4 of the most impactful public speaking tips

 

Whether you are a seasoned veteran or are taking the stage for the first time you can be sure that preparation is the only way to succeed when the curtains are drawn and all lights are on you.

There are few skills that will bring you more opportunity into your life than the ability to speak well in front of an audience.

Here are the top 4 public speaking tips, to help you make the best impression possible and an unforgettable, positive, impact on your audience.

1.Structure your speaking material into three sections

Grabber (hook the audience with something, a fact, a stat it doesn’t matter just grab their interest), middle and close (always aim to motivate your audience to take action in your close, otherwise your speech is meaningless). Importantly, know your material! Get really interested in the topic. Feel excited about what you are talking about.

2.View public speaking as the performance it is

When it comes down to it, public speaking is just a performance, there is no real difference between your public speech and an actor taking the stage. If you are troubled by speaking anxiety, make sure you view your speech as the performance it is. You don’t have to be you or be afflicted by any social anxieties, you can be someone else. You can pretend to be someone, calm and collected – someone who gets thrills from public speaking.

Being someone else, even if only for a costume party, is a liberating feeling. It helps you let your guard down and forget about any anxious hang-ups you may have. It’s how actors commit to the day-to-day limelight, so why can’t you do it too?

3.It’s not about you it’s about your audience

If you take public speaking very seriously, because it’s your profession, or because it scares the hell out of you, it can cause you to be a selfish public speaker and only focus on how you come across. This is a big mistake.

It can be easy to think “will this make me look stupid?” or “what can do to look better?” But, public speaking is not about you. It’s all about your audience.

Instead of thinking how you will look and sound, focus everything on your audience. Think about your crowd. Put yourself in their shoes and figure out what you would want to hear and see if you were them. It will not only make your speech better but it will also make the whole public speaking affair a lot easier because you are turning the spotlight from you to your audience.

4. Convert nervousness into excitement

Have you ever realized just how similar nervousness and excitement are as feelings, clammy hands, pounding heart and tense nerves are symptoms of both. What if you told yourself that you weren’t nervous and instead, you were excited? Well, it’s that simple according to award-winning TED speaker Simon Sinek. A few years ago Sinek noticed that reporters interviewing Olympic athletes before and after competing were all asking the same question. “Were you nervous?” And all of the athletes gave the same answer: “No, I was excited.”

Sinek says before you walk on stage you should say to yourself out loud, “I’m not nervous, I’m excited!” “When you do, it really has a miraculous impact in helping you change your attitude to what you’re about to do,” Sinek says.

Why we lose self-esteem and how to remedy it

 

Many people deal with fluctuating self-esteem and swing between confidence and self-doubt, in just a few hours. Here are some practical tips crafted by psychologists to help you to understand and remedy any sudden dips in your self-esteem.

1.Understand why you have a dip in your self-esteem

When we experience a sudden loss of confidence, more often than not there is a valid reason behind it. Are you nearing a big-stakes deadline? Are you about to make a speech in front of very important people? Humans are largely designed to react to any kind of “uncertainty” or “mixed signals” with anxiety.

If you fall into the category of “uncertainty” i.e you don’t know how your audience will react to your speech, then give yourself a break, it’s normal, just swallow the anxiety and use it as energy to get you through the time. However, if you fall into the “mixed signals” category, this needs to be explored further. This category applies to you if your self-doubt is based on negative feedback or a negative event that has actually occurred (i.e instead of you imagining it). If you’re swamped with self-doubt because 1 person out of 10 gave you negative feedback then you should rationalize yourself back to self-confidence – whilst taking on board any constructive criticism that was offered. However, if you experienced an undesired consequence, for example, because you were taking too many risks, or because you made a mistake and/or oversight than your self-doubt may actually be trying to tell you something and you need to listen.

Whichever scenario applies to you, you can be sure that by understanding the root of the dip in your self-esteem, you are on your way to resolving the problem.

2. Be productive with your loss of self-esteem

Once you have understood why your self-esteem has dipped, your next steps are very important. Alice Boyes behaviour psychologist, explains in her article on self-esteem that peoples’ responses to losing confidence usually fall into the broad categories of “freeze” (e.g., crying, avoiding), “flight” (e.g. denial of a problem, task switching), or “fight” (e.g. working harder, arguing, defensiveness).

The worst thing you can do is freeze, the best thing you can do is find the sweet spot between distraction (i.e healthy movement of negative thoughts to positive ones) and fight (don’t allow self-doubt to shape your success) quite frankly, if you are reading this blog, you are not the type to freeze – you can face and want to tackle any internal problems head-on.

3. Accept and be kind to yourself

Strong emotions are part of our evolved warning system.  All emotions have a positive, productive reason if you constructively listen to them of course! The system sometimes gets confused (e.g., as in the case of panic attacks or depression). However, fundamentally your emotions exist to help and guide you. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is fight them, the best thing you can do is give yourself credit. If you have a sudden loss of confidence, unpick why. Use your reason and logic to understand whether it’s serious and in every event use it to make you a better person and self-develop.

5 highly effective ways to get more clients

 

Keeping and retaining clients is one of the most difficult and stress-inducing tasks for a new or expanding business. Here are 5 highly effective ways to get more clients

1.Actively participate in social events

You need to be there and you need to be visible. Networking is about building trust, showing your personality (in a professional way) and showing your clients you can handle it. Building a strong rapport with your clients builds trust. It doesn’t hurt to be friendly and talk about things other than business but always try to enter conversations with an objective.

2. Have a strong thought leadership presence

Whether this is through blogs, articles, e-books or hard books there is no better way to detail your expertise than by clients using you as a form of knowledge research. Your thought leadership presence should be consistent and topical, the most efficient way to do this is through a blog on your company website.

3. Iron out your client process to get more referrals

How clear is your process from initial client contact to problem resolution – would your clients recommend you? The more simple and clear your process is the more at ease your clients are and the more likely they are to refer you if asked. Always make sure your clients are clear on everything.

4. Pump up your SEO

You don’t want to miss out on organic searchers because your website is on page 209 of Google search. Saying that, if your clients are more word-of-mouth referrals pump up your visibility within your existing client base, attend their work social events whenever invited, invite them to your events or host a grand annual event that your clients look forward to attending every year. These things matter.

5. Be personal

Remember important details about your clients and follow up with them for example if they speak to you about family life or events they are going to it shows them you care if you follow up with them next time you see them. Further, if you see some information that would be useful to your clients email them. A personal touch like this can be replicated in so many ways. Being personal takes time, but its likely to help you stand out and close more clients.

The secret to getting what you want at work

 

Even if you’re not running a business, you need things from other people in order to succeed. Asking for help is extremely difficult for many, typically the higher your responsibilities the more cautious you are to ask. Why? Perhaps you suppose it makes you look incompetent but this unfounded belief is stopping you from getting what you want. Learning how to acquire resources, in a professional context, is a skill that pays dividends over and over – it’s worth investing your time to learn.

How to get what you want

There are a lot of different strategies to get what you want, in a professional context, but the one we discuss today is certainly one of the most powerful. It’s called the win/win strategy. It’s the way to get both parties what they want, by helping each other. You don’t even always have to give something away to strike a win-win deal. Sometimes, simply by helping you, other parties are helping themselves. Maybe by helping you with your workload, your colleague will get more visibility in front of those who matter or more experience in an area of work that they’d been curious about. There can be one-off win/win negotiations or more supportive, long-term deals, such as a work swap.

Why win/win is not just about getting what you want

Creating a mutually agreeable win/win solution is so much more than a negotiation tactic – it’s a way of work. If you are keen to make an impact on those around you and dominate your industry, you want to build trust, everywhere you go. A winwin negotiation settlement is an integrative negotiated agreement. In theory, this means the negotiating parties have reached an agreement after fully taking into account each others’ interests. You are encouraging other people to like you and continue to do business with you. In the win/win environment, you encourage shared responsibility and collaboration, which create opportunities for innovation, continuous improvement, and shared benefits. Defensive, risk-averse, compliance-based contracts undermine these results. The win/win agreements are far more likely to establish principles for improved flexibility, allowing both parties to discover hidden values that they may not have utilized in previous negotiation approaches.

Further, using the win/win strategy as a way to resolve conflict or problems is hugely beneficial to your business. When you identify and, implement, a win/win solution, both parties leave the situation with a sense of accomplishment and a better feeling about the relationship. The very fact that you attempted to find a win/win solution is usually enough to build the respect and trust required to build positive long-term relationships.

Without persuasion there is no success

Why are market leaders, market leaders? There is fierce competition everywhere but what makes Apple stand out from all other tech companies or Nike dominate all sportswear? The subtle but defining difference is persuasion. The aforementioned companies didn’t think of anything different, they have competitors with similar great quality products, however, they have continually persuaded their target audiences to follow them, on their journey to something amazing and original.

Persuasion is the most important but often overlooked skill required of leaders. Every time you face a client you should be persuading them, why they should buy into you and nobody else.

In a very interesting interview for First Round Review product leader for Chrome at Google, Tyler Odean explains the science behind his persuasion techniques.

Mastering persuasion is understanding the biases and shortcuts to the human brain. Why are we so predisposed to bias? Because the brain needs them to make sense of the constant information the world throws at us.

Learning about the biases allows us to be more persuasive. Odean highlights five cognitive biases that are particularly relevant to the entrepreneur’s task of getting customers, investors and employees on board

Availability

We’re all more comfortable with the things we’ve seen a lot in our lives — including ideas.

Take Silicon Valley’s tendency to favor trends as an example. “The more everyone talks about blockchain, the more everyone believes in blockchain.”

This isn’t about emulation but about recognizing what already has credibility and building upon it.

Anchoring

When making decisions, the initial thing a person sees becomes a powerful reference point for them. The first number you throw out when you’re talking about pricing will always be the most important number you say. Be concrete with your facts, these reference points are hard to change and always referenced.

Representation

After any experience, humans create a representative memory. It’s not an accurate, nor comprehensive account of what they encountered. Many people, when in front of an important audience think they need to say it all. The audience is not interested in every detail. Keep it to the summary points and stick to a very short, simple message that you repeat in different ways again and again. This advice is gold! When there are fewer things to remember, your audience is more likely to remember what matters.

Coherence

“People like familiarity. We want smart people to be smart. We want good people to be good,” says Odean. “The same goes for ideas.” Because we so badly want equilibrium and predictability in our lives, we’re pretty willing — eager even — to believe that things are more consistent than they actually are.

Remember it’s more difficult to persuade someone that they’re wrong than to persuade them that there’s new information that should change their way of thinking.

Any time you’re trying to persuade someone to change their way of thinking about a particular topic, always frame it as an opportunity to be right because of new information, that they previously did not have instead of an admission of past error.

Framing

Human beings are incapable of reasoning about the world in the absolute, so they default to the next best thing: comparative reasoning.

Make sure whatever you are offering is transferred without losing too much meaning – be aware that any information you put out will be seen through a comparative lens. Make your solution or plan easy to visualize and simple.

How to always maximise your energy and reach “performance plus”

 

Even though business champions are not afraid of sleeplessness, overtime and burnout in order to reach their goals, this mindset can certainly lead to failure. What if instead of burning the midnight oil, we could maximise our energy, so all of our tasks are completed at a reasonable hour? This sounds impossible but in fact it’s not and it’s a far better solution to suffering from burnout or depression or both.

Life and work should be a balance – so here are the ingredients for you to maximise your energy and reach performance plus, everyday.

The three energy buckets required for you to maximise your energy

Transformational coach, Katia Verresen devised a visualisation technique for burnt out leaders. She explains, “How many times a day do you hear people bragging about how little sleep they got? Saying that they will just power through the next two weeks?” It’s common talk amongst entrepreneurs. But it’s hardly indicative of progress.

Instead, Verresen encourages leaders to visualise three types of energy, as buckets that need to be filled in order to reach their “performance plus”.

1. Physical Energy

The foundation energy. Without this you are incapable of anything. It’s the easiest energy to immediately influence but most often neglected (i.e I skipped lunch or I can operate on no sleep in order to achieve a deadline).

2. Emotional Energy

How you feel at any given moment – i,e anxious, stressed, excited. It’s important because it dictates more than half of your behaviour and decision making.

3. Mental Energy

The highest order of energy, only achievable when you have the physical and emotional tanks full, allowing you to make accurate, intelligible and efficent decisions.

When these three buckets are filled, we can maximise our energy and reach performance plus.

Most people know the core components of physical energy but busy leaders rarely follow them. Burn out is not the norm. If you are operating in fight or flight mode, due to severely empty energy buckets, then your decisions, work and everything you are producing is severely compromised. Do things the right way and make sure you look after yourself to maximise your energy.

Check out Katia Kverresen’s interview here on this topic.

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