According to The Wall Street Journal 3 out of 4 start-up businesses fail in the USA in the first 4 years.
The two fundamental reasons for this are:
1. Weak Leadership coupled with wrong decision making, or worse still, no decisions.
2. Poor marketing and sales strategies.
In the end, businesses wind up because they run out of cash. But they do so, because the owner has either failed to make any effective decisions or where they have made a decision, it was the wrong one. Failure comes when the route to market for their product or service is uncertain and competitors haven’t been thoroughly researched. Thus there is no competitive edge or niche to make the business stand out from the rest.
If a business is knee deep in debt, has run out of steam and doesn’t know where to turn for help and advice, there is a great deal of support out there. And in many cases there are viable solutions that elude the business owner. Sadly what happens is that too many businessmen and women in this situation, simply bury their head in the sand and leave things too late, thus reducing the number of potential solutions available.
I would encourage anyone who is struggling in business to have courage and seek out help. This can come from various enterprise agencies; chambers of commerce; accountants; Business Support Kent; consultants, bankruptcy specialists and even one or two friendly Bank Managers (although the latter are becoming increasingly harder to find).
If you know anyone who would like help and support, let me know and I will signpost them accordingly.
Conflicts are inevitable. No matter which industry you belong to, conflicts are bound to happen. You can try to avoid it but they will surface nonetheless. If left to simmer and boil, conflicts can decrease employee productivity and destroy teamwork.
Conflicts shouldn’t come as a surprise to someone working with a team. As good as you are at managing people’s emotions, egos, and team chemistry, conflicts will eventually arise. The proper mindset is not in avoiding it at all costs but in using conflict to strengthen your team. But that’s another topic altogether. For now, let’s talk about a few tips in handling conflicts within your company.
1. Address conflicts immediately
As people always say, nip it at the bud. When conflict arises, talk to the parties involved right away. Listen carefully, intently, and take note of information that will help you find out the cause/s of the conflict as well as possible solutions. Until you meet with all the parties involved, never make any conclusions. One person’s point of view is always wrong from the other person’s until a third party comes along to find the proper balance between the two. Remind them that these are normal and in fact healthy when handled properly. Conflict simply means two people are looking at the same thing from different angles.
2. Find common ground
Look for those things that both parties agree on and work from there. When people are at odds with others they often see where they both disagree and then focus on that. What they don’t realize, or often tend to forget, is that they have more in common than they think. If you ask them what they want to happen, you will almost certainly notice that they agree with the end result but they disagree on how to get there.
3. Look for the win for both parties
Stephen Covey’s 4th habit in his best-selling book, “The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People”, is “Think Win-Win”. If there’s a way for both parties to reach a compromise where they both win, then go for it. Sometimes it’s not a matter of someone winning the argument and the other losing. Oftentimes conflicts can be resolved with both parties winning. If it’s possible at all to get them both to win then negotiate with them to make that happen.
However, there are times when someone is completely wrong about a matter and has to apologize to the other person for his wrongdoing while the other party never contributed at all to the conflict. Everything came from one source. In this case, you need to correct the wrongdoer for creating the conflict using the factual information. It’s still a win for both because if the conflict is resolved, there will be no more animosity from within the team and the negative emotions each one feels about the other will disappear.
4. Understand how to deal with private conflicts versus public conflicts
If the conflict is a private matter, deal with it in private. If the matter has become public, deal with the parties involved privately but don’t forget to address it publicly, as well. Gossip can continue to disrupt team chemistry even though the issue has been resolved between the parties. Just remember to talk to the team in general terms that don’t require you to go into the details of the conflict. Say only what is necessary to inform the team of the resolution and close the book on it.
During times of conflict there is the tendency to wish that you had employees that were easier to handle. Take heart! In reality, you have passionate employees that want to do well at work. Conflicts are actual team-building exercises to prepare your employees to succeed.
Alexis Thompson is a former Mountain Backpacker, Real Estate Sales Personnel and a 26 year old mother of 2 daughters, Sophie and Rhian. She is into almost all types of Music especially The Fray and Hillsong. She also has a passion in Singing and Scrap Booking. Follow her escapades on her Twitter.
How many presentations do you go to that are just plain boring? How many lose your attention because you are facing death by Powerpoint? How many times do you worry that your presentation won’t come up to scratch?
As leaders you will be under close scrutiny. So, give yourself the edge using the ‘Ten Secrets that Made Steve Jobs’ Presentations the World’s Best – And How You Can Use Them to Astound Your Audience’.
Genius. Legend. Visionary.
These are but a few of the superlatives that have been used to describe the late, great Steve Jobs.
But beyond his business acumen, the man behind Apple® computers and Pixar Animation Studios was perhaps the greatest keynote speaker of our time. There are more than 57,000 links to his presentations on YouTube.
What made his presentations so amazing that people all over the world want to see them? More importantly, how can the rest of us learn from Steve to inspire our audiences the way he did?
In her excellent book, The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience Carmine Gallo takes us behind the scenes and offers Steve’s ten secrets that you can use for presentations that will inform, engage and, yes, astound your audience. You can also access Steve’s tips at GoToMeeting
Holy Smokes, Bullets Kill! (And Other Presentation Tips)
Before planning your presentation, according to Carmine Gallo, it is critical to know the question that matters most to your audience: “Why should I care?” You need to think about how to inspire your audience. Simply trying to sell them something doesn’t cut it. As Carmine writes, “Your widget doesn’t inspire me. Show me how your widget improves my life, and you’ve won me over.” Here are Steve Jobs’ ten secrets for insanely great presentations.
1. Plan in analog. Brainstorm in advance of creating your presentation. You can use pen and paper, a whiteboard or, better yet, a mind map.
DO NOT use PowerPoint®to create your presentation—it will be used only in the final step! (More on this later.)
2. Create Twitter-friendly headlines. Describe your product or service in 140 characters or less. Preferably, a lot less. Steve introduced the MacBook Air® as simply, “The world’s thinnest notebook.” About the first-generation iPod®, he tweeted: “It’s one thousand songs in your pocket.”
3. Introduce the villain. Steve saw a presentation as a three-act play that must tell a story, but what is a story without a hero and a villain? Before he introduced the famous 1984 ad to a group of Apple salespeople, he set the stage, casting “Big Blue” as Goliath. “IBM wants it all,” he warned, and defiantly asserted that only Apple stood in its way. His dramatic moment sent the crowd into frenzy. While the villain doesn’t have to be a competitor, it must be a common foe that your audience will want to join with you in rallying against. Your product is then revealed as the conquering hero.
4. Create visual slides. As Carmine writes, “Neuroscientists are finding that the best way to communicate information is through text and pictures, not text alone.” As for bullet points, Steve never, ever, used them and neither should you. Carmine has a section in her book titled, “Bullets Kill” that describes why you should avoid using PowerPoint to create your presentation.
“Think about what happens when you open PowerPoint. A blank-format slide appears that contains space for words—a title and subtitle. This presents a problem. There are very few words in a Steve Jobs presentation. Now think about the first thing you see in the drop-down menu under Format: Bullets & Numbering. This leads to the second problem. There are no bullet points in a Steve Jobs presentation. The software itself forces you to create a template that represents the exact opposite of what you need to speak like Steve!”4
Take a look at the following comparison of bullet-point slides compared to the same information, presented visually.
5. Practice, a lot. Most people read their presentations off of their PowerPoint slides. This is why most presentations are boring. Steve treated every slide as piece of poetry and every presentation as a theatrical event. He wasn’t a natural presenter; he worked very hard at it. Rehearse your presentation, toss the script and look at your audience. Practice at making it look effortless.
6. Obey the ten-minute rule. It’s a scientific fact that the brain gets tired after ten minutes. Steve’s presentations typically lasted an hour and a half. He would break them up into short intervals of ten minutes or less by interspersing videos, demonstrations, or guest speakers. Don’t let your audience get tired or you’ll lose them.
A great way to keep your audience’s attention when presenting information is though sequencing, which builds the story within a visual one step at a time, making the information much easier to digest.
7. Dress up your numbers. We often deal with large numbers or data that an audience can’t comprehend without context. Breaking them down and presenting numbers visually can overcome this. Notice how much more effectively the chart below illustrates sales figures as opposed to a matrix of data.
8. Reveal a ‘holy smokes!’ moment. Maya Angelou said,
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Steve Jobs always produced a memorable moment in a presentation. When he introduced the MacBook Air, he told his audience that while everyone had seen manila envelopes floating around the office, what they had never seen was someone pulling a notebook computer out of one—which is precisely what he did. The audience went wild and images of that moment remain emblazoned in people’s minds four years later.
9. Sell dreams, not products. When it looked at the iPod, the world saw a music player. What Steve Jobs saw was a tool to enrich people’s lives. Howard Schultz of Starbucks didn’t have a passion to sell coffee; his vision was to create an experience: a ‘third place’ between home and work where people would want to gather. The dream met the customer’s need and the product sales took care of itself.
10. Have fun! When was the last time you saw someone enjoying giving a presentation? Steve Jobs had fun in every keynote. He made jokes at his own expense. While most people give presentations to deliver information, Steve always created an experience that his audience would enjoy and remember. Most importantly, he sold them on becoming a part of his dream, not his product.
Let me know if this article helps you to become a more effective leader and presenter. I would love to hear your stories. Simon Teague, Leadership Expert.
“Sorry I cant come back to you with a decision – I have ‘back to back’ meetings all day”.
Have you ever been called to a ‘pre-meeting’? You know, one of these secret squirrel discussions designed to try and manipulate some kind of outcome from the ‘main’ meeting , so that people feel they are making progress or as a defense mechanism to avoid being shown up.
Even worse! When there are a series of ‘regular’ meetings, you get wrapped up in a series of pre-meetings. And then to add insult to injury, the main meeting still can’t find a solution, so the outcome is to create groups of mini-committees (working parties) who then need further meetings to find the solution, pulling in others from the organisation for even more meetings, precipitated of course by a pre-meeting, so that their meeting can show the main meeting they have actually come up with something?
Bill Creech, the retired four-star General who conducted an extraordinary turnaround at the U.S. Air Force Tactical Air Command, framed the leadership challenge this way. “There is a war on…between the people who are trying to do something (usually the workers) and the people who are trying to keep them from doing something wrong (the management). There are times when things do actually get done and the organisation moves forward, despite the leadership and management, who without even realising it, are stifling progress, often on the premise that innovation creates risk and risk is bad!
Leaders today seek control.
Is Tom Peters Re-Imagine! right with his definition of “crappy leadership”- the leader who is only comfortable with their position when they are in control? Being in control = meetings!
Meetings today are a comfort blanket for leaders, manifesting in the following comments I get from leadership teams:
- We have meetings for meetings sake.
- I have to attend yet another ‘bored’ meeting!
- I spend almost half of every business day holding conferences and discussing problems.
- He can’t see you for at least a month as his diary is chocker-block.
- I’m going to be later tonight darling as I’ve been called to a ‘crisis meeting’.
- I’m always running late because my last meeting over-ran.
- Every meeting I go to starts at least 10 minutes late and people seem to wander in and out at random.
- We always spend the first hour or two trying to find out what the problem is.
- I’ve got over twenty mini-actions from yesterday’s meeting, so I had better call all my team in to a meeting to tell them what’s going on.
- Every meeting we have just goes round and round in circles and we walk out scratching our heads – why we have just wasted another few hours debating rubbish?
- If I could work out the cost of every meeting we hold based on peoples hourly rate, it’s costing the organisation $millions.
- There’s never an agenda and we seem to stagger aimlessly from meeting to meeting.
- There’s an agenda but we never stick to it.
- There’s an agenda but we only ever get to the third one down!
Recognise any of these statements. This is a leadership and management issue, so if you have a role to play in this picture – cut it out. STOP. But how?
I wonder what Simon Teague thinks?
Every two months, I pull together a community of innovators. We meet somewhere in New York City, usually a boardroom overlooking a park or cityscape. But last month we all found our way into an acting studio operated by The Actors Institute to learn about storytelling.
The members of this group certainly already know something about the topic. They are senior executives at some of the largest corporations, partners in some of the most prestigious consulting and private equity firms, and several cutting-edge entrepreneurs. But the more you know, the more you realize there is to learn, and this group wanted to learn more about how to use effective storytelling to drive change in and grow their organizations.
The experience shocked me, to be honest. I considered myself an expert and snobbishly thought there was little more to learn. How wrong I was. Here are my two key takeaways from this session. Apply them today at your next meeting or phone call and I am willing to bet you will have a better result.
1) Use lots of LOTS. Our facilitator, Gary Lyons, senior coach at The Actors Institute, told us a story and had us dissect what we remembered. Do this, and you will realize your audience is often checked out, comatose, or unable to hear or remember what you are saying. The key to engage them is to use lots of “language of the senses,” or LOTS. When telling a story, share with us what you see, smell, feel, taste, and hear. When you trigger a sense in someone, you bring them into the story with you.
2) Build on your story spine. At McKinsey, I was taught to open presentations with a standard structure: situation, complication, question, answer. TAI suggests you use a five-step structure and do so not just to open your presentation, but throughout your talk. They call it the “story spine”: reality is introduced, conflict arrives, there is a struggle, the conflict is resolved, a new reality exists. These two tools caused a profound shift in our abilities to tell effective stories.
Not convinced? Let me try the story spine with lots of LOTS then:
Reality introduced: A dark room is filled with 20 executives and entrepreneurs resting on chairs in rows facing two director chairs. The door closes, snuffing out the faint sound of New York traffic.
Conflict introduced: Our facilitator, Gary, begins scratching markers on flip charts. He is there to teach us about storytelling. But all I can think about is, “This is a highly accomplished group; they know all of this already. Will we learn anything new?”
Struggle: Gary tells us to use “language of the senses,” but someone complains, “You can’t talk like that at a board meeting,” to which Gary points out that if you talk differently than people expect you to, they are more likely to listen and remember.
Conflict resolved: Gary gently bats back every concern this Type A group lobs at him, patiently walking us through the journey. By the end he has us on the edge of our seats.
New reality: We close with a “before and after” exercise. One of our members gets up to practice a pitch; he is raising money for an energy tech venture. He starts speaking, but I just can’t follow. When he finishes, I realize I have not heard a word. Gary coaches him–lots of LOTS, story spine, look us in the eye, take us in–and the speaker tries again. Now it is all waterfalls of electricity pouring down the mountain, the opportunity to create something and break through with passion. I heard every word, and so much more.
That is the impact that two tools can have in your ability to tell stories–about the company you are building, the project you are leading, the life you live. You can enroll people more completely and emotionally in your mission. Here is how you can put it to use now:
1) Think of a presentation or pitch you will be giving in the next seven days.
2) Write out your presentation as a story, longhand, on paper, using the story spine.
3) Brainstorm a list of LOTS (language of the senses) you want to embed into your story.
Author: Kaihan Krippendorff, Outthink the Competition, New York, NY on Fast Company Blog
The digital world is a beautiful thing. Apps boost our productivity and elevate our personal lives. eBooks make reading more accessible and elegant. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter connect us – and allow for the sharing of information in radically new ways. But along with the opening of new frontiers that technology brings, I’m witnessing a closing of something else. We just don’t personally interact in the same ways that we once did. Tempers have grown quicker. Conversations have become shorter. And good manners are becoming obsolete.
People write things online that they’d never dare to say to another human being in person. Critics abound. Cynics flourish. And controversy seems to get more views than simple acts of decency – and humanity. Yes, I completely get I’m painting the world we reside in with some broad brush strokes. Yes, there are massive amounts of people who are polite, kind and awesome. And yes, there are complete communities of individuals interacting impeccably and doing great things. But I just wanted to put a voice to the fact that I see a loss of something as tech dominates our lives. Something simple. Something real. Something essential. We’re losing the way we used to relate to each other.
So, during this month where so many of us are thinking about celebrating the relationships that fill our lives with a depth of richness and joy, I wanted to offer you 6 of the best communication strategies I’ve learned to flourish in business and in life. I encourage you to apply these at home, at work and out on the streets with people you may not even know. As William Penn once noted: “I expect to pass through life but once. If therefore, there be any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.”
#1. Be Real
Call it being authentic. Call it being yourself. The fact is that few things are as powerful as standing in the presence of a person who is really really comfortable in their own skin. What I’m suggesting is that you speak with your unique voice and that you live under your true values and that you present the real you to the world around you. Please trust me on this one. I promise you that when you get to the last hour of your last day, you will regret having lived the life society sold you versus the life that you knew deep within was meant for you.
Sure this sounds obvious. But what makes greatness is the daily executing around simple ideas. And if smiling during good and hard times was so easy, then why is it so hard for most people? I travel across the planet constantly. But no matter whether I’m in Qatar or Napa, Buenos Aires or Malaysia, Mumbai or Amsterdam, a quick and genuine smile to a stranger always connects. Unites. Uplifts.
#3. Use People’s Names
The fantastic Dale Carnegie taught us well. He observed that a person’s name is the sweetest sound to their ears. And yet, it’s so very easy to forget to go the extra mile and remember – and then use – someone’s name. World-class communicators get that when they address people by name, it brings them closer. And makes them stand out. Amazingly – its one of the most simplest yet hardest of skills. How many times have you been introduced to someone and within seconds, you have forgotten their name. Chances are they too have already forgotten yours, so make it a priority – focus – GET THEIR NAME…
#4. Look People In The Eye
Okay. I really need to rant mildly on this one. Sure we all have our smart phones and iPods and PCs. But this new way of communicating where our mouths move while we speak to the person in front of us but our eyes stay on the screens before us sends a message to that person that they just are not that important. The best gift you can give a customer+teammate+loved one is the gift of your presence. In this age of easy digitization, giving the human being you’re communicating with 1000% of your attention is a spectacular method to lead the field. So, look people in the eye. Engage with what they are saying. Make them feel special. No, make them feel–for the brief moments they interact with you – that they are the most important person in the world.
#5. Be Honest
Again, simple, I know. But leadership and success really does come down to the daily doing of a series of fundamentals staggeringly well. Be the most honest person you know. Let your ethics drive your behavior. And please remember, anyone can be honest when times are easy. The true measure of your leadership is how honest you are when everything’s falling apart.
#6. Choose Good Words
I was up in the mountains last weekend. Wanted to get some breakfast. Walked into a new Italian restaurant that advertised breakfast until 11:30 am. It was 11:40. I asked the man behind the counter: “Is it possible to still get breakfast?” His instant reply: “Absolutely not.” Now I understand this man wasn’t trying to be rude. He was most likely unskilled with his words. Just not a great communicator. But his words had impact (as all words do). A more effective communicator could have said, “I wish we could but we’ve just switched over to the lunch menu. I think you’ll love it. C’mon in and give it a try.” It’s all in the language. Instead, his words caused me to try his competitor. And to think that this is a restaurant that just doesn’t care that much.
So there you are Great Communicator. Six pretty fundamental yet powerful ways to ramp up the impact of your communication during this month focused on appreciating relationships. Try them. Apply them. And innovate around them. Those around you will be grateful you did.
Author: Robin Sharma.
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If you follow the tech blogs and new wires, you’ll be very familiar with the law suits raised in silicon valley and other tech hubs every month in relation to patents and intellectual property. By intellectual property, I of course am not referring to real estate, which my recent article on Financial Expert: How to Invest in Property is concerned with.
On the contrary, investing in intellectual property requires a different type of capital: human capital, and smart human capital at that. Whilst conquering the global manufacturing stage, China has faced attacks on it’s lack of imagination and invention used by their workforce.
For small tech start-ups, intellectual property is almost the product itself. Often a patented concept, or a specific method of manufacturing can made designs possible that were previously cast from creative rooms on feasibility grounds. Thus, the right piece of intellectual property can propel a small business into a temporary monopoly, sometimes on a global scale. In such cases, it seems only natural that young CEOs have been fighting to the death in the court room to protect their profits.
However recently a new wave of suits have emerged, accusing large established giants of infringing on patents several years ago, before the mega success of the alleged infringer. One could argue that in such cases, the claimant is merely trying to piggy-back off the success of its rival, to compensate for the lack of success it has been generating internally. A case in point is Nokia v Apple Corporation, which recently settled on behalf of Nokia, who successfully argued that Apple had stolen some of their technology in producing the hugely successful iPhone.
The verdict in favour of Nokia, appeared to vindicate the CEO Stephen Elop, who could now officially blame the failure of his company, at least in in part, upon the unscrupulous and leaching activities of its competitors.
This legal triumph does concern me that a secondary wave of action may be launched, a wave of cases that were only spurred on by Nokia’s success, and have far less merit. Such time wasting and resource draining activities are great for the law profession, but damaging to an industry attempting to create their own bids to overthrow a new tyrant.
I believe that protecting intellectual property is important, but should be done on a timely basis when commercially viable and merit. In an industry where the talent pools flow endlessly between enough, it will be very difficult for leaders to ‘protect’ all the knowledge generated in the company, and instead they should focus on capitalising on innovation when it does occur, rather than taking a back seat and watching as a competitor takes the exact same technology and beats them round the head with it.
I thought I’d write today a short report on a silent revolution that is taking place in the way businesses are being managed at the ‘back end’.
If you’re a manager in a large company, you will probably be familiar with document management solutions. This describes the effective management of digital information. Such services can be outsourced or in-sourced (depending on organisation size) but regardless of the implementation, this area is fantastic at slashing admin costs and efficiency, particularly in finance departments.
“But naturally” you quip, “my ERP/Operating System may be a little buggy or annoying, but overall it manages our digital information perfectly fine, so why is this a ‘new’ and revolutionary idea?”
The answer lies in exactly what counts as digital information. 10 years ago, there was a clear divide between paperwork, and electronic information. However in today’s business environment, the line doesn’t even exist anymore. Digitisation companies can literally come in and scan your entire archive of invoices, orders and delivery notes onto your server. For your admin team, searching through filing cabinets becomes literally a thing of the past.
But such improvements don’t just save the fingertips of admin staff; they also improve the customer experience. Having near-instant access to customer forms and information will enable customer service reps to handle far more queries at the time of a call, rather than having to ‘get back to the customer’, which is inefficient and harms goodwill.
Such is the fast paced world of today, that many managers will digitalise their documents without giving much thought to the massive shift in the type of office work performed by administrative and technical staff as a result. With the acceleration of technological advancement at the speed it is, perhaps it is good that managers are not fazed by such a change!
The story of winter 2010 has certainly been the WikiLeaks scandal. The contraversial website that has already disseminated over 300,000 top secret military and diplomatic embassy documents, has captured headlines all over the world. What has been particularly gripping is that the documents are seemingly 100% true. This gives them tremendous power, as the citizens of various countries have been pouring over what the USA ‘really‘ thinks about their government/officials.
Particularly interesting stories include the exposure of the backroom dealings of the Bank of England Mervyn King and also of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. This made me think of the following intriguing hypothetical scenario:
“Would WikiLeaks Cripple Your Organisation?”
To define the question a little more clearly;
“If the public could pour over all the emails that senior management have sent to each other in the past year, would the organisational structure of the business collapse?”
It’s a very scary thought! Would there be calls for the resignation of the CEO? Do you think that even the great leaders of our history could stand up to such data releases? Leave your comments below!
Leadership public speaking is seen as one of the great traits of the modern leader. While the great leaders of the past are known for their leadership public speaking ability, current leaders such as Barrack Obama in the USA, and Nick Clegg in the UK have shown that oratory is still as powerful as it ever has been.
When you open your mouth to speak, do others truly listen?
In recognising that public speaking can be an effective leadership skill, an aspiring leader will realise that they’re in luck – public speaking is a skill that can be steadily improved in response to a good public speaking course. Speaking skills can be technically learnt either from a book, or from a coach, but they will only be used to upgrade your ability when put into varied and frequent practice.
Taking Every Opportunity – Where To Practice Leadership Public Speaking
I find it is always best to practice public speaking in a ‘safe’ environment. A safe environment is one in which a mistake during speaking won’t run risk of damaging your career prospects. Practically all adventurous speaking opportunities outside of your workplace are perfect for this personal development. Here are some speaking ideas:
- In church
- In a school-room or college lecture hall
- To a club, group or society
- At a conference,
- Giving a presentation (such as on behalf of a charity)
- Even at family occasions.
Most people agree, that as long as you are speaking to more than 5 people, in a non-casual setting, this will bring all the challenges of public speaking, although with greater crowds or a more important audience will come a greater test.
Building Your Oratory Skills
I can provide a brief overview of tips you may wish to take on board to improve your leadership public speaking and presentation skills beyond what they currently are; all leaders could build further upon at least one of these areas.
1. Deliver an interesting tone of voice. Allow your voice to eb and flow as you would speak normally. Let your tone drift up at the end of questions, or remain mono tone over short, sharp point.
2. Use pauses effectively. Leadership public speaking is often as much about silence as it is about speaking, as leaving dramatic and characteristic pauses at the right moments really highlights a speakers skill. A short pause allows the listener to ponder a little more about what you’ve just said, and demonstrates that you are comfortable with the audience, and supremely confident in what you are saying.
3. Maintain eye contact with the audience. You may sometimes need to refer to your presentation for key statistics or cues, however the rest of the time, your eyes should be on the audience, and moving round the room.
4. Don’t forget to smile! People are listening, but they’re also watching your body language and they’re probably watching your face all the time, so make sure that what they see is a happy, enthusiastic and bright individual. Smiling while talking does not come naturally, especially when one feels under the stress and pressure that public speaking can bring, however with practice you will realise that the more you smile – the better you will feel.
5. From Commenter Mitch: Be aware of your body motions. Many speakers make the mistake of unknowingly moving in repetitive motions or in somewhat unnatural ways while presenting and speaking. Be aware of what your body is doing and keep any movement of arms and hands to be in line with the overall presentation. It is expected and can be quite comfortable to make generalized moves and to indicate specific important points with body emphasis. Practice in a mirror or video tape yourself giving a practice presentation to see if you develop any “movement habits” that need to be avoided during your presentation. Also, we aware of what signals you may send during the presentation to indicate your own views of the information presented. Crossing your arms may come across as disinterested in the topic you are speaking on. Also be aware of any unusual twitches that can develop in your face during presentations that can become distracting to your audience.
6. Also from Mitch: Breathe. Pure and simple, some presenters get very caught up in their speeches and can run out of breath mid-sentence. This can result in ill timed pauses mid-thought and can have the audience paying more attention to your breathing rhythm than to your topic. Keep breathing natural and relaxed so that your audience stays the same.
If you keep these leadership public speaking tips in mind while practicing, I can promise that your presentation and oratory skills will improve dramatically. While learning however, it is best to focus on improving one aspect of speaking at a time, and gradually these tips will become natural habits, and public speaking will no longer cause the same dread it once did!
How To Gain The Most Comprehensive Knowledge On Public Speaking
As mentioned in the latest Leadership Expert e-Magazine, we have discovered a brilliant resource on public speaking for approximately £25. It’s delivered in digital format, which means you could be absorbing knowledge from it in just 3 minutes if you decide that you want to take a proactive step in building your presentation skills, public speaking skills or overall charisma. The resource is called Public Speaking Extraordinaire, and costs the price of a restaurant meal, for an in-depth course delivered by video, audio and text! We heavily recommend that you try it for yourself.
Please leave comments below if you would like to add more tips and tricks to this list, and I will work them into the article and credit them to you!