The Radiantly Attractive Communicator

Do People Listen When You Speak?

To become a radiantly attractive communicator, 1-to-1 or 1-to-many, you need first to connect with your inner speaker, the purpose of your message, the space around you and then with your listeners, before you even open your mouth.

Are you thinking now, “Geez I don’t want to change the world, I just want staff to follow our new policy,” or “All I want is to rustle up a few new clients with this little talk.” Who cares about being “radiantly attractive”?

Well, let me explain dear reader. A sense of connection is more powerful than words. Communicating from the heart, fully present with other human beings, creates acceptance and understanding… and take-up of your ideas. 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 inspiring leaders and great communicators.

  1. Connect With Your Inner Speaker

The core belief that we are separate, isolated or different from everyone else, generates uncomfortable feelings of self-consciousness, fear of rejection and doubts about self worth. Connecting authentically first with your inner self, then with others, is a simple and effective remedy for our western epidemic of social isolation and fear of you guessed it, “public speaking.”

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 first to your inner speaker occurs at the beginning of all powerful presentations and conversations. It is also described as “being present.” It takes only a few seconds. Simply do this by:

  • Consciously take a moment to pause,
  • Feel your feet on the floor and take an even breath in and out,
  • Focus your attention on your purpose in speaking, not on yourself.
  1. Connect To The Purpose Of Your Message

Before you begin writing or speaking, be clear about the purpose or intention of your speech. The word “purpose” means “an intended or desired result” (Macquarie Dictionary, 1990). Without a sense of purpose, your words can appear directionless. Your listeners may miss the point because you did too. When you are clear about your purpose, your listeners will be clear too. It works really well to ground your speech with: “The purpose of my presentation today is….” or “What I hope you will learn and take away is…”

Help yourself to become a radiantly attractive communicator by asking yourself:

  • What is my purpose in speaking today?
  • What outcome do I want?
  • What do I want my listeners to remember or say about me?
  1. Connect To The Room

Before you enter the room or just before you speak, tune into the space around you. Again the time it takes is mere seconds. The “space” refers to your surrounding environment on every level.

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. Their words are radiantly attractive, bypassing the mind and head straight for the heart.

To give you a real life example, I once attended a coaching conference where the opening speaker held us spellbound. His quiet, slow paced story (mental space) caused us to wait 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 all in this together.

  1. Connect To The Audience

It’s now time to connect with your listeners… it takes only seconds…

Take a breath, feel your feet on the floor, make your intention to be 100% present and available to the human beings in front of you. Offer eye contact to someone in the audience who wants to be with you; they are leaning forward, smiling and waiting.

Begin your first words to that available person and then move onto the next willing-to-be-engaged listener. Speak directly to them. Open your story. Speak from your heart. Show you understand the problem they’ve come to hear you talk about, because you’ve had that problem too. Explain how you overcame the problem and how by the end of your presentation, they will understand how to do it too.

Connection is ultimately far more important than content. Your content may be spine-tinglingly brilliant and world-changing, but it you fail to build genuine trust and rapport with your listeners, they will not listen. Your brilliant words will not be heard.

Physiologically, when we soften our eyes, our whole body relaxes. Imagine your eyes are resting in hammocks when you softly gaze one listener at a time. Having the ability to sustain, comfortable, relaxed eye contact builds trust and rapport – in effect, you are saying without words, “I hear you, I see you and I am with you.” Fundamentally, I think this is something we all want deep down. And as speakers, we definitely want and need, our listeners to hear, see and be with us.

Do You Want To Be A Dull, Miserable Communicator? Is That Working Out For You?

So does being a radiantly attractive communicator still feel like overkill? Are we waving the stars around and do they still feel too far out of reach? Just think about a time you were bored silly at yet another meeting, presentation or party. It doesn’t need to be like that again. Everyone wants connection, acknowledgment and attention so why don’t you be the first to offer it when next you speak? And what you will likely receive in return, is radiantly attractive listening. Wow! It works both ways.

We know when a speaker leader is present with us and we know when their mind and spirit have left the building. We feel the absence of presence just as much as we feel the thrill of being in the presence of a radiantly attractive communicator.

One last point: 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 finishing. Your listeners’ 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 always on display. Yet another reason to understand why it is so important to take time to connect first with yourself, the purpose of your message, the space and the human beings in front of you.

Listen to your inner voice…. your radiantly attractive communicator is calling your name next.

(A great book to read on this topic is Lee Glickstein’s “Be Heard Now!”)

(c) 2012-17, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Pause Power: Slow Down When You Speak

Speakers who speak too quickly are often described as “overwhelming” and like “chipmunks on speed.”  People learn, listen and process at different rates, so if you speak TOO fast, your listeners may switch off because they cannot make sense of your ideas.

Here’s a 3 minute video I made about Pause Power and how to find your natural pace when you speak:

 

So if you are a naturally fast speaker, how do you remain true to yourself and communicate effectively with slower paced listeners?” I’ll start by sharing a story of when I was running a speaking workshop for some Brisbane Librarians:

Find Your Own Pace
Sitting within an intimate circle, I demonstrated how to speak impromptu by pausing and waiting until words arose. I had not had my morning coffee and was feeling slow and sleepy. So, honouring how I was feeling,  I spoke, slow and sleepy. And so did the next 8 people after me. I was thinking, “Wow! What a relaxed, deeply feeling group!” Then we got to Librarian Number 9 and she burst out:” Oh my god I just can’t do it! I can’t be slow. I’m sorry I’m sorry I’m sorry! It’s just me! I have to break out and speak fast!”

As the facilitator, I hadn’t realised that the group was copying my style and assumed I was demonstrating the “right way” to do impromptu speaking. Thank you Librarian No 9 for reminding us to be ourselves. After that, participants found their natural speaking groove and I had my coffee!

How To Slow Down
Most of us do speak too fast. A slower pace, using gravitas, is restful and impactful. Listeners have time to absorb your words and if you are speaking to them, you want to create a maximum listening environment for your message to be heard.

You do not need to change your essential self and be something you are not. You just need to pause frequently. Imagine where the commas, colons, dashes, fullstops and new paragraphs would begin if your talk was in writing. That’s where you pause. Give people time to digest. A pause is like a non-verbal full stop. So take a risk and stop. It is only a matter of seconds or a couple of breaths.

And when you take those breaths, make eye contact with your listeners and use your whole body to connect with one person at a time. Actively using your body will also release your energy out through your limbs, rather than just your mouth!

A good way to practice finding the most effective pace for you, is to read out loud. And exaggerate the pausing opportunities like commas, fullstops and the main points in a sentence or idea.

What You Can Do
Use these “punctuation opportunities” as a guideline to slowing down with spacious ease:

  • To indicate a “comma” when you speak, stop and take a mini pause.
  • To indicate a “full stop” when you speak, stop and take a short pause of at least one full breath.
  • To indicate a “new topic or new paragraph” as it were, stop and take a big pause of at least three breaths.
  • Watch the British movie “The Kings Speech” which clearly demonstrates the impact and benefit of slowing your speech down. I’m not suggesting you speak as slowly as the King; I’m suggesting your natural pace will be enhanced with the mindful addition of pauses and a sense of spaciousness.

If you are a naturally fast speaker, then be mindful of your pace, ensuring your words are not tumbling insensibly from your lips. A chipmunk on high speed is cute only for a short time. Pause graciously at regular intervals to check your listeners are still with you and not overwhelmed. Smile, slow down and remember to take the scenic route.

© 2012, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Speak & Listen With Presence

There is no quicker way to lose your audience than by “going through the motions”. Remedy that by learning to speak listen with presence.

“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. To speak listen with presence, start by listening to your audience first.

First, Listen To Your Audience

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. Listening to your audience allows you to be present with them.

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.” ” I am going to speak & listen with presence. ”

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.

Speak Listen With Presence Starts Now

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.  Speak listen with presence happens every time you choose. Once you know how, you can do it anytime, anywhere.

© 2011-17, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au