A lectern is good place to hold notes, hide a small bottle of water, and support a laptop and a microphone. It is not a crutch, a leaning post or something to hide behind. Holding on to a lectern with a white-knuckle grip tells an audience you are nervous and such a posture will prevent you from gesturing naturally.
As we said in Public Speaking Tip #40, a lectern can come between you and your audience and thus lessen your ability to connect with them as well as you might. But, if you must speak from a lectern, here’s what you should do: Take a step back and stand straight with both feet firmly on the ground.
Stepping back from a lectern will allow you to gesture better, have more energy in your presentation and engage your audience more fully.
Phoenix Public Speaking Principal Consultant Paul Barton will discuss exactly what it takes to be an effective public speaker and business presenter in the “Blueprint for Public Speaking Success” talk in Phoenix on Feb. 1.
Simple but powerful ways to define the qualities needed to be a good speaker.
How to use the blueprint to assess your skills — what areas are you good at, what areas do you need to improve.
New ways of thinking about what it means to be an effective communicator in the Digital Age.
This one-hour informal talk is free to attend but you must register. Seating is very limited. As of this writing, only two seats remain so sign-up today.
I enjoyed speaking to West Valley teachers at the “Teachers Lounge” yesterday. I shared tips with elementary and high school teachers on making a great first impression in a business setting. I showed them a simple but powerful formula to introduce themselves, how to stand up and stand out, and how to shake hands and make a positive impression.
They were fast learners as evidenced by the great introductions they gave when we went around the room and each put what they learned into practice.
The monthly Teachers Lounge event is organized by Avondale City Councilman Lorenzo Sierra to allow teachers to network with one another and learn new skills from guest speakers.
Interested in having me speak to your group about public speaking or business presentation tips? Contact me today by clicking below.
You will always have more energy and be able to engage your audience better if you stand when you speak.
If there’s a clear choice, and you are able, stand.
But sometimes, you have to make a judgment call. Often in business, our presentations are in conference rooms, boardrooms, or other meeting space and it’s not always obvious if you should stay seated or stand when making a business presentation.
Sitting is a safe choice but you risk having less energy and less engagement. Standing also may help others to see you better and hear you more clearly. Unless you think standing would cause others to think of you as awkward or arrogant, choose to stand.
If others are presenting before you and they choose to stay seated, don’t be afraid to break the mold.
Standing up just may help you to stand out. And in a competitive business environment, standing out can make the difference between winning the day or going home.
If you’re a leader and effective speaking isn’t one of your top priorities, then all of your other work priorities are at risk. You cannot be an effective leader if you are not an effective communicator. Things can’t get done correctly unless they are communicated clearly. Employees can’t be engaged unless they are inspired. Public speaking is an essential skill for a leader.
And yet, in study after study, managers say that they are uncomfortable talking with their own employees. That’s particularly alarming given that one of the primary things employees say they need to feel engaged and productive at work is regular, meaningful communication with their direct supervisors and other company leaders.
In the annual Phoenix Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” survey, communication consistently ranks as a major factor in employee satisfaction at work. Communication breakdowns can cost companies in terms of engagement, productivity, and retention.
What Employees Want to Hear
So, what do employees want to hear? Employees want authentic, transparent and ongoing dialogues with their leadership. They want their leaders to provide context and make sense of what’s going on. And they want to hear from their leaders in face-to-face meetings.
Public Speaking Not Your Strong Suit?
If you’re a leader and public speaking isn’t your strong suit, you can turn that around. Perhaps you’ve been struggling with it for years. Or maybe you just got promoted suddenly speaking is a much bigger part of your job. Maybe you got asked to speak at a special company event and you’re not prepared for it. Whatever the reason, you can gain the confidence and the skills to be a good speaker.
It’s not too late to make a New Years Resolution. It takes time and it takes practice, but you can become an effective speaker. And when you do, you’ll be a better leader.
I am honored to be featured as a guest writer on the Beverly Mahone Communications blog. I wrote about the power of face-to-face communication and storytelling in public speaking and business presentations.
When delivering a speech or making a business presentation, it’s easy to get caught up in all the data. It’s important to remember that facts and figures feed our brains but it is the stories we tell that stir our emotions and feed our souls. A compelling story combined with supporting data is a very powerful combination.
I recently saw the film “Darkest Hour, the dramatic story of Winston Churchill in his early days as Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War II. Churchill was named Prime Minister in the midst of a crisis. Hitler’s military was overrunning most of Europe and was closing in on Great Britain. Most of Britain’s army was pinned down at Dunkirk on the French coast and it appeared they might be destroyed or all taken prisoner at any moment. It seemed nothing could stop Hitler.
The nation, and indeed the world, awaited to see Churchill’s response. Would Britain try to broker a peace or would they fight on against overwhelming odds?
Britain would fight on with dogged determination. As film dramatically depicts, it was the power of Churchill’s public speaking skills that tapped into the sentiment of the populace that made the difference. Churchill’s oratory turned the British policy from appeasement to “we will never surrender.”
For those of us who appreciate great speeches, the movie captures the drama of Churchill’s speeches and it also provides a fascinating behind the scenes look at how he dictated and crafted his powerful speeches.
“He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”
In the climactic scene, Churchill delivers his famous “We shall fight them on the beaches” speech to the House of Commons of the British Parliment. This was the speech that cemented Britain’s determination to resist — at all costs. As the speech reaches a crescendo, the audience bursts into an emotional applause. One of Churchill’s political foes asks a colleague “What just happened?” The other responded, “He mobilized the English language and sent it into battle.”
It’s amazing to think of how very different world history might have been without Winston Churchill “mobilizing the English language.” Public speaking can change the world.
Change YOUR World
You might not be called upon to stir a nation to action, but how many opportunities in your career have you had to inspire a project team, to win over a client, or to persuade your boss? Public speaking can change your world.
But if public speaking has been holding you back in your career, why not make 2018 the year you change all that? Why not make being a skilled presenter a New Year’s resolution. It will take work and dedication, but you can become a confident and effective speaker if you have a good coach at your side and if you keep Churchill’s advice in mind: “Never, never, never give up!”
So, here’s to new beginnings, here’s to 2018, and here’s to YOU!
Don’t let public speaking hold you back in your career any longer. Imagine being able to speak with confidence anywhere, anytime. There’s no better time than right now to start investing in yourself.
We’re here to help you fulfill this New Years Resolution. Let’s talk about how we can work together to get you started being the kind of speaker that commands a room. You can get started right now by booking a free 30-minute Speaking Success Strategy Session.