Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Public speaking’

I’d Be Nervous if I Wasn’t Nervous

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When was the last time you did some public speaking?

Perhaps it was a presentation to a client, or maybe your boss, or at an interview, or even at an event in your personal life. Did you feel nervous?

It happens to meAlan Speaking

It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to think that because I’ve been doing it for years, nervousness would no longer be an issue.

It doesn’t matter if it’s twelve people or twelve-hundred people. In fact, I’d probably prefer to speak to the twelve-hundred than the twelve.

It’s scary

Public speaking is still one of our greatest fears; it turns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The mere thought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes our internal plumbing to act up, and turns our knees to jelly.

However, “nerves” is a normal human emotion and as I often say, ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!’

It’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success as a speaker.

Who’d be an actor?

The great actress Sarah Bernhardt once asked a young actress whether or not she suffered from nerves before she appeared on stage. ‘Oh no, Madame,’ the young actress replied. ‘Well,’ Sarah Bernhardt said, ‘Don’t worry; it will come along – with talent.’

The technical part

Nervousness is vital, you need nerves. Nerves release a cocktail of chemicals into your bloodstream, one of which is adrenaline. This in turn releases glucose into the blood stream. This gives you more energy and your mind becomes sharper.

The thing is, not to overdose on these stress chemicals or you’ll start to shake like a jelly and overheat. You need to work off some of these chemicals.

Listen to the professionals

Murray Walker the ex-motor racing commentator used to run on the spot as fast as he could just before he went on air. You could try that or run up and down the stairs. Wave your arms about like a lunatic and get lots of oxygen into your system. Obviously it’s better to do this when no one is looking!!

Make friends

Speak to as many members of the audience as you can, before you stand up to speak. This tricks your brain into thinking you’re talking to lots of your friends.

Speak louder than you’d normally do, that helps the nerves as well. It also keeps the people in the front row awake and makes sure the people at the back get the message.

Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. Don’t be afraid to stop and have a drink, it makes you look really cool and professional.

However, one word of warning; do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutch courage, but your audience will end up thinking you’re speaking Dutch!

If you’re into creative visualisation, then that’s also a great way to handle the nerves. Spend some time before the event visualising yourself being really successful. Whatever you do, have lots of positive self-talk with yourself.

Believe me; once you start to apply this, the butterflies in your stomach will all be flying in formation.

And, if you want to listen to this post:

If you want me to help you with your public speaking, give me a call or send me an email – go on, don’t be nervous!

+44 (0) 1383 306 391

+44 (0) 7506 578 306

alan@themotivationdoctor.com

 

 

3 Steps to Effective Cross-Cultural Communication

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Let me tell you a quick story. Some years ago when I first visited South East Asia as a Professional Speaker, I was Two businessmen in suits shaking hands and smiling.somewhat apprehensive about how I well I would communicate with people from totally different cultures. After all, I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. It was even a challenge at times, to communicate with people 150 miles away in Aberdeen, whose culture was slightly different from mine. So how would I communicate with people on the other side of the world?

I needn’t have been concerned because the people I met and spoke to in Singapore, Vietnam and Indonesia were much closer to me, in communication, than I had anticipated.

We need to understand the world

In this global economy, we all have to interact with suppliers, vendors and our counterparts in other cultures. Our effectiveness as cross-cultural communicators will be determined partly, by our knowledge of other cultures. Knowledge of food, art, fashion, behavior, customs, language and religion; all of this will stand us in good stead when we communicate with others. This knowledge can be gathered from books and other media; also from closely listening to and observing the people that we interact with.

We are all human

More importantly, our effectiveness as cross-cultural communicators will be determined by our emotional intelligence and human qualities.

Many business people seem to forget that when dealing with other people, they are dealing with human beings. Whatever culture these people have been raised and reside in, they still display human characteristics such as happiness, sadness, confidence, insecurities, desire for acknowledgement and acceptance of others. They experience anger and frustration, jealousy, fear of rejection, laziness and much more.

As humans, we are predominantly driven by our emotions when making decisions; whether to buy product or service or to accept what other people say.

When dealing with others, people will allow their emotions, rather than logic, to influence them.

Step 1 – Communicate on a Human and Business level.

When you work with suppliers, vendors, staff and customers; communication happens on two levels – the Human level and the Business Level. It is always better to open any interaction, be it written or verbal, on the Human Level before doing any business. This satisfies the individual’s need for acknowledgement, courteous treatment and acceptance of their viewpoints.

This does not mean that every time you interact with a supplier, a colleague or a customer, that you launch into some personal discussion. Opening on a Human Level can only take a couple of words, however, they have to be genuine.

The Business Level is about work related issues. If you interact with other people only on the Business Level, their needs on the Human Level will not be met and may get in the way of their ability to understand and respond positively to what you say.

When other people are angry or upset, they will demonstrate strong feelings. It is important to address these feeling on a Human Level or the business aspect may be disrupted and conflict will be created. You need to deal with the other person’s feelings, and then deal with their problem. When the business part of the interaction is completed, it is important to end on the Human Level

Step 2 – Get people to like you

Much of our success in cross-cultural communication will be determined by our ability to sell ourselves to others. Whether in our personal or working lives; people will judge us by what we say and what we do.

More importantly, this will be influenced by how likable we are. Likability is about being human; it’s about displaying warmth.

Warren Buffet, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, sometimes acclaimed as the world’s greatest investor, once said:

‘I’ve walked away from some great deals because I didn’t like the people I was dealing with.’

Likability in people will also be measured by their ability to really listen and be interested in others. Likable people use your name and look as if they care. We like people who have something positive to say and don’t whinge!

Likable people empathize with our problems and accept that we may have a different view of the world from them. Likability is demonstrated by a genuine smile, good eye contact, a sense of humor and relaxed open body language.

Step 3 – Be a credible communicator

When communicating with other people, and particularly when you’re trying to persuade them, the key ingredients are credibility and believability. Your credibility will be determined by the verbal, vocal and visual elements of your message.

If the words you say aren’t confirmed by your tone of voice and how you look, you won’t be believed. People will evaluate you (an average of 11 decisions within the first six seconds) based primarily on non-verbal information. We all tend to make snap judgements about other people, and often make mistakes – we stereotype.

So don’t fall into this trap when you meet other people, or speak to them on the phone. Also, be very aware, they will make decisions about you based on your tone of voice and body language.

Low self-esteem and self-image affect body language and tone of voice. People tend to make movements and display posture which indicates a lack of confidence. The people you communicate with, will sense from your tone of voice whether you are confident and believe in what you say.

If you don’t feel confident in a particular situation, act or pretend to be confident. Walk into a room as if you own the place. Pick up the phone and speak in a clear, confident and distinct manner.

You confidence and credibility will be determined by the self-talk that goes on inside your head.

Listen to that self-talk and ask yourself – ‘Is what I’m saying allowing me to be confident, positive and credible?’ If so – great! ‘Or is it holding me back and stopping me achieve my goals?’ If this is the case – STOP IT, change the program!

By talking to yourself in a positive manner, you’ll start to feel physically better; you’ll look better, sound more confident and credible. Words have an enormous power to create change in the chemistry of your body. Your heart rate, blood pressure, muscles, nerves and breathing will all react to the words you say to yourself and this will evident to other people.

‘Who you are speaks so loudly that I can’t hear what you’re saying’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Make no mistake about it, if you build your knowledge of other cultures and couple that with these 3 Steps, you will become an even more effective cross-cultural communicator.

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How to Get Your Message Across – Show How You Feel

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Do you ever get the impression that people are not really listening to you or understanding what you’re saying? It Managerdoesn’t matter if it’s face to face or in a more formal speech or presentation.

Most people are not particularly good listeners. They are easily distracted and interrupted by other stuff going on in their brain.

They might be tired, in a hurry, confused, physically uncomfortable, don’t understand your jargon, or maybe just thinking about what they will say next.

So if you want to get your message across, then it’s important to take into account all of these points. And it’s also important to ensure you are making the best of your speaking skills.

The problem is that, the words you use, although essential, can be contradicted by your tone of voice and your body language.

Many people are now familiar with the results of research conducted by Dr Albert Mehrabian. This tell us that the impact of a message is dependent 7% on the words we use, 38% on tone and a whacking great 55% on body language.

I’ve read articles that take issue with these figures, suggesting that words are more important and have greater impact than Dr Mehrabian suggests.

I wouldn’t be prepared to put any figures on these three aspects of communication, however, I am totally convinced that how you look and how you sound are far more important than what you say.

Recently I conducted a one to one training session in selling skills for a director of a small computer software company. A video camera was used to record this director’s sale pitch to a potential customer, a role played by me.

When I replayed this recording, my director client was horrified to watch his presentation. In his pitch he used words such as, ‘Young exciting company – staff with lots of enthusiasm for their product – lots of energy and passion for what they are doing.’

The only thing was that he, the person in the video, had about as much excitement, enthusiasm, energy and passion as a plate of cold porridge.

He was saying the words but they just weren’t convincing. He was dull monotone and boring, and he knew it. The good thing was, that once he’d realized it, he could do something about it.

On occasion people say to me. ‘I am as I am; I’m a quieter sort of person. I can’t leap up and down and get excited about something even though I feel it inside.’

My answer to these people is, ‘Don’t change your personality but do make a slight change to your behavior. Turn up the energy a little bit, put a bit more power in the enthusiasm, and warm up the passion just a tad more.

If you were to ask these same people about their football team, their children or their hobby, then just watch them get fired up or at least get a little bit warmer.

One quiet unassuming chap held me spellbound one day telling me about his hobby of beekeeping. It wasn’t so much what he was saying but how he was describing it. His eyes were shining, he was speaking quickly and he was using his hands to describe this subject which he had now made very interesting.

So if you want to get your message across to your employees, your customers or your colleagues, then show more of how you feel.

Other people will respond more to your feelings than to what you actually say.

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Speakers Need to Feel the Fear

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It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to 8646613779_8374bb1291_m1think that because I’ve been doing it for years, nervousness would no longer be an issue.

However nervousness is a normal human emotion and as I often say, ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!’

It’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success as a speaker.

Similarly, many sales people feel nervous or uncomfortable making cold calls, phoning for an appointment or following up an enquiry. Again, this is a normal response and most sales people feel this way.

One of the biggest fears for humans is the fear of rejection and we’ll do almost anything to avoid it. It stops people making speeches, contacting customers, asking for the order, or even asking someone out on a date.

Successful people feel the fear of rejection but they don’t allow it to paralyse them. They take action even although they feel uncomfortable. And of course, the more you do it the less uncomfortable you feel.

In the many challenges you face in life you won’t win them all but you must have the courage to try.

Remember; winners make mistakes but losers never do.

That’s because winners have the courage to try and they know they’ll make mistakes; however that’s how they learn and move forward.

 

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Don’t Read this if Business is Booming

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Is your business growing in 2013? Or is it standing still? Or, OMG! Is it going downhill?Red arrow on business graph

You can talk about market forces and the economy. Perhaps you can wait around until they improve. But if you do that, then at best, your business will stand still, and is more likely to go downhill.

You need more customers, clients, sales, and profits, and you need them now!

Finding new customers is a challenge we all face in business, and just as importantly, we need to hang onto the ones we have.

Your product or service must satisfy your customer’s needs in terms of technical specifications and price.

But that won’t guarantee you the sales and profits you need.

Much more importantly, you and your staff need to be, motivated and engaged. You need to hold onto the customers you have, motivate them to buy more from you, and also find new customers.

And you need the skills and talents to do this.

Listed below are twenty-four new seminars and learning events that will develop the skills and talents of business owners, managers, sales and customer service people. Attending these events will ensure that you and your staff have the skills to find new customers, sell more of your products or services and make more profit.

I’ve been in business since 1993 and I’ll tell you how I’ve been growing my business for the past twenty years.

535790_501835376551055_1941846866_n (1)

535790_501835376551055_1941846866_n (1) (Photo credit: motivationdoc)

The Events

  •  Motivational Leadership in 2013
  •  How to Build a Self-Motivating Team
  •  How to Pick the Best People for Your Team
  •  Communicating for Success
  •  Generate More Customers and win more Sales
  •  How to Deal with Difficult People
  •  Develop Your Talent as a Motivational Manager
  •  Learn the techniques of the Motivational Salesperson
  •  Become Expert in Dealing with Sales Resistance
  •  Discover the Cure for Cranky Customers
  •  Dealing with Customers on the Telephone
  •  How to Deliver Extraordinary Customer Service
  •  Simple Selling Skills that Get Results
  •  How to Motivate Customers to Buy
  •  Confident Speaking and Presenting
  •  The Power of Emotional Intelligence
  •  How to Make Sales and Love Selling
  •  How to Network and Make More Contacts
  •  Be a Winner with the Five Factors of Success
  •  How to Make Sales Appointments
  •  Choose to be Assertive
  •  How to be a Powerful Persuader
  •  Coach Staff to Deliver Results
  •  How to get Customers to Come to You

All of these events will be designed to meet the needs of your business and your staff.

They can be run as:

  • A Keynote Speech
  • One-hour Booster Shot Seminars
  • Half-day Mini Workshops for Maximum Results
  • One or Two day Workshops Developing Skills by Practise

You may be thinking – ‘What is it going to cost to train my staff?’

Perhaps you should be thinking – ‘What is it going to cost not to train my staff?

For more information, send an email to: askalan@themotivationdocotor.com

Or phone: +63 (0) 917 517 5191

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Feel the Fear

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It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to great danethink that because I’ve been doing it for years, nervousness would no longer be an issue.

However “nerves” is a normal human emotion and as I often say, ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous.’

However, it’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success as a speaker.

Similarly, many sales people feel nervous or uncomfortable making cold calls, phoning for an appointment, or following up an inquiry. Again, this is a normal response and most sales people feel this way.

One of the biggest fears for humans is the fear of rejection and we’ll do almost anything to avoid it. It stops people making speeches, contacting customers, asking for the order, or even asking someone out on a date.

Successful people feel the fear of rejection but they don’t allow it to paralyze them. They take action even although they feel uncomfortable. And of course, the more you do it the less uncomfortable you feel.

Fear is good, but only as long as you are aware of it and keep it under control; that’s what courage is all about.

In the many challenges you face in life you won’t win them all but you must have the courage to try.

I read somewhere that, winners make mistakes but losers never do.

That’s because winners have the courage to try and they know they’ll make mistakes; however that’s how they learn and move forward.

So, feel the fear and just do it!

To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, please go here

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10 Tips for Handling Public Speaking Questions

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How you handle questions from an audience can often be the deciding factor as to how your presentation is received. If you’re pitching for business, then it’s absolutely vital to handle questions well.

1. Be prepared for questions. When you write your presentation, think about what you’re likely to be asked and what your answer is going to be. Maybe you won’t want to answer a particular question there and then, so think about what you’ll say to satisfy the questioner.

2. Make it clear at the start. You may decide to take questions as you go or at the end of your presentation.

Whatever you decide, make it clear at the start and don’t change your mind.

I would suggest questions at the end in a short presentation; if you take questions as you go, then your timing will get knocked out.

And always remember, an audience won’t forgive you for taking half an hour when you were only scheduled to speak for fifteen minutes.

3. Never finish with questions. Far better to ask for questions five or ten minutes before the end, deal with the questions and then summarise for a strong finish. Too many presentations finish on questions and the whole thing goes a bit flat – particularly if you don’t get any.

4. Listen. When asked a question, listen and look like your listening. It may be something you’ve heard a million times before. Treat the questioner with respect and don’t trivialise their point.

5. Thank the questioner. It’s only polite, it shows respect and it gives you a bit more time to consider your answer.

6. Repeat the essence of the question. Some people may not have heard the question so your answer may not make any sense to them. It can also be irritating for them not to hear the question. Again, it gives you more time to think of the answer and it makes you look so clever and in control.

7. Answer to everyone. Don’t fall into the trap of only answering the questioner. If they happen to be near the front then you could end up having a conversation with them and exclude everyone else.

8. Keep it simple. When it comes to questions, many speakers have become more relaxed. The fact that someone is interested enough to ask them a question, leads them to go on too long with the answer. Don’t do it!

9. Don’t bluff or bluster. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so and find out. Suggest to the questioner that you’ll ‘phone them or come and see them with the answer. It can even be a good way to make further contact after the presentation.

10. Have a question of your own. It’s possible that you may not be asked any questions and you then have that awkward silence.

People may be thinking about what you’ve just said and may need more time before they ask. They may also be a bit shy and may take a few minutes to speak out. Why not have a question of your own prepared and say something like. “You may be asking yourself………?”

If you still fail to get any questions then go straight into your summary and closing statement.

Handling a question and answer session well, demonstrates your professionalism and reflects on your message.

The P’s and Q’s of Public Speaking

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Avoid the pain

Which would you prefer – root canal dental surgery without an anaesthetic or a bit of public speaking? According to the people who research these things, most of us would prefer the former.

Public speaking is still one of our greatest fears and it turns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The mere thought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes our internal plumbing to act up and our kneecaps to start knocking lumps out of each other.

The problem is that Public Speaking catches up with many of us at some time both in our business and personal life. You’re asked to do a short talk at Fred’s “leaving do”. The organisers of your business club want fifteen minutes on why you make “kafuffle” valves. A potential client wants a presentation on why they should give you the contract.

Of course there’s always the confident people who think ‘I’m really good at this, lead me to the podium.’ The only thing is that some of these people could bore your socks off and do more for insomniacs than the strongest sleeping pills.

Maybe you’ll be lucky enough to be sent on a Public Speaking course by your enlightened employer. But more likely, when asked to make a presentation you’ll get hold of a book on speaking, start writing the speech and lose sleep until the event.

Well, there’s no need for all of this because help is at hand. All you need to remember are your P’s and Q’s. Let’s start with the P’s

Preparation

When you sit down to write what you’re going to say, bear in mind who you’ll be speaking to. Will they understand what you’re talking about; will they understand the technical stuff and the jargon? If in doubt remember the old saying ‘Keep It Simple Stupid’. To quote Aristotle – ‘Think as the wise men do, but speak as the common man.’

Make sure that what you say has a beginning, middle and an end. Think of some anecdotes that help reinforce your story. People think visually so paint verbal pictures for your audience. And always remember, people want to know what’s in it for them – so make sure you tell them!

Place

Have a look at the venue before the event if you can. It’s not always possible, however, even if you get there half an hour before, you can check out where you’ll be speaking. Stand at the point where you will deliver from, imagine where the audience will be and check that they can see and hear you. You may even wish to place a glass of water where you’ll be able to find it.

Personal Preparation

Before any speaking event, think about what you are going to wear; when in doubt dress up rather than down. You can always take things off for a more casual look. Men could remove their jacket and their tie. Women could remove items of jewellery.

Part of your personal preparation should include some mouth and breathing exercises. Practise saying some tongue twisters to give your speaking muscles a good work out. Take a deep breath and expand your diaphragm. Then breathe out, counting at the same time, try and get up to fifty and not pass out.

As part of your personal preparation, write your own introduction. Write out exactly what you want someone to say about you, large font, double-spaced and ask the person introducing you to read it. Believe me they won’t object and will probably be pleased and impressed.

Poise and Posture

Whenever you’re called to speak, stand up or walk to the front quickly and purposefully. Pull yourself up to your full height, stand tall and look like you own the place. Before you start to speak, pause, look round your audience and smile. You may even have to wait until the applause dies down. Remember, you want the audience to like you, so look likeable. Practise this in front of a mirror or your family; I’ve heard that children make pretty good critics.

Pretend

I’m suggesting you pretend you’re not nervous because no doubt you will be. Nervousness is vital for speaking in public, it boosts your adrenaline, which makes your mind sharper and gives you energy. It also has the slight side effect of making you lighter through loss of body waste materials. The trick is to keep your nerves to yourself. On no account tell your audience your nervous, you’ll only scare the living daylights out of them if they think you’re going to faint.

Some of the tricks for dealing with nerves are:

Get lots of oxygen into your system, run on the spot and wave your arms about like a lunatic. It burns off the stress chemicals. Speak to members of your audience as they come in or at some time before you stand up. That tricks your brain into thinking you’re talking to some friends. Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. Stick cotton wool on your kneecaps so people won’t hear them knocking.

One word of warning – do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutch courage but your audience will end up thinking you’re speaking Dutch.

The Presentation

This is it, the big moment when you tell your audience what a clever person you are and have them leap to their feet in thunderous applause. Okay, let’s step back a bit – if you want their applause then you’re going to have to work for it. Right from the start your delivery needs to grab their attention.

Don’t start by saying – ‘Good morning, my name is Fred smith and I’m from Smith and Company.” Even if your name is smith, it’s a really boring way to start a presentation.

Far better to start with some interesting facts or an anecdote that is relevant to your presentation.

Look at the audience as individuals; I appreciate that this can be difficult when some of them are downright ugly. However it grabs their attention if they think you’re talking to them individually.

Talk louder than you would normally do, it keeps the people in the front row awake and makes sure those at the back get the message. Funnily enough, it’s also good for your nerves.

PowerPoint

As a professional speaker, I’m not that struck on PowerPoint. I feel that too many speakers rely on it and it takes over the presentation. After all, you’re the important factor here. If an audience is going to accept what you say then they need to see the whites of your eyes. There needs to be a big focus on you, not on the technology.

Use PowerPoint if you want but keep it to a minimum. Forget the pie charts, squiggly lines and other stuff that only you can understand. Use graphics and build a story around the pictures.

Why not get a bit clever at using the faithful old Flip Chart, lots of professionals do.

 Passion

This is what stops the audience in their tracks. This is what makes them want to employ you; to accept what you’re proposing and make them want you to marry their son or daughter. Couple this with some energy, enthusiasm and emotion and you have the makings of a great public speaker.

Just think of our old friend Adolph Hitler, boy could he move an audience to action. It’s just too bad he was selling something that wasn’t to everyone’s liking.

Give your presentation a bit of oomph and don’t start telling me – ‘I’m not that kind of person.’

There’s no need to go over the top, but you’re doing a presentation to move people to action, not having a cosy little chat in your living room.

That’s the P’s finished with so let’s look at the Q’s.

Questions

Decide when you’re going to take them and tell people at the start. In a short speech it’s best to take questions at the end. If you take them as you go then you may get waylaid and your timing will get knocked out.

Never – never – never finish with questions; far better to ask for questions five or ten minutes before the end. Deal with the questions and then summarise for a strong finish. Too many presentations finish on questions and the whole thing goes a bit flat.

When you’re asked a question, repeat it to the whole audience and thank the questioner. It keeps everyone involved, it gives you time to think and it makes you look so clever and in control.

Quit

Quit when you’re ahead. Stick to the agreed time; if you’re asked to speak for twenty minutes, speak for nineteen and the audience will love you for it. Remember, quality is not quantity.

One of the most famous speeches ever – “The Gettysburg Address”, by President Lincoln, was just over two minutes long.

Right, that’s my cue to quit when I’m ahead. Public Speaking will never be easy for most of us but we can all do it a whole lot better.

To listen to the Podcast of this article, or download it; please go here

To become a more confident Speaker and Presenter, attend our interactive workshop –

‘Present Like a Pro’

Send an email for more details – askalan@themotivationdoctor.com

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11 Tips for Using Humour in Public Speaking

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Tell me; are you good at telling jokes? I must be honest, I’m not so good, and I always forget the punch line. But I can tell funny stories; well, they make me laugh!

Using humour can bring a business presentation alive. But you obviously don’t want to over do it or use inappropriate humour. Have you ever heard your boss make a presentation, and tell a joke that makes your cringe?

Most of us are not professional comedians and often find it difficult to think of anything funny; so here are some tips:

  1. Draw on your personal experience and use anecdotes you think are funny
  2. Stick to short stories, not long rambling ones
  3. Avoid telling a joke unless you are particularly good at it
  4. Use humour only when you feel naturally funny
  5. Consider your audience; will they understand the humour
  6. Tailor the humour to your audience and the subject matter
  7. Timing is important, so practise, practise, practise
  8. Wait for the laughs; audiences need time to take it in
  9. Make sure that everyone can hear the punch line
  10. Don’t talk over the laughs
  11. If they don’t laugh, move on

There are many joke books for public speakers; buy any that suit you, but don’t use any of the jokes verbatim. Use what you read to stimulate some funny stories of your own. I like the books by Mitch Murray such as ‘One-Liners for Business’

And to break my own rule and quote one of his:

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again!

Unless you’re playing Russian Roulette!

Public Speakers Need Nerves

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Do you get nervous when you have to do any public speaking? It’s kind of a stupid question really, because most of us get the ‘nerves’ before a speaking event. It doesn’t matter if it’s a presentation to a client, or your colleagues, or an event in your personal life.

It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to think that because I’ve been doing it for years, nervousness would no longer be an issue.

However, ‘nerves’ is a normal human emotion and as I often say, “I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!” It’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success as a speaker.

Public speaking is still one of our greatest fears; it turns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The mere thought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes our internal plumbing to act up, and turns our knees to jelly.

The great actress Sarah Bernhardt once asked a young actress whether or not she suffered from nerves before she appeared on stage. “Oh no, Madame,” the young actress replied. “Well” Sarah Bernhardt said, “Don’t worry; it will come, along with talent.”

You need a cocktail

Nervousness is vital, you need nerves. Nerves release a cocktail of chemicals into your blood stream, one of which is adrenaline. This in turn releases glucose into the blood stream. This gives you more energy and your mind becomes sharper.
The thing is, not to overdose on these stress chemicals or you’ll start to shake like a jelly and overheat. You need to work off some of this cocktail.

Murray Walker the ex motor racing commentator used to run on the spot as fast as he could just before he went on air.

You could try that, or run up and down the stairs. Wave your arms about like a lunatic and get lots of oxygen into your system. Obviously it’s better to do this when no one is looking!

Some more tips

Speak to as many members of the audience as you can, before you stand up to speak. This tricks your brain into thinking you’re talking to lots of your friends.

Speak louder than you’d normally do, that helps the nerves as well. It also keeps the people in the front row awake, and makes sure the people at the back get the message.

Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. Don’t be afraid to stop and have a drink, it makes you look really professional. However, one word of warning; do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutch courage but your audience will end up thinking you’re speaking Dutch!

Creative visualisation is a great way to handle the nerves. Spend some time before the event, sit quietly, visualise yourself being really successful, and the audience cheering and throwing money.

Of course, the only real way to improve your Public Speaking Skills and minimise the nerves, is to attend one of my seminars and throw money at me.

So don’t be nervous; get in touch, and I’ll soon have the butterflies in your stomach flying in formation.

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