Jackie Kellso

Archive for April, 2009|Monthly archive page

Tips for Effective Public Speaking

In business, career, coaching, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, people skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, sales, selling, training on April 25, 2009 at 9:14 am

Recently I sat through a jury selection process in which four attorneys presented a complex case, involving multiple parties.  These were four very experienced trial attorneys, yet we were made to sit through four unbearably bad presentations. Despite their knowledge and preparation, they were simply lacking the skills to make positive impact.

One of the attorneys spoke with his head down, almost looking at the floor the entire time.  He never made any real eye contact with anyone, skirting his eyes too quickly when he did look up.  One guy swallowed his words, spoke too fast and was nearly inaudible.  One guy behaved as if he was playing Hamlet and cast a bloated self-image that may have been a compensation for insecurity.  One guy kept his hands in his pockets and jiggled change the entire time. What client would want these people as their legal reps?  Thankfully, I wasn’t selected to sit on this jury!

So, here’s the thing:  if you want to gain credibility and win your audience, it is critical that you:

1. Are a skilled presenter.  This means that you have an awareness of how your tone of voice, body language and words blend to support one another.  Remember that non-verbal cues can undermine your credibility.

2. Show vs. tell.  Audiences do not like being preached to unless they are in a house of worship.  Be open about who you are and use your own experience as examples for making points.  Let them relate to you!

3. Show a level of passion and conviction that is natural for you.  Have a wide emotional range to work in (because being able to dramatize ideas is a good thing) but be tasteful — don’t try to win an Oscar!

4. Limit the demand you’re placing on your audience.   Your goal is to benefit them and part of that lies in your ability to be relevant, clear, concise, and to finish as soon as possible.

5. Think of yourself as the expert of your material, and your audience as experts-in-training. Respect their intelligence. Talk to them, not at them.

Remember this:  your audience isn’t thinking enough about you as a person to decide that your strengths override your limitations.  If you are flawed enough as a speaker, the takeaway is going to lean towards the negative.

As a public speaking trainer and coach I tell my clients this:  being nervous and afraid isn’t the thing to worry about overcoming. Your focus has got to be first, on your delivery impact, and second, on how you use the right words to convey your message.  With practice and improved skills, self-confidence rises and effectiveness becomes a reality.

Happy presenting,

Jackie

Copyright, Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

That’s a Good Point!

In business, coaching, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, people skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on April 8, 2009 at 1:05 am

Which statement is the more convincing way to make the point that memorizing a speech may be detrimental to a speaker?

a. “So remember, don’t ever memorize your speeches. You won’t get caught off guard if you forget what you rehearsed.”

b. “So, remember, use an outline to guide your speech, rather than memorizing it.  This way, your mind has the flexibility to return to your point.”

It’s not a trick question, and the answer happens to be ‘b’. When delivering any kind of message, it is important to give your audience an action they can take and follow rather than tell them something they should not do.  People remember actionable steps more often than passive and/or negative messages.  This is because inherent in taking the step you have suggested is the benefit to them for taking it. Additionally, by presenting your point in a positive, actionable framework, you give your audience a chance to interact with your words, making your message memorable and impactful.

Try this out for yourself! Give one presentation applying a passive message and one with an active message. Or, try delivering two distinct messages in one presentation (one passive and one active) and get your audience to give you some feedback.   See which one they say makes a good point!

And, true….best to outline a speech and know the key points rather than memorize it word-for-word.  This way, your mind can retrieve the data it needs vs. try to find the words it has forgotten.

Happy speaking!

Jackie

 

Copyright, Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.