Tag Archives: performance anxiety

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

“May I ask who is calling”? “Can I have dressing on the side”?

26 Sep

“May I ask who is calling”  – I hear this all the time on the other end of the phone line or while waiting in reception areas?   This is weak, meek and confusing language for the listener because who ever says no.  So it’s couched as a question but truly it is a demand.  Plus, why would you ask “may” of course you can say “who is calling” and there is truly no need to ask permission.

Its similar to when you hear people order  at a restaurant and they say “can I have a salad with dressing on the side”?  It’s not rocket science or a mathematical equation to just pour dressing into a small cup.   In addition of course you can have your food any way you want included burnt to a crisp – you are the one paying for the service.  We need to eliminate this weak/meek language from our everyday conversations so we sound strong and confident.

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.

“Every time I go on a sales call the guys interrupt me”!

27 Aug

Caveman

“Every time I go on a sales call and bring team members they keep interrupting my presentation”    

“I start out with an introduction and as soon as I stumble over a word or have a long pause they jump in and I end up sitting there looking stupid”

“It’s so frustrating that I dread going on sales appointments and even get anxious the night before”

This is a story familiar to many people especially woman who are working in  male – dominated fields such as engineering or contracting.  The women are typically in sales/relationship roles within the company and the men are in the technical area.   The men who are called upon as so called “Subject Experts”  have social skills that resemble neanderthal society.

The fact is you can’t not be the spark of evolution – meaning your not going to change them.  They lack social skills and understanding of common civics in a social setting.   If they have not learned these basic kindergarten skills then your complaining to them will be wasted breath.

So what do you do?

First you have to know that you are the communication expert in the room because you know the secret sauce of a sales relationship.  Use this to your advantage in being the moderator of the discussion not just the starter.  Similar to an anchor reporter talking with 4-5 people during a table discussion.    You must assert control and in many incidents you must cut off  a person.

You may be concerned how this looks to the client who is deciding  if they want to actually do business with you? That client wants you to be confident!   They are going to do business if they trust you to get required results.  If your team takes advantage of you in the sales meeting – what does that say to the future buyer?  It makes you look weak and ineffective.

Interested in learning how to take control – let’s talk further.

I am a proud Introvert and a Public Speaker?

19 Aug

Introverts can be public speakers!

Introverts can be public speakers!

Do you freak out when your cell phone is down to 10 percent and you can’t find a plug to charge anywhere?  You may debate – should I turn it off to save the battery or just hope you get to a place to charge in time?  For me by Friday afternoon my battery is red-lining.  I am desperate for some solitude – to get away from conversation and interaction.  I need that time to put all my thoughts in order and to make sense of the world.

People think that only extroverts can be good public speakers because they gain their energy from people.  They think that introverts can’t stand people and only want to live on a remote island.  That type of talk is rubbish and completely ignorant and irresponsible.   Anyone can be an amazing speaker but they have to know their temperament and limitations with stimulation.  I have learned that I must have some time before a presentation (10-15) minutes to put my thoughts in order and find that inner solitude.  So, my introverted friends – don’t let an emotional condition hold you back from communicating with the world?

Introvert 2

When I go to networking events people are always in cliques!

14 Aug

In networking you have to break-in!

In networking you have to break-in!

The other day a woman in the audience asked me  this question  “When I go to networking events it seems that everyone is in their own cliques – how do I break in”  The key phrase was break-in because that is exactly what you have to do.  Networking events are competitive and physical events that require a high amount of energy, motivation,and attitude.

Let me break it down – you are putting 50-100 ego driven people in a room who all have self interest and personal motivation as their main drivers.  You can’t walk in thinking that people are going to automatically respond to you and welcome you like a hallmark card.  That is not reality.  You are going to have to show why you deserve to be paid attention too and sometimes that means you have to push your way into a clique.  You have to show that you have the confidence and presence to be taken as a serious contender.

You have to push your way in to the group and then follow that up with conversation that grabs attention that makes people want to listen to you.  How do you get good at it – practice, practice, practice

Are you comfortable with yourself?

21 Jul

Know Yourself

Most people dread the moment when their interviewer utters the words – “So, tell me about yourself.” But it’s actually the simplest question to navigate once you get down to the root of what’s being asked. “Tell me about yourself” really translates to: “What can you tell me about how your personality, interests, work habits and background will help you rock this position?”

Before you answer, rewind back to when you applied for the job -– the moment you decided that you and the position would be a solid match. Usually, the reasons that ran through your mind before you chose to apply are the answers the interviewer is looking for. Since you’re the most well-versed on the subject of you, this is your moment to paint the picture of what you bring to the table and why you’re the most dynamic and capable person for the job.

As a pageant girl – I would recommend him!

16 Jul

“As a pageant girl, the ability to speak confidently and eloquently in front of other is absolutely essential. Even after one session working with Keith, I was able to see a major improvement in my level of comfort and ability to communicate effectively. Keith is fun to work with and makes you feel at ease! He is an excellent coach and I would recommend him to anyone looking to significantly improve their public speaking skills– regardless of the field of application.”
Samantha Hawkins, Miss Appalachia and Miss Maryland Sweetheart 2013

Rock an impromptu speech!

2 Jul

Off the cuff speech

Wrap your response around a simple template, or framework. If you practice this a few times, you will find that your mini-speeches are much more polished and coherent. A few easy frameworks include:

  1. P.R.E.P. (Point. Reason. Example. Point) – Start off by clearly stating your point. Share the primary reason (or reasons, if you have more time). Then, share an example (preferably in story form) where your main point or reason is supported. Finally, conclude by summarizing your central point again. The template works well in many situations, and is easily adapted.
  2. Issue, Pros vs. Cons, Conclusions – Start off by framing the issue. Talk about the benefits, and then talk about the drawbacks. Conclude with your recommendation.
  3. 5W – In this pattern, you cover your topic by addressing the Who, What, When, Where, and Why elements. For example, if you’ve been asked to speak briefly about a fundraising initiative, you could talk about [1] whostarted it, and who is involved now; [2] what the goals are; [3] when it started, and the schedule for the future; [4] where does it take place; and [5] why are you involved. This template works nicely, largely because the “why?” comes last, because this is often the most critical information.
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