I’d be greatly surprised if you haven’t sat through at least one – or perhaps a dozen – online meetings in the past fifteen months. We all hurriedly jumped online in an effort to carry on with life during Covid. Now, as things open up, we might be tempted to believe our Zooming days are finally over. Can I be the first to say I seriously doubt it. More and more corporate environments are learning that it's cheaper to leave us at home – at least part of the time. In all likelihood, we will be transitioning into some form of hybrid state.
That being said, perhaps it might be time to up our game when it comes to looking our best in front of the camera. Here’s a few tips:
Avoid “Shady Face” if at all possible. Lighting really does matter, so we should play with various sources. Eye glass reflection can be overcome!
Often, we are tempted to choose darker backgrounds, such as the regal cherry bookcase, but...
It’s such an innocuous thing – mostly because we do it on autopilot. What am I talking about? Breathing! When it comes to public speaking, we might tend to think the best we can do is keep ourselves from hyperventilating under the stress, but there are a couple of things we can try BEFORE we start panting behind the mic.
First, we can practice breathing deeply on a regular basis. Place one hand on your lower abdomen and one hand on your chest. Now breathe, noticing how - on inhalation - your tummy moves inward. On exhalation, try to keep your chest steady. It’s amazing how many hours of our day are spent in “shallow” breathing mode. Becoming aware of the difference between taking air in all the way down to the lower parts of our lungs vs. barely pulling in enough to function allows us to be fully oxidated by choice.
We should also “talk on the breath.” Once our lungs are full, we can use that air to propel our words out into the...
The value of persistence!
Are you one of those people who believes that success is merely the byproduct of one who has been “gifted” from birth in a certain area? Having a star quality, a talent or genius? If so, you might be surprised to learn this is only true of a rare few. Sure, there exists a sprinkling of prodigies among us, but most humans are meant to build our futures in decidedly more hands-on ways.
Persistence (with or without gifting) has a few, often overlooked, values that contribute to every area of our lives. Let’s look at a few of them in relation to speaking publicly.
First, persistence in practicing, offering to speak and following through will set a good example for those watching. We are communicating a message that says, “I’m serious about pursuing any/all speaking opportunities and you can depend on me.” As we move from one event to another, we are establishing our credibility. We are letting others know...
So, let’s think about it for a moment. You’re standing on the stage and seconds from starting. You stand behind the podium, silently ticking through all of your major points. You’ve prepared sufficiently enough, and it feels good. Then - BAM! What am I going to do with my hands? Do I walk around or stand stock still? Help!
Don’t panic. You’ve just gone into body betrayal syndrome. It’s a condition defined as not knowing how your body is supposed to coordinate with your words. But we can fix that right here with a few suggestions.
Strictly behind the podium presentations only require the movement of your face, hands and upper body. These gestures must be planned in advance. Your audience can be easily distracted by odd or emphatic gesticulations. Consider the times you’ve been in an audience. Now imagine the speaker starts waving his/her arms in an aggrandized way. Would you lose track of the speaker’s words (and point) and,...
WHEN YOU ORGANIZE THE MAIN POINTS OF YOUR BODY - YOUR AUDIENCE WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT!
From the start, most of us recognize that we have to say something impactful to grab the attention of the humans sitting in front of us. In fact, that’s usually the part we have the most anxiety about. But think on this question. Is that cutesy joke or humorous story what you want your audience to remember after they walk away? Probably not.
So, let’s take a look at the heart of the matter. In other words, here are some guidelines on how to develop our main points.
First, we must determine our purpose. There are three general purposes to pick from. Are we attempting to inform, to persuade or to entertain? Once we identify which, then we must break things down. If our purpose is to inform, then we would need to jot down a sentence that defines what we believe our audience must learn. If we are going to persuade, we must record both the pro and con sides of the topic...
So, it’s time to give your presentation. You mentally flip through what to wear, battling with your thoughts. “I’ve already worked hard on my content. I’ve practiced my delivery. But do I really have to put on the suit? Will anyone even care? They absolutely will!
Any time we stand up before others, we are putting ourselves into a position of both credibility and authority. Not only does our audience assume we know our topic, but they will also expect us to “look” successful as well. In fact, our attire is often the first thing noticed. I can’t tell you how to dress in one short blog, but here are a few basic pointers that will help.
Always lean to the conservative side when making wardrobe choices. Most likely, your audience is composed of a wide variety people that have a plethora of tastes and preferences. It’s best to stay in the middle of the proverbial road.
Clean and pressed is the name of the game. Nobody...
If there is one thing that we’ve all learned in 2020, it is this: Sometimes, bad things just happen. This past year will certainly memorialize the concept, but perhaps, now is the time to make a few proactive plans that prohibit the lostness we tended to feel during this very long year. Let’s decide, together, how we will not only survive, but thrive in 2021. Here are three tips to get started.
Decide NOW what you will focus on in the coming year. Sure, there is still the possibility (and almost a certainty) that unusual events (vaccines?) will continue to occur in the future, but don’t let those things distract you from what matters in your personal life. Take the time right now to think about how you’d like to finish in 2021. Picture yourself at this time next year. What have you achieved? What have you learned? What do you singularly need to chase for twelve months to complete that vision? Jot down your ideas, aspirations and goals. Once you’ve...
Visual tools can be useful - and maybe a bit intimidating to consider - when giving a presentation. Wait a minute! You want me to add machinery and technology to my speaking skills? I’m just learning how to walk up to the podium without my knees quivering! It’s okay…take a deep breath. With a few guidelines, you can take advantage of visuals and improve your professional profile at the same time.
What type of graphics should I use?
The simple answer is whatever improves your presentation. That basically includes graphs, charts, quotes, photographs or video clips.
How do I decide which ones to use?
Again, whatever works. But here are the primary purposes of graphics:
To summarize information
To reduce the number of words spoken by you (and even give yourself time to regroup or relax a bit)
To clarify certain points that you’ve made
To create more impact. Remember the adage, “a picture is worth a...
Confidence is key. Your audience will buy into most any topic if you demonstrate your absolute commitment up front. Make sure your crowd knows that you know what you’re all about from the moment you step onto the platform. Confidence shows in several ways: your smile, step, and how you posture yourself. No shrinking back. Engage!...
Did you know that your body language often speaks louder than your voice, as you give your presentation? The truth is, no matter how great your speech, if you are motionless, expressionless or monotone, your audience will fade away into their respective to-do lists in a matter of minutes. So, how do we prevent this? We can start with the tips outlined below. Awareness is over half of the battle, so let’s refresh ourselves with a three vital, and proven, body language premises.
2) Maintain an open body.
Face your audience as often as possible,...