communication tips

Oscars 2018 – who wins the best speech award?

USA today described last night’s Oscars as a “relatively tame and predictable night”. Is that a fair description?
Maybe it was.
Maybe it wasn’t.
For me, I am always curious about the speeches.
Interestingly, in his monologue, Jimmy Kimmel referred to said upcoming speeches. He tried to encourage the winners to keep their speeches short, by promising a prize of a jet ski to the shortest speech.
So, I am sure Mark Bridges, who won the Costume Design Oscar for Phantom Thread, is whizzing in his brand new jet ski, somewhere off the coast of LA! He managed to get through his thank you’s in a mere 32 seconds.
But, the good thing about the lure of the jet ski prize, was that it gave several of the winners an opportunity to throw in a bit of humour early on in their speeches, by making throw back references to the infamous prize.
Overall, from what I can glean, the 2018 Oscars were nothing particularly special. In 2017, at least we had something to talk about, with the excitement...
Face to face communication

5 tips for your face to face communications – specifically presentations

In this age where most of us spend our working day communicating through emails and our personal time communicating via Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp and text  – how significant is face to face communication?
Well, according to a study at Harvard, face to face communication is 34 times more successful than an email.
That’s fairly significant, don’t you think?
So, when you are communicating to a group of people, be it to your team, the board, at a conference or in a pitch – you really want to make sure that you hit the mark.
The tips below focus on helping you with your delivery of the message.
1. Water, water but never milk!
Okay so, this is a bit random – but it is important!
Never drink milk before a presentation as it coats your vocal chords and impedes your vocal impact.  Sip water regularly (at least every 5 minutes) – if you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated.
Sipping water also allows you time to pause during your presentation, and if...
presentation pause

6 reasons why pausing makes you a better presenter

Really confident speakers pause… a lot! They tend to speak in shorter sentences, use less words and therefore have more impact.
Their silence speaks volumes.
Not so confident speakers tend to replace full stops with the word “and”.
They make a point – then, instead of pausing, they add the word “and” which results in them continuing to the next sentence, or point without so much as a whisper of a pause, and it reduces their impact and they find themselves speaking in long rambling sentences, much like this one and it is quite annoying and seriously reduces their impact.
Inserting a full stop, and a pause, has much more impact.
Martin Luther King’s, “I have a dream” averages at just 106 words per minute. You should aim to average no more than 120 words a minute, or 2 words a second, for real impact. Remember, this is an average, so it allows plenty of time for pausing.
When we write we use commas, semi-colons, full stops and even new paragraphs to...

Top tips to be more engaging in your business presentations

When you stand up and speak in a presentation, listeners will form an opinion of you, your product or service and your organisation, based on how you are coming across.  Come across as dull and boring – then that is the impression you leave them with of your organisation.  On the other hand, come across as engaging and they will be more likely to seek you out.
Below are our top 10 tips, which recently appeared in the Sunday Business Post, that can help you to be a more engaging presenter in your next business presentation.
1. What about “them”?  The most important element in any presentation is “them”, your audience.  Before you put pen to paper or finger to keyboard you need to find out all you can about them and what they want to get from your presentation.   The better you understand them, their attitude and their world, the better chance you have of engaging with them.
2. Begin with the end in mind.   What is the purpose of the presentation?  This should be cryst...

How to read a presentation without sending the audience to sleep!

We all know that we shouldn’t read a presentation or speech. It’s not ideal and you could end up disconnecting from your audience; it is better to deliver a presentation as a conversation.
However, sometimes for legal, policy or other reasons it is necessary to read verbatim.
The tips below have been selected from a longer list and mainly focus on the ones that enable you to maintain eye contact, which is arguably the principal challenge when reading a speech.
 
1. Type the speech on the upper 2/3 of the page. This will make eye contact easier as you have a shorter distance to raise your head.
 
2. Begin with first 2 pages side by side. As you reach the end of the first page slide the 2nd page on top of the first.  This prevents the paper from shuffling and becoming a distraction.
 
3. Pace your looking down and looking up. Always ensure that your eyes are up at the end of a sentence.
 
4. Avoid breaking sentences over pages.  This will allow you to ma...

Truth hurts… but not in the long run

We are delighted to have our founder’s brother, Sean McMahon, doing a guest post about how honesty is always the best policy, especially when it comes to presenting and public speaking…
We are now living in the era of “fake news” and “new truth” where just by saying something makes it so.  I much preferred the good old days (i.e. pre-2016) when honesty and truth meant that a fact was real and could be relied upon as being true and correct.  Having worked in Financial Services for over 26 years the truth is something that I rely upon every day especially in my interaction with customers and colleagues.
It didn’t take me long to figure out that trying to bluff your way around a subject with a customer when dealing with their money would only end in tears, be this in a presentation or even in a conversation.
Customers found it perfectly acceptable for me to say that I didn’t have the answer to a question and appreciated the fact that I wasn’t trying to pull the woo...