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Public speaking and managing nerves

Many Executives we work with are terrified of public speaking. Whether it is addressing the press or sitting in the hot seat in a live interview, the very thought of either can send high-powered business leaders into a spin.  We feature a number of presentation delivery lessons geared to help you with your next public address.
1. Eye contact – the glance and grab affect

First thing first, establish and hold eye contact with the reporter/audience. Eye contact builds trust, and creates a sense of engagement with your audience. In your interview, or public address you may be offered the use of a teleprompter (there is now an app for this!). You need to speak fluidly with natural pauses and inflections, and not read straight from the prompter. The trick is to glance and grab a phrase while maintaining eye contact giving the impression you are speaking directly to the audience.

2. Yes, you can use notes, but only as a guide

Many times clients will ask to use notes when speaking, and the answer is yes. Just like the use of a teleprompter, you need to glance and grab the next point from your notes with the goal of speaking to your audience and not at your script.  The key is knowing what you want to say and using the notes only to keep the facts straight and guide your delivery i.e. beginning, middle and end. This can be particularly useful when you only have a short time to speak.

3. Body language and facial expressions

A great interview or public address can all come undone with a roll of the eyes (think Julie Bishop’s recent reaction to budget cuts).  This can happen when a reporter or audience member asks a question that comes left of field, or that you’re not prepared to answer. Your look needs to translate as calm, professional and well-equipped to answer any question that comes your way. In other words, employ your pokerface.
4. The mirror is your friend
Practice your posture and the way you stand before your interview or speech. Be aware of your tone of voice. Take your time with your responses and maintain a calm and professional presence. If you are delivering a speech, or a presentation practice purposeful gestures.  If you want to move around, make sure you move deliberately and with purpose.  Otherwise stand strong and still.
 
Everyone’s different.  We’d love to hear your ideas on how you manage nerves.  Imaging the audience in its underwear might be old school but maybe there’s some other strategies you’ve employed that have really helped?

Public speaking: Stan Grant’s Speech on Racism

I don’t want to diminish the meaning of broadcaster Stan Grant’s recent speech on racism in Australia by critiquing it.
In the lead up to Australia Day his words were potent, upsetting and in my opinion truthful.
If you haven’t seen it watch it.

Media Friendly: Overcoming a fear of public speaking

Many Executives we work with are terrified of public speaking. Whether it is addressing the press or sitting in the hot seat in a live interview, the very thought of either can send high-powered business leaders into a spin. Here are some pointers geared to help you with your next public address.

1. Eye contact – the glance and grab affect
First thing first, establish and hold eye contact with the reporter/audience. Eye contact builds trust, and creates a sense of engagement with your audience. In your interview, or public address you may be offered the use of a teleprompter (there is now an app for this!). You need to speak fluidly with natural pauses and inflections, and not read straight from the prompter. The trick is to glance and grab a phrase while maintaining eye contact giving the impression you are speaking directly to the audience.

2. Yes, you can use notes, but only as a guide
Many times clients will ask to use notes when speaking, and the answer is yes. Just like the use of a teleprompter, you need to glance and grab the next point from your notes with the goal of speaking to your audience and not at your script. The key is knowing what you want to say and using the notes only to keep the facts straight and guide your delivery i.e. beginning, middle and end. This can be particularly useful when you only have a short time to speak.

3. Body language and facial expressions

Image result for julie bishop eye roll
A great interview or public address can all come undone with a roll of the eyes (think Julie Bishop’s recent reaction to budget cuts). This can happen when a reporter or audience member asks a question that comes left of field, or that you’re not prepared to answer. Your look needs to translate as calm, professional and well-equipped to answer any question that comes your way. In other words, employ your pokerface.

4. The mirror is your friend
Practice your posture and the way you stand before your interview or speech. Be aware of your tone of voice. Take your time with your responses and maintain a calm and professional presence. If you are delivering a speech, or a presentation practice purposeful gestures. If you want to move around, make sure you move deliberately and with purpose. Otherwise stand strong and still.

Everyone’s different. We’d love to hear your ideas on how you manage nerves. Imaging the audience in its underwear might be old school but maybe there’s some other strategies you’ve employed that have really helped?

Media Training Case Study

Peter Greste

This week we saw Al Jazeera journalist, Mr Peter Greste walk free from a seven-year jail sentence in Egypt. Mr Greste was found guilty based on evidence that he had in his possession, namely video footage, supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood but his lawyers have said there was absolutely no substance to the allegations.

During his 400 days in prison, he maintained his innocence and was able to manage his expectations well throughout the process with the support of his family. It was during his press conference in Brisbane we all witnessed that love and support as his family sat by him while he delivered his sincere and very poignant address to his fellow members of the media.

Without a doubt, Mr Greste nailed the press conference. He began by genuinely thanking his family, this was heartfelt and meaningful and certainly came across on camera. Mr Greste tells a story, it is vivid and personal. His experience draws you in – this is a great technique to use when dealing with the media. He also names the campaign his family, along with the media, embarked on in order to release him – Journalism is not a crime #FreeAJstaff. He links the campaign to his social media sites – a clever call to action. What are your thoughts on his press conference?

Peter Greste

Great Keynote Speeches

Here are a couple of great keynote speeches you might like to watch for inspiration.

Remember when you come to preparing your next speech or presentation to:

1.  Think about your audience.  Your presentation should be about ‘them’ not you.

2. Your objective.  Are you planning to educate, entertain, persuade, inspire … ?

3.  Be authentic.  Don’t try to channel Ellen or Tim or even Bill Gates.  It won’t work!  Be yourself.

4.  Spend time rehearsing.  Say it out loud.  Punctuate your presentation with deliberate pauses.  Be descriptive and use metaphors and analogies to colour your speech.

5. Enjoy it.  There is nothing more off putting for an audience than watching someone who is clearly uncomfortable and can’t wait to get their presentation over with.

 

Ellen DeGeneres Key Note

 

Tim Minchin Key Note

 

Bill Gates Key Note

Media Training Tips: Eliminate uums and aahhs.

Australians are champions when it comes to peppering their speech with uums and aahhs.   Younger Aussies, particularly girls have replaced uum with “like”. Others have a tendency to overuse a favourite phrase: “‘to be honest”, ‘like I said before’, ”actually” and ”ectetera” just to name a few.

Old habits die hard and a few uums and aahs in my book don’t really matter – but when a presenter or spokesman uses them in every sentence it’s a habit that can really distract from the message.

While I’m yet to find a magic pill to cure this verbal afflication I really encourage my clients to slow down and before answering a question to take a breath.  Rather than uttering an um, try pausing.  Give your brain a chance to catch up and forumulate an answer.  As well as buying some much needed thinking time, a deliberate pause will provide punctuation in your delivery.  A pause can help to emphasise a word or a point, it can also provide some much needed light and shade in your speech pattern.

The second exercise you can try (and I’ve shamlessly stolen this idea from Mr Media Training, Brad Phillips) is to practice delivering a 30 second speel about anything without an uum, aahh or verbal stumble.  Any inanimate item will do as a topic:  your phone, handbag, a landmark – record yourself and listen to it back.  Remember to pause whenver you are tempted to throw in an uum!   With a little practice and some self awareness there is no doubt anyone can reduce what I call verbal garbage.

 

 

Common Communication Mistakes

Good communication skills are great life skills.   Invaluable in the board room and perhaps even more important when it comes to managing our personal relationships.

Here are some common mistakes that can really hinder the communication process:

1. Ambiguous body language:  We are visual beings and so words never override body language.   When expressing excitement you want to look and sound excited.  If you’re sorry you need to express that in your tone and demeanor.  In conversation, if you stand with your back half turned to someone then it’s likely your body language will send a signal that you’re not interested in talking.

2. Silence is golden:  The next time you speak to a colleague, think about how often you remain quiet.  When you do this you allow for feedback.  Periodice silence gives people a chance to ask questions and offer ideas, thoughts and observations.

3. Fidgeting:  Do you scratch, strum your fingers, adjust your clothes or fidget with a pen?  These mannerisms are often unconscious but they can be very distracting and diminish what you are saying.

4. Eye contact: When you make eye contact, you are giving the other person your attention.  You are telling them they are important and that you want to hear what they have to say.  Poor eye contact can make you seem unapproachable and/or disinterested.

5.  Overspeaking:  Think about the point you’d like to make and then go ahead and make it!  Being verbose and long winded is often a symptom of speaking before you think.  Plan what you want to say and then get to the point!

6.  Interrupting:  It can be difficult sometimes to wait for someone to make their point (especially if they are guilty of overspeaking) however by cutting others off, you not only send a message that you don’t care about what they’re saying, you also cut yourself out of the conversation.  Remember that we learn more from listening than from speaking.

#publicspeaking #communicationskills #presentationskills #presenting
#bodylanguage #confidence+publicspeaking

More PowerPoint tips from Mediafriendly

My six year old daughter recently put together her first PowerPoint presentation for a school assignment!  Her topic was France and her slides included pictures of The Eiffel Tower, a pink poodle, a croissant and a castle.  She then diligently made some palm cards with notes of what she planned to say about each slide.  Brilliant!

If PowerPoint is simple enough for a six year old to use then why do so many presenters still make the same mistakes?

So many speakers read verbatim from their slides forgetting that their audience can also read!  Slides are not designed to carry paragraphs of information or even full sentences.  Ideally you should have no more than 4 bullet points per slide.

Another common mistake I see is moving quickly from one slide to the next without giving the audience time to play catch up.  If you want to engage your audience it’s important to check in with them.  Make sure they’re keeping up and that they’re processing and understaning the presentation.

The next time you make a PowerPoint presentation think about the following:

1. Have you overloaded your slides with too much information? Images, pictures and simple graphs are a great way of illustrating a point and can be more powerful and memorable than words.  But if you need to use words, try not to use more than 4 bullet points per slide.

2. Don’t rush the slide show.  Before changing slides try to set them up by introducing the concept on the next slide.  This will also help you transition more smoothly from one slide (or idea) to the next.

3. Show the slide and PAUSE.  Give you audience time to take in what they are seeing.

4.  Supplement the slide.  You should be giving your audience more information that what they can see or read.

Whilst my six year old still has alot of work to do on her “soft skills” (body language, voice projection, eye contact) she’s definitely on her way to understanding how to use PowerPoint effectively – and if she can do it, can’t you?