Saturday, 25 January 2014

What;s going on in your head when you speak?

Hi all,
Today I am focusing on the voice in the head and how it can help you or hinder you when you speak.

Are you aware of the voice? What is it saying to you? Do you listen to it? If it is saying anything negative, especially about what the audience may be thinking about you, it is likely to put you off what you are saying. Some people even go blank.

Now if this is you, you are likely to be more nervous and self conscious than you need to be. If, on the other hand, you focus on what you want to share with them, instead of what they are thinking of you, you are likely to remember everything and sound and look very natural.

Indeed, the way to harness the voice in your head, positively, the way to do it is to accept that  you are an expert or at least more knowledgeable than most of the people in the room. You should be. Either you have been asked to speak on that topic or you have practised until you do sound and look confident.

The other thing that can muck up the voice in the head is the thought of questions. This fear can be overcome by anticipating what you will be asked and practising answering the questions. You can even ask a colleague to ask you what you might be asked and to get that person to listen to your answers.If you really do get a question you cannot answer, don't fluff. Just say you will get back to them and get their details.

Finally the voice in your head can also be your friend. If you keep telling yourself that you like speaking publicly, and you practise heaps (13 times, as if you are in the venue), your voice in the head can be your friend. Focus on what the audience has come to hear and not what they may be thinking of you, and your speech will be successful.

Monday, 6 January 2014

The Power of the pause

Happy New Year to all of you,
Today I am focusing on the power of the pause. The main reason I am doing this is because most nervous or inexperienced speakers do not pause enough or use the pause to their advantage.They often just want to get the speech over with and cannot see that their audience is missing some or even all of their message as it is being too fast for them to take in.

We already know, from previous blogs that you need to speak at about 120 words per minute. Today, I want to point out when, why and how to pause for effect. The main thing is to pause long enough for your audience to take in what you are saying. Also, pause  long enough to allow you to breathe. Also, if you need to look at your notes, that is a great time to pause.

If you pause between points for about three seconds, your audience will realise that you are moving onto another point. Although you will signal and signpost this shift by telling   them that you are making another point or changing focus.

The main advantage of pausing is that it makes your audience sit up and listen. Why have you stopped? What is next? What are you doing? You could be looking at your notes, changing a slide or pausing for effect. What ever your reason, if t is deliberate and well timed, it will enhance your presentation.

So, do not be afraid of pauses. They are helpful. They give your audience time to take in what you have said, to think about what you have said, to picture the images you have painted. It may seem a long time to you. But the more you do it, the easier it will become and you will even enjoy the moments of since you have created.