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Outside the Speaker's Bubble

a newsletter about speakers and speaking

The Speaker's Bubble is that wrinkle in the time/space continuum you experience whenever you speak, and experience even the slightest bit of pressure to perform. It's that place where your heart rate speeds up, just a little. Where you hear your blood pounding ever-so-slightly in your ears. Where you turn various shades of crimson, or feel short of breath. All these are purely normal physiological responses to the stress of "the-one-versus-the-many." There are ways to control this stress; excellent speakers know this. So do experienced leaders. My Communications Conditioning practice teaches speakers of all skill levels how to deal with stress and present like pros! I can give a practical road map of strategies to make anyone a better communicator for life.

Click here for a schedule of my upcoming workshops.

Wednesday
Mar092016

March 2016

 

         Midnight musings of grammar fans

Intrigued by the headline at right? My featured blog this month serves as a timely reminder of why grammar matters, in writing as well as speaking.

I am offering one more Executive Communications Skills workshop at my home studio this spring. Click here for more information. Or send an e-mail if you want to discuss other ways I can help you upgrade your speaker's toolkit.

 Tips you can use!

Draw in the margins
It's OK to put cue words, emoticons, emojis and even old-fashioned free-hand doodles in your margins. Let them help you recall your subtext for a particular passage. For example, put a smiley face beside that paragraph telling the story of your team's fantastic progress. You will remember to "glow with pride," even as you dispense the necessary facts and figures.

Stay centered
Need to sound convincingly strong and dynamic as you battle seasonal allergies or a spring cold? Maintain your energized delivery by relying on inner strength that comes from centering. Use your core to let the breath support your sound. If you speak from your throat and head only, your audience will hear a voice that is even weaker than you feel.

Save the bling
Don't wear showy jewelry or flashy clothing to an event where you are speaking (I'm looking at you, Sarah Palin!). Unless you are introducing your new fashion line or dropping your latest single, it will distract from your message. Save it for your photo shoot! 
Thursday
Feb042016

February 2016

Critical Communications

My monthly blog features a recent experience I had with some excellent communicators—in a place where I did not expect to find them—and the lessons there for all of us.

Interested in my upcoming workshops? Check here for dates and details. If you can't the workshop at my home studio, send me an e-mail and let's discuss how I can bring it to you.

 Tips you can use!

Kill the PowerPoint
Or at least cut it down to size! Use slides as a visual backdrop to reinforce your message with a thematic image or a well-chosen graph. Get rid of all the tiny bullet points. Unless you are just conveying facts, your job is to offer interpretation, synthesis, analysis. All of which are more effective if you are actually speaking to your audience, not just splattering words on slides.

 

Be in charge
If your colleagues have fallen into the habit of interrupting every presentation, you need to state upfront that you will take questions after you have finished yours. Often their queries will be answered as you speak, and you certainly will be better at maintaining your "flow." Do your part to put an end to this (sometimes unconscious) collective rudeness.

 

Dodge the draft
Large rooms that are used for presentations can be drafty this time of year. Take extra "indoor" layers to help you stay warm. Nothing kills your credibility like trying to speak through shivers and chattering teeth!
Tuesday
Jan052016

January 2016

Misplaced passion

In response to those of you who have asked me to weigh in on the speeches and speaking our current Presidential candidates, this month's column offers a quick take. Doubtless more detailed analysis will follow, when I feel I have some fresh insight to offer!

Don't forget to check here for dates and details of upcoming workshops. If you can't attend offsite, send me an e-mail and we can discuss how I can bring it to you.

 Tips you can use!

Build in the white spaces

Format your speech with a double-space return between sections. That way you can visually scan your text and know that a shift to the next  point is coming up. Make your pause in between a tad longer,  signaling to the audience that you're wrapping up one point and transitioning to another. Use this breathing break to create a signpost--like an auditory road map.

Away with "so"
If you are leaning on "so" as a crutch to start all your sentences: stop! This little gem came in #1 on this year's List of Banished Words. I have never liked it, and am glad to see others agreeing that its overuse has become a supremely annoying verbal tic.

Take care of yourself
It's finally winter, so you need to take extra care not to catch whatever is going around. Get plenty of sleep. Exercise daily. Eat a balanced diet. Hydrate. Get a flu shot. Maybe you won't need any of your sick days this year!

 

artwork: Political Drama (1914) by Robert Delaunay, courtesy National Gallery of Art


 

Monday
Dec072015

December 2015

 A little holiday toast

I know you don't have any time to spare right now, so my latest blog is short & sweet. It gives four easy tips for giving the perfect toast. Share it widely!

Also, click here for details on my upcoming communications workshops. A great way to make good on that New Year's resolution to take your speaking to the next level.

Tips you can use!
 
Take your time
During the holiday season, we really do need to remind ourselves to breathe, focus, slow down. If we can learn to savor the moment, and block out all the background noise, we can communicate—and do just about everything else!—more efficiently and effectively!

Preparation doesn't go on holiday
You may have next to no time to prepare your remarks for that upcoming meeting or quick interview, but you still have to do it! Think of how nice it will be to kick off 2016 not cleaning up messes you made this month because you misspoke and were caught unprepared.

Rethink the sparkle
Wearing sparkles and bling to a party is fine, but resist the impulse to dress too festively during working hours. Save those "message detractors" for after hours. And even at an offsite work party, be judicious about how "fun and flirty" your attire is.
Thursday
Nov122015

November 2015

Frame and Focus

This month's newsletter includes a post about why it is essential to keep things short and to the point as you develop your content. If you want them to follow you,you need to guide your listeners clearly through your speech.

Get a jump on fulfilling your perennial New Year's resoultion to improve your speaking skills! My next Executive Communications Skills One-Day Blitz will be held on Decmeber 7th.  Check it out here.


Tips you can use!

Look up at the camera

Make sure anyone taking a posed photo is shooting you or your group from slightly above. The least flattering angle for anyone is a shot showing an expanse of neck! So grab a chair for your photographer to stand on or sit down yourself. And when that camera is poised above you, lift your eyes, not your chin.

Formatting helps
If you are using a teleprompter, be sure your script is written in paragraph form. When you are reading word for word and your format is in bullet points that is what we will hear. You should always be telling a story when you speak, not reading a grocery list. The prompter is there to help. Let it.

No time to shine
It's good to incorporate a nice, thick moisturizer into your daily health and beauty regime, especially in the winter. If  you're going to be under lights on camera or onstage, though, the oil in your cream may make you sweat more than usual. So you might want to rethink your skincare products on those days. This article offers some pointers.