Making statistics fun and funky

I spend a lot of my time teaching clients how they can make presentations be engaging through story and visuals. Even with stuff people think is boring. Here is one of my favourite presenters Hans Rosling, making statistics fun and funky Of course part of his presentation is about his charisma. Unfortunately, you cannot teach charisma but heck you can bring out your own version of enthusiasm for your subject. Work that in with a clear narrative of where you want to take your audience and some super visuals and your presentations will always be memorable. Enjoy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jbkSRLYSojo...
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Overcoming the fear of public speaking

In my last article I spoke about the reasons why a lot of people are afraid of public speaking. I thought it was important to get to the bottom of the anxiety around speaking and why it is so challenging for many. In this piece I want to offer some suggestions as to how one can overcome such fears. Here goes. Understand your why People are asked to speak in public because they have great stories to tell, great data to share and in many cases inspire others to do the same. When you realise that the knowledge you bring can help others, this service can go a long way in helping you to overcome your fear Practice Practice Practice It’s not just speaking in front of a big audience, but also interviews, networking, sales pitches and in meetings that all require good public speaking skills. The thing is even the best speakers in the world require good practice and honing of their skills. It’s...
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Why are people afraid of public speaking?

Why are people afraid of public speaking?

“I wish I could have the confidence to speak like you” I remember initially responding to people with phrases like “you can do it, all it takes is passion and practice” or “just deep breathe and you are good to go”. Years of one to one coaching and research on the anxiety that fuels this fear has helped me to change my approach. Primarily being more empathetic but also understanding where the problem arises from in order to be able to coach better. For this article I want to talk about the main problems that stop people from being able to speak in public. I will follow up with another article to explain how we can approach tackling this. Glossophobia or speech anxiety is the fear of public speaking or of speaking in general. Symptoms include severe anxiety before an event or physical events such as dry mouth, increased heart rate, sweaty palms and the stiffening of muscles. Often this anxiety can result in people...
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Away Days Reimagined

Away Days Reimagined

Getting organisational away days right is both an art and a science. I love those away days where I get to facilitate deep and meaningful conversations on company strategy and issues. And I disliked those ones where I am having to facilitate people who don’t want to be in the room and who some leaders think that they can be easily placated by “team building activities in the afternoon” I have had my fair share of incredible away days and some car crashes too. I am not the cheapest when it comes to do this either and that’s because I think if you are going to do such a thing it is an investment. Not only in the part of those looking for actionable strategic outcomes but a tangible return on investment as a result of the day. So here are some thoughts on reimagining away days and the effect they have on staff. Understand the purpose of an away day A cursory search on...
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Like, Stop Saying Like

“What is wrong with you? Why do you keep on saying like when you speak? Is this the kind of English you want me to grow up repeating?” (I cannot confirm or deny that is exactly what the child pictured is saying) Over the last week or so, I have been catching up on a number of podcasts that I am subscribed to. They cover a wide spectrum of business, storytelling, education and comedy themes. Some are the popular ones and others less so. What I noticed was how many presenters filled their statements with like. like lʌɪk/ preposition having the same characteristics or qualities as; similar to. used to draw attention to the nature of an action or event. Not as a preposition as mentioned above or even as a conjunction conjunction in the same way that; as. e.g. “people who change countries like they change clothes” It would even be ok as a formal adjective. adjective (of a person or thing) having similar qualities or characteristics to another person or thing. e.g. “I responded in...
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How to MC at Conferences

How to MC at Conferences

Last week I wrote about how to speak at conferences. Today I want to focus on the role of the MC at conferences. A good MC will really make the difference for a smooth running and engaging conference. For those of us who do this regularly, we recognise that a lot is at stake in making sure that the organisers of the conference get great feedback and enough buzz is created in anticipation of future conferences. For the record, many of these notes also apply to those who are tasked with hosting Aways Days and Awards as well, but for now, let’s just focus on conferences. BEFORE THE CONFERENCE Understanding the Brief Way before an emcee steps on stage, there should be an understanding of both the theme and outcome of the conference. Most conference organisers have a specific direction they want to take their audience and to be fair sometimes new organisers don’t understand it as well as they think they do. Whether it...
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How to speak at conferences

How to speak at conferences

I have had the pleasure of speaking at many conferences over my speaking career.From business conferences to education conferences. Faith conferences to TEDx. Each and every time I have learnt as much as I have given. Not just in content but also delivery, as well as picking up on some of the key mistakes that speakers make when presenting. Recently I had the pleasure of speaking at the STRETCH conference in Budapest. A two-day conference focusing on the building of effective, adaptable, resilient and purposeful teams. I was the final speaker of the conference and got the chance to observe all the other presentations before it was my turn. What it gave me was an opportunity to make some notes and to offer up some of my advice on what works when you are asked to speak at a conference. So here goes. BEFORE THE CONFERENCE Presentation Coaching If you are asked to deliver at a conference and you have never presented to a...
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Why Good Presentation Matters

Last week I had the pleasure of taking part in my first presentation conference. Sharing the stage with some amazing speakers who shared their insights into what makes for a good presentation. They included amongst others the hilarious David Nihill, Presentation author and broadcaster Carmine Gallo, TED Content Director Kelly Stoetzel, MD of Brother Phil Jones, founder of LeWeb Loic Le Mur and neuroscientist Dr Carmen Simon. Of course I gave a keynote too and took part in a presentation karaoke, but I'll get to that. Now the back story of why I was so excited about this is important. In the US, Rick Altman runs The Presentation Summit  a full on three day immersion in good presenting. For a number of years I toyed with the idea of putting on a presentation conference like this, but I have come the realisation I prefer to be part of the presenting than the organising of conferences. Indeed I tested the idea with a...
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The Hidden Power of Your Voice

The Hidden Power of Your Voice

"There is no index of character so sure as the voice" In a world that seems to be dominated by digital media it would be easy to forget how powerful the voice is. Emails, texts and other written forms of communication cannot (even with the use of emojis) truly convey the emotion and tone of the sound of a voice, and yet so many people don't realize how powerful it is. As a communications coach my job allows me to work with individuals across all industries and disciplines. So many people who come to me for coaching on public speaking, presentation skills or internal communications don't seem to realise how powerful their voice is as an instrument in being able to influence people. Whether teachers, politicians, business people or those in entertainment, the message is the same. Your voice is power. When people think of famous keynotes, be it the historic ones by Nelson Mandela, JFK, Martin Luther King or Winston Churchill, or the...
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Speaking is about the AUDIENCE, not you!

Speaking is about the AUDIENCE, not you!

I would like to consider myself a great speaker. I have worked at my craft for over twenty-five years. I have tried my hand at acting and stand-up comedy I joined speaker clubs. I deliver conference facilitation, away day hosting, awards hosting, emceeing in addition to my normal speaking for business and education. I have studied storytelling, rhetoric, NLP (not for me), psychology, behavioural economics and anthropology. I trained as a counsellor and have used all these to not only become a better speaker but also to coach others in what I have learned. So here is the one thing I have learned amidst all this. SPEAKING IS ALL ABOUT THE AUDIENCE, AND NOT YOU. Even when people will pay thousands for a keynoter it should still be about the audience. This may sound obvious but it is this in mind which for me always creates the best speeches ever. It is this which I remind so many of my clients who get nervous or don't understand how much preparation...
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