Category: Presentation Skills Training

Relaxation techniques for public-speaking

Relaxation techniques for public speaking

Posted on 12th October 2017 in Presentation Skills Training, Public Speaking

I read with interest in the news this week about BAFTA award winning actress Olivia Coleman’s stage fright. Who would expect an established experienced actress to be frightened in front of an audience? Performers always look so confident on stage, that’s their job right? Her anxiety was so strong that she undertook cognitive hypnotherapy to help her get over her nerves on the first night.

“Willy [Olivia Williams] is having a chat and a coffee, I’m back there squeezing my knuckles and going through the things of [chanting] circle of love, circle of love, breathe out love”. 

Stage fright or nervousness before or during a performance is more common than you think. Thank goodness more and more celebrities are now opening up about how they have dealt with stage fright and anxiety.

http://www.refinery29.uk/2016/05/111361/celebrity-quotes-stage-fright-anxiety

This should reassure the regular person in the work environment who is apprehensive of giving a presentation or key note speech. Its natural to feel nervous the last thing you want to do is fail in front of an audience.
I remember Emma Watson’s big speech at the United Nations. She did brilliantly, she spoke passionately from the heart and her speech was extremely well received by everyone. She did however admit being very nervous saying to Elle Uk ‘I was very nervous. It wasn’t an easy thing for me to do. It felt like: ‘Am I going to have lunch with these people, or am I going to be eaten? Am I the lunch?   

Most of us who are in management or leadership positions can’t get away from speaking in public. We need to present our ideas, talk to our teams, persuade, inspire and sell on a regular basis. So you’ve got to get over it or at least find a way to deal with it!

Q What can be done to overcome and or deal with stage fright / performance nerves?

Take lessons from professional actors and performers

Relaxation techniques for public-speaking

Relaxation techniques for public-speaking

BREATHING DEEPLY
Actors and singers always undertake breathing exercises before rehearsals and before performances.
When we are feeling stressed and nervous we tend to breather shallowly. We breathe in sharply and we don’t breathe out properly. After a few breaths the lack of oxygen in our body exacerbates our nerves. It sounds simple but all you’ve got to do is BEATHE deeply and diaphragmatically and your body and mind will relax. Before any situation where you are potentially feeling anxious or apprehensive take 15 minutes to sit somewhere quietly and do some deep breathing. http://www.anxietycoach.com/breathingexercise.html
 
VISUALISATION
Visualise yourself in that performance being hugely successful. See yourself relaxed, smiling, confidently walking that stage as people listen intently to your message. Practice, practice practice that visualisation until your sub-conscious believes that is what is going to happen.
 
FOCUS ON YOUR MATERIAL  
Actors rehearse, rehearse, rehearse what they go to say and do for weeks before a performance. It’s all in the preparation. Make sure you are well prepared and know your material well enough. You don’t need to learn your presentation word for word, you just need to know the salient points and in which order and then talk naturally around those key points.
                       
CHANGE YOUR STATE

If you’ve done all of the above and you are still wracked with nerves. CHANGE YOUR STATE. Move your body. Do whatever it takes to change your focus. Bend down and tie your shoe lace. Go to the bathroom and make some shapes. Walk down the corridor deep breathing. Talk to someone on the phone about something completely different. Do some star jumps, yoga moves, whatever it takes to change your state from being frozen thinking about your nerves.

‘There are only two types of speakers in this world – 1. Nervous 2. Liars’ 

Rest assured that the majority of the planet feel the same as you when speaking in public. If you can practice the four techniques above I promise you will feel less fear and hugely more relaxed and confident. The less fear you feel the more your confidence will improve. And as you experience yourself wowing your audience you will lose your anxiety until you are totally relaxed speaking in public.

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

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

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

Elevator pitch effectively

Elevator Pitch… How to Pitch Your Idea Effectively…

The elevator pitch strikes many of us as fairly hackneyed and cliched these days. Perhaps we still find it too salesy and pushy as a speculative approach to a potential investor or client who we’ve just bumped into and best left to Americans who generally don’t have the same fear. They, when compared to us Brits at least, can happily steam ahead with their elevator pitch whenever they want. Or so it seems.

There are various approaches to making a favourable impression within just a couple of minutes and that after all is the best you can hope for in a short space of time. So perhaps that should direct your thinking with respect to an elevator pitch.

3 Approaches to the Elevator Pitch

Some choose to give a mini, condensed presentation complete with introduction, middle and ending all within two minutes. A lot for the listener to take on board, can feel stilted and really what are the chances of them remembering all the information that you tried so keenly to cram in.

Others go straight to the heart of the issue knowing that time is pressing in the perfect elevator pitch. This has the advantage of stripping away that which is largely unnecessary given the context but unless very careful in the initial approach, you could come across as overly direct and robust.

Possibly a more effective approach is to establish a two way conversation. After all, dialogue succeeds where monologue fails. This approach favours beginning a natural conversation where you introduce yourself and give just the headline of your idea, project, whatever and then ask an open question and use whatever time there is, regardless of how little, to listen. Remember that it doesn’t need to be over the top flashy or a dramatic performance. Read your audience in the moment – how are they feeling right now? Tired or energised? Adapt your energy to match them and you’ll have a much better chance of being remembered for the right reasons.

Dialogue Succeeds where Monologue Fails…

Do this all in an unhurried manner. In other words aim to have the most effective beginning to a fuller conversation. Far easier for you to do and much better for the recipient. This way, if your idea or pitch was truly of interest, you’ll leave them wanting to know more – which is exactly what you want.

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 - 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