PUBLIC SPEAKING 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...

3 Funerals and a Wedding

Recently I was approached by 2 people with the same need but for completely different reasons. One of these was a man whose daughter was getting married. The other, also a man, had 3 people he knew with terminal illnesses. Both of them knew they would have to speak in emotional circumstances.
While shedding a tear or 2 is of course acceptable (and healthy) both of these clients felt they needed some help to ensure that they would not lose control.
As with all things, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. Below is a random sample of techniques that may help you if you are in a similar situation:
 
Breathing
Both before and during the speaking event it can be helpful to engage some deep breathing techniques.
There is a simple breathing exercise that can help hugely when feeling nervous or anxious.  When I do this breathing exercise (even when I am not feeling anxious) my heart rate consistently falls by 10%.
So, here it is – breathe in slowly for a cou...

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...

Tips from the PSA (Professional Speakers Association) UK and Ireland

As a member of the Professional Speakers Association UK + Ireland – I am fortunate enough to be exposed to fantastic speakers with fantastic tips.  The annual annual UK + Ireland conference was held recently in Reading.  The speakers were not just from Ireland and the UK but we also had speakers from Canada, USA, South Africa and New Zealand.  We were also privileged to have the company of  two Global Speaking Federation Presidents, from the USA (NSA – National Speakers Association) and Asia (GSF -Global Speakers Federation).  So we were in great company for the 3 days.
Below are tips from some of the speakers – as relevant here as they are in their own countries!
Tip 1 – customise your content
This first tip came from David Newman of doitmarketing.com.  As we were in the UK, he had references to cups of tea vs cups of coffee which he would refer to in his native USA.
Several of his slides had obviously been tailored for a UK audience.  For instance, he spoke about g...