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Fear of Speaking: How to Overcome It

If you are one of the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of people who dread public speaking, you know that knot-in-your-stomach, sweat-soaked feeling is nothing you can wish away. The more you speak in public, the easier it gets.  To speed up your learning curve and overcome your fear of speaking, there are specific techniques you can use. Here is a video highlighting public speaking tips that can be used in your next presentation.

Posted by Jean Palmer Heck in General articles, Public speaking. Leave a Comment

Good Presentation Impressions

I’m always on the lookout for good presentation styles.  It doesn’t have to be public speaking in front of a large audience. It could be a customer service representative, a sales person, someone or some organization I come into contact with in every day occurrences. I note what impresses me.  The good, the bad and the ugly of communication styles.

Recently, I was in Connecticut and had a few extra hours and decided to explore. I came across The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers, New York. It was wonderful.  Great exhibits, no crowds, unbelievably cheap admission fees. For 2-3 hours, I was captivated.

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Real-IMPACT Presentation Hints

If you are one of the dozens, hundreds, thousands, millions of people who dread public speaking, you know that knot-in-your-stomach, sweat-soaked feeling is nothing you can wish away. The more you speak in public, the easier it gets.  To speed up your learning curve and overcome your fear of speaking, there are specific techniques you can use. Here is a video highlighting public speaking tips that can be used in your next presentation.

Posted by Jean Palmer Heck in General articles. Leave a Comment

Why Media Training Takes Time

Is there a possibility that someone in the news media might interview you in the future?  If so, here’s a look at what you can expect from media training. This is a repost of an article from one of my international colleagues, Alan Stevens, whose company is called “The Media Coach.”  He outlines his process for getting someone ready for an interview.

FIVE MINUTES ON AIR, FIVE HOURS PREP

There tend to be two different ways that people look at media interviews, Some people feel that since they know their topic inside out, they barely need to prepare, since they will able to deal with any question.

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Learning from The King’s Speech

Ever wondered what it’s like to work with a speaking coach? The Oscar winning movie, The King’s Speech, is an excellent example of how a person with serious presentation skill problems can overcome difficulties with the help of a communications expert. Although the king had a stuttering problem, many of the techniques his speech coach used with him are the same as those I use with executives in one-on-one coaching.

Here is an analysis of one speech technique exercise in the movie. You can do it on your own to improve your presentation skills.

Abdominal breathing exercises for speakers …or “Sit on him, Queen Mum.”

Most people breathe shallowly, expanding only the upper regions of their lungs.

Posted by Jean Palmer Heck in Analyses of, General articles, Good and Great Speeches. Leave a Comment

Getting your expertise noticed

Here are 5 strategies to use if you want to be noticed for your expertise:

  1. If you have one comment to make, summarize your point in one sentence and then go into detail for 30 seconds. This keeps you on track and shows your colleagues you can be focused and succinct.
  2. If you have several comments to make, start off by saying, “I’d like to address 3 points: point A, point B and point C. In terms of point A, …. ”  When you list the points, they should be phrases only. This will set the stage for expressing comments on each of the 3 points  at some time in the meeting, even if you only speak about point A before there is open discussion.

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Speaking up confidently

Do you keep quiet at meetings because you lack confidence speaking about the topic?  If so, you might want to read this article on CNN’s website. I was quoted in the  article about how to speak up with confidence at a meeting. I offered the hint about abdominal breathing. Here’s an excerpt.

3. Belly breathe: Public speaking can be nerve-wracking, but you don’t have to let it show. Abdominal breathing will make you sound confident by giving strength to your voice.

To use this technique: “Inhale deeply and then project your voice by speaking from the diaphragm,” says Jean Palmer Heck, president of Real-Impact, Inc.

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PR Tips for small businesses: Get busy speaking

When a small business owner asks me how he or she can get more PR or publicity for their companies, I often suggest getting out on the speaking circuit.  Local service clubs are always looking for someone to speak to their group.  That doesn’t mean it’s just a free advertisement.  It means that if you have an entertaining, educational, relevant material, they’d like to meet you and hear what you have to say.

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What Business Speakers Say They Must Practice

When I conduct presentation skills training sessions for businesses and organizations, I always ask the attendees to share with me key points that they will work on after the session. I’m only with them for a short period. My sessions range from half-day training to four-day sessions spread over several months. So when I’m gone, they need to make sure they put into practice what they have learned about standing up in front of a group and making an effective presentation. Here are some of the things that they have told me:
1. Enjoy the process and look the part.
2.

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Tiger Woods Makes a Predictable Mistake

Here’s a great article by Jerry Brown, who is a guru on crisis communication.  Take heed:

Tiger Woods Makes a Predictable Mistake

By Jerry Brown, APR
www.pr-impact.com


Tiger WoodsSome stories feel incomplete the first time you hear them.  They leave you feeling like there’s a lot being left unsaid.  And, of course, the part that’s being left out is the juicy part – the stuff you really want to hear.

That’s the kind of story that makes reporters dig deeper.  And the kind of story the rest of us are likely to follow as it unfolds.

Tiger Woods’ weekend car wreck was one of those stories.

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Answering Questions–Don’t Announce Limits

Here’s a great tip from communications guru Dianna Booher about
answering questions after a speech or presentation.

Never Announce a Certain Amount of Time or a Specific Number of Questions
To do so limits your flexibility and creates dangers along the way. If you announce that you will take questions for half an hour and you get only two questions, the audience walks away with the impression that you gave a disappointing presentation that did not generate the expected interest. If you say that you will take another three questions and the third question is a hostile one, you may be forced to end on a negative note from which it will be difficult to recover.

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More visual aid and PowerPoint lessons

This great information comes from Stacey Hanke, owner of 1st Impressions.  …. Thanks, Stacey, from the folks who want to speak better and connect their visual information to their audiences.  Jean

 
Several weeks ago I observed a presentation delivered by an individual whom I perceived as confident and credible. This perception quickly reverted backwards when he began to interact with PowerPoint and notes. As he turned to have a conversation/relationship with his slides and notes, his energy deflated, he disconnected with his listeners, his vocal projection was inaudible, and his rate of speech took off with record speed.

You’ve been there before, watching a speaker talk to their visual aids as if you weren’t there.

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When Communication turns into Crisis Communication

When you’re a leader, you must think about what you say.  Not only is your reputation at stake, but your words can take on an impact bigger than you thought.  

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi should know that by now.  But she has egg on her face. And her communications have turned into a crisis communications case study.   Media relations experts are thrilled that she has given a fine example of what NOT to say or do.  

Want to learn from her communication no-no’s?  Here’s an article written by a media relations guru whose work I admire.

Nancy Pelosi’s Three Classic Mistakes

By Jerry Brown, APR

www.pr-impact.com

Nancy Pelosi has made three classic mistakes in telling what she knew about waterboarding and when she knew it as a member of the House Intelligence Committee.

Posted by Jean Palmer Heck in Analyses of, General articles, Media Relations. Leave a Comment

Leadership interview

What does speaking well in public have to do with leadership?  Everything!  This weekend I was interviewed by leadership coach Judy Nelson about good and bad speeches and things that leaders can learn to make their communications better.   Here’s the link.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/CoachJudyNelson/2009/05/16/Jean-Palmer-Heck-

Posted by Jean Palmer Heck in Free Tips, General articles, Good and Great Speeches. Leave a Comment

Great Sound-Bite Example

What makes a good sound-bite? A short concise phrase or sentence that is repeatable. John Lechleiter, CEO of Eli Lilly and Company  (NYSE: LLY), used this very good sound-bite in a speech today to the U S Chamber of Commerce :

“Encouraging innovation needs to be the purpose of U.S. health care reform – not its victim.”

In one sentence, he summed up what his concern is about President Obama’s health care reform principles. The words “innovation,” “purpose,” and “victim” are particularly powerful. 

He explained the result of innovation in simple to understand statistics: that  innovation has helped boost the average American’s life expectancy from 47 to 78 years, a rise of 66 percent over the past century.  

Posted by Jean Palmer Heck in Analyses of, General articles, Sound-bites. Leave a Comment

TelePrompTer Tips

There’s been a lot of talk regarding Barack Obama’s use of TelePrompTers.  Many are surprised that he actually uses them in places where it seems like he should be speaking off the cuff.  I’m not here to debate that.

The purpose of this blog is to give you tips for how you can improve your presentations.  And there are times when you might use a TelePrompter. So how can you do it with style?  Here are some hints:

1.  Reading a teleprompter is like reading a book in many ways, but completely different in others. When you read a book, you occasionally laugh or smile at what you’re reading silently, but most often your face has no expression.  

Posted by Jean Palmer Heck in Free Tips, General articles. Leave a Comment

Fear of Speaking

Fear of speaking is monumental.  You’ve probably read the statistics about how public speaking is dreaded more than death and snakes.  A professional colleague of mine has written many blogs on the topic. Some of the experiences I’ve had as a speech coach with clients who were afraid of public speaking are discussed in this blog of SpeakAssured, called Fear of Public Speaking.

And if you have a problem with getting up before a group and delivering a presentation, maybe a professional speech coach would have some help for you.  I’d love to help.  Send me an email at jean@real-impact.com.

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Know Your Speaking Strengths

Are you better with a scripted speech in front of a large group or in a question and answer session with a small group?  Some people think that the communication skills required are the same.  They are not.  All you have to do is watch two political leaders today to see the difference.

As I write this, Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has just finished a live video chat with the editorial board of the Indianapolis Star.  It was a question and answer session that also included questions sent in from participants via the Internet. 

Mayor Ballard’s communication strength is speaking one-on-one or in small group settings.

Posted by Jean Palmer Heck in Analyses of, General articles, Heck of a Blog. Leave a Comment

Academy Award Speakers Need Help

If you’re so good at what you do that your peers, bosses, employees or benefactors honor you with a prestigious award, you may want to think about what you’ll say.  The Academy Award winners have been center stage with their Oscars for years…but most still don’t know how to handle the acceptance speech.   Here’s some advice that was in the Washington Post.  Speech 101: Make It a Class Act.  I agree. It applies to all business people as well, whether you’re in the entertainment field or not.

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Bosses who need speech coaches

Indianapolis Star columnist Matthew Tully has an article in today’s newspaper focusing on the oratorical skills of the Indianapolis mayor.  Politicians are often the subject of critiques—on everything from policy to polish. For city bosses, and all elected officials, it’s part of the territory.  Constituents are vocal.  And their comments can be damaging.

But there is another group whose communication skills are also critiqued—bosses in the business world.  Their constituents (employees) are also vocal. Maybe not voiced in a newspaper with a circulation of 250,000, but critiqued just the same.  And these corporate constituent comments can be just as damaging.

People judge their bosses on just about everything. 

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