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Podium Communications Blog

Two tips to help achieve a conversational style

Nervous speakers get lots of advice before they step on stage: relax, be yourself, be conversational. Trouble is, no-one tells them how difficult it is to relax, be yourself and be conversational when every eye in the room is locked on you. The advice is good, of course. Those three ideas are essential to an effective presentation or speech. We just need to remember […]

Don’t let your imagination take a nap

Are you a slave to a search engine? Are you in danger of sacrificing insight and imagination in favour of 49,400,000 results in 0.59 seconds? (That’s what I got when I plugged ‘public speaking’ into Google). Today every fact in the world is at our finger tips. Every conceivable subject is covered. It’s so easy to gather data to flesh out a speech or […]

Speaking tips from Muhammed Ali

What can a boxer teach us about public speaking? Plenty, if the boxer was Muhammed Ali. In recent days the world has mourned his death. There have been tributes aplenty to his athletic skills, his courage, his principled stands, and his grace and dignity in coping with Parkinson’s Disease. Sure,  Muhammed Ali could connect with his punches. Sonny Liston, Joe Frazier, George Foreman and all […]

Crisis communications: do’s and don’ts

The massive forest fires that devastated Fort McMurray have tested the crisis communications skills of everyone – the local fire chief, the politicians, the oil companies. There have been some conspicuous successes, and a few head-shaking moments. First there was veteran Fire Chief Darby Allen, the human face of the fight to save the town. His calm but compassionate briefings had none of the […]

How to connect with your audience

It’s top of mind for all speakers: how do I really connect to this audience? You can be articulate, polished, perfectly groomed, have the best stage-craft… and still not make that magical and all-important connection with your listeners. Let’s face it, you want your audience to respond enthusiastically to your call-to-action. You want to persuade them to take action: to think or act differently. […]

Bridging phrases to keep you ‘on message’

You’ve delivered your speech. It went well. Now you’re into a Q and A session. Or you are taking part in a panel discussion. Or you are giving a media interview. Some questions lead you directly to your key message points. But some questions are… well let’s just say they are less helpful. Sometimes you need to re-phrase or re-frame a question in order […]

Messaging: how to give your words real impact

Imagine you are giving a television or radio interview. It lasts about four minutes. But the average sound bite on television is about 8 seconds. Your challenge is to make sure the 8 second clip that gets broadcast is the strongest, most credible exposition of your message you are capable of delivering. The first stage in being able to deliver a clear, effective message […]

If your message is important, it’s worth repeating

If you want the audience to remember something important, repeat, repeat, repeat. Audiences are easily distracted. They may be tired. The room may be too hot or too cold. The seats may be uncomfortable. You don’t want people to miss that really important point you just made. So repeat it. When you are delivering an important point, make sure you lodge it clearly in […]

Tone can be more important than text

Tone is the gift-wrap around your words. Tone opens the door to acceptance of your message. Usually audiences interpret tone more quickly than they process the words. Former New York City mayor Edward Koch once said ‘tone can be as important as text.’ It’s important your tone matches your content. Smile if the story is happy. You’d be surprised how many people deliver wonderful […]

Great speeches are born of passion and art

Where are the great speeches that inspire us so much we still remember them years later? If I ask you to name the authors of the following extracts, I doubt you’ll have much trouble. ‘I have a dream today’.  ‘Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country’. ‘We shall fight on the beaches, we shall […]

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