VIDEO REVIEW: Before I Die I Want To… by Candy Chang

“Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.”

Before I Die I Want To… is a terrific 6 minute TED Talk that shows you how to:

  1. Handle tears when they start rolling down your face in the middle of a presentation,
  2. Make sense of a personal sadness by channelling it into a powerful social movement,
  3. Take one simple idea, link it with a universal story we all relate to, use visual examples to explain the concept and demonstrate the how and why it’s spread around the world,

And all in 6 minutes. The talk is elegant, clear and uncluttered and refreshingly natural. Candy advocates using public spaces, like the sides of unused buildings and bus shelters, to encourage people to anonymously talk about their greatest hopes, dreams and fears… it begins conversation between people, the community and, the world.

Spaces are set up for people to write their answers to big statements like: “Before I die I want to…” The spaces fill up quickly. Most people understand that “life is brief and tender” yet have few opportunities to explore the fears, hopes and ideas that this and other big questions, ask of us.

I like this speech for many reasons. I recommend it to clients who worry about breaking down with emotion in public. Candy’s feelings surface throughout her speech and it doesn’t detract, it enhances. It makes her message more powerful and sincere because she stands her ground and rides through the storm, letting it flow through her as she keeps going. If you are interested in more tips on how to handle strong emotions when you present, here’s another article I’ve written: “But What If I Cry?”

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading.

© 2017, Geraldine Barkworth. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au This Video Review is entirely the opinion of the author.

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, do not?
How some speakers inspire you to trust and believe in them and others, do not?
How some speakers inspire you to ask for their card, work with them, connect to something bigger and others, do not?
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

Introverts: Turn Quiet To Your Advantage

Speaking Easily To Groups Isn’t Just For Extroverts

It’s horrible being labeled by others and even worse when you’ve self-limited by your own hand. Learn to tap into your natural strengths as either introvert, extrovert or ambivert and feel at your best, no matter the situation.

Introvert, Extrovert & Ambivert Mini Quiz
Do you prefer open plan offices or your own space? Prefer 1 to 1’s or parties? Do you enjoy team brainstorming to solve problems or prefer to nut it out on your own and in your time? Do you gain energy being around people and high stimulation or do you feel nourished by quiet reflective, low stimulation time? Or do you enjoy both?

And just out of interest, what did you assume about the lion-cat image for this story? Is the timid pussy overwhelmed by the powerful, outgoing lion, or do pussies harbour a lion inside and should not be underestimated? Or something else?

Introverts
Introverts thrive with lots of solitary time to nourish and nurture their ideas and creativity. They prefer low stimulation environments – private, quiet, calm, natural. They often find large groups loud and tiring. Introverts are not necessarily shy. Shy people often fear social interaction. Introverts prefer their own space rather than being fearful of sharing it. They tend to be more methodical, detailed and slower to answer questions… because they are thinking about it.

Extroverts
Extroverts thrive with social interaction and may feel bored when alone for too long. They are often seen as talkative, assertive and enthusiastic. They seek high stimulation environments – noise, interaction, rapid change and may think, talk and jump on board new ideas quickly.

Ambiverts
I’ll just say a little something here about people who feel confused by having both introvert and extrovert qualities. Instead of suspecting you lack integrity or worry about “who am I really?” I suggest you see the advantages.

For instance, being able to experience introversion and extroversion yourself, gives you greater insight and sensitivity in working with people. And a terrific understanding of how to prepare information in a range of formats for people of all persuasions to understand. Do however, respect your needs for down-time and up-time, favouring neither and enjoying both.

“Quiet”, by Susan Cain
According to my recent reading and subsequent book review of “Quiet: The Power Of Introverts In A World That Won’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain, and you can watch the TED Talk, there isn’t a spectrum, rather a cross over of individual personality traits often dictated by your situation or environment.

For instance, you can be a “shy or anxious extrovert” or an “outgoing or socially confident introvert”. I was surprised to discover I am an introvert who acts as an extrovert when necessary. So while I love delivering workshops (professional environment), I look forward to snuggling by myself with a book in a quiet nook (personal environment).

If Only We Could Bottle Authenticity
One thing I have learned is the more comfortable you are in your own skin, the more authentic you are. And authenticity brings peace and confidence within and inspires trust and rapport with others.

Obviously, authenticity is also very useful for speaking with ease in front of groups regardless of whether you consider yourself more of an introvert or extrovert. Damn those labels. Be “true to your weird self.”

Introverts – Tap Into Your Quiet Strengths
As a public speaking coach for the last 12 years, I have observed that it is the quiet, understated humble types who consistently emerge as the charismatic speakers. You can hear a pin drop when they speak. Introverts surprise themselves at the power and impact of their carefully chosen words, imbued with meaning and feeling. And when others give them a chance, our quieter brethren offer us all a gentle breathing space to reflect and be inspired. If you believe you are more introverted:

  • Use your powerful listening skills to signal you hear and understand your group. The best speakers are the best listeners. Everyone deeply wants to feel heard, use listening to your advantage.
  • Introverts are often deep thinkers, creative, persistent, methodical – think artists, scientists, IT innovators. If your personal style to is to be more thoughtful and detailed and different to mainstream, use it for the occasions when it will be appreciated. Learn to not overthink the “the 30 second self intro.”
  • Introverts often confess to me they are scared of Q & A and cannot think and speak well on their feet. Never fear, there are many ways of turning this situation to your advantage, but first you must see it as an opportunity and remain true to yourself.

Extroverts – Tap Into Your Outgoing Energy
Working with extroverts is often a quick and exciting process as they grab whatever I offer with both hands and apply it before I finish speaking! I find extroverts often need to learn restraint and boundaries; knowing when to step in and when to step away and understand that giving too much can be overwhelming and people just switch off. If you believe you are more extroverted:

  • Slow down (at least between sentences and ideas) so that people have time to digest and reflect your ideas. With your bountiful outgoing energy, many gems will be lost in the whitewash unless you prioritise and be very clear about any steps you recommend.
  • Positive, upbeat energy is great for unifying and lifting the group but has short term impact. It’s best used for entrances and signifying direction and tempo changes. If you are giving a longer presentation, watch you don’t wear yourself and your listeners out by an unsustainable, fast paced monologue. Monologues create disconnection (because you are not “listening” to them) and a power imbalance. Disempowered people will not listen to you.
  • Become a better listener to non verbal communication and a keen observer of body language. Both will keep you on track to ensure your group are still willing to go along for the ride with you. Remember that everyone is not the same as you and people process information at faster and slower rates. Prepare your presentation to accommodate all types of people.

How To Cater Equally To Introverts & Extroverts
If you manage staff, speak often to groups or have several children, here’s several tips to ensure you cater to the needs of introverts and extroverts – without using labels on them of course!

  • In an office or communal space, create a mix of open plan and private nooks. Let people gravitate to where they are most comfortable and will do their best work.
  • When presenting to groups, especially workshops, ensure you create a mix of individual reflective exercises, small group and large group activities with emphasis on everyone having a chance to be heard – not just the ones with the loudest voices.
  • Ask people in your care how they best learn and format your information and training accordingly.

Riches For All
Introverts, extroverts and everyone in between, enrich society, shaping the yin / yang balance of humanity. Without the people who come up with great ideas, and the others who confidently sell them, there would be no great ideas at all. Just wistful dreams and a whole lot of bland sameness.

(c) 2016 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

The 3 Questions In Everyone’s Mind

Speech Writing & Presentation Skills

In every audience’s mind, there are 3 unconscious questions. How well you answer them determines as to whether your audience will keep listening to you.

Interestingly, these 3 questions aren’t restricted to an audience evaluating a speaker. Whenever we are introduced to someone new or consider buying a new product, we ask ourselves the same 3 evaluative questions and objections without consciously realising it. The questions are:

  1. Who are you to me?
  2. How will I benefit from this?
  3. And what kind of commitment must I make?

Whether we shop for groceries, analyse the government budget or listen to a colleague speak at a meeting, these are the same three critical questions we ask ourselves each time.

You may now be re-evaluating the last time you spoke, whether it was in a small meeting, large group or a networking event. Did you establish the answer to those questions with your listeners? And did you do it right up front to counter unconscious objections so they quickly became engaged and interested?

Answer those 3 unspoken questions in the first few minutes and your credibility and relevance will go through the roof! Your listeners will relax and willingly hear what you have to say because they will feel as if YOU HAVE HEARD THEM, first.

As an added bonus, you will also find it easier to start writing speeches, presentations and workshops now you know how important it is to address these 3 unspoken questions.

(c) 2016 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Inspire Audience Trust

Inspire Groups To Trust You

The word “inspire” come from the Latin, “inspirae” which means, “to breathe in.” When your audience or group feels inspired, they trust you and that’s a significant responsibility. They may also feel energised, hopeful or fearful, aware they are on the verge of learning something important. They will literally stop, “breathe you in” and listen.

Now you have been honoured with their trust, you must fulfil your promise.

Design presentations and interactive exercises to be safe, transparent and fun to encourage participants to risk opening themselves up in front of others. Even asking for a show of hands can feel confronting to some people. Be sensitive to the needs of your audience and your topic when designing your speech, presentation or workshop. Treat personal disclosure (as in “I feel really nervous talking about this”) or controversial issues (as in “discussing community anger about a proposed 5 story building in a 1 story street”) with the care and diplomacy you would appreciate for yourself.

Inspiring trust works both ways.

(c) 2015 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

VIDEO REVIEW: How To Use A Paper Towel, by Joe Smith

Ever tried to convince people to change their behaviour? How did that go for you?

Joe Smith, a USA lawyer, has a thing about reducing the outrageous waste of using too much paper towel when you dry your hands. Small thing to you perhaps, big thing for forests and pollution. In just over 4 minutes, Joe teaches the audience his simple technique – “Shake and Fold”. By asking the audience to call out the steps he simultaneously engages their attention, reinforces learning, increases ownership and makes it fun.

I’ve been using his technique now for years. It works! Saves paper and gives me a glow of virtuous satisfaction every time.

Watch this short video and not only learn to dry your hands efficiently, learn how to imprint a persuasive argument and promote positive behaviour change in 4 minutes.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading.

(c) 2015 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This video review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Fill Your Voice With Power & Confidence

Simple Vocal Techniques

Your voice communicates far more than facts and data. It conveys subtle unspoken messages in vocal tone, pace, attitude and emotion.

Fill your voice with power and confidence with:

Tone

Audiences assess how authentically aligned you are with your topic, how confident you feel,
 your opinion of them and thus they can draw conclusions about your competence, capability and sincerity through the tone of your voice. Use your tone to handle challenges confidently.

Pace

If you speak too quickly many people will miss your message because they are still processing your Point 1 when you have moved onto Point 3. If you speak too slowly or without variation, they may fall asleep. Use vocal variation to tell the audience when something is important (slower) or when you want them to take action now (faster). If you are speaking to a challenging person I find it wise to slow down, switch on all your senses and listen to what they are not saying as well. Your ability to read people effectively is enhanced when you are in control of your pace.

Attitude

Whether you or audience members are angry, nervous or relaxed during your presentation, always speak with firm compassion. You just don’t know what kind of day a person is having – they could have been up all night with a crying baby, have just lost a loved one, may have been told to come to your workshop and they don’t want to – don’t assume their less than positive attitude is personally directed toward you. Keep your voice level and neutral and drop assumptions.

Emotion

As the leader, keep your emotions well managed so they do not interfere with your presentation. Treat everyone equally and respectfully. If a participant is rude, keep emotions in check and role model emotional maturity through behaviour and voice. If you fall to pieces, who will keep the audience safe and on track? Let firm compassion flow through your voice as you speak to yourself as well as your audience and people in your care.

(c) 2015 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Write Your Speech With A Kiss

Speech Writing And Presentation Skills

Ever listened to a presentation that didn’t flow or make sense? What it needed, was a KISS.

When speech writing, link sections of your speech with connective sentences to demonstrate a logical progression. Use language, tone and pausing to emphasise major points and signify changes in pace and direction. Think of it like this:

Imagine you are reading a book. The book format is divided up into chapters, sections and paragraphs. These are broken up further into major headings, minor headings and general text.

Your presentation is like a formatted book, except your audience is listening to it, rather than reading it.

If you were reading a story out loud to a child, you would pause at the exciting moments, speak slowly to emphasise important moments or direction changes and throw in some vocal drama here and there.

The Kiss
To clearly link your ideas and emphasise major points or direction changes, follow the “KISS” principle: “Keep It Simple, Silly.” This tells your audience what you are doing with use of words, pausing or emphasis.

  • “The PURPOSE of my 20 minute presentation is…”
  • “Now I’ve explained how to craft a snippet, you are going to PRACTISE on your own website…”
  • “If you only remember ONE THING today… make it this…”
  • “I’ve told you a little about my background, now I’d like to hear about yours. So next we’re going to 
do a warm up exercise to help us to get to know one another better…”
  • “The 3 steps of a, b and c, are pivotal which is why we’ve just spent half an hour on them.
 Now I’m going to show how YOU can apply the same ideas at work…”
  • Pause…”I’d like to talk to you about… ROCKET SCIENCE.” Pause.
  • “It’s been a big 3 days. Now it’s time to finish. I’m going to summarise, then open it up to 
your questions for half an hour. Then we’ll end with our powerful completion process and I’ll invite you to register for our ongoing program…”

© 2015, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au