What I Learned From Nigella, Obama & G-String Wearing Strangers

Let Your Words And Body Speak: Nigella And Obama Style

 

In a world of superfluous verbosity and redundant superlatives, whose services, products and ideas do we believe, trust and follow?

(This article is based on a 30 minute recently filmed speech about how to let your words and body speak for you to build trust and rapport. You are welcome to watch, especially if you’ve never heard me speak before! First is a 1-minute video demonstrating the 6 techniques in this article. Second is an edited 10-minute video of the whole speech, which does include a little Nigella impersonation.)

 

According to my Mother, I’ve been living in “a little slice of heaven on earth” for the last 20 years. Brunswick Heads is an idyllic seaside town, nicely daggy around the edges. People nod and say “hello” even if you don’t know them as you meander down the street. And that’s how we like it.

Change Is Here

But this year it’s changed. Apart from the soaring 30 plus degree temperatures, Brunswick Heads has been “discovered” and the locals are finding it hard to get a parking spot.

What I really noticed was the change in pace. It was faster (“I want it now!”). It was intolerant and closed (“I was here first!”). There was a loss of community (little eye contact, connection or conversation from visitors.) Locals felt like they’d lost their friendly village to a horde of transient, cold-eyed, g-string wearing strangers.

Apart from this year’s fashion for scanty beach attire, it strikes me that our experience in Brunswick Heads is similar to fears that speakers face the first time they give a talk to a new group. The group is often perceived by the quaking speaker as a wall of strangers with whom they have little connection or warmth. And the group may feel exactly the same way toward the speaker.

So how do you break through and forge meaningful relationships, trust and credibility with strangers? And how do you do it with genuine warmth, integrity and an invitation to come back? Especially if you are selling something or promoting change and new ideas to people who are “happy to stay as we are, thank you very much”?

A Quick Way To Learn
One of the quickest ways to learn anything new is to observe how successful others do it. And of course, sometimes it’s the best way to learn how not to do something. You can find yourself in the mirror of others, trying on their ideas and behaviours like a new outfit. Then assiduously keeping the bits that fit and letting go of the bits that don’t.

Whom Do You Admire?
Before reading on, please take a moment to think of someone, local or global, famous or infamous who makes you sit up and listen. What qualities do they embody? Why are you attracted or repelled? Which of their communication skills would you like to try on and see if they work for you?

Let Your Words And Body Speak – Obama And Nigella Style
I admire the communication skills of Barack Obama, the former American President and Nigella Lawson, the English cook and former journalist. Both are brilliant communicators and generate emotional impact, presence and approachability. Barack is more cerebral, structured and deep thinking. Nigella is more sensual, down to earth and practical. She shows you how to do it; Barack inspires you why to do it. I’m going to briefly describe and demonstrate 3 verbal and 3 body language techniques used very differently by Barack and Nigella. If you haven’t already done so, you may now find it useful to watch the 1-minute video demonstrating these 6 techniques…

3 Ways To Spruce Up Your Verbal Language

  1. Anaphora: is the repetition of the same word or phrases. Used well, it adds impact and power to a central idea. Barack Obama is skilled at using anaphora: “If I told you that…If I told you that… If I told you that…” Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard used anaphora brilliantly in her famous 2013  “Misogyny” speech in parliament when she repeated…”I am offended when… I am offended when… I am offended when…” It requires holding your nerve and delivering the simple repetition with elegance and confidence. It if feels too performance like – you need to reconnect with the authenticity of your message. Speeding up and garbling diminishes and dissolves you and the message. (Find the link to Julia’s speech within my article “Do Men & Women Do Public Speaking Differently?”See my underlined example below of how to use anaphora in my one-minute self-intro below.
  2. Rule Of Three: refers to using words and ideas in sets of three. Our brain processes and remembers groups of three very well; groups of four or more get a bit awkward. There is a familiar, story-telling rhythm in groups of three… “long, long, long ago, in a far, far, far land…there lived three sisters… Martha, Bertha and Greta.” Who can forget Barack Obama’s powerful promise line distilled into three words: “Yes We Can.”  Another speaking device is called the ascending tricolon (“three’s getting bigger”) It’s a lovely way of taking a small, do-able idea, then making it bigger, then making it bigger again and again. It helps expand ideas from one point to another. See my bolded example below.
  3. Personal, Conversational Language: helps remove barriers of unfamiliarity, difference and newness. It enables one human being to speak directly to another human being, building the connection of shared relationship and experience. Using pronouns of “me”, “you” and “us” are inclusive. Using present, active tense grammar, keeps us united in the current moment. “Together, we can do this.“  Rather than speak in the passive tense of what I call  “the royal we”, Barack speaks directly to every person, to you and I, from him. During Nigella’s cooking shows, she speaks personally and conversationally, almost like a confession… “I don’t know about you… but I just don’t have time to mash my own potatoes.” She is engaging because she appears like every busy woman, pressed for time, and finding smarter ways to do things. Her down to earth humanity, shortcuts and joy of food are universally appealing. See my own examples below in italics.

3 Ways To Luxuriate In Your Body Language

  1. Large, Lighthouse Gestures: Your eyes track movement and gesture long before your mind processes word meaning. A large, simple gesture, cuts through the fluff of endless verbiage and flies straight to the heart of understanding. Why say, “It was a big fish, at least a metre long”, when you can show it with your hands and emphasise with your voice. Your meaning is clearer with physical demonstration and is much more interesting for viewers. A hand on your chest adds credibility when you share something personal; a “no” becomes emphatic when you make an accompanying slashing gesture and use a hard tone. You can be as creative as you like, as long as you get the message across.
  2. Direct Eye To Eye Contact: In most western cultures, direct eye contact is an invitation to trust and connect. If we linger too long or too short, it becomes uncomfortable. Look directly, pause, wait for your words to land and move on. Direct eye contact with a speaker makes listeners feel heard and important. They immediately know they are not being spoken at, but with. In Nigella’s cooking videos (“Nigella Bites”), she leans forward conversationally, and lingers into the camera to make sure you are still keen to make a berry soufflé. Obama looks directly into the camera, he doesn’t shy away, gazing without fear into millions of eyes. He is solid and real. Yep, direct eye to eye contact definitely takes practice and confidence if you are squirming right now.
  3. Open, Relaxed Body: The “secret” to looking relaxed and confident is to show your body as relaxed and confident. Obama looks open, languid and comfortable in his own skin. The message it sends is “I’ve got this. I’m strong and capable and at ease with myself and the world.” It causes others to believe in him because he appears to believe in himself. That’s confidence and it’s a compellingly attractive quality in anyone. He also takes his time in speaking and gazing, he gives complete attention, he doesn’t rush. One of my favourite Nigella moments is the last 3 minutes of her cooking program. It’s dark in the kitchen, she slips down in her robe late at night lit up by the light of her giant fridge. She decides between a hunk of chocolate gateau or a roasted pork roll to snack on. She makes her choice and takes a huge bite with a cheeky grin. Yep, we’d all like to effortlessly embrace the joy of eating without guilt. Nigella defies popular convention and shows us how to do it with a relaxed, open mind and body.

How And When To Apply These Techniques
Written directly below, I delivered this rather formal, 1-minute self-introduction at a business breakfast where we took turns to stand and introduce ourselves to the group.
It was a good opportunity to demonstrate the use of anaphora (underlined), rule of 3, ascending tricolon (in bold)  and the use of personal, conversational language (in italics). To see the body language gestures, you’ll have to either watch the video or use your imagination. It’s probably easier to watch the 1-minute video…

My One-Minute Demo Self-Introduction
This one-minute self-introduction formed the opening of a 30-minute speech about what we can learn from expert communicators like Obama and Nigella. Watch the 10 minute edited version here.
Have you ever wondered, how some speakers inspire you with every word and others, don’t?
How some speakers inspire you to trust and believe in them and others, don’t?
How some speakers inspire you to ask for their card, work with them, connect to something bigger and others, don’t
My name is Geraldine. I am a public speaking coach and I transform the speakers whom you didn’t want to work with, into the ones that you do!!!
I show professionals like you, like authors, coaches and business owners how to relax and overcome nerves. How to find your true voice and how to craft meaningful words into memorable presentations you can be proud of.
Work with me if you want to get hired whenever you speak!
I’m Geraldine Barkworth, director, Goddess Of Public Speaking.”

 

Above All, Stay Real & Stay Open
In a world of superfluous verbosity and redundant superlatives, whose services, products and ideas do we believe, trust and follow?

The speaker-leaders who embody warmth, credibility and authenticity. Who aren’t afraid to look you in the eyes. To help you grow, learn and connect to something bigger than what you saw for yourself. Speakers are compelling when they offer that gift of intimacy and invite you to join them there.

So… welcome to Brunswick Heads! Let your words and body speak. And don’t forget your g-string.

(c) 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, speaking coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Listen To Your Inner Speaker

free-stuff-for-public-speakers-4cmGreat Communication Begins Within

To become confident when ever speaking in public, 1-to-1 or 1-to-many, you need to first learn how to connect with your inner speaker, with the space around you and then with the audience, before any words are spoken.

A sense of connection is more powerful than words. Communicating from the heart, fully present with other human beings, creates acceptance and understanding. Connection seemingly occurs without effort. There is a sense of “oneness” which is healing for all – speakers and listeners. The ability to connect with others is radiantly attractive to all people. It is the defining characteristic of great leaders and speakers.

Start By Connecting With Your Inner Speaker

The core belief that we are separate, isolated or different from everyone else, can generate an uncomfortable feeling of self-consciousness, fear of rejection and doubt of self worth. Connecting authentically first with the self, then with others, is a simple and effective remedy for our western epidemic of social isolation.

When you feel connected to the self, you are connected to your foundation. This is a place of great peace, stillness, strength and clarity for many people. When you speak from this place, you speak in authenticity. Your presence carries a natural charisma and authority without trying to be something you are not.

Connecting to your inner speaker takes only a few seconds. It begins by:

  • Stopping,
  • Pausing to take an even breath in and out,
  • Becoming aware of your body, thoughts and feelings and reconnecting with your centre.

Connecting first to your inner speaker occurs at the beginning of all powerful presentations and conversations. It is also described as “being present.” Next, you are ready to connect to the space around you.

Connection To The Space (Room)

Once you have connected to your inner speaker, either before you enter the room or just before you speak, you need to then tune into the space around you. Again the time it takes is mere seconds. The “space” refers to your surrounding environment on every level and includes:

  • Physical (the room, space layout, props, cramped or spacious room),
  • Mental (the “headspace”, attitudes and perceptions of you and others at that moment),
  • Emotional (your feelings and the emotions of others in the room – eager, bored, scared),
  • Spiritual (your internal sense of your energy and the energy of others at that moment).

The term “holding the space” refers to the skill of balancing your awareness simultaneously with the 4 aspects of physical, mental, emotional and spiritual connection when you communicate with others. It is a skill requiring a high level of self-awareness and emotional control. Speakers who learn this skill deliver with greater impact, communicating beyond mere words. Messages delivered with skilled presence generate a powerful emotional impact that bypasses the mind and goes straight to the heart.

At a coaching conference I once attended – a speaker held us spellbound with his quiet, slow paced story (mental space) and we waited in relaxed silence (spiritual space) as he strolled across the room (physical space) to pour himself some water. It could have been his living room. By witnessing a normal, human event, it connected us to each other (emotional space). Rather than “him up there and us down here”, he gave us a chance to pause and take a drink too – we were in this together.

Your Integrity Matters

One last point about “Connecting To The Space” – be aware that as the speaker, you are “on” from the moment your name is called and you take the floor (even it’s it just the family dinner table) right through to leaving the floor and completing. Your audiences’ eyes, minds and emotions will be engaged and assessing you before you even open your mouth. Your integrity (who you are and what you stand for) is on display. That’s why it’s important to not rush in without taking time to connect first with your inner speaker, the space and then of course, the human beings in front of you.

And the art of connecting with your audience with charismatic can’t-tear-my eyes-off -them-authenticity, is a whole other article. Stay tune.

(c) 2012-16 Geraldine Barkworth, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

It’s Not Me, It’s YOU

Get The Right You Me Speaking Ratio

Have you ever wondered why some people have the power to galvanise you into action? What these people get right is their use of the You Me Speaking Ratio when they communicate.

Excessive use of “I” and “me” turns listeners off quick-smart.  I love the joke about the actress who says: “Enough about me! Let’s talk about you! What do you think of my latest movie?”!!!

One of the fastest ways to lose an audience (or the attention of your friends and colleagues) is to talk mostly about your self and from your perspective.

Get The Ratio Right
According to my research, a language ratio of 10:1 of You:Me is about the right ratio to generate a balanced and inclusive speech. It leads to greater engagement and even ownership of your ideas because the speaker shows how their idea will work for you.

  • Examples of me-centred language: “I”, “me”, “my”, “mine”.
  • Examples of you-centred language: “you”, “us”, them”, “they”, “we”, “our”… “together”, “community”.

Examine the difference for yourself in the next 2 short examples by noticing how you feel when you read them or even better, say them out loud:

Me-Centred
“I consider it imperative to make my health my number one priority. All the money in the world will not make me happy if I’m sick. My workshop today will show you how I did it, so you can too. I believe that health equals happiness.”

You-Centred
“All the money in the world will not make you happy if you are sick. We all have so many competing priorities and other people to attend to. This workshop will show you how to clear the clutter of your busy life and how to make your health and you, your number one imperative. Your health equals your happiness.”

A Famous Example Of A “You-Centred” Speech
In 1961, American President John Kennedy’s inaugural speech “…ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country,” uses “me-centred” words only 4 times and uses ‘you-centred” words 50 times. (Now that’s an interesting contrast with the “me-me-centred” speeches given by one of Australia’s most recent Prime Ministers.) So do not let the 10:1 ratio trip you up. It’s not a rule, just a guideline to be aware of if you want to inspire, engage and build trust and an affirmative response from your listeners.

How To Connect And Inspire When You Speak

  1. Take a look at anything you’ve recently written, especially if it’s of a “speech” type nature or a self-intro. Identify the proportion of “you” versus “me” centred words.
  2. Emphasise “we” and “us” to keep the spotlight on your listeners or audience. Remember, it’s not about you, it is about them. A speaker or leader is just a temporary conduit of information to help others understand.
  3. Rewrite your speech or report and make it “you-centred” with a language ratio of at least 10:1 “you’s” and “we’s” to “I’s” and “me’s.” Notice and enjoy the difference in reaction.

When ever any one speaks, it is to benefit others, right? If not, you are just talking to yourself. And we all know the special terms for that!

If you’ve ever felt you’ve missed the mark when you speak and your friends, colleagues or an audience seem to switch off and aren’t interested in your ideas, examine your You Me Speaking Ratio. Once adjusted to “you-centred” language, you may now become the communicator you’ve always longed to be.

I’ve refined 3 coaching programs for you to deepen your communication skills:
1. Fear & Stage Fright Coaching
2. Presentation Skills Coaching
3. Peace, Purpose & Meaning Coaching

These weekly/fortnightly programs are available by phone, Skype video and a limited number by face to face at my office in Brunswick Heads, NSW. Contact me for more information. Hope this article was useful for you today, best wishes, Geraldine.

© 2013, Geraldine Barkworth, speaking coach @ Goddess Of Public Speaking. Contact Geraldine at http://www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au/

How To Speak & Be Heard In Noisy Cafes

When we stand up and speak in front of others, we want to be seen, heard and remembered. Otherwise, what is the point of public speaking?

While you can control yourself, you can’t control much else. If you find yourself in a noisy environment, like a cafe, how can you keep the attention of your audience, when:

•    Crash goes the coffee machine;
•    Waitresses pass back and forth;
•    People seem more interested in their bacon than you;
•    Listeners are scattered over lots of tables and want to chat;
•    You feel overwhelmed by noise and can’t remember a single sensible word.

For many people, the impact of multiple distractions in a noisy café brings up fears of having to work really hard to attract and maintain the attention of your audience. Because if you can’t keep their attention, what might that say about you?

Fears can trigger old beliefs to surface. Many people adopt one of these tactics when feeling under pressure:

•    Speak really fast to keep everyone’s attention – this is OK at first, but it becomes tiring for listeners and the speaker due to lack of space to think ideas through and connect with each other.

•    Perform, entertain, be larger than life to make more noise than the coffee machine – this becomes trying and inauthentic, loosing credibility for you and your service.

•    Doggedly follow your memorised or written script – when you ignore natural laughter or events like a glass breaking loudly – it reveals you are not genuinely present with your audience and they are in fact, immaterial. This destroys trust and rapport.

•    Your voice, eyes and spirit just fade away as you assume you can’t possibly hold anyone’s attention because you have nothing of value to offer – audiences may cringe and your esteem and self-belief plummet further.

The simple way to attract and maintain an audience’s attention in a noisy café is to be fully present each and every time you speak. An audience can tell immediately if a speaker is emotionally as well as physically present and will listen, accordingly.

In a nutshell, the key is to connect personally with your audience as individuals and engage their interest with a topic and information that is genuinely relevant and useful to them. Following is a list of steps to remind you how to be seen, heard and remembered every time you speak in a difficult place like a noisy cafe:

•    Give yourself time to prepare in advance to be mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually present.
•    Arrive early, familiarise yourself with the room and meet people personally.
•    Take a slow deep breath before speaking and make eye contact.
•    Speak as though you are having a one on one conversation, pausing naturally, allowing your words to flow, giving your audience space and time to absorb your words. It also allows you to listen to your audience.
•    Manage your emotions by choosing to connect only with audience members who are already offering you their eyes and attention. Do not be distracted by anyone who appears to not be listening to you.
•    Interact with your audience by asking questions, request raising of hands, brief feedback, invite participation through exercises. Make it physical – if you have a product, show it or demonstrate a special technique – this also allows you to “speak less, and say more” via action rather than words.
•    Tell your audience you want them to do something at the start of your talk as this engages interest and creates a “giving and receiving” loop.
•    Give the audience something truly useful, relevant and memorable to take away, like an article, product sample or your business card.

Take a moment now to visualise yourself speaking in a noisy café. Imagine yourself systematically working your way through each of those 8 steps directly above. What would you be doing, saying, feeling, differently to last time? And if your visualisation makes it clear you need more concrete help, contact Goddess Of Public Speaking for some divine intervention!

© 2013, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic public speaking coach & director of Goddess Of Public Speaking. Geraldine shows you how to feel comfortable in your own skin by being real, raw and authentic, rather than perfect, polished and “powerpointed” every time you speak. Contact Geraldine at http://www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au/

Do Men & Women “Do Public Speaking” Differently?

Public Speaking Differences Between Men And Women

A question I’m often asked is: “Are public speaking differences between men and women and do they develop personal presence in the same way?”

Communication and it’s subset of public speaking does vary between men and women. The ability to speak with presence however, crosses the gender borderline. We all get goosebumps whether the speaker is male or female, as the 2013 video link below of Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard shows.

In terms of gender difference, generally, men compartmentalise into narrow specifics and thus need to join more dots and use more descriptive language. Women open many interconnected doors to a broad picture and thus need to to focus and hone.

Gender and power are tricky subjects and liable to assumptions and false beliefs from which of course miscommunication often results. Please take my generalisations for what I intend – a broad summary of my observations over the years. There are no rules of course, everyone is different and not confined to a label.

From my observations as a coach of hundreds of people since 2002, 80% of those being women, I have noticed 4 primary differences:

  1. Gender variation in processing information. To generalise again, men often place more importance on facts and status, women on relationships and emotion, so it’s wise to adjust speech delivery to an all male or all female audience as they will relate differently to content and style as you do with audiences of different age, culture, industry and community.
  2. Personality and cultural differences – a reflection of individual personal qualities such as confidence and their environmental upbringing.
  3. Power imbalance – many women still communicate from an assumed non dominant position, often diminishing and negating their words and impact. For instance they “forget” to mention their achievements and begin by saying “they don’t know much about it”, speaking with lesser volume and eye contact.
  4. Societal perception and interpretation of gender behaviour (the classic: an assertive man described as forthright and strong, while a woman using the same language and manner is described as “demanding and unfeminine.”).

Public Speaking Shared Issues

And in terms of similarities, the common public speaking issues I work on with both
male and female clients include:

  • Learning to say “no” and negotiate from a place of natural strength.
  • Energetically ‘holding the space” and not be ‘elbowed out”.
  • Increasing personal confidence and self belief in one’s abilities.
  • Asking for what they really want (assertion) and not hoping for a miracle.
  • Becoming comfortable with eye contact, pausing, speaking conversationally.

The underpinning issues here are the lack of belief in one’s right to be worthy, to be heard and to take up space. These issues are not solely gender issues, but the issues of anyone feeling disempowered or needing a confidence boost, regardless of gender, age, culture or (dis)ability.

Development Of Presence Regardless Of Gender

Now on to the second aspect of the question concerning developing speaking presence and I’ll start with a definition: Presence occurs when someone speaks directly from their heart to yours. It is something you feel, rather than know. Understanding leaps across the room as an energetic ripple, bypassing the rational mind. Heads turn. Hearts engage. Minds open.

Speaking with presence generates attention and impact through natural charisma. This means if you have a message you want heard, rather than struggle to keep audience attention, you can simply tap into this natural resource once you learn how.

You can see speaking with presence clearly in the very popular 2013 “Misogyny Speech” from Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard in the House of Representatives directed toward Opposition Leader, Tony Abbott.  The speech went viral around the world as a breath of fresh air in politics – spoken from the heart with passion and personality. She used the reinforcing and emotive technique of repeating the words” “I am offended when…” Her body is electrically charged, she is fully focused, you believe her…  http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ihd7ofrwQX0

Male or female, speaking with presence is far more powerful than a bland, memorised speech.

And yes, you can learn with me how to develop and refine your presence when speaking to others. Email me for a 60 minute consultation, phone, Skype or face to face to learn how. Everyone, regardless of gender or confidence level, can learn to speak with passion, power and professionalism.

© 2013, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic public speaking coach & director of Goddess Of Public Speaking. Geraldine shows you how to feel comfortable in your own skin by being real, raw and authentic, rather than perfect, polished and “powerpointed” every time you speak. Contact Geraldine at http://www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au/

Don’t Be Shy: Why Making An Entrance Is Important When You Speak

How do you make your presentation memorable and stand out in a long day of conference speeches?

“Da Daa!” Introducing, YOU!

And in you come dancing to a funky sound track, boa feather trailing behind, your newly shaved head reflecting the strobe lights… is this the kind of big entrance you’d like to make when you give a presentation?

Yes, you will be memorable unless of course your colleagues also read this article and boa feather sales go through the roof. Ok, I digress.

Here’s a 3 minute-ish video I made about how to engage the attention of your listeners from the very get-go:

Making An Entrance

Making an entrance is about engaging attention from the start. When an
audience’s attention is engaged, they will listen. And they will remain
listening as long as you follow it up with valuable content. And when I say
“don’t be shy”, I mean, don’t diminish yourself and play small.

Apart from my fun suggestion above, I recommend you focus on
creating CONNECTION with your audience first, before you even open your
mouth. If you take the time to take a breath with your listeners and be
present with them, you will immediately make an impact. Strange as it
may seem, old fashioned audience acknowledgement is a simple courtesy
always appreciated. Bit of a nod, eye contact, a smile. Costs nothing,
takes a minute or so, generates credibility, respect and attention.

What Do You Want To Be Remembered For?
Begin preparing your next speech by asking yourself this foundational question. Your answer will determine  the clarity with which you deliver your speech to conference delegates.

Let me give you some practical examples – do you want to be remembered for:

  • An inspiring vision that generates new thoughts in your industry?
  • Being an entertaining and informative speaker that brings joy to a heavy program?
  • Providing cutting edge data to benefit the practice of colleagues?
  • To develop your profile and expand your career influence and opportunities?

Being clear about what you want your speech to be remembered for is similar to being clear about your purpose. Both act like a rudder, steering your speech and audience on an impactful journey toward a powerful conclusion.

What You Can Do

  1. Put time aside to research practical things like how many people will attend, where you’ll stand, microphones, if you’ll be introduced and what they’ll say, so that you’ll set up your speech confidently from the start.
  2. You are “on” as soon as your name is called. Don’t slink in, pretending to be lost in intellectual thought or your notes!
  3. Roll your shoulders gently back, head and chest up, and take a strong, stable stance with room to move.
  4. Establish your physical and energetic presence by taking some breaths with your audience. You are saying non verbally: “I see you, I hear you and I’m with you.” This initial  acknowledgement to the audience is memorable in itself because its still so rare.
  5. Practice your speech; include the the timing for your entrance, exit and pauses and even pfaffing around with your powerpoint slides. Ask friends for feedback and record or film yourself. Are there any flat or confusing moments? Is there too much detail or not enough? Is your message clear and memorable?

To make a long term, memorable impact when you speak, you need to understand and deliver what your audience really wants – connection and value. If you can do these two things, you will be a memorable stand-out in the conference program from the start.

Next month, we focus on the other end of delivering speech with impact in: “End Well: Why A Strong Exit Makes You A Memorable Speaker”.

© 2012, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic public speaking coach and presenter. Geraldine shows you how to feel comfortable in your own skin by being real, raw and authentic, rather than perfect, polished and “powerpointed” every time you speak.

Contact Geraldine at http://www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au/

Shut Up & Let Your Body Talk

Blah, blah, blah… talk, hype, buzz, “like”, “totally”, “awesome”, “it’s all good”. It’s hard to hear anything of value when people speak to one another these days. Mouths are endlessly moving but  meaning is lost in the blah blah.

I know I hunger for something true, something juicy, something meaningful. And more words, even if they are clever words, aren’t the answer.

What I want, and what an audience wants,  is credibility and realness. Followed by a hefty dollop of “what’s in it for me” content. Is this something you want too? Hell, we’ve only got one life, let’s make the most of it.

Credibility & Realness In 5 Simple Steps

The key is to let your body talk for you. Actions do “speak louder than words”. We watch movement before we process word meaning. Make sure the messages your body sends to your audience are congruent with your verbal message.

Here’s how to create credibility and realness when you present:

1. Gently roll your shoulders back before you speak 1:1 or 1 to a group. This will open your abdomen, chest, shoulders , throat and face. People interpret this open posture as self confident, capable and receptive. They are more likely to listen to you, figuring if you believe in you, there’s good chance they will too.

2. Maintain gentle, neutral eye contact one person at a time. Focus on people who’s bodies are receptively listening to you. Stay with one person long enough to watch your words land on their face, for you to see the connection occur between you. Allowing yourself to stay still with one person at a time says without words, “I see you, I hear you, I am with you”. An audience / group feels respected when it knows the speaker is listening as well as speaking to them.

3. Keep a  stable, open leg stance if you are standing, or sit up straight if you are seated. If a strong wind arises, you won’t blow over and if there is critical interjection from the group you won’t crumble. A strong stance says without words, “I am capable of delivering and handling what ever comes my way.” This generates confidence, groundedness and a sense of permanence.

4. Take a breath, pause and slow down when you speak. There is no race to be won. People take speakers more seriously when they perceive the message is conveyed with gravitas. A pause is like a non verbal full-stop or comma. When you pause, it gives your listeners a chance to entrain with you, to match your pace and process your ideas. Offer choice, not imposition. By attending respectfully to the diversity of your group you convey, “I have something of importance to say, and I invite you to listen.”

5. Let natural hand, face and body gestures flow and underscore your words. If you describe something as “amazing”, express your amazement with your whole body. Eyes wide, mouth agape, fingers spread, shoulders lifted, a step back or  a breath in. The word “amaze” is just a word, one word lost in a long presentation of sentences, paragraphs and points. When you show “amaze” with your whole body, people feel it and it travels deep inside to connect emotionally, beyond their ears.

When an audience, group or your 1:1 friend connect emotionally with what you are saying and your words and your body match in meaning, you will have credibility and realness whenever you speak. And that’s precious in today’s “like totally awesome it’s all good” blah blah world.

On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate your credibility and realness when you speak? Do your words have impact and are people inspired to  follow through?

You can learn how to present your information with great credibility and realness when you speak (crazy that we have to “learn” how to be real isn’t it?) at our 4 Day Transformational Retreat for Women, 27-30 October, 2011.

© 2011, Geraldine Barkworth. Geraldine Barkworth is a holistic public speaking coach for women in business. She shows clients how to connect with any audience by being real, raw and authentic, rather than perfect, polished and “powerpointed.”

Contact Geraldine at http://www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au/

Speak & Listen With Presence

There is no quicker way to lose your audience than “going through the motions” rather than being fully present with them.

“Going through the motions” means your body is present, but your mind and spirit have left the building.  Sometimes the audience is quicker to recognise memorised, disingenuous rote, than the speaker / trainer themselves.  This is sad.  Going through the motions leads to boredom, the dulling of creativity and a loss of credibility.

Presence is the opposite to “going through the motions.”  Body, mind and spirit are working harmoniously, fully connected in the present moment.  An audience “switches on” when they realise the speaker / trainer is authentic and available to them right here and right now.  It charges the atmosphere and inspires trust, rapport and connection and generates credibility, energy and impact.  This is exciting.  Being present produces new paradigms, spontenaity, flexibility and empowered results.

Begin With Presence
Start with presence, by preparing yourself in advance. The state of presence is a habit like any other and until it becomes second nature when you speak in public, you need to prepare the space you will step into, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Recognising the importance of your presentation to you and others, provides motivation and clarity for making time to prepare. Insufficient preparation is the most common public speaking mistake. When you don’t like public speaking, there is a tendency to over prepare (obsess) or under prepare (avoid). Like Little Red Riding Hood, talk preparation needs to be “just right” for you. By designing your own preparation habit or ritual, you send yourself the message, “This talk is important, worth my time and I am going to be present for it.”

What is your usual pattern of behaviour before a talk? Does it serve you or dishonour you?

Stay With Presence
Stay present, by accepting that you will move in and out of the present moment with your group or audience.  That’s life. The key is to not beat yourself up when you feel a disconnect and thus get preoccupied with your own story.  Instead, stop, take a breath, connect with one person and give yourself permission to start again with them.  Staying present is a series of small comings and goings riding on the ebb and flow of mindful awareness.

Finish With Presence
Finish with presence, by making it clear to everyone that you are indeed finishing. Use verbal clues with a clear instruction like: “We’ll wrap up in ten minutes and then I’ll invite questions.” This will swing every participant’s attention back to the present moment (as well as your own), alerting them to be prepared for all that your finish may entail (Q & A, assessment, feedback, special offers).

Even if you felt disconnected throughout your presentation, you can still finish with a good connection. Stay still when you acknowledge your group in completion, making genuine eye contact with one person at a time. Take your time and stay grounded and focussed, allowing participants to acknowledge you with whatever they offer, like a clap, cheer or nod, accept it graciously and finish your presentation fully present, without your mind rushing off to the next thing.

Listeners are usually most alert at the beginning and the end of a training talk, presentation or conversation, so make the most of it by connecting strongly. Connecting with presence takes less than ten seconds.  Once you know how, you can do it anytime, anywhere.

If you’d like to leap to the next level in public speaking confidence, experience the power of speaking with presence at the 4 Day Transformational Speaking Retreat for Women, October 27-30, 2011, Byron Bay.

© 2011, Geraldine Barkworth. Geraldine Barkworth is a holistic public speaking coach for women in business. She shows clients how to connect with any audience by being real, raw and authentic, rather than perfect, polished and “powerpointed.”
Contact Geraldine at www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au