Pauses make you a better presenter – in any language

Don’t scorch through a presentation like you’re trying to get out of a burning building. Slow down. Pause for breath after every big thought and every sentence. You build in a comprehension gap for the audience. And by filling your lungs regularly you have more control over your breathing. That means more control over pacing and emphasis – all the good things that help you connect with the audience.

How to avoid common slide show mistakes

how to make more interesting slides

A few weeks ago I saw the world’s worst PowerPoint slide presentation. The memory of those cluttered slides was still rattling round in my brain when it came time to make my monthly contribution to the webinar run by the International Institute for Business Analysis. And guess what the subject was: effective PowerPoints. It seems …

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Assert your way to success and health

assertive or aggressive

Time to ‘fess up. Are you assertive? Or are you aggressive? Some people think they are acting assertively when they are really being aggressive. And some people think if they assert themselves others will interpret their behaviour as aggression. There’s a world of difference between assertive and aggressive, so let’s start with a definition. Assertive …

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Hook your audience with your first words

hook your audience with your opening words

When I spoke at the Rotary Club of Halifax, Harbourside, a man asked if the ‘old rule’ about public speaking was still valid. He was referring to the “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you told them,” structure. I’ve written about this before, but it’s worth repeating. …

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Don’t be a cultural colonialist

make an effort to understand diversity

Years ago when I taught English as a Second Language, I touched a Thai student’s head. He was deeply offended. Another of my students, a wealthy Iranian teenager, would constantly snap his fingers at me when he wanted my attention. This time I was offended. How we move, act and gesture is very important as we …

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How to be successful in the global market-place

make an effort to understand diversity

Understanding diversity is important. If you don’t, when you’re dealing with another culture, you can cause all kinds of communication headaches. So what should you do when you’re about to do business with someone in another country? Here are some basic tips to help avoid conversational misunderstandings: Research the culture of the other party. Know …

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What is your body language saying about you?

use stories to engage an audience

The most powerful way we communicate is not with our words but our body. Body language, or non-verbal communication, is your repertoire of gestures, facial expressions, body position and eye movements. Our brains evaluate all these things and come to a conclusion about the speaker in a nano-second. When you speak, you want your body …

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