Summer 2017: Body Work for Public Speaking

Standing Woman_Black and White outfitHave you ever thought about how your body affects your public speaking?  How the way you move, hold yourself, and breathe all play a role in creating a powerful presence?

That’s the subject of a two-session “Body Language and Awareness for Public Speaking” mini-course I’m giving on two Tuesdays beginning July 26, at the 92nd Street Y.  Last year’s course was sold out!

Click here  to register, and for more information.  Or email us for private or small group sessions .

What the Olympics can teach us about public speaking

Gymnast overcoming adversityEvery two years we watch the many inspiring stories that come out of the Olympics.   In watching the Olympics, I’m always struck by how many similarities there are between top athletes and top speakers.  All participants demonstrate a grit, determination, and dedication to get out there and “strut their stuff.”

Determination and Persistence Pay Off

It takes preparation and practice, sometimes mixed with disappointment, to produce a champion.  After all, we’re human, and part of the human experience means that we falter from time to time.  But what makes a true champion is the determination and persistence to pick oneself up and commit to the hard work.

Don’t Give Up

You never know when a stumble will derail you, but keep going. When it seems like you can’t, have courage, and don’t give up.  At the Sochi Olympics, Japanese figure skater Mau Asada, finished a disastrous short program, only to go and give the long program performance of her life.

British gymnast Ellie Downie took a frightening fall on her head during a floor routine at the Rio Olympics.  Despite calls for her to sit out the following routines, she picked herself up and finished the vault exercises with shining colors, as her team came in third in the Olympics qualifications.

And then there is American swimmer, Michael Phelps, who retired from the Olympics, and, who, after a disappointing showing in the London Olympics, came back to swim the 400-meter relay in Rio.  He not only won a 19th gold medal, but catapulted his team to a first-place finish.  It wasn’t only skill, but practice and determination that helped him make a comeback.

Ten Essential Qualities

So, here is my list of ten essential qualities that all top performers share, whether in athletics or speaking.

  • It takes focus, dedication, and determination to triumph
  • Failure can lead to success. Skiers and snowboarders crash, gymnasts have accidents.  Wipe yourself off, and start again
  • Even if you’re rusty, there’s no time like the present to jump back in and start practicing
  • learn to take risks, as many successful athletes do. Leave your comfort zone and challenge yourself
  • Be courageous
  • Be authoritative
  • Don’t be a quitter; never give up
  • Go out there with focus and concentration
  • If you falter, you can recover and make a comeback
  • It takes practice, practice, practice

Remember, always hold your head high, go out there with confidence, and with the can-do attitude: “I have something to say that’s worth listening to!”

Ten Speaker Tips From the Opera Stage

Speaking Advice from a famous Artist’s Manager: Ken Benson

Ken Benson

Ken Benson recently presented a master class to opera students at Hunter College.  Mr. Benson is a respected expert in the opera world and a long-time artistic manger.  Mr. Benson was with Columbia Artists Management for 25 years and serves as the in-house consultant to Masters’ students of Vocal Arts at the famed Juilliard School of Music.  Some of the advice he gave young singers applies equally well to speakers.

1)      Don’t be perfect, be expressive.

2)      Know your special qualities and strengths.

3)      Know when something fits you personality-wise.

4)      The first phrase (or sentence) is the most important.

5)      It’s not the quantity (or how long your presentation is), but the quality.

6)      It’s all about how you use words.

7)      Make the speech or presentation your own.

8)      Be genuine and authentic.

9)      Take the audience with you, and create a transformative experience.

10)   Be prepared.

Originally posted August 1, 2014.

How Public Speaking Can Help Your Career

Credit- Studio Tdes, The Daily English Show
Credit- Studio Tdes, The Daily English Show

Ace That Job Interview or New Business Pitch

Whether you’re an employee looking to further your career,  an entrepreneur or a business executive targeting new clients, there is nothing like a job interview or a new business pitch to put your communications skills to the test.  How you come across to a potential employer or client can be as important– if not more important– as your business ­­­skills themselves.

Employers and clients not only look for your skill set; they want to know your personality.  And, sometimes it just comes down to the chemistry between you and the interviewer(s).

It’s understandable if you have the jitters when it comes time for the job interview or business presentation.  After all, it’s important to your career and to your business growth.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for that big job interview or business pitch.

Before the Interview

  • Expect to be nervous. It’s only natural when there is something at stake.  So,  expect some amount of nervousness.  Go with the flow, and accept that your nervousness may be excitement and anticipation, rather than fear and dread.  And remember that the interviewer has as much at stake as you do, in hiring the right person for the right job.
  • Carry yourself confidently. How you carry yourself is as important as the clothes you wear for that interview or presentation.  Look in the mirror and view yourself both standing up and sitting down.  Remember that first impressions count, so the way you enter a room for that first introduction or handshake is important.  When sitting down, remember to sit up straight, but not stiff.  Practice your stance beforehand. Notice your interviewer’s  body language, and take a cue from that.  If they are sitting erect, do so.  If they tend to lean forward, you may want to slightly do so as well.
  • Be prepared. Anticipate questions your potential employer or client might ask.  Rehearse your answers in advance.  According to Career Coach, Vivian Van Lier, “be clear about your unique value or personal brand to a prospective employer or client.  Know what differentiates you from your competition.”
  • Rehearse your answers. Be sure you are comfortable with your responses in advance of the interview.   There is no substitute for advance practice.

On the spotSpeaking for Interviews_You're Hired speech bubble

You’re prepared for your upcoming job or new business interview.  You’ve reviewed anticipated questions, rehearsed your answers, and are aware that, when the actual time comes,  you may be a little nervous.  That’s only natural.

You’re aware of the value you can bring to the new company or client, and you know how to carry yourself with poise.  Here are some additional pointers to help you through that big interview.

  • Breathe deeply. Practice taking deep breaths when yourehearse your answers, and before you begin speaking at the actual interview or presentation.    Breathing deeply helps you relax, helps slow down that beating heart rate, and also helps improve voice quality.
  • Don’t race your words. When people are nervous or excited, there is often a tendency to speak fast. This signals, “I want to get it over with.”  Unless you have been allotted a specific time frame for your interview or presentation, take your time.  You will sound more authoritative, and in control.
  • Be energetic and enthusiastic. But don’t overdo it.  Too much enthusiasm could signal that you’re desperate for the job.
  • Let your personality shine through. Be your real and genuine self; and not who you think the interviewer or potential client is looking for.  If the fit is there, it will come through.  If the chemistry isn’t there, know that it wasn’t meant to be, and that there will be other opportunities.

It’s all about having a conversation between you and your prospective employer or client.  If you can relax and enjoy it, so will those on the other end.  And, who knows, it may be the job or client of a lifetime!

Top Speaking Skills for Interviews, Part II

Communications Skills for Job Hunting and New Business Success

Speaking for Interviews_You're Hired speech bubbleYou’re prepared for your upcoming job or new business interview.  You’ve reviewed anticipated questions, rehearsed your answers, and are aware that, when the actual time comes,  you may be a little nervous.  That’s only natural.

You’re aware of the value you can bring to the new company or client, and you know how to carry yourself with poise.  Here are some additional pointers to help you through that big interview.

  • Breathe deeply. Practice taking deep breaths when you rehearse your answers, and before you begin speaking at the actual interview or presentation.    Breathing deeply helps you relax, helps slow down that beating heart rate, and also helps improve voice quality.
  • Don’t race your words. When people are nervous or excited, there is often a tendency to speak fast. This signals, “I want to get it over with.”  Unless you have been allotted a specific time frame for your interview or presentation, take your time.  You will sound more authoritative, and in control.
  • Be energetic and enthusiastic. But don’t overdo it.  Too much enthusiasm could signal that you’re desperate for the job.
  • Let your personality shine through. Be your real and genuine self; and not who you think the interviewer or potential client is looking for.  If the fit is there, it will come through.  If the chemistry isn’t there, know that it wasn’t meant to be, and that there will be other opportunities.

It’s all about having a conversation between you and your prospective employer or client.  If you can relax and enjoy it, so will those on the other end.  And, who knows, it may be the job or client of a lifetime!

This is the second part in our two-part series on public speaking, comportment, and interview skills. Read Part I here.

Top Speaking Skills for Interviews, Part I

Credit- Studio Tdes, The Daily English Show
Credit- Studio Tdes, The Daily English Show

Communications Skills for Job Hunting and New Business Success

Whether you’re an employee looking to further your career,  an entrepreneur or a business executive targeting new clients, there is nothing like a job interview or a new business pitch to put your communications skills to the test.  How you come across to a potential employer or client can be as important– if not more important– as your business ­­­skills themselves.

Employers and clients not only look for your skill set; they want to know your personality.  And, sometimes it just comes down to the chemistry between you and the interviewer(s).

It’s understandable if you have the jitters when it comes time for the job interview or business presentation.  After all, it’s important to your career and to your business growth.  Here are some tips to help you prepare for that big job interview or business pitch.

  • Expect to be nervous. It’s only natural when there is something at stake.  So,  expect some amount of nervousness.  Go with the flow, and accept that your nervousness may be excitement and anticipation, rather than fear and dread.  And remember that the interviewer has as much at stake as you do, in hiring the right person for the right job.
  • Carry yourself confidently. How you carry yourself is as important as the clothes you wear for that interview or presentation.  Look in the mirror and view yourself both standing up and sitting down.  Remember that first impressions count, so the way you enter a room for that first introduction or handshake is important.  When sitting down, remember to sit up straight, but not stiff.  Practice your stance beforehand. Notice your interviewer’s  body language, and take a cue from that.  If they are sitting erect, do so.  If they tend to lean forward, you may want to slightly do so as well.
  • Be prepared. Anticipate questions your potential employer or client might ask.  Rehearse your answers in advance.  According to Career Coach, Vivian Van Lier, “be clear about your unique value or personal brand to a prospective employer or client.  Know what differentiates you from your competition.”
  • Rehearse your answers. Be sure you are comfortable with your responses in advance of the interview.   There is no substitute for advance practice.

Body Work for Public Speaking

Standing Woman_Black and White outfitHave you ever thought about how your body affects your public speaking?  How the way you move, hold yourself, and breathe all play a role in creating a powerful presence?

That’s the subject of a two-session “Body Basics for Public Speaking” mini-course I’m giving on two Tuesdays beginning July 21, at the 92nd Street Y.  Come and explore the role your body plays in managing nervousness, helping you project better, and being an all-around confident public speaker.

For more information and to register click here.