Tag Archives: coaching

People hate it when they get talked at, so don’t do it.

29 Oct

TALLspeaking tips before, during, and after your presentation!

  1. Don’t abuse your visuals – Usually your visuals are posters, charts, but never use PowerPoint .  Whatever your visuals may be, keep them simple and don’t put too many words on them. The audience isn’t there to read your slides, they are there to listen to you present.
  2. Look at the audience – If you ever wondered where you should be looking when presenting, the answer is right in front of you. Don’t just single out one person, but instead try to make eye contact with numerous people throughout the room. If you don’t do this then you aren’t engaging the audience, you are just talking to yourself. This can result in an utter lack of attention from your audience.
  3. Show your personality – It doesn’t matter if you are presenting to a corporate crowd or to senior citizens, you need to show some character when presenting. If you don’t do this you’ll probably sound like Agent Smith from the Matrix. Nobody wants to hear him present
  4. Make them laugh – Although you want to educate your audience, you need to make them laugh as well. I learned this from Guy Kawasaki and if you ever hear any of his speeches you’ll understand why. In essence, it keeps the audience alert and they’ll learn more from you than someone who just educates.
Always believe a guy in a bow tie!

Always believe a guy in a bow tie!

  1. Talk to your audience, not at them – People hate it when they get talked at, so don’t do it. You need to interact with your audience and create a conversation. An easy way to do this is to ask them questions as well as letting them ask you questions.
  2. Be honest – A lot of people present to the audience what they want to hear, instead of what they need to hear. Make sure you tell the truth even if they don’t want to hear it because they will respect you for that and it will make you more human and authentic.
  3. Don’t over prepare – If you rehearse your presentation too much it will sound like it in a bad way.  Never tape your presentation because you will start to look rehearsed.   Granted, you need to be prepared enough to know what you are going to talk about but make sure your presentation flows naturally instead of sounding memorized. Usually if you ask experienced speakers what you shouldn’t do, they’ll tell you not to rehearse your presentation too much because then it won’t sound natural.
  4. Show some movement – You probably know that you need to show some movement when speaking, but naturally you may forget to do so. Make sure you show some gestures or pace around a bit (not too much) on the stage when speaking. Remember, no one likes watching a stiff. People are more engaged with an animated speaker.
  5. Watch what you say – You usually don’t notice when you say “uhm”, “ah”, or any other useless word frequently, but the audience does. It gets quite irritating; so much that some members of the audience will probably count how many times you say these useless words.  Learn how to eliminate weak language from your everyday use.
  6. Differentiate yourself – If you don’t do something unique compared to all the other presenters the audience has heard, they won’t remember you. You are branding yourself when you speak, so make sure you do something unique and memorable.

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER…

27 Oct

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER videotape yourself  doing a presentation because it will kill your communication skills.  Shocked that a speech coach would give that advise?

Never Tape Yourself

Never be a copy!

Many of my clients ask – should I tape myself giving a presentation or do you ever tape clients giving a presentation? I think that taping yourself is one of the worst things you can do for your communication skills!  Why?  When you tape yourself you are creating a visual script for your presentation and we know that scripts can be deadly boring and lack emotion/passion.  When you watch yourself you automatically start scripting your body language and voice so that your final presentation is basically you working to remember what you did on tape.  That kills the spirit of the speech and is a major disservice to your audience.    There is nothing as refreshing as a presentation that has the flavor of an original.

Be original

Show me your inner freak!!

15 Oct

Getting older has one silver lining – you can quickly discern and remove those fake people from your life.  To me it’s all about authenticity – truly being your chemical make-up.   So many people lose authenticity and become robotic copies of people they think are successful.  Morrissey has a song called “People are the same everywhere”  and he is desperate not to be part of a herd mentality.  The herd has no passion, no innovation, no richness, no depth.

If you are fake in communication –  face to face or to a group your listeners will flip the channel – there eyes will be hollow stares as they go into their own world.  You might as well be talking to your dog.  You must speak and brand you – no matter how strange you think you are inside.  To communicate you must release the freak.

Do one thing today to release your inner freak  and comment!!

Demand the f****** room

24 Sep

Are you demanding the room!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Are you demanding the room!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Demand the f****** room

First impressions  really do make a difference, so the way you enter a room sets the tone for the presentation.

Do you look put together, polished and poised? Or do you look haggard and like you spent the entire night stressing over your presentation or worse, up all night producing a hastily written speech?

This point is about more than just style; you also need to walk in with confidence.

Demanding the f****** room is about walking in like you own the place, head up, shoulders back and with a strut.  Looking confident will help you feel confident.

“Don’t fake it ’til you make it, fake it ’til you become it.”

6 Sep

Body Poses

Fake it till you become it

 

There has been a great deal of discussion in the media lately regarding power poses related to self-esteem and confidence.  As you know by now I am a firm believer that in communication we focus too much on the verbal aspect.  Body language is 65-75% of our daily communication.  You are always communicating even if no one is around.  Your body language is communicating to your brain your mood and temperament.

 

Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy has documented how positive and negative body language shapes your self-perception and your hormone levels.

In Cuddy’s experiment, done in collaboration with Dana Carney at Berkeley, one group spent two minutes doing low-power poses — head down, shoulders sunk, eyes averted, looking small. The other group did high-power poses – hands on hips, chest lifted, staring boldly out at the horizon a la Wonder Woman.

Then they took a saliva sample. The high-power posers showed a nearly 20 percent increase in testosterone (the dominance hormone) and a 25 percent decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone). The low-power posers saw a 10 percent decline in testosterone and a 17 percent increase in cortisol.

Cuddy says, “These two-minute changes (in body stance) lead to hormonal changes that can configure your brain to be either assertive, confident and comfortable, or really stress reactive and feeling shut down.”

In her moving backstory Cuddy (watch her TED talk) describes how as a young student her identity was wrapped up in “being smart.” But a serious car accident at 19 damaged her brain and her IQ dropped by two standard deviations.

Afterward, she struggled in school feeling like a powerless imposter until, on the verge of quitting, an angel advisor told her, “You are not quitting. You are going to fake it. You are going to do it and do it and do it, until you have this moment where you say I am really doing it.”

Cuddy faked it well enough to wind up teaching at Harvard, where years later she encountered a struggling student who confessed, “I feel like I don’t belong here.”

In that moment Cuddy realized she actually had forgotten about faking it, she belonged.

Her advice to the student: “Don’t fake it ’til you make it, fake it ’til you become it.”

“You know she is making me angry”!

3 Sep

"She is making me angry"!

“She is making me angry”!

“You know she is going to make me angry” ” I mean she doesn’t mean too but she is making me upset”  -overheard from a cell phone conversation this afternoon while walking to lunch.    Playing  that line in my mind “she is making me angry” over and over to discover it’s woven  with communication and public speaking.    Permission – yes that is what this woman was doing in her mind – she was giving her mind permission to be angry.     She has said “I can no longer hold up the walls while the flood of anger seeps”.

Do you let anxiety and fear from the eyes of the audience seep past your walls?  You are in control of your reactions and your responses to outside stimuli.   If you were in the middle of a desert  giving your presentation you would likely be comfortable and calm with your material.  Yet, when you are in a room full of eyes do you let them pierce your confidence and cause you to breath heavy, sweat, and stumble over words?  If so, you have let them win, you have let them enter your mind.   Do you want to learn how to fight back?

They told me their stories……homeless/prostitute

26 Aug

Waiting for the Purple line – she walks up “I just got our of jail”  I ask for how long – she said “just for a night and damn I need a shower”  I ask what got her in trouble in the first place – drugs and prostitution.    There is not hesitation in telling me about her life – not a bit of fear or concern.

Riding the light rail home I sit across from a woman with a McDonald’s shirt, she is signing and vocalizing how tired she is already at 3 pm in the afternoon.  I ask if she is just getting off work and she sighs ” I am just heading to work in Timonium”  I asked where she was coming from and she said “the women’s shelter in White Marsh”  I found out that she has to take a bus from White Marsh to downtown (Convention Center) and then take the light rail north.  She told me how she had been homeless for around 6 months after getting kicked out of her aunts house because she was addicted to pain killers.  She has 3 children from 3 different dads but can’t collect child support for various reasons.  She dreams of getting a car by December but first she has to get past a suspension.

In both of these cases these individuals felt totally comfortable telling me their story no matter how painful.   I have been wrestling with why they are so open about their condition to tell a complete stranger.  There are several reasons, maybe I look like a good listener?   It could be because I continued to ask them questions?  I think the answer is simpler – they had no fear or reservation because they had nothing to lose, they have been judged all their lives for their actions and truly don’t care what others think.  They have moved into a mental place of freedom from judgement and that is why there voice is strong in explaining their lives.

What can be learned from these interactions – our voice can rise above judgement and fear when we feel the freedom that there is nothing to lose but only to gain.  We can all find that voice without living a life of pain and misery – it is in each on of us and we must power through to find it and use it!

Working With People You Don’t Like

5 Aug

No matter who you are or where you work, there will be a time when you have to work with, or do business with, someone you don’t like. This person may be a client, a consultant, a colleague, or your boss.

Start by thinking about why you don’t like this person. What does he or she do, specifically, that irritates you?

It’s possible that the negative or annoying behavior reminds you of a specific trait that you have yourself and that you don’t like.

This person might have several character traits that you dislike. But, chances are, he or she also has many positive attributes. What are they? What behaviors or personality traits do you like or relate to?

You can reduce these feelings by changing the way that you react to tense situations. Learn how to manage your emotions  so that you can respond with assertiveness and dignity in tough situations.

If you have a negative interaction with someone, take immediate steps to calm down: walk away or practice deep breathing exercises  Also, make sure that you don’t let your negative mood affect how you treat others.

Picking lint off your clothes means you disapprove? WHAT!!!

2 Aug

Do you know the meaning of picking lint?

Do you know the meaning of picking lint?

The first language we learn is body language but many times we have no idea what we are REALLY saying!   Below are some common things we do daily – but this time you learn what they are saying to others!

  • Holding Objects in Front of Your Body – a coffee cup, notebook, hand bag, etc.  Holding objects in front of your body indicates shyness and resistance, such that you’re hiding behind the objects in an effort to separate yourself from others.  Instead of carrying objects in front of you, carry them at your side whenever possible.
  • Picking Lint Off of Your Clothes– If you pick lint off of your clothes during a conversation, especially in conjunction with looking downwards, most people will assume that you disapprove of their ideas and/or feel uneasy about giving them an honest opinion.  Leave the lint alone!
  • Stroking Your Chin While Looking at Someone – “I’m judging you!”  People frequently stroke their chin during the decision-making process.  If you look at someone while you’re stroking your chin, they may assume that you’re making a judgmental decision about them.
  • Standing Too Close – Most people consider the 4 square feet of space immediately surrounding their body to be personal space.  Cross this invisible boundary with good friends and intimate mates only.
  • Touching Your Face During a Conversation– Face touching, especially on the nose, is commonly interpreted as an indication of deception.  Also, covering up the mouth is a common gesture people make when they’re lying.  Always keep your hands away from your face when you’re speaking.
  • Resting Hands Behind the Head or on the Hips – usually interpreted as a sign of superiority or bigheadedness.  Only use these gestures when you’re in the presence of close friends.
  • Crossing Your Arms – a sign of defensive resistance.  Some people may also interpret it as a sign of egotism.  Always try to keep your arms open and at your sides.
  • Displaying a Sluggish Posture – Your stance literally makes a stand for you, delivering a clear message about how you should be treated.  It can make a huge difference in the way strangers respond to you.  Place your feet a comfortable distance apart, keep your shoulders pulled back, head up and greet people with direct eye contact and a firm handshake.
  • Scratching at the Backside of Your Head and Neck – a typical sign of doubt and uncertainty.  It can also be interpreted as an indication of lying.  Try to keep your hands away from your head when you’re communicating with others.

“Anthony Weiner – please don’t use a script”

24 Jul

If you are going to apologize about something such as sex texting – don’t do it from a script and then stumble on the words as if you didn’t write it.  You have the opportunity to to show compassion, empathy, and emotion to a captive audience.  So what do you do, you hold in front of the cameras a folded over piece of paper and read emotionless a statement.

If you are caught in a situation like Anthony Weiner here are some tips:

1.  A script says – I am not sure I am really sorry and I am not sure I have real feelings.

2.  Looking at the script while reading – I am still not sure I can face the reporters because I have not come to terms with what I did.

3.   Using Um’s and Ah’s says I am not comfortable with what I am saying – so I need to buy time.  This shows a complete lack of empathy.

4.  Tell why you did the act – people are ready to forgive if you are just honest – Anthony, why did you need to sex text?

5.  Show the people why this won’t effect your job if you get elected as Mayor.

6.  When your wife Puma starts talking – don’t fold your arms – it shows that you are defensive and nervous about what she is going to say or reveil – you must be on the same page.

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