Stop Speeding.

Canada_Stop_sign.svgI recently went to an off-Broadway show in previews, presented by one of New York’s better theatre companies.  One of the leads was speaking so fast that you just couldn’t get his words straight.  At certain points in the play his breakneck speed was forcing the other actors to up their pace in order to keep up with him.    Bottom line: the audience lost a number of good lines.

Following the show, one of the people in my party complained to a theatre staff member that it was difficult to follow the dialogue.  Then, another theatre-goer voiced the same concern.  The staff member acknowledged that there was a problem.

Speeding can often be a result of nervousness.  It can also reflect that your mind is jumping ahead of your mouth. Maybe we should issue speeding tickets for people who chatter too fast.

Are you a speeder? If speaking too fast is your problem, imagine a speeding car.  Visualize a “Slow” and “Stop” sign ahead.  Just as with a car, slow down your pace.   It will feel uncomfortable at first.  But once you get used to speaking at a slower pace, you will find that people will follow you with greater ease.  And, best of all, you will be in control of the speed!

Summer body language classes just announced!

Standing Woman_Black and White outfitBack by popular demand, our Body Language for Public Speaking course is being offered again this summer July 26 and August 2 at New York City’s 92nd Street Y.

This interactive minicourse focuses on the physical aspects of good public speaking and how the body and mind interact. Discover how to develop a powerful presence through body awareness, posture, relaxation, breathing and visualization techniques.

Can’t wait? A single-session body language course is being offered on April 5 to complement our upcoming Public Speaking: A Crash Course class.

Guest Post: Eight top tips to turn you into an impressive public speaker

View of the terraces and house at Bowood in Wiltshire.
View of the terraces and house at Bowood in Wiltshire.
This post, supplied by Bowood Resort in the U.K.,  has a number of useful hints.  However, I don’t agree with their point about not apologizing.  Depending on the audience and situation, it may be okay to let them know you’re nervous, and it may even elicit sympathy.  After all, it’s human to be nervous. 

It’s one of the most common human fears; it has been unanimously voted as one of the biggest fears of all time, up there with flying. But public speaking doesn’t need to be scary.

Here are some tips from Gill Cooper, Hospitality Manager for Bowood Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, UK. Bowood Estate has been hosting important meetings with some of the nation’s foremost thinkers, opinion leaders and innovators for hundreds of years, in some of the best meeting rooms Swindon and the surrounding countryside has to offer.

  1. Know your material – It sounds silly, but make sure you know what you are talking about. No one likes a liar or a bluffer so ensure all the material you are talking about is true and factually correct. Obviously, a little exaggeration makes a good story but make sure you won’t be found out if you tell a little white lie. Read up on all of your material and make sure you know every fact and figure inside out. After all, knowledge is power.
  2. Practise makes perfect – It goes without saying that practise makes perfect. The more you practise your speech or presentation, the more comfortable you will be with it and the more confident you will feel delivering it.
  3. Get acquainted with the room – Try to arrive at the venue earlier than everyone else, allowing you time to familiarise yourself with the space. Work out where people will be seated; will they be able to hear you from your position? Try and work out the acoustics by talking loudly from different points of the room. This will help you to understand how your audience will hear you.
  4. Chat to the audience – If you arrive at the venue early, try to chat to your audience before your speech when they are milling around. Ask them why they have come to attend the event and what they hope to get out of it. This will help you understand what your audience wants to take away from your speech/presentation.
  5. Relax – Easier said than done, but try and relax. Public speaking is not a life or death situation and should be enjoyed. Remembered, people have come to see you.
  6. Speak slowly – No one wants to listen to someone talking at machine gun fire speed. Slow down. You may feel like you are talking ridiculously slowly, but it will reach your audience at perfect speed.
  7. Don’t apologise – Don’t start your presentation/speech by announcing how nervous or frightened you are. This will make the audience feel uncomfortable and they will then expect a nervous performance from you.
  8. Try and enjoy it – Public speaking isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but it gets easier with practice. Try and enjoy your experience, remember, the audience are there to see you for a reason!

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.