Rushed delivery tells your audience you don’t care

speeches, like announcements, should not be rushed

Flight attendants rush and slur their way through them, as if they are an inconvenience they want to dispose of as quickly as possible. They massacre these announcements in French and English, Canada’s two official languages.

How to find that ‘presence’ that gives great speakers the edge

You can have technically excellent presentation skills – but still lack presence. Unleash your authenticity and you are well on your way to finding that game-changing quality that we recognise but find hard to define – presence.

Want to be a better speaker? Can you spare 4 minutes?

focus on speaking before writing

Yes, you still write it – but only after you have tested your words on your tongue and lips and ears. Speak before you write. Try the words for size. See what they sound like. Try variations. Only when you like what you hear can you write down the words. This is writing for the voice, not the eye.

Leadership lessons from the ballroom

Good business really is like good dancing. Establishing the strategic direction is a good start – but is everyone absolutely clear? Is there potential for confusion? Few would confuse the raunchy mambo and the sophisticated foxtrot. But you can dance the sexy rhumba to the same music as the cheeky cha-cha. Are you sure your followers know your intention exactly?

Time to upgrade those tired old introductions

by Halina St James In the last week I attended two business functions, each a small group of 10 to 20 people. The organizer inevitably called upon us to introduce ourselves and tell the group what we do. Elevator speech time. One by one everyone got up and dutifully followed a familiar formula: name, company …

Read moreTime to upgrade those tired old introductions

Do words really count for only 7% of your message? We review the ‘Mehrabian myth’

The more your body language and tone of voice are out of sync with your words, the less likely the audience will truly hear, understand and be persuaded to act on your message.

Humour is risky; dumb is deadly

Here we go again. Another confident and articulate speaker opens his mouth and jams both feet deep inside. This time it’s British writer and television celebrity Jeremy Clarkson. He has a huge fan following among motor sport enthusiasts, who appreciate his opinionated outbursts. But he’s in trouble today.  He was asked on a television talk …

Read moreHumour is risky; dumb is deadly

Say what you mean – and mean what you say

A friend of mine just got her Visa statement. She had a charge for $50.95 for ‘retail interest’. At first she thought she bought something and just had ‘one of those moments’ remembering what it was. But she was sure she didn’t buy anything for that amount. So she called Visa. She was right. She …

Read moreSay what you mean – and mean what you say

How to hold an audience, without props or gimmicks

If you can make global economics interesting for more than an hour to a non-specialist audience, you have to be doing something right as a speaker. Hats off to Scotiabank chief economist Warren Jestin for doing just that today at a luncheon in Halifax, Nova Scotia. And he did it without notes, or charts, or …

Read moreHow to hold an audience, without props or gimmicks