Archive for January, 2009

Need a life buoy for job interviews?

January 31, 2009

lifebouy

 

Yesterday I read an interesting article on the Toastmaster website. See link below.

http://www.toastmasters.org/MainMenuCategories/WhyJoin/SuccessStories/Hope-in-the-Hard-Times.aspx

It was talking about how Toastmasters and public speaking skills had helped people with being more confident when it came to job interviews.

With so many people around the world loosing their jobs and perhaps having to attend an interview for the first time in 10 or 20 years, I truly believe that anything you can use to your advantage to help you find a new job in the shortest possible time, is well worth investing in.

Being able to answer questions during an interview can sometime make or break whether you get the job or not. Many questions are structured around the “tell us a time when,” where you have to let the interviewer know when you were in a similar situation and how you handled it.

Imagine if you had your own secret life buoy, skills that would help you with the interview and handle those questions.

If you can enter the interview with confidence, speak easily, make good eye contact and provide an answer with a beginning, middle and end you will be well on your way to finding a new job.

Public speaking can help in so many ways, even more so during these hard economic times, when how you present in an interview is vitally important.

Keep speaking – Carrol

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A lesson from Barack Obama

January 24, 2009

flag1

Many of you would have watched as Barack Obama was sworn in as the President of the United States this week.

Many of you would have seen this eloquent man, who has given numerous speeches in the past, stumble and forget the words presented to him. But did you notice how he handled the situation?

Barack stood there confident and poised and waited for his line to be presented to him again.

Even the most confident of speakers can have a moment or two where their mind goes blank. How you deal with this when it happens will make all the difference.

The secret is to be confident in your self.

If you need to look at your notes then go ahead, you may also want to pause slightly longer than normal to gather your thoughts together. (see last weeks blog on pausing). Think about what you’ve been talking about and what you’d like to say next, have a sip of water if you need to extend the time slightly and then continue on.  

Watching other speakers, such as Obama, can help with those vital lessons on how to become a better speaker.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Silence is Golden

January 17, 2009

shhhhhMany people under estimate the power of the pause, but a well timed pause is a powerful speaking technique and can add impact to your words.

 

That’s right folks, sometimes saying nothing is better than saying something.

So when should you use the pause?

  • You can use the pause to allow your audience  time to catch up with what you’ve been talking about and it allows you, the presenter, time to breathe.
  • The pause can be used for punctuation to let your audience know that you’ve finished a thought or sentence.
  • You can use the pause to attract attention, especially if you see that your audience has become distracted. If you pause the audience will look up to see what you’re doing.
  • Use a longer pause to emphasize your main point or just before your big statement. This tells your audience that you’re going to say something significant and they should listen.

When it comes to the length of a pause this is what I use:

For a short pause I count to 3 in my head, for a longer pause I count to 5 in my head.

When you practice this it feels really strange, but once you get use to it you’ll find it one of the most valuable tools around.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Jelly legs eradicated

January 9, 2009

Jelly Bean Diversity

I watched as my name slowly started to move its way up the agenda and I knew that sooner, rather than later I would have to make my presentation. 

My legs felt like they were made of jelly, I had dragonflies dive bombing inside my stomach, my mouth was dry and I was sure my mind would go blank the minute I stood up.

Well, that’s how I remember the first time I had to speak.

If you feel the same way I did, what can you do to help?

1. Practice your presentation – go over what you want to talk about, remember it doesn’t have to be word perfect.

2. Breathe – take a couple of deep breathes to help pump more oxygen to the brain.

3. Relax your muscles – roll the shoulders backwards and forwards a couple of times.

4. Have some water handy – this will help with the dry mouth.

5. Have cue cards – write your main points on index cards just in case your mind does go blank and you can refer to them.

DON’T WRITE OUT YOUR WHOLE PRESENTATION ON THE CARDS.

Remember, most people feel a little nervous before they make a presentation or stand in front of a crowd.

Instead of thinking about how nervous you are, think about HOW EXCITED YOU ARE.

Changing your mind set can help eradicate those jelly legs.

Keep speaking – Carrol

Try something New

January 2, 2009

Fireworks clusterNew Year is a great time to reflect on not only what you’ve achieved over the past year but it also gives you time to think about what you’d like to achieve during the coming year.

 Have you vowed to try something new this year?

When it comes to public speaking there are a range of things we can do.

1. You can join Toastmasters and learn speaking and leadership skills

2. You can hire a speaking coach to improve you skills

3. You can watch other speakers or join the National Speakers Association

4. You can read books, listen to tapes and watch videos on the subject

5. You can commit to speaking more often – practice makes perfect

6. You can use speaking to generate new business or sell more products

7. You can mentor someone else on their speaking journey.

The New Year is a great time to think about what you’d like to achieve.

There are so many options when it comes to speaking so step outside that comfort zone, write down what you would like to achieve and a date you’d like to achieve it by.

Keep speaking – Carrol