Communication

Press Release: Diane DiResta to Speak at Financial Executives International

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

New York, NY. October 11, 2018

Diane DiResta, CSP, author of Knockout Presentations, and Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, a New York City consultancy, will be the featured speaker at FEINYC, Financial Executives International in New York City.

As a professional speaker and executive speech coach Ms.DiResta will speak about Influential Leadership: How to Communicate with Impact and Influence.

Today’s CFOs and Financial Executives must be able to command attention, influence analysts and stakeholders, and deliver a message with lasting impact.
 
In this interactive program attendees will learn communication skills of top leaders and how they:

  • Create presence on the platform to command the room

  • Get to the point to deliver a clear message

  • Speak with confidence and exude authority

As in all her presentations, the audience will leave with practical takeaways that can be applied immediately to enhance leadership communication.

The evening will end with networking and a booksigning of the newly released 3rd edition of Knockout Presentations.

About Diane DiResta
Diane DiResta, CSP, is Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, Inc., a New York City consultancy serving business leaders who deliver high stakes presentations— whether one-to-one, in front of a crowd or from an electronic platform. DiResta is the author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch, and Pizzazz, an Amazon.com category best-seller and widely-used text in college business communication courses and author of the ebook, Give Fear the Finger. She has unique ability to get to the core of the message and translate complexity into simplicity.

Diane is Past President of the NYC chapter of National Speakers Association and former media trainer for the NBA and WNBA. Diane is a Certified Speaking Professional and licensed Speech Pathologist.

About FEI NYC

The Chapter is the premier organization for financial executives in New York City. The Chapter promotes the fellowship and interaction among its members and has active programs to enhance their professional knowledge and qualifications.

Since 1933, the FEI NYC Chapter has been successfully connecting Financial Professionals in the New York City metro area providing a truly unique forum to meet at live events (most of which carry CPE), attend general peer-to-peer networking events or webinars, gain access to the rest of the 10,000 FEI members, benefit from advocacy efforts, research, and career center.

FEI NYC strives to provide its Membership with unique opportunities to facilitate or cultivate the development and furthering of the Finance profession at many levels.

From robust programming and professional networking activities to our mentoring relationship with the students attending local colleges, nearly every FEI NYC activity will provide an opportunity for you, the Financial Professional, to either get what you need or share what you know. FEI NYC functions as a 501c(6).

The Neuroscience of Instant Confidence

Whether speaking in front of a group, a high stakes meeting, or a difficult conversation, we've all faced situations that cause anxiety. Whenever we feel threatened, the lower, primitive brain gets triggered and can hijack the logical brain. 

7 Ways to Build Trust on the Platform

If you sound scripted or slick, your audience will begin to distrust you or your message. In these difficult and uncertain times, the ability to build and communicate trust is absolutely critical.

Guest Blog Post: 5 Ways to Create an Exciting Learning Experience to Keep Your learners Engaged

Eager to keep your students engaged? Rest assured that with the utilization of the latest learning tools, you are going to be able to achieve this target. Guest Blogger, Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education.

Press Release: DiResta Speaks to Military Women Veterans at Operation Reinvent

Diane DiResta, CSP, author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch and Pizzazz, and Founder and CEO of DiResta Communications, a New York City consultancy, was invited to speak to military women veterans at the Operation Reinvent event. The event was a live webcast from NYC to Fort Bragg, North Carolina and Fort Hood, Texas.
The mission of Operation Reinvent is to prepare military women for transition to civilian life.

15 Tips to Master Video Presentations

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video-presentationWhat do today's business presenters have in common with television anchors? They both have broadcasting skills. With youtube being the number two search engine and companies demanding online learning, public speaking has gone digital. According to Business Insider 2014, “About 50 million people in the U.S. now watch video on their mobile phone."  Public speakers who shun the camera will be left behind. The first step to being a master presenter is to understand the difference between in- person speaking versus video presentations. Here are a few tips for speaking in a digital media world:

  1. A video recorded presentation is one way communication. That means you can’t read the audience and pivot in the moment to meet their needs. So it takes a lot of preparation to deliver a compelling message and provide value to your target audience.
  2. In the case of teleconferencing, appoint a facilitator at each site to manage the technology and to facilitate the meeting. Be aware of delay time and plan for it by practicing longer pauses. Pause and silently count to four. That will allow enough time for the speaker to finish and for the listeners to hear the last word.
  3. Know the time zone of your audience. It may be 8:00 a.m. in New York, but if it’s 2:00 p.m. in Amsterdam you don’t want to start the meeting with “Good morning”.
  4. Display a visual agenda. People need a roadmap and it will keep the meeting or presentation focused.
  5. Have a back-up plan. Be able to continue by telephone if the video fails. It’s a good idea to do a test drive of the technology 15 minutes before the presentation. As a hedge, send the PowerPoint deck in advance.
  6. Make love to the lens. People don’t know where to look when speaking on skype. When you look directly at the caller, they see you looking down and you lose that eye connection. Try this instead: When speaking to them, look directly at the webcam. When you are listening, look at the caller.It’s uncomfortable speaking to a camera; yet that’s exactly what the presenter needs to do during webcasts and media interviews. In live presentations the presenter feeds off the audience reaction. With video, the presenter imagines the lens is a person. It’s important to maintain a steady gaze. If your eyes are darting you’ll be perceived as nervous or untrustworthy. And practice smiling and talking. Broadcasters do this easily. A serious delivery will weaken the likability factor.
  7. Video is an energy drain. There is an exchange of energy between a speaker and an audience. When that energy is strong, it’s palpable. That’s not the case with video. As a result, you won’t convey energy the way you do in a live performance. For that reason, you need to pump up your performance on video. In a video the presenter can easily come across as flat. Push your energy higher than normal to have the same intensity level when you’re live and in person.
  8. Minimize gestures. Wide, sweeping hand movements are distracting on video. Use fewer and smaller gestures. If seated, sit with both feet on the floor and lean forward at a 15 degree angle. Place both hands on the table. This is a confident speaking and listening position. You’ll be perceived as confident and it will stabilize you. Avoid excessive head nodding and jerky movements.
  9. You are always on stage. If someone else is speaking, chances are you are still in view. Be careful about sloppy behaviors such as slouching, looking at your phone, side talking or looking bored. The presentation isn’t over until the camera is off.
  10. You’ll look heavier on video. Video is two dimensional which flattens the presenter. I once was videotaping a client for a presentation. It was amazing that when I looked at her directly she appeared slim. When I looked through the camera lens she looked heavier.To manage the widening effect, dress for the camera.Remember that light colors enhance and dark colors diminish. A client of mine was unhappy with her video because she thought she looked heavy. She was wearing a boxy white jacket which gave her a wide appearance. We did a make-over. This time she wore a tapered navy blue jacket which had a slimming effect.Another way to look thinner on video is to stand at a ¾ angle with your hips back. If you’re in a close-up, drop your forehead slightly to avoid a double chin.
  11. Wear the right colors. White and black are not good colors for video. White creates glare. It’s better to wear off-white or pearl grey. Icy pastel colors look washed out on camera and are not a good choice. Red can bleed or look muddy. A better choice is burgundy. Avoid stripes and large bold patterns. You’ll look like a TV test pattern. When in doubt, blue is a good choice for video. It films well and psychologically blue means trustworthy, conservative, stable.
  12. Lighting is key. While lighting is important in a live performance, harsh lighting won’t be as damaging. On video, fluorescent lightening will highlight lines and shadows in the face and can also hurt the eyes. Use soft lighting that flatters your face.
  13. Choose the backdrop carefully. When doing a video presentation always ask about the backdrop. If you’re filming from home, make sure you don’t have messy papers stacked up behind you. If you’re filming off-site, choose clothing that will work with the backdrop. Early in my career I was being filmed for a speaker showcase.  I asked the producer if my fuchsia suit would televise well. He said yes. Unfortunately. I asked the wrong question. I should have asked “What color is the backdrop?” When I arrived I found myself in front of an orange curtain. The fuchsia suit bled into the orange and looked terrible on film. This wouldn’t have been an issue in a live presentation.
  14. You cannot be boring. Engagement is crucial.You have 5-10 seconds to grab attention in a video presentation. The key to success in video presentations is good storytelling and a highly targeted audience who will appreciate the value. Being boring is deadly in any venue. A live audience will show more tolerance by listening longer. If your video presentation is boring the viewer will click off instantly. A video presentation needs to have greater engagement. A measure of engagement, is how many people watch the entire video. According to Industry standards, a 15-20% complete viewing of a 2 minute video is considered a good engagement rate. That means most viewers are not watching the complete video.
  15. The day of the talking head is over.To increase engagement, keep a fast pace. You need to keep the video moving. Add slides and images while you are speaking. Fly in bullet points as you speak. Keep the presentation brief. If it’s a formal speech aim for no more than 18-20 minutes. Sales presentations need to be crisp, engaging, fast moving, and brief.In my own experiment, I noticed that every time I reached for the fast forward knob, the picture would change. This happened continually as if the videographer was reading my mind. Intrigued, I started to look at the time. The frames were changing every four seconds-the same time I wanted to fast forward.

If you’re not producing video presentations you’re leaving money on the table. Your digital footprint is now an important part of your personal brand. Interviewers are asking for videos. LinkedIn now allows videos to be added to profiles. Video is the ultimate selling tool. It addresses the know, like, trust factor.

Video is not going away. To be current, you need to master video presentations.

How to Give a Eulogy When You're Not a Public Speaker

Linda BaileyWhat do you do when a loved one dies and you're the person to give the eulogy? Last weekend I attended the memorial service of my friend, Linda who lost her battle to lung cancer at the age of 63. Memorial services are usually bittersweet. The service was beautifully inspiring and sad at the same time. The tributes from her sorority sisters gave an insight into her personality and the reader of her legacy left a powerful impression of Linda's contribution of the world. The soloist sang Linda's favorite song with feeling and his voice filled up the room with love.

The preacher read a passage from the Bible and eloquently spoke about Job, He told us that we had not lost anything. That Linda had been given to us as a gift and we shared that gift for 63 years. His sermon and his delivery were inspiring, uplifting, and impassioned.

While the preacher was a trained public speaker, the day may come when you are tapped to give the eulogy. You don't have to be experienced in public speaking to be effective. Here are six tips to remember when memorializing a loved one's life:

Develop a Time Line. If you don;t know where to begin, draw a horizontal line on your paper and mark down significant events or memories. It can be in 5 or 10 year intervals or any time frame that works.

Discover a Theme. Once you look at the timeline, you may see trends or stories that can be folded into a them. Ex. You always did it your way. You always went the extra mile.

Sequence your Ideas.Next, organize the most important and meaningful events and stories in a sequence that flows and is easy to follow. Don't give a biography of the person's entire life. Keep it brief.

Keep it Positive. Don't dwell on the failings or negative times unless it culminates in a story of the hero's journey. Interjecting humor can help lighten the atmosphere.Talk about the deceased in a positive light but do be genuine. What contributions did the departed make? How did the loved one make people feel? How would that person want to be remembered?

Speak from the Heart. It's fine to use a script or notes, however; tell stories. Don't sound like you're reading a text. If you knew the person, share your experience. Relive the moments and events and give people a sense of the person. And it's okay to cry. Have people nearby and take a minute to compose yourself and continue. The audience will understand.

Bury your Fear. Put your focus on telling the person's story and not on your nervousness.Jerry Seinfeld said it best when he quipped, "Most people would rather be in the casket than giving the eulogy." Remember it's not about you.It's about them.

What a Cashier Taught Me about Presentations

shield-728532__180I went to the supermarket to pick up a few items. Not wanting to wait in line, I found a cashier who was without customers. She had her back turned as she was shuffling a deck of coupons. I approached her and stood there expecting her to stop what she was doing to serve me. She did not. She continued to organize the coupons and never said a word to me or attempted to make eye contact. She placed a rubber band around the coupons, put them in the drawer and without saying a word, started to ring up the two items.

It was like I wasn't there.

Viewing this as an experiment in communication, I said nothing. Neither did she. After ringing up the groceries she spoke for the first time. "$6.07, " she said. As I was digging for change she turned and talked to the other cashiers. I paid the bill and left. Talk about feeling invisible.

Yes, she was a young person being paid minimum wage but that's not an excuse for being rude. (Although I doubt that was her perception). I've had friendlier and more helpful service from others in her position. It made me think about what was being communicated by this cashier. By not acknowledging that I was standing in front of her I felt ignored and not valued as a customer. She had no idea of the impact of her silence and lack of friendliness. By not greeting a customer and avoiding eye contact, she tarnished the brand of the store. There was little difference between doing business with her and scanning my own groceries in the self service line. I left with a negative feeling about the supermarket although I've shopped there many times.

My husband reminded me that he doesn't like going to our local Thai restaurant even though the food is good and inexpensive. He dislikes the waitress who doesn't smile and looks annoyed all the time. He calls her "a pill". Think about it. He doesn't want to eat where the food is good because he doesn't like her attitude. She non-verbally communicates that the customers are an annoyance to her. She's creating a negative feeling.

How often do we minimize soft skills in the business world? Something as seemingly basic as greeting a person or making eye contact can have a big impact. It's part of your presentation. In graduate school, I waited tables at a  New York City fast food restaurant in the middle of Times Square. (That's another story). I quickly learned the ROI of interpersonal skills. A greeting, friendly tone, and a smile could yield a better tip.

There's a barista at my local Starbucks named Gus. He remembers everyone's name. When I walk in the store, he starts making my green tea because he knows my order. Gus makes customers feel special and I always ask for him.

So the point is this. We are always presenting ourselves and the organization we represent. McDonald's understands this. Every entry level worker greets each customer by looking at them and saying "Welcome to McDonalds". They are well trained because the company recognizes that communication impacts their brand. It's the intangibles that drive the tangible. The next time you have a meeting or presentation, be fully present, acknowledge the other person and whatever your topic, serve it up with a smile.

Public Speaking is Going to the Dogs

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hunting-dogs-800845_960_720It's the Dog Days of August and public speaking is going to the dogs - in a good way. Animals, especially dogs, have been used in pet therapy programs for years. Research shows that pets can help lower blood pressure, and reduce anxiety. Bonnie Auslander, who specializes in business communication, decided to use dogs to help reduce public speaking anxiety in front of an audience. Knowing that dogs are successfully used in pet therapy, Auslander applied the idea to speaking anxiety. The sessions were part of a pilot program at American University. They recruited 12 canines who were chosen for their calm personalities. Nervous business students were paired with a friendly dog.

Did it work? The evidence was anecdotal. The students reported that looking at dogs made them smile.

True confession: When I was starting out as a public speaker, I would place stuffed animals in chairs and would practice my speech as well as my eye contact. The only downside was when my husband walked into the room and saw me talking to a bunch of chairs.

The idea was to mentally remove the negative image of a scary audience and to replace it with something or someone who is accepting.

While we don't know if this experiment in reducing speech anxiety will transfer to a human audience, it can't hurt. The dogs allow the public speakers to "feel the love", and it's a win win. The public speaker reduces anxiety and the canines get undivided attention.

So I guess it's true. Every dog has it's day.

 

The Fear Worse Than Public Speaking

freedom-of-speech-156029__180Public speaking is not the top fear. Don't get me wrong. I work with clients all the time to build their confidence so that they can express their ideas. Speaking enables leaders to influence, build relationships, and advance their careers. It's one of the most powerful business and personal skills with far reaching impact. But public speaking fear is a temporary obstruction. It can be overcome. However, there is another fear that is much greater. It's slowly creeping into our culture.

It's the loss of freedom of speech.

Today, as we celebrate Independence Day, I heard a disturbing report on a television news segment. The University of North Carolina published a guidebook for employees on how to avoid micro aggression. They listed words that should not be used in conversation. Here are a few:

Don't say:

  • Christmas Vacation because it could insult someone who practices a different religion
  • Wife/Girlfriend or Husband/Boyfriend because it discriminates against other sexual preferences. (So do I deny I'm married ?)
  • Round of Golf because some people can't afford to play (Have they not heard of municipal courses?)
  • I Love Your Shoes because that's discriminating against women. (I have never met a woman who was insulted when I complimented her shoes).

ARE THEY KIDDING? What kind of craziness is this? Who could take this seriously? What great material for Saturday Night Live.

I certainly don't mean to single out UNC. There are other universities that actually have designated free speech zones. REALLY? The first amendment of the Bill of Rights grants freedom of speech not in geographic zones but everywhere. The purpose was to limit the power of  government and now we have universities telling us what we can say.

The comedian, Jerry Seinfeld stopped performing at colleges because he got tired of political correctness. Where is our sense of humor?

Whoever controls language controls thought. And that's scarier than any fear of speaking in public. This July 4th, let's give thanks for freedom of speech and have the confidence to speak out.

Happy July 4th !

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Public Speaking in Soundbites

Are you able to get to the point? Do you know how to speak in soundbites? Speaking in soundbites help your message land. I created a video book of public speaking soundbites from a recent presentation:

How many times have you heard a presentation only to have your eyes glaze over? The speaker takes too long to get to the point and your brain simply shuts off. Overtalking is deadly when trying to get approval for an idea or when selling your product or service.

And it happens in networking meetings.People deliver a verbal resume instead of an elevator pitch. By the time it's the last person's turn it's time to go home. What many people don't understand about public speaking and clarity is that less is more. Some public speakers give so much detail that the listeners need a machete to cut through all the verbal weeds. To avoid going down a rabbit hole and losing your audience forever, try speaking in soundbites instead.

A soundbite is a short sentence or phrase that is easy to remember. I media train clients who have television interviews to speak in soundbites.The goal of a media interview is to provide "quotable quotes" that contain your message points. Soundbites make the message memorable.

Contrast these two messages:

"You need to learn to be a better speaker because you'll have to go on interviews and sell your ideas and there is a lot of competition and it will be harder to get the job or get promoted if other people speak better and you don't sound confident or clear, or concise so you should practice or take classes so you're not left behind."

"Speaking is the new competitive advantage"

Which do you remember? Which can you repeat?

So when it comes to communication and making the message land, Less is More.

What's your favorite sound bite? Comment below.

Six Sloppy Speech Habits

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You may look like a million but if you want to close a big sale, gain approval from a co-op, or interview for a board position, looks aren’t everything. How you sound is equally as important. But many presenters let careless speech habits sink their chances of making a positive impression and reaching their goals. Here are six common speaking mistakes and how to keep them from sabotaging your presentation success.  Watch the video and read Diane’s tips below.

https://youtu.be/1geJXMFCfF8

1. Non-words:

Filler words such as “um,” “ah,” “you know”, “OK” or “like” tell the listener you’re not prepared and make you sound like a Valley Girl (or Boy). A better strategy is to think before you speak, taking pauses and breaths when you lose your train of thought. Everybody utters an occasional “um,” but don’t start every sentence with fillers or non-words.

2. "Up-talk":

A singsong or rising inflection at the end of every sentence creates a tentative impression and makes it sound as though you’re asking a question instead of making a definitive statement. You need to speak with conviction when selling yourself in a presentation. Bring your intonation down when ending a sentence to avoid talking up.

3. Grammatical Errors:

The listener may question your education when you use incorrect grammar or slang. Expressions such as “ain’t” “she don’t,” “me and my friend” and “Shoulda went” aren’t appropriate. Be sure you speak in complete sentences and that your tenses agree. The presentation is not the venue for regional expressions or informality.

4. Sloppy Speech:

Slurring words together or dropping the endings of words will impair the clarity of your message. To avoid slurring and increase clarity, speak slowly during a meeting or presentation. Make a list of commonly mispronounced words, and practice saying them into a recorder before the presentation. Some commonly mispronounced words include “aks” for “ask,” “ath a lete” for “athlete,” “thee ATE er” for “theater”, and “dree” for “three.”

5. Speed Talking:

While everybody is a bit anxious when giving a speech or presentation, you don’t want your information to fly by like a speeding bullet. A rapid speaking rate is difficult to follow, and speed talkers are perceived as nervous. Slow down your racing heart by doing some breathing exercises before the meeting. To avoid rushing, listen to the question, and then count two beats in your head before answering. When you finish a sentence, count two beats again before continuing. Don’t be afraid of silence. Embrace it. Pausing is an effective communication technique. The listener needs a few seconds to process what you just said.

6. Weak Speak:

Wimpy words modify or water down your conviction and undermine your position. When you pepper a conversation with “hopefully,” “perhaps,” “I feel,” “kind of” and “sort of,” the message you convey is a lack of certainty. Use power words such as “I’m confident that,” “my track record shows,” “I take the position that,” “I recommend” or “my goal is.” The language you use gives the listener an impression about your level of confidence and conviction.

The Bottom Line

You don’t have to study elocution to speak well. Simply slow down, take time to pronounce all the syllables, and leave the slang at home.

This article is also published on The Three Tomatoes, The Insider's Guide for Wwomen who aren't kids.

 

Boring to Brilliant Public Speaking: Make Dry Topics Dynamic

actor-666499__180There are no boring topics-only boring speakers. Just about every audience and coaching client has heard me make that statement about public speaking. Recently, a client proved my theory at a corporate conference. He and his team were charged with creating a panel presentation to introduce the new compliance directives and expectations. Are you falling asleep yet? If you were a public speaker would you be panicking about how to keep people's attention? Unless the topic of compliance is your passion, or you're a trained actor, you'd be wondering how on earth you could possibly make this subject dynamic and interesting. But they did! Here's how:

The presenters wrapped a Star Wars theme around compliance. The presentation began with a Star Wars- like graphic slide complete with music and scrolling text.They substituted compliance terms into the text about the challenges of the galaxy.

After the slide faded to dark, the presenters walked on stage. When the lights went up the audience saw the panelists standing with lasers. The moderator walked center stage and spoke his opening line directly to the audience. But wait. There was more.

As the panelists were seated, the moderator looked around in surprise One of the panelists was missing. After much curiosity, the last panelist entered as Princess Leia dressed in white. She appeared as an imaginary hologram portending the future and then left the stage. She returned as herself and took her seat. By this time the audience was laughing, engaged, and revved up.

The panel discussion continued smoothly as the audience was truly primed to listen. Midway during the panel, to avoid any monotony, the panel called  R2D2, complete with sound effects in one of the slides. The moderator then announced a Question and Answer session.

And.just when you thought it was safe to be boring, the first questioner turned out to be Darth Vader in costume. He caused a commotion with his comments and his laser and was quickly escorted out by "security". The panel ended on a high note I'm sure it will be talked about for some time to come.

So what can we learn from this creative approach to a dry topic?

Wrap a dry topic in a dynamic, familiar theme. Movie and book titles are good sources for ideas.

Use music and sound effects to create excitement and emotion. This is especially potent when the audience recognizes a theme song. It can be as brief as a chorus or refrain.

Create visual interest. Props, graphics, and costumes are an alternative to slides. A prop can be a dollar bill or it can be people from the audience. The idea is to stimulate all the senses.

Trigger the element of surprise. The audience was not expecting Princess Leia and Darth Vader to appear in the audience. A simple magic trick or quick poll can be the source of the unexpected or unknown.

Leverage technology. Presenters don't have to rely exclusively on PowerPoint. Videotape an interview or talk to a remote site using live streaming.

Have fun. What made a boring topic exciting is that the presenters were having fun. Nothing engages an audience like laughter. When you're having fun, you abandon fear and become fully present in the moment and with the audience.

And that means never being boring again.

10 Steps to Confidence

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Why do we spend years on developing competence when research proves that CONFIDENCE trumps COMPETENCE? Because we falsely believe that it's our smarts and not our hearts that get us to the top. So how do you learn confidence?  Here are 10 steps to confidence.

  1. Clear. Get clear about who you are as a person and get clear about your presentation outcome. Clarity is the first step to confidence. Focus on your message and establish a benchmark for achieving your presentation outcome.
     
  2. Other-Centered. Nervousness is self-centeredness. Turn your attention away from you and toward your audience. Ask, "How can I serve them?" "How can I make them comfortable." Do a deep dive into the minds of your listeners. When you profile your audience, you'll speak their language, create rapport, and you'll feel more prepared.
     
  3. Natural. There is only one you. You have your own unique style. Don't set out to give a presentation. Be conversational and be yourself. If you're not funny, don't tell a joke. Share something personal and the audience will relate to you.
     
  4. Free from Judgment. Eliminate your need for perfection and stop" shoulding" on yourself. Monitor your self-talk. When you begin the presentation, imagine success. When you finish the presentation, give yourself credit for the things you did well. Confidence develops over time and in a positive atmosphere. Mohammed Ali said "I am the greatest," before he was ever a champion
     
  5. Improvise. Public speakers who are wedded to their scripts can be easily caught off guard if they lose their place or if there is a technical glitch. Learning to improvise will boost your confidence. When disaster strikes  embrace it instead of freezing in place. Prepare your recovery strategy with ad-lib lines.
     
  6. Design. Confident delivery sits on well-designed structure. Confidence begins before you ever open your mouth. It starts with good organization. Good structure will keep you focused and on message, And your audience will be able to follow your points.
     
  7. Enthusiastic Enthusiasm sells. When you're excited, you forget your nervousness. Speak from your passion and you'll find your energy increases. Raise your energy by doing something physical. Move around the room. Get louder. Use more gestures.Enthusiasm is contagious and your audience will be excited along with you.
     
  8. Network. Do you feel like the naked speaker up there all alone? To gain confidence network before you speak. Get to the room early and practice. As people enter, greet each person with a smile and a handshake. By the time it's your turn to speak you'll be in the company of friends.
     
  9. Concise. A speech can quickly unravel if the speaker gets stuck in the weeds of details. To feel confident, get to the point. Create crisp message points and build examples around each point. Instead of rolling their eyes, the audience will hang on your every word.
     
  10. Engaging. It's hard to feel confident when you're a talking head. Give fewer facts and tell more stories. Why are stories so powerful? Stories draw the audience in,  break down resistance and entice them open to your message. Stories make your message memorable. And here's the bonus point.. A story has a natural sequence so you don't have to worry about losing your train of thought. Simply tell the story. Be in the story and your audience will be engaged.

First Impressions (by Kathy McShane) Guest Blogger

McShane book_First Impressions impact all pubic speaking and communication. Read about First Impressions in an Excerpt from The Survivor’s Guide for Female Entrepreneurs, by Guest  Blogger  Kathy McShane We only have one chance to make a first impression. And that first impression can mean everything as you set out to make your mark in the business world. According to mindtools.com, a website providing free career skills and management techniques, it takes just a quick glance – maybe three seconds – for someone to evaluate you when you first meet, and this first impression is unlikely to change. So it’s important to think about the impression you want to leave. After all, as a small business owner, you are the face of your business.

When making that all-important first impression, keep these ideas in mind:

Body language speaks volumes. People you meet for the first time will pay as much attention to your body language as they will to your words. In fact, you’ll be judged by your body language before you even open your mouth. Be sure to uncross your arms and have an easy, ready smile at all times. Straighten your posture and offer a strong handshake.

Dress for the occasion. Find out what the “dress code” is at the location where you’ll be meeting people and plan appropriately. Choose an outfit that will complement your personality, boost your confidence and feel comfortable. Don’t wear a suit if you’re visiting a high-tech company, and don’t wear blue jeans to a bank. One business owner, hoping to seal a $24 million deal, was in competition with two other groups. The potential client told them all to dress in summer casual. The two competitors dressed in pinstriped suits. Guess who got the deal?

Be in the moment. Pay attention to the people you are meeting. Greet them with a firm handshake, look them in the eye and smile. Repeat their names as a way of remembering. Before going into the meeting or event, turn off digital devices.

Be engaged. Become immediately engaged in your discussion with the other person. Make sure to mention his or her name at least once during your conversation. This shows that you are interested and that you’ve paid attention.

Don’t interrupt. Unfortunately, people talk over each other and interrupt all the time. It may have to do with the digital age that we live in, which makes us feel that everything has to be responded to immediately. It’s easy to text or email while the other person is doing the same; in effect, you are engaged with your device and not with the person. When you are meeting someone face to face, however, be sure the other person is finished speaking before you begin to add to the conversation. Allow yourself to take a breath and process the previous comments. The silence may seem like forever, but it’s usually only a few seconds.

Throughout our journey as entrepreneurs, we will meet a lot of people and make many connections. And every connection gives us only one chance to make a great first impression. Be sure to make the most of it!

3 Magic Words that Kill Public Speaking Fear

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magic lampDid you ever wonder if there was an Aladdin's Lamp for public speaking? All you would need to do is ask the Genie for the magic words to eliminate fear of public speaking or performance anxiety. Just like the eternal search for the fountain of youth, people still yearn for that elixir, potion, or formula that will make their nervousness vanish. What I've discovered is that the words you speak have the power to transform how you think. It's not what you say but how you think about your fear. A number of years ago I spoke to a group of company leaders. They, like everyone else, were nervous about public speaking. At one point I looked them straight in the eye and made a statement. After the training seminar, people told me that those words were very powerful and changed how they thought about public speaking.

Fast forward to a coaching client who was afraid to speak up in her class. She even thought about dropping out of law school because she was so nervous about public speaking. I told her the same thing I told every public speaker. And then it happened. She started to think differently after I shared those famous words with her. She graduated from law school and went on to give presentations without fear.

Most recently, a former client called me for a refresher. She told me her manager noticed a big improvement in her presentation and the way she interacted with clients. He offered her the refresher coaching session to prepare for their upcoming high stakes presentation. During the meeting, my client shared with me that the words I said to her truly changed how she thought about presentations and public speaking. Are the words really magical? No! The words themselves contain nothing magical. What the words did was reframe the way people were thinking about their fear. They were viewing public speaking through a negative frame and that triggered anxiety.

Even though I'm a seasoned professional speaker, I found myself getting nervous the day before a presentation. It was a 10 minute spotlight for the National Speakers Association. I confided to my friend that I was a nervous wreck. I couldn't wait for it to be over. My friend grabbed me by the shoulders and said, "Diane, don't do that to yourself. You're not nervous. You're energized." So I went home and recited my new mantra: "I'm energized. I'm energized." The next morning I gave my speech and it was a success. Words do make a difference.

The 3 magic words have made an impact on so many people. I think it is time I share them with you. So what are the 3 Magic Words that help people face their fear?

"It's About Them."

When I speak to audiences of nervous presenters, I tell them, "Get over yourself. It's not about you. It's about them." What they've come to realize is that at the very core of public speaking nervousness is a feeling of being self-centered. That's right. If you focus on the fear, you're thinking about yourself. If you think about what the audience wants and needs, you're coming from a place of service.

Language reflects thought. Change your language and you'll change your thinking. The next time anxiety occupies your mind, change your focus. Tell yourself, "It's about them."

What have you said to yourself to change your thinking?