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" A pause is like a non-verbal full stop or comma. "
Dear Goddess Of Public Speaking...
" Too much talking, too fast, not enough eye contact and speaker didn't believe what they said" was the feedback I just received from an evaluation. I'm a bit upset because I put a lot of work into writing my presentation. Should I just rewrite it? " K.M. LIBRARIAN
"Shut Up & Let Your Body Talk"
Blah, blah, blah... Talk, hype, buzz, "like", "totally", "awesome", "it's all good". It's hard to hear anything of value when we hear people speak to one another these days. Mouths are endlessly moving but meaning is lost in the blah blah. I think people are impatiently switching off.
I know I hunger for something true, juicy and meaningful. And more words, even if they are clever words, aren't the answer. What I want, and what an audience wants, is credibility and realness. Followed by a hefty dollop of "what's in it for me" content. Is this something you want too? Hell, we've only got one life, let's make the most of it.
Credibility & Realness In 5 Simple Steps
The key is to let your body talk for you. Actions do "speak louder than words". We watch movement before we process word meaning. Make sure the messages your body sends to your audience are congruent with your verbal message. Here's how to create credibility and realness when you present:
1. Gently roll your shoulders back before you speak 1:1 or 1 to a group. This will open your abdomen, chest, shoulders , throat and face. People interpret this open posture as self confident, capable and receptive. They are more likely to listen to you, figuring if you believe in you, there's good chance they will too.
2. Maintain gentle, neutral eye contact one person at a time. Focus on people who's bodies are receptively listening to you. Stay with one person long enough to watch your words land on their face, for you to see the connection occur between you. Allowing yourself to stay still with one person at a time says without words, "I see you, I hear you, I am with you". An audience / group feels respected when it knows the speaker is listening as well as speaking to them.
3. Keep a stable, open leg stance if you are standing, or sit up straight if you are seated. If a strong wind arises, you won't blow over and if there is critical interjection from the group you won't crumble. A strong stance says without words, "I am capable of delivering and handling what ever comes my way." This generates confidence, groundedness and a sense of permanence.
4. Take a breath, pause and slow down when you speak. There is no race to be won. People take speakers more seriously when they perceive the message is conveyed with gravitas. A pause is like a non verbal full-stop or comma. When you pause, it gives your listeners a chance to entrain with you, to match your pace and process your ideas. Offer choice, not imposition. By attending respectfully to the diversity of your group you convey, "I have something of importance to say, and I invite you to listen."
5. Let natural hand, face and body gestures flow and underscore your words. If you describe something as "amazing", express your amazement with your whole body. Eyes wide, mouth agape, fingers spread, shoulders lifted, a step back or a breath in. The word "amaze" is just a word, one word lost in a long presentation of sentences, paragraphs and points. When you show "amaze" with your whole body, people feel it and it travels deep inside to connect emotionally, beyond their ears.
When an audience, group or your 1:1 friend connect emotionally with what you are saying and your words and your body match in meaning, you will have credibility and realness whenever you speak. And that's precious in today's "like totally awesome it's all good" blah blah world. K.M., I adjure you to aim for connection with your audience first and support that with great content.
On a scale of 1-10, how do you rate your credibility and realness when you speak? Do your words have impact and are people inspired to follow through?
You can learn how to present your information with great credibility and realness when you speak (crazy that we have to "learn" how to be real isn't it?) in any one of the Goddess Of Public Speaking's Programs. And if you are on a deadline, there are still 2 spots left in the 4 Day Transformational Retreat for Women, 27-30 October, 2011. Contact Geraldine for information.
Rate between 1 and 10 how cool, calm and connected you feel:
When you speak and lead with natural ease and authenticity, you will be closer to 10. When you feel scattered, distracted or unconfident, you will be closer to 1.
What To Do: If you are above a 7 today, notice what's working well and keep doing it. Accept that daily variations in confidence and clarity are normal. If you are below a 7 today, listen to and practise the Inner Calm exercise. You can also download our 2 free A4 Posters of the Inner Calm exercise and the Calm Barometer.