• How to DELIVER!

    If you have a speech or presentation to make, the way you deliver it will make all the difference. Here’s a 10-point checklist for you:

    1. Speak with conviction and energy – each speech can expend as much energy as a full day’s work

    2. Be focused – facts tell, feelings sell!

    3. Make it a performance – use drama, images, visual aids and ENERGY

    4. Be distinctive – make it memorable – put your personal mark on it

    5. Use vocal variety – entertain and surprise them – keep them interested

    6. Have empathy – talk to them, not at them – don’t fear personal contact – smile: give a reason to like you

    7. Maintain good eye contact – one friendly face at a time

    8. Show what you mean – use gestures and positive body language

    9. Stand tall and balanced – stay centred, walk with a purpose

    10. Serve the audience’s needs – offer information, entertainment, involvement. Finally, PRACTISE, PRACTISE, PRACTISE!

    I have some Open courses coming up in central London. 29th June, 16th & 22nd September, if you are interested. Drop me a line.



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  • How to cure Verbalfilla

    Many a brilliant declaration, speech or presentation is ruined by the presence of unattractive filler sounds such as uh … um … ah … you know … like … sort of … and the like. Crutch phrases. If you know what I mean. Verbalfilla.

    Can they do you harm? In the context of doing business, yes they can, because they distract listeners from your message and lose you some of their esteem.

    In a social context, they also lower your ranking, and reveal your lack of self confidence.

    Verbalfilla is irritating, it is ugly and it interferes with the process of communication. It ranks alongside such undesirable body language as scrotum scratching and nose nibbling.

    It indicates that you are unprepared or unsure of what to say next, and therefore making it up as you go along. That, of course, puts a serious dent in your credibility.

    Worst of all, it’s catching.

    5-Point Plan

    Fortunately, it is not terminal and can be cured. Here’s my 5-point Plan to rid your mouth of verbalfilla.

    1.   Listen. Take a recording of yourself in a telephone conversation or making a speech, and listen for the verbalfilla sounds you make.

    2.   Watch. Pay attention to the way you speak, an even enlist your spouse or a close friend to signal when you use a verbalfilla, and stop speaking. Then re-state what you were saying, perhaps starting with “I think what I’m trying to say is …”

    3.   Go faster. Practise speaking faster. Often, speaking with urgency and purpose will eliminate the dreaded verbalfillas.

    4.   Speak more. Get better at expressing your point of view and developing your arguments in conversation.

    5.   Practise impromptu speaking, following a simple structure such as Past, Present, Future or Problem, Cause, Solution.

    For more help with this or any other problem in public speaking, drop me a line at phillip@speakingandpresentationskills.com.

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  • Old wedding customs 1

    There are many old customs attached to the marriage ceremony, and I thought I’d share some with you.

    This one is about the bride’s garter.

    To this day it is quite common for the bride, at the reception, to raise her skirt and remove a ceremonial garter from the top of her white stockings. It clearly has a sexual meaning and originated in English North Country weddings, where the garter was removed by guests who raced to be the first to do so as soon as the bride had been taken home to be bedded.

    The young swains would leap opn their horses and race to the bride’s new home, where the winner would kneel at the doorway, awaiting the bride’s arrival. She would raise her skirt and allow him to remove the garter, sometimes with his teeth, encouraging him to hand it to his own sweetheart for good fortune in love.

    In the 17th century, just as the bride was being prepared for bed by her maids, the groomsmen would burst into the bridal chamber and snatch any garter they could from the bridesmaids.

    By the 19th century, only the groom was entitled to remove the garter, which he then offered as a prize in a horserace run by the groomsmen.

    Watch this space tomorrw for the next wedding custom. And for help with a wedding speech, write to phillip@speakingandpresentationskills.com.

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