If you’re a low-energy public speaker, here are a few tips to add a little “umph” to your speeches or business presentations. I believe there are three aspects of public speaking that are inextricably linked together.
If you manipulate any one of these three, it will affect the other two:
How energetic you feel
How wide you gesture
How loud you speak
When you are feeling energetic inside, you naturally gesture wider and talk louder. Likewise, when you gesture wider, you naturally talk louder and begin to feel more energetic. And when you talk louder, you naturally gesture wider and feel more energetic.
Try this test. First, stand up. You’ll always have more energy standing and should always choose this option to speak if it doesn’t look awkward to do so.
From your standing position start speaking about any random subject very softly and try gesturing very wide, with your arms outstretched like a great bird. It’s hard to do, isn’t it? It requires focus and concentration to speak softly and to gesture widely. It’s not natural. Your voice instinctively will start to get louder as your gestures get wider. Next, try speaking loudly but gesturing small and close to your chest. That’s equally hard to do, right? Again, it’s not the way we are wired and it feels awkward.
So, if you need a little energy punch in your speech or business presentation, try standing up, putting some air under your wings and talking a little louder than you typically do. You’ll feel your energy — and your ability to engage your audience — rise to the occasion.
All public speakers eventually get asked to write “a bio for the program.”
With more than 100,000 searches per month for the phrase “how to write an about me,” there is no doubt that people are struggling with how to best describe themselves event bios, “about the author” segments or for any project. You are not alone if you are feeling challenged as to how to write a bio.
I think there are two strong issues with this process:
First, unless we’re overcome with narcissism, we tend to not want to brag about ourselves, afraid to appear to be fixated on our own greatness.
Conversely, we might think we are just too boring, wondering if we have anything at all of interest to our audience.
The solution to these two challenges is to focus on the audience who will experience your bio when you are planning to write your bio blurb. Write a new bio for each audience.
Here are a few of my suggestions:
Think about the focus of your audience rather than your own ego. What do they really need to know about you? In other words, go beyond sharing just what makes you feel good about yourself. What does your audience truly need? What facts, history, events, and talents can you offer that will help your audience connect with you? You want your readers to understand what you can do to help them achieve their goals and needs rather than just inspiring them to applaud for your wonderfulness.
Take the time to reflect on your past and present history. While you may be up against a deadline, an authentic biography is only created when you spend the time to do it right.
Consult with your friends, family, and coworkers, asking them to help you remember parts of your history you may have glossed over. Asking questions such as, “What words would you use to describe me?” can create opportunities for them to comment on your qualities and background. You might be surprised by the good memories that will surface from this type of question.
Consider the About Me you are creating as a way for you to share your personal story. Readers will be much more interested in your online bio if you draw them in with the elements of stories or anecdotes. No one wants to read your grocery-list of life experiences, but a good story-infused bio invites them to learn more. You can apply oral storytelling techniques to your written biography.
There’s no need to be lost or hesitant to write your own biography. The process can be fun and, while not trying to create some type of therapy, you might discover new things about yourself and your story. Enjoy the process as well as the results as you focus on the audience and their needs.
ABOUT OUT GUEST BLOGGER
Sean Buvala has been engaged in the oral storytelling tradition since 1986 as a performer, speaker, and author. He started his work by accidentally using active storytelling to convert a classroom of slightly (but comically) homicidal 8th-grade teenagers from angry kids to storytelling practitioners themselves. He’s also the publisher at “The Small-Tooth-Dog Publishing Group” in Arizona and he’d be happy to talk to you about your next book. Learn more at smalltoothdog.com/authoreducation.
Franklin D. Roosevelt’s once gave this advice on public speaking: “Be sincere. Be brief. Be seated.” FDR’s advice is spot on, especially for today’s audiences who seem to value authenticity and brevity above all else.
To master sincerity, focus on being personal, being yourself, but not being perfect. FDR mastered this technique in his famous “fireside chat” radio addresses to the nation.
But what’s the secret to being brief? How do you make your points as powerfully as possible in the shortest amount of time? Answer: Structure.
Having a thought-out and orderly structure to your speech keeps you focused and relevant and keeps you from rambling. Roosevelt mastered this technique as well.
In our coaching practice and workshops, we teach simple but powerful speech structures that you can easily adapt and use in business presentations, speeches and anywhere you find yourself speaking in public. Want to learn more? Let’s talk. Schedule a Speaking Sucess Strategy Session with us today. We promise to be sincere and to be brief!
Many folks use the words “podium” and “lectern” interchangeably when talking about public speaking and business presentations. The two words actually refer to two very different things.
A podium is a small platform on a stage. You stand on a podium. A lectern is the piece of furniture that often supports a microphone and usually has space for a speaker to place his or her notes. You stand at a lectern.
This isn’t a grammar website, but hey, we thought anyone interested in public speaking would want to know the difference. And now you do.
By Julie Solomon
CMO, CCS Presentation Systems Guest Blogger
As the Chief Marketing Officer of one of the largest audio-visual integration companies in the country, I am always asked to make recommendations and offer guidance for business presenters and other speakers on what they should use for their presentations.
Let’s face it, we’ve all been there. You are scheduled to give a business presentation at a new location and you are sweating the technology. How early do you need to get there to make sure everything works? Will your laptop connect? Do you have the cables you need? What about internet access on their network?
My best advice is this: Choose the right software and you don’t need to panic anymore.
Simply by jumping on the internet from the room’s in-house computer you can: easily open, deliver and save presentations anywhere, from any device — including Chromebooks and iPads; connect your audience’s devices to your presentation to get them engaged, contribute ideas and answer questions; gather live feedback; and so much more.
It all starts back at your home or office when you use the SMART Notebook software to build your presentation. A subscription lets you install SLS on up to four computers. Choose from over 7,000 learning objects in Gallery Essentials to enhance your presentation, including images, backgrounds, dynamic files, video and audio content. You can even search for and embed YouTube videos directly by opening the YouTube add-on. You can also include assessment questions through SMART Response that will track participants’ answers and a myriad of other exciting, interactive features all rolled up in one software suite.
‘Now, you have the ability to make your presentations as dynamic and innovative as you are.’
If you are presenting in a location that has a touch display, you can really show off. Use hand gestures to zoom, pan, flick, and swipe. Scale objects or pages, flick an object or swipe between pages. You also can touch the interactive display to shake objects to quickly group and ungroup them. Use a variety of different tools, including pens and paintbrush, to create and emphasize, draw in any color and even convert handwriting to text or calligraphy.
The days of death by PowerPoint are over! Now, you have the ability to make your presentations as dynamic and innovative as you are. To quickly learn the software and how to revise and expand your existing presentations, reach out to our local team of professional trainers. You can attend a workshop at our headquarters in Scottsdale or make arrangements to work with them one-on-one.
ABOUT OUT GUEST BLOGGER
Julie Solomon, Chief Marketing Officer at CCS Presentation Systems in Scottsdale, manages all marketing and training activities for CCS Southwest and oversees national brand marketing for CCS locations across the US. In addition, she is responsible for fostering relationships with audio/visual vendors and new corporate and education customers.
ABOUT CCS PRESENTATIONS
One of the largest groups of audio/video integration companies in the country, CCS Presentation Systems Inc. provides integration, installation, training, and maintenance of audio-video equipment to businesses, schools, and government clients. Products include LCD/LED large format displays, interactive collaboration tools, digital projectors, digital signage, audio systems, room control and more. CCS is the preferred supplier to the Education, Corporate, Government, and Non-Profit markets, boasting more than 350 employees in 13 states, with annual revenue in excess of $115 million. Phone: 480-348-0100
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.
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.