Category: Keynote Speeches

Communicating with facial expressions

How to use facial expressions to communicate with your audience.

We naturally use the muscles in our faces to express how we are feeling and have some thousands of unique expressions that we use every day. Very often we are not in control of our facial expressions as they happen extremely quickly, immediately in sync with how we feel or what we are thinking.

As a public speaker / business presenter you must be aware of your facial expressions as part of your non verbal communication techniques. They can seriously enhance what you are saying, change the way the audience feels about you and change the way you feel about a situation.

All of our facial expressions stem from one of the six basic human emotions:

  • Joy – (happiness) – symbolized by the mouth turning upwards and the eyelids closing
  • Surprise – symbolized by the eyebrows arching and the eyes opening wider
  • Sadness – symoblized by the lowering of the mouth corners, the eyebrows descending and the eyelids drooping
  • Anger – symbolized by eyebrows lowering, lips pressing firmly and eyes bulging
  • Disgust – symbolized by the upper lip raising, nose bridge wrinkling and cheeks raising
  • Fear – symbolized by the upper eyelids raising, eyes opening and the lisp stretching horizontally.

From these basic emotions we create our own adaptations and variations of these expressions which are all totally personal to us. From large expressions through to micro-expressions, our faces can communicate so much about how we feel. We are very good at noticing even the subtlest of communication in each other so it is very hard to hide how we are feeling.

If we can learn to take control of our expressions as well as learn to read them we can control the outcome of a situation better.

Learning to read micro-expressions to develop emotional intelligence

Being able to read micro-expressions is the key to heightened emotional awareness. Spotting micro-expressions will give you an edge in any social or business situation as well as helping you see these expressions in yourself. When you recognise these expressions in people it will enhance your empathy towards them and will help you to see the human side of them. You’ll then know the best way to respond to that person in order to make the situation as beneficial for both parties as possible. The key to noticing these micro-expressions is the ability to be truly present and focus on truly listening (with eyes and ears) to the person you are talking with. If you are focused you won’t miss a thing. If you’re distracted, looking at your phone, thinking of dinner plans for the evening, worried about what they are thinking about you, you’ll miss it all.

Learning to use facial expressions to enhance your story-telling

We all know how boring it is to listen to somebody talk with a monotone voice and a deadpan expression. Using facial expressions to tell stories and to explain things to colleagues enhances the experience for the other person. As the person speaking it is your job to entertain, inspire, encourage, warn or whatever the objective is of your speech / presentation. Raise your eyebrows as you deliver the great news that sales are up by 30%. Half close your eyes and look down as you tell the bad news that the company didn’t win the pitch. Look sad when you are telling somebody they are losing their job. Without the right expression you can give the wrong impression. If you do feel joyful making them redundant you need to put on a sorrowful face to make them feel as if you are truly sorry for the situation. Control your expressions to control the message.

Learning to use facial expressions to change the mood in the room

The brilliant thing about controlling your facial expressions is that you can control how you are feeling. Smile and you will feel happy. Frown and you will feel cross. Sneer and you will feel disgust. How often have you walked into a presentation or interview where the person opposite you or people in the audience are staring coldly, or frowning or looking hard at you? This inevitably makes us feel uncomfortable, unsure and more nervous. By smiling at them and by softening your face you can change how YOU feel. Watch as the person opposite you slowly but surely changes they way they look at you to be more friendly and warm, which will in turn make you feel at ease so you can wow them with your presentation.

By learning to control your facial expressions particularly in circumstances where you have the opportunity to prepare, you can totally control the situation to your benefit.

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

Storytelling tips

Storytelling Tips: Learn to Tell Your Story…

Posted on 27th July 2017 in Keynote Speeches, Public Speaking, Theatre & Drama

Storytelling is one of the the oldest and most alluring forms of communication. Human stories, engage emotionally as opposed to offering flat, technical, esoteric text or speech which most people will struggle to relate to. We identify with characters, scenarios and emotional responses. Journeys or adventures in other words.

All drama, stories and journeys require characters meeting challenges. Sometimes they overcome these obstacles, sometimes they don’t. What is intriguing and alluring for us – and why we love to watch films, TV drama and theatre – is how characters overcome their obstacles. Many different strategies may be used. The “How” is of more intrigue than the “What” much of the time.

Tips for Effective Storytelling

  1. Have a central or key message. Sum up what it is you want the world to think or do differently as a result of hearing your story. Just like a presentation or keynote speech there has to be a point to your story.

2. Be distinct. There are only so many different storylines out there. Some within drama and theatre assert there are only six or seven staple stories whatsoever. Yet the plethora of films on offer, for example, would have us believe that there are many more storylines. The lesson is to be purposefully as distinct as possible in the way you tell that story. There are filmmakers and artists who, even with the backdrop of

3. Be bold. Don’t be a lame facsimile of what has been done many times already or of what happens to be flavour of the month. Storytelling works best when someone takes a risk. Don’t be afraid to shock your audience..!

4. Be succinct. Hemingway’s classic six word mastery of storytelling manages to conjure characters, challenges and context that reside only in our imaginations. “For sale. Baby Shoes. Never Used.” Just like the very best advertising copy.

5. Be curious. Don’t set out to re-hash whatever others are doing. Instead follow your innate curiosity. What is it that occupies your thinking at the moment? How does that relate to your business objectives? Is your thinking congruent with those objectives?

6. Be aware that great storytelling evokes images, sounds, memories and emotions in the audience. And people tend to buy based on emotion, not cold, hard logic.

7. Do portray a problem-solution through your storytelling. Remember we watch drama to see how characters deal with situations and how they try to reach their objective. Think of your business as such a character within a landscape of narratives.

Storytelling is a Transferable Skill

Storytelling can work wonders for keynote speeches, presentations, pitches… It can be the difference between merely turning up and going through dull slides and being remembered because you had a story.

“Drama is like a dream. It is not real. But it is really felt.”

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

public speaking fear

Public Speaking Fear – How to Beat it…

Public speaking fear is also known as Glossophobia, a fear which so many people seem unable to cope with. Sheer terror is what many of us experience when faced with the prospect of any form of public speaking or a formal presentation in the workplace. Red face, red neck, sweaty hands, sweaty brow, trembling knees, tense shoulders, dry mouth, palpitations, short breath… The symptoms are pretty varied.

Fear of Failure

Many of our clients have been sick with worry days before a presentation or speech. The fear of failure – in this case often a fear of what others think – is a very common theme. Attaching this much importance to how others view us can be likened to the definition of ego in traditional Eastern mindsets – holding on to things as opposed to allowing everything to flow. Hold on tightly, let go lightly. It’s the latter part of that maxim we struggle with.

The great news for those who panic is that no planes will crash and nobody will come to harm as result of a mediocre speech or presentation. Nobody, to my knowledge, has ever died as a direct result of a poor quarter end financials presenation.

Also, nobody in your audience, be it a team brief or major keynote speech, wants you to fall flat on your face – everyone is supporting you and wants your speech or presentation to be brilliant – perhaps knowing this can strangely add more pressure to the prospect of a public speech for some people.

Vital to have a Key Message

The absolute, most important thing to have nailed down before opening your mouth is a key message. This equates to a need to communicate, a call to action, what you want your audience to think, feel, do differently as a result of your speech/presentation. It is the single most important component of your performance. In theory, you should be able to deliver an entire presentation with just one slide – your key message.

What is a key message? A short statement or question, using everday language that should be news to those hearing it. Deliver in person with the appropriate verve, passion, wit etc as befits your particular message and you’re well on your way to beating the onset of panic. At any fleeting moments of doubt or fretting about what others think, simply return to your message and all will work itself out.

Haven’t got a key message..? Then you haven’t got a speech or presentation that can ever work properly which makes it easier for nerves, panic and self-doubt to set in before and during the event and you really would be much better off emailing those boring slides…

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

investor pitching for social entrepreneurs

Investor Pitching Skills for Social Entrepreneurs

Dynamic Presenting provided a series of workshops on investor pitching for social entrepreneurs. Sartaj Grewal advised entrepreneurs with social, educational and community based business ideas on how best to pitch to potential investors and win start-up funding. The focus was on communicating personal stories and emotional selling.

Village Capital – Pitching for Investment

Village Capital is an incubator program, started in 2010, which has been run in New Orleans, Boulder, Mumbai and San Francisco. It has been cited as “#1 Trend to Watch in 2010” on Change.org; featured in Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine and Beyond Profit. So far, the program has incubated 82 entrepreneurs selected from over 500 applications and developed amongst other skills, their investor pitching ability.

The first European Village Capital, was hosted at Hub Westminster, as a twelve week program designed for entrepreneurs to accelerate their for profit social businesses. In workshops focused on fundraising, marketing and designing for impact the 16 participants will develop the core skills needed to attract investment and scale their businesses as well as receiving mentoring and coaching from our team of experienced advisors.

At the heart of Village Capital lies the belief that entrepreneurs benefit from building peer networks for review and support. The program culminates in peers selecting two entrepreneurs that receive investment prizes of £50,000 each.

The next Village Cpital Programme for Spring 2012 will be announced shortly. For enquiries email hello@hubventurelabs.net

Nominet Trust Accelerator

www.nominettrust.org.uk

Nominet Trust’s project partners can take advantage of our Accelerator Programme delivered by Merism Capital

The programme delivers a seminar series which includes topics such as “scaling up a social enterprise” and “pitching for investment”. Project partners also benefit from access to mentors and experts who can help them address specific challenges facing their organisation.

The sessions are led by a variety of speakers with specific expertise in different areas. Spring 2012 sessions are:

  • The Impact Investment Landscape
  • Measuring Social Impact and Value
  • Assessing different business models
  • Investor pitching
  • Company structures and due diligence
  • Growing pains
  • Marketing
  • Exit strategies from the investor and organisational perspective
Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

public-speaking-fear

Fear of Public Speaking – The King’s Speech

Whatever your misgivings about public speaking, spare a thought for poor old George VI.  He was a highly private man called to a highly public role during one of the most tumultuous periods in modern history.  George spent his young years in the shadow of his glamorous elder brother Edward until he was crowned king in 1936.

The nascent technology of wireless radio had forced new responsibilities on to the King.  Before he had been expected to address occasional select gatherings of worthies and notables, now he was expected to address the nation.

Weight of Expectation

When called upon to address even a small room full of people, many of us feel the weight of expectation sitting on our shoulders and the terrible dread that we might mess things up in front of an audience. This is quite literally the stuff of nightmares: to be exposed in front of our colleagues as not quite up to it. With this mind it is little surprise that many people do everything they can to avoid any public speaking engagements. However, as we journey through our careers becoming more senior, the prospect of giving presentations and speeches increases considerably.

If it’s possible to get that worked up about a small presentation, one must suppose that George’s anxieties were of a different order given that he had to address the British public on the subject of war, a task made infinitely more gruelling by the fact that he had a stammer. This would seem to be fate demonstrating quite clearly that if nothing else, she has a sense of humour; our first war-time monarch of the broadcast age had a stammer!

Tackling the Fear

If you have seen Tom Hooper’s excellent ‘The King’s Speech’, you will of course know all of this already and without wishing to spoil the film for anyone yet to see it and do see it – it’s terrific,George VI tackles his fear of public speaking by consulting a speech therapist, Mr Logue, who turns out not to be a doctor but an actor. While the King is initially horrified to discover the man he thought to be a nice respectable doctor is in fact a member of one of the least reputable professions going, the acting profession, he is won around eventually. 

You may find your mind wandering down the same tracks as the King’s and wonder to yourself what possible use an actor could be. Well an actor’s job is to connect with audiences, if you’ve ever been to the theatre or cinema and found yourself captivated by a performance then you know what I’m talking about.  As Mr. Logue demonstrates in The King’s Speech, the skills actors use can be taught, even to someone as unprepossessing and in the grip of public speaking fear as George VI.

Dynamic Presenting

That in a nutshell is the whole point of Dynamic Presenting, to analyse your style of presentation, pitching and public speaking to locate weak spots and to help supplement these with skills and techniques which have stood the test of time.  So if you want a consultation fit for a King, even if your problems aren’t quite on the same scale as George VI’s, drop us a line and we’ll start with a chat…

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication

Public Speaking - Steve Jobs

Public Speaking – Famous Quotes from Renowned Speakers

The prospect of a public speaking engagement can be a real terror for many of us. Here are some words of wisdom from those who have been there and done it time and again and with style.

“People judge you by your performance, so focus on the outcome. Be a yardstick of quality.

Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.” — Steve Jobs

Public-Speaking-GerogeBernardShaw-Dynamic

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” — George Bernard Shaw

Public Speaking Bill Gates

“What I do best is share my enthusiasm.” — Bill Gates

Public Speaking - Steve Martin

“Some people have a way with words and other people … uh … not have way.” — Steve Martin

Public Speaking - William Safire

“Is sloppiness in speech caused by ignorance or apathy? I don’t know and I don’t care.” — William Safire

Master of Arts - Michelangelo

“If people only knew how hard I work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” — Michelangelo

The paralysing fear of public speaking…

…or glossophobia as it is otherwise known ranks highly among the demons that we truly fear. It may be soothing to know that nearly all successful and impressive speakers have at one time or another also succumbed to that fear. It seems a natural human predisposition that evolves after a certain point in childhood – in other words it is learnt and adopted behaviour.

In order to counter this fear, time must be invested in effectively collating information, structuring content and crucially rehearsing the final delivery of any speech, pitch or presentation. It really is a piece of theatre so think of yourself as a showperson putting on a spectacle for an audience that really, desperately needs entertainment – not too hard to do when we think of how many dull, stolid business presentations we all sit through on a regular basis.

Sartaj Garewal is the founder of Dynamic Presenting – a creative, leadership development consultancy, adapting theatre training to create leadership programs for business.

Dynamic Presenting – Enabling Powerful Communication