 38% of respondents thought presenters understood their needs

More than half the respondents said that presenters generally read from their PowerPoint slides.

Only 40% of respondents found presenters to be engaging.

Only 28% of respondents said that they were moved to take action.

Over 60% of respondents admitted to using their slides to help remember what to say with little or no eye contact.

Nearly 60% of respondents admitted to being frequently nervous prior to presentations which then affected their ability to connect and engage their audience.

Only one-third of respondents felt that they were influential, persuasive presenters.

75% of respondents believed that they would gain more respect for their knowledge and expertise in the business world if they were better public speakers.

Commanding attention and being able to easily sell your ideas will help you gain confidence and respect. Do you want to be more competent at presenting? Do you want to close more deals, win more appointment, gain more confidence and enjoy speaking and presenting?

Improving your presentation skills will help you showcase your professional expertise on a daily basis, accelerate your business, and generally get more of what you want in your life. The good news is, that in my experience, as someone who has trained many people in influential presentation skills over many years, everyone can gain more confidence and acquire skills that will help them become better communicators! It’s just a matter of knowing what to do and then practicing to become confident.

Here are 10 tips to get you started:

1) Understanding the audience you are presenting to first is important. What are they thinking, feeling and doing?

2) Learn how to build rapport. Remember, it is not about you, it is all about the audience. The audience is the hero.

3) Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse – to increase your confidence and improve your performance.

4) Warm up before you try to speak so you do not ‘trip’ over your words. A rich, resonant vocal quality does wonders for your credibility and makes it easier for people to listen to you.

5) Focus on your audience at all times.

6) Don’t read out your slides to your audience. PowerPoint is a visual aid – it is not the presentation.

7) Use your body to support your message. 93% of communication is non-verbal – so please do not place your hands over your crotch in what is known as the fig leaf, or reluctant nudist posture!

8) Connect with your audience – really ‘see’ them.

9) Pause and breathe. This will help your audience keep up with you. It will give you clarity of thought, a feeling of greater relaxation and a stronger voice.

10) What action do you want your audience to take away? Make it clear so that you leave them feeling terrific!

Remember, it does not matter how good your company is or how good your products and services are; how good your ideas are; how good your message is, if no one is listening.

Improve your presentations skills today and reap the extraordinary benefits!

How to Resonate With Your Audience Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:40:16 +0000

Language and influence are inextricably connected. The spoken word has the power to propel and spread your ideas and message. Moving an idea from its inception to adoption is difficult. However, it is a battle that can be won simply by implementing a persuasive presentation.

Presenting your ideas can either evoke puzzled stares or enchanting enthusiasm. The outcome is determined by how effectively your message is delivered and how well it resonates with the audience. As a matter of fact, if it does not resonate with people, you will not gain the endorsement of your audience. However, after a successful presentation, you may hear others say, “Wow, that really resonated with me.”

What does it mean to truly resonate with someone?

Resonance is a delightful phenomenon in physics, which is highly applicable in our interaction with others. The law states that if you know an object’s natural rate of vibration, you can make it vibrate without touching it. Resonance occurs when an object’s natural vibration frequency responds to an external stimulus of the same frequency. It simply describes how like attracts like.

Below, you will find a marvellous visualization of resonance. Here, a physicist poured salt onto a metal plate and connected it to an amplifier so that the sound waves travelled through the plate. As the frequency increased, the sound waves constricted and the specks of salt jiggled, popped, and rearranged themselves into lovely patterns as if they knew where they belonged.

Now, you are probably wondering, how does this phenomenon relate to presentations?

Powerful presentations can captivate audiences, while weaker presenters fail to engage their listeners. But what exactly happens in the brains of a captivated audience?

A recent study in the Oxford Journals discovered that during lower-quality presentations, the brain activity of audience members was out of sync. Conversely, throughout higher-quality speeches, listeners as a group were more coupled to each other. This suggests that effective presentations are more potent in taking control of the listeners’ neural responses.

How many times have you hoped to see students, employees, investors, or potential clients jiggle, sizzle, and realign themselves to adopt your message and create a new future? Do you wish your audience were as agreeable and cohesive in thought and purpose as the particles of salt?

The good news is, they can be! If you acclimatize to the frequency of your audience so that the message resonates profoundly, they too will reposition themselves to carry your message forward. Your audience instinctively will move towards the message and create something collectively beautiful.

As a presenter, it is critical to understand that the audience does not need to fine-tune themselves to you. Rather, you need to tune your message to them. Your audience will only be inspired when you communicate an idea that caters to their needs and desires. When you understand the hearts and the minds of your audience, you will be able to resonate with them. You will generate a powerful response and create change.

How to Communicate Effectively Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:31:37 +0000

The human voice is the most powerful sound on this planet. It is the only sound that can start a war, and it is the only sound that can say, “I love you”. Yet, many people have the experience that when they speak, people do not listen to them. Why is that?

You have probably heard the saying, “It is not what you say, but how you say it.” Today, I am here to tell you, it is what you say, just as much as how you say it. Both of these factors are decisive in expressing yourself effectively and persuasively.

When we discuss what we say, let’s begin with vocabulary. Now, there is cause for concern here. The significance of language is fundamental to every interaction in our daily lives. We use language to enlighten the people around us of how we feel, what we desire and how we understand the world around us. 

In many ways, language defines us. The words we do not say restrict us from conveying our thoughts immaculately, while the words we do not know play an integral part in how others perceive us.

The reason why there is a critical cause for alarm here is because numbers tend to indicate that our vocabulary is shrinking. If you can identify the meaning of the word ‘prospered’ within a passage, it is likely your vocabulary is much richer than the average American high school graduate.

Moreover, according to a BBC News Magazine report from 2009, the average adult knows about 35,000 to 50,000 words, yet teenagers are only using half as many words as people who are 10 to 20 years older than they are. The study also found that a very small number of words were taking up a significant percentage of the teenagers’ speech. It is frustrating when we cannot express our emotions, our ideas, our aspirations, and our fears articulately. It is even more frustrating when we cannot make ourselves understood at all.

Let me give you a couple of good habits to expand your vocabulary. It is an ongoing development and there are always new words to learn, regardless of whatever language you speak. Here are two simple, yet, powerful ways of doing this:

1) Read.

Exposure to reading has a major impact on a person’s vocabulary. Reading is a marvellous way of encountering new words. Reading also helps resuscitate the words we already know and find new ways to use them.

2) Crosswords.

I have learnt so many words from doing crosswords. In fact, I send myself to sleep doing crosswords. There are apps you can get now for smart phones (a word a day) which will present to you a new word every day for your delectation and enjoyment.

Now that we have covered the elaboration of our vocabulary, let me suggest that there are some words that are better avoided, or at least, words that can ring alarm bells if they start to emerge in your speech. Here are the danger words that are better left excluded from your dialogue.

1) Should.

The word ‘should’ tends to carry judgment. For instance, when you use it in sentences like, “you should have done this”, or, “I should have known”, you are expressing judgment towards someone or yourself, respectively. A better word to use instead of should is “shall”.

2) Could.

It is the weaker alternative to should. Often used in sentences like, “I could do that”, it evinces a lack of commitment. Use the word can instead.

3) Try. 

Are you going to come out tonight? Well, I’ll try. Are you going to finish your exam tomorrow? I’ll try. Try is a word that suggests we are not really dedicated. Remember the words of Yoda in Star Wars: “There is not TRY. There is only DO or NOT DO.” There is a great deal of truth in that statement. 

4) Maybe.

If you begin to use should, could and maybe habitually, you may find there is an issue with your devotion in language to execute. 

5) You made me.

When we use the phrase ‘you made me’ we are not taking responsibility for our emotions. For example, “When you did that, I felt angry” is a rather clearer way of stating the same idea and taking responsibility for the “I felt” part. It was me who did the feeling. You did the doing, and I did the feeling. Those are two separate things. The moment I separate those two, I start to take more control of my reactions and I am in a more powerful place. 

6) Always, Never, Nobody, Everybody.

These are words that are termed inflammatories or maximizers. When incorporated into conversations, these words insinuate the idea that you are making generalizations.

There is a little story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody.

There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it.

Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it.

Somebody got angry about that because it was Everybody’s job.

Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it.

It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done.

It is when you begin to embrace new words and eliminate danger words from your speech that you become a more compelling communicator!

Body Language for Successful Presentations Tue, 23 Apr 2019 11:15:45 +0000
In 1960, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy Jr. appeared in the first televised presidential debate in American history. Nixon appeared nervous and uncertain, while Kennedy appeared calm and confident.

An estimated 70 million viewers tuned in to watch the debate. The television audience prodigiously believed Kennedy was victorious and radio listeners strongly felt Nixon had won. The debate marked the first time in history that there was a huge discrepancy between the audience’s assumptions. However, it was Kennedy who emerged as the winner.

What was the reason behind Kennedy’s success? His body language.

Body language can make or break a candidate. Although people may have agreed more with Nixon’s words; it was Kennedy’s way of presenting himself that made him the ultimate winner to those who watched the debate. In fact, Nixon’s body language blunders cost him the election within the first 20 seconds of the debate. He instantly triggered distrust with the audience because he did not even make eye contact. Instead, he turned his head to look towards Kennedy, which automatically signalled submission and positioned Kennedy as the alpha candidate. Nixon tightly gripped the arm of his chair revealing nervousness and his clenched fist displayed aggression. The non-verbal cues in this debate were so powerful that Nixon himself went on to admit, “I should have remembered that a picture is worth a thousand words”.

In 1960, Richard Nixon and John F. Kennedy Jr. appeared in the first televised presidential debate in American history. Nixon appeared nervous and uncertain, while Kennedy appeared calm and confident.

An estimated 70 million viewers tuned in to watch the debate. The television audience prodigiously believed Kennedy was victorious and radio listeners strongly felt Nixon had won. The debate marked the first time in history that there was a huge discrepancy between the audience’s assumptions. However, it was Kennedy who emerged as the winner.

What was the reason behind Kennedy’s success? His body language.

Body language can make or break a candidate. Although people may have agreed more with Nixon’s words; it was Kennedy’s way of presenting himself that made him the ultimate winner to those who watched the debate. In fact, Nixon’s body language blunders cost him the election within the first 20 seconds of the debate. He instantly triggered distrust with the audience because he did not even make eye contact. Instead, he turned his head to look towards Kennedy, which automatically signalled submission and positioned Kennedy as the alpha candidate. Nixon tightly gripped the arm of his chair revealing nervousness and his clenched fist displayed aggression. The non-verbal cues in this debate were so powerful that Nixon himself went on to admit, “I should have remembered that a picture is worth a thousand words”.

As body language has a profound influence on all aspects of our life, the role it plays therefore, is really critical when presenting. Changing your body position can affect the chemicals in your body and make you feel more confident. A good presentation can easily crumble when a presenter says one thing with their lips and sends an entirely different message with their bodies. Unsuccessful body language can make you lose. However, successful body language can make you win.

 Below are 5 common body language mistakes you may not realize you are making and how to fix them:

1) Rubbing hands. Clasping your hands, rubbing them together or fidgeting with them indicates nervousness. These may give your audience the impression that you are uncomfortable and do not believe what you are saying.

Instead: Experts suggest keeping your arms to your side in an open manner. Use your hands to deliver calculated, concise gestures in conveying your words.

2) Crossing your arms. This gives others the sense that you are unimpressed or something is amiss. It is a defensive position that can easily put a distance between you and your audience.

Instead: Be conscious of keeping your arms open and away from your body. This open gesture is inviting, trusting and gives the audience a sense of peace and confidence.

3) Avoiding eye contact. Constantly looking at the clock, at your feet, at the screen, or anywhere but your audience will all make you appear unconfident and deceitful.

Instead: Briefly establish eye contact to a comfortable degree with everyone when you make a point. Keep it short and sincere, but not too quick.

4) Poor posture. Among the many attributes of body language, posture is one that speaks the loudest. Slouched back, drooped shoulders or keeping your head on one side will all send a weak message that can easily have your audience question your professionalism.

Instead: Assume a confident posture by standing straight and keeping your shoulders firm but not rigid or tight. Keep your head high and legs strong. These will not only make you look confident on the outside but will also make you feel more confident on the inside.

5) Annoying movements. Pacing back and forth and moving your arms and legs quickly are common distractions that will not fare well when you try to inspire and persuade your audience in a presentation.

Instead: Navigate the room with slow confidence. Send a more positive message by slowly moving across the front of the entire crowd, and standing in one place as much as possible.

Mastering your body language will demand increasing self-awareness and practice. Expressing an open and positive attitude, non-verbally, during presentations will encourage a supportive and collaborative atmosphere between you and your audience.

5 Ways to Resonate Remotely Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:59:24 +0000

Are remote presentations critical to your success in 2015?

For many professionals and business owners, the answer is indisputably “Yes.”

Communicating remotely with clients, prospects, and employees has become a fundamental part of conducting business. In fact, approximately 80% of corporate presentations are delivered remotely. Although essential communication is organized best with your audience in the same room and with petrol prices constantly rising, it is likely that your analytical proposal will end up conveyed through an online presentation.

Therefore, how do you make the most of your online presentation while connecting and establishing trust with your audience?

Recently, I conducted a webinar. I was comfortable with the content, however, I wanted the remote delivery to come across really well. To my amazement, the webinar was an astounding success. What made the webinar incredibly successful? Keep reading below to learn the principles I used to keep the audience engaged.

1) Stand Up

Did you know that your body posture determines the projection of your voice? If you are scrunched at your computer or huddled near the phone, your voice may not come across with authority and persuasion. Hence, you risk being perceived as unprepared by your audience. Imagine you are in an actual presentation environment. Give yourself some privacy. Place photos on the wall of people that you can make eye contact with. Stand up. Use a clicker to be effective with your slides. All these things will make a momentous difference to your presentation.

2) Accelerate the Content

How can you get the audience, who you cannot see, to really listen and focus on your presentation? It is a known fact that people will multitask during a webinar presentation. You cannot see them and they cannot see you. It is the nemesis of this particular way of communicating. Rather than disregarding the possibility of a lack of attention, use it as inspiration to communicate in a different way.

Design presentations that are visually content-rich so that they will not want to miss a single minute of the information you are presenting. What you do not want is the audience minimizing your webinar with their Inbox. A good tip is to alternate the volume and tone of your voice, creating auditory bursts and adding emphasis to your content. Humour is also a really good way to capture interest. Your audience will be captivated when they hear the passion and energy in your voice. 

3) Present with a Partner

It is a good idea to share the accountability of presenting between two people. The interest of the audience will be invigorated each time the presenter changes. A new person usually implies a new topic, and the audience will inevitably tune in to hear more about it. Usually, the first few seconds after a transition of a presenter is a great opportunity to reengage the audience’s interest. Most importantly, plan the transitions ahead of time

4) Make it Interactive

Take advantage of the nature of the online world to collect feedback. Interact with your audience during the presentation. Most applications have installed extensive feedback systems so that the audience can ask questions. It allows the audience to feel included, chat, and submit live feedback. In the case that there is a large online audience, I recommend that you have an administrator to address the incoming questions and comments. You also have a great opportunity to extend the reach of your presentation by recording it and posting it. This will allow the audience to watch it (and pause it), in their own time frame.

5) Understand the Technology

Because there are many ways to deliver a presentation online, the applications used to display your content can be very different. I suggest hosting a rehearsal of your presentation in which you click through all of your slides. Sometimes the applications lose important features of your presentation. Remember, what works in PowerPoint may not work in the application that hosts your presentation.

The important principle here is to deliver your presentation with as much energy and enthusiasm as if the audience was sitting right in front of you.

5 Myths of Public Speaking Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:35:28 +0000
At some point in your career, whether you are making a pitch to potential investors, or speaking to prospective licensors of your technology, presenting your ideas effectively is one of the most important factors that determine your success.

In my several years of work with executives on their communications, I have seen some myths come up over and over again about how best to succeed at speaking in public. In this article, I will shed light on each one to save executives and their audiences from future mishap.


You must begin with a joke

There is nothing wrong with humour. In fact, it is a great thing when done correctly. The problem is that most executives lack both the skill and the practice to put a good joke across, although they have plenty of inclination to try. Add to that the initial nerves that afflict most speakers at the beginning of a talk, and you have a guaranteed failure. What happens is that the executive delivers the joke feeling tense, then the audience responds to the tension and not to the joke. The executive thinks, Oh no! I am going down in flames, radiating even more apprehension. The audience begins to smell disaster and reacts accordingly. It is a vicious communications cycle, and it is quite hard to stop. 

My advice: Do not put that kind of pressure on yourself, at least, not initially. One-liners are very hard to deliver well. Just ask any stand-up comic. Instead, allow yourself to have fun with the material, if the topic seems appropriate. 


Too much rehearsal is bad for me.

People often try to avoid rehearsing. They are busy and they have hundreds of tasks to take care of. Rehearsal takes time and they put it off, using the excuse of ‘not wanting to go stale’. Then, when it comes time to deliver the speech, they look like they are learning as they go, an appearance incommensurate with authority. Their body unconsciously reveals their unease, and the audience is very quick to pick up that unconscious behavior. Worst of all, the audience interprets the unease as inauthenticity.

My advice: The truth is you cannot go stale even with copious rehearsal, as long as you show up for the presentation with energy and focus. That is the key. You cannot be completely energized and focused if you do not know what you are doing.


Look Over The Heads of Your Audience

In many different articles and courses, I have come across Communication Experts who recommend looking over the heads of audience members.

My Advice: Look directly at key individuals. In the words of William Shakespeare, our eyes are the window to our souls, and so, it is no surprise that we connect with each other through our eyes. It also helps you establish trust with your audience. Effective speakers look at a few people, one at a time. This creates a relationship, and it is less intimidating to share your message with each person than it is to a large crowd.


Put More Emphasis on Your Slides

Most presenters think, “If my PowerPoint is great, my presentation will amaze them.” Preparation means more than putting in countless hours on an enticing slide show. What you say and how you say it are more important than your slides. For example, in his famous speech, I Have a Dream, Martin Luther King Jr. won the hearts of his audience with his passion and authenticity. Do you believe the same impact can be achieved with the use of clichéd stock photos?

My Advice: Forget about the slides. Instead, outline your own unique and powerful ideas; then rehearse! Practice is the single most important thing you can do to become a better speaker. Leave the PowerPoint at home.


You must Grab People’s Attention at the Start

The public speaking world adopted this principle from advertising. Advertisers face the challenge of distracting us from our busy lives so that we will read their ads. But in the public speaking arena, people are sitting in the audience waiting for you to start. They may be talking to the person next to them or checking their phone, but as soon as you begin, they will listen to you. The challenge in public speaking is not to grab attention, but to retain it.

My Advice: You have already got the audience’s attention. In those first key moments, the imperative objective is to establish rapport with your audience.

5 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders Tue, 23 Apr 2019 10:32:13 +0000 An idea is the single most powerful device known to man. Everything you see around you started as an idea in someone’s mind. However, if you do not communicate your ideas in a way that compels others to take action, your ideas can die. How can you ensure that your greatest ideas live?

Examine the greatest leaders in the world and you will find they are all exceptional communicators. They have the remarkable power to speak about their ideas in a way that resonates with your emotions and your aspirations. They recognize that if their message does not take deep root with the audience, then it will not be understood, much less championed. They recognize that the message is not about the messenger, and in fact, has nothing to do with the messenger. Rather, it is 100% about meeting the needs, the expectations and the ambitions of those you are communicating with.

What else can you learn from speakers who have historically made an influential impact on the world? The right speech at the right time can turn a national crisis into an incident, or pour sand on the flames of injustice. What have some of the most memorable leaders taught us about public speaking?

  1. Establish Trust: People do not open up to those they do not trust. When people have the sense that a presenter is deserving of their trust, they will invest time, listen and be open-minded. While you can attempt to demand trust, it rarely works. Keep in mind people will forgive many things where trust exists, but will rarely forgive anything where trust is absent.
  2. Get Personal: The more personal and engaging the conversation is, the more effective it will be. There is great truth in the following axiom: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If you do not develop meaningful relationships with people, you will never know what is really on their mind until it is too late to do anything about it.
  3. Replace Ego with Empathy: Do not let your ego write cheques that your talent cannot cash. When candor is communicated with empathy and compassion rather than the superiority of an over-inflated ego, great things begin to happen. Empathetic communicators display a level of authenticity and transparency that is not present in communicators who fail to connect with their audience. Understanding this communication principle helps turn apathy into respect and skepticism into trust.
  4. Focus on the Give-Away, NOT the Take-Away: The best communicators are not only skilled at learning and gathering information while communicating, but adept at encouraging ideas, aligning expectations, inspiring action and spreading their vision. The key is to approach each interaction with a servant’s heart. When you truly focus on contributing more than receiving, you will win the hearts of your audience. Although this may seem counter-intuitive, by passionately focusing on the other party’s wants, needs and desire, you will learn much more than you ever will be imposing your own agenda.
  5. Get Specific: Specificity is better than ambiguity. 11 times out of 10. Learn how to communicate with clarity. Simple and concise is always superior to complex and confounding. Time has never been a more precious commodity than it is today. Without understanding the value of brevity and simplicity, people will tune out long before you get to the key objectives. Your goal is to dismiss the superfluous and make your words count.
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