Archive for February, 2008

Barriers to communication

February 28, 2008

There are many barriers to communication which will stop people from understanding and relating to your presentation, below I have listed just a few of the main ones.

  1. Boring presentation – Your presentation may bore your audience if you haven’t taken the time to understood your audiences needs and expectations.
  2. Using Long Words – Dont use long words, people will switch off if they find the language you are using difficult to understand.
  3. Jargon – If you are going to use jargon make sure you explain the meaning so that everyone understands what you are talking about and they don’t feel left out.
  4. How you express yourself – be careful how you say things as this can affect the meaning and understanding of what you are saying
  5. Agenda – Make sure everyone understands what the presentation is about, you can do this in your introduction.

Think about what barriers you may be putting up in your presentations.

The eyes are the windows to the soul

February 22, 2008

Eye contact is very important when you are presenting. I have heard some people say that if you are nervous, you should concentrate on a spot at the back of the room, just over people’s shoulders and they will never know the difference.

Personally I don’t believe in this strategy as I believe people can tell the difference.

When you are speaking to a friend or colleague do you look over their shoulder at a spot on the wall? ……………….No, you look them in the eye when you are talking to them, unless you are telling a lie.

Eye contact is vital as people will read your attitude and thoughts through your eyes. Looking people in the eye gives you a personal connection with them and when you are presenting you want people to listen and believe what you are saying.

A nervous presenter will avoid making eye contact and this is why people won’t believe them. When you are making your presentation, try talking to one person at a time and make eye contact with them for a couple of seconds, make a connection with them and then move onto another person and make a connection with them.

To build good rapport with your audience you need to make eye contact.

Sorry – Reinforced 3 times

February 18, 2008

Last week Australia reached a monumental time in history with Kevin Rudd saying sorry to the stolen generation. (In the early 1900’s Aboriginal children were taken from their parents and communities by the government).

There has been some discussion as to why Kevin Rudd said sorry three times.

Once for the removal of the children and the pain and suffering it caused

Once to the mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters for the removal of the children

Once for the indignity and degredation that was caused.

When we look at public speaking and how to get your message across we always talk about reinforcing your message at least 3 times.

Why 3?………………… because the subconcious mind won’t take in new information until it has heard it at least 3 times.

Reinforcing your message is very important if you want people to believe what you are saying and have them retain it’s meaning.

Do you reinforce your message?

The long walk to centre stage

February 13, 2008

Non-verbal behaviour is know as body language. As speakers our body language can give away our true thoughts and feelings without us even realising it. Take for instance those few seconds between getting up from your seat and walking to the lecturn or podium. For some, this walk seems to last forever, for others the time disappears in the blink of an eye.

How we walk to the lecturn will speak volumes about our confidence. If you slowly stand up, start double checking that you have everything with you, fussing with your notes or gulping down water before you even get to the stage, your audience is going to assume that you are nervous and lack confidence, and may start to tune out before you’ve even uttered your first word.

If on the other hand, you stand up confidently, knowing that you have everything you need with you and walk directly (not rushing) to the speaking area, your audience will assume that you are a confident speaker and are more likely to listen to what you have to say.

Once at the lecturn place your notes down if you are using notes, pause for a moment, smile, step away from the lecturn and commence your presentation.

Try not to use the lecturn as a shield or barrier, if people can read your body language they will become more engaged in your presentation.

Voice exercises

February 7, 2008

A short while ago I read a great article on voice exercises that Dr Morton Cooper uses for strangled voice therapy. The exercises can assist you to find the sound of your real voice through pitch and range. I have tried the exercises and will be using them before I give a presentation on a regular basis.

Have fun and try them out!

More on how to protect your voice

February 4, 2008

On my last blog we looked at how to protect your voice when it comes to speaking in public. Today I thought I would create a list of things to avoid when it comes to your voice and speaking.

  1. Smoking – we all know that smoking is bad for us but smoke can irritate your vocal chords
  2. Alcohol and caffeine – these two drinks can dehydrate your throat and your body
  3. Dairy products – dairy products may increase mucus production in the throat
  4. Fried foods- fried foods can leave a coating on your vocal chords which could affect the sound you produce
  5. Over use – avoid shouting, if you have a large audience please use a microphone.

Follow these simple suggestions and you are well on your way to protecting your voice.