Loading...

Follow Commanding Presence | Communication and Present.. on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid
Commanding Presence | Communication and .. by The Late John Plank, Founder Of Com.. - 1M ago
The ability to persuade and inspire requires “charismatic communication”.
How do some speakers have the ability to establish a friendly and immediate rapport with the listeners and hold their attention while they persuade and inspire them? What is their secret?
It's called "Charisma" and it seems like a magical and mysterious quality that only a few, chosen individuals have. The good news is that charismatic communication is a learned skill.
The Definition of Charisma
Charismatic people are "Enthusiastically and Energetically Engaged".
It is their unselfconscious and passionate involvement that is so attractive to others. When you are enthusiastically and energetically engaged in communicating with your listeners, you will tend to be perceived as “Charismatic".
The Myths of Charisma
Charisma is not about being rich and powerful. It's not about being beautiful or talented. We can perceive Charismatic qualities in every sort of person. These qualities can be cultivated.
Are charismatic people born? Yes, but not just a select few, everyone is born with Charisma.
We are born charismatic and stay that way until social interactions persuade us to adopt “appropriate” ways of behaviour. We become self-conscious and lose some of the ability to be “just ourselves”.
Anxiety Kills Charisma
Each of us experiences some level of self-consciousness and anxiety when in the company of other people. In social and business situations when we are being observed by others this self-consciousness increases and is the chief cause of fear of speaking.
Can You "Do" Charisma?
Don't waste a moment trying to appear charismatic. When we pretend to be charismatic, when we tried to "sound" authoritative -- or look impressive, we resemble bad actors and lose credibility. The best person to sound like is you. By simply being yourself, and practicing a few basic skills you will achieve a huge improvement in your speaking ability and your self-confidence.
And yes, you will be charismatic!
The Five Keys to Being a Charismatic Communicator
Charismatic speakers are simply using a set of specific skills that you can use too.. These are the skills of Charismatic Communication.
1. Enthusiasm
You may not be enthusiastic about all of the presentations that you have to make. That's not the listeners’ problem; that’s your challenge.
The Charismatic Communicator will do what ever it takes to find something new to be enthusiastic about every time they speak. They might focus on the benefits and consequences for each particular group. They will focus on the immediate relevance and critical context for everyone in the room.
Whatever it is, a charismatic speaker will always find something about which they can genuinely enthuse.
It’s work, but it’s enjoyable work, and it makes speaking much easier - perhaps even enjoyable - for you.
Remember Enthusiasm is infectious!
2. Energy
The charismatic communicator may appear to be relaxed and speaking easily, but great speakers are putting out an enormous amount of energy.
Great speakers are constantly alert and alive – they enjoy re-discovering their material at the moment of delivery. Even if you are presenting something for the 10th time, you must find the energy to be alive to what is unique about this information today – and for those specific people in front of you.
You need physical energy too; speaking is a whole-body experience. You feel better, you sound better and you look better when you are using your physical energy. So “warm-up” before you speak - go for a walk, climb the stairs and practice your presentation out loud (just talk into your cell phone - no one will pay any attention!).
3. Engagement
“It's not how interesting you all are, it's how interested you are”
After 25 years of coaching highly skilled performers in theatre, film and television, in courtrooms, keynote speeches and political campaigns, I have concluded that all great speakers have one thing in common; the ability to be "in the moment" to be continuously engaged. I call it “Presence”. This is the “Presence” in “Commanding Presence”.
Presence is the ability to be continuously “engaged”, to be "in the moment", or "tuned-in". We need to know how to engage our listeners so that they too will be “Present”. Presence is the essence of Charisma.
Charismatic communication is not about the speaker, it’s about the listener. Great speakers are involved in a dynamic, continuously interactive conversation. They are constantly observing and responding to the reactions of the listeners in front of them.
"One-way" speaking is unnatural; it will make you self-conscious, and it will make you nervous. Speak interactively - get engaged!
Eye Contact
Most speakers don’t make “real” eye contact. They either “scan” their audiences, or look over their heads, or at the floor. Communication with no eye contact is one of the major chief causes of poor performances. It is also a major cause of fear of speaking.
Eye contact with your listeners establishes and maintains rapport, the most essential aspect of effective verbal communication. This visual contact creates an emotional and personal link between you and your listeners and enhances your credibility and impact.
By delivering each point directly to an individual, you will pause instinctively between major points to confirm that your listener has grasped the concept, just as you do in informal conversation. Your ideas will be conveyed with understanding and maximum impact.
5. Empathy
“We don’t care what you know, until we know that you care”
Charismatic speakers establish rapport with their audiences by empathizing with them. This empathy becomes apparent to the audience quite naturally through your tone of voice, your body language and how sensitively you are responding to them.
Speaking is more of an emotional experience for the speaker and the listener, than the intellectual experience between the writer and the reader.
Your listeners want to know how you feel about the information, what your attitudes towards it are, and what relative importance you attach to each part of the information. Likewise - by using eye contact – you are able to read their responses from moment-to-moment.
Let your listeners know that you care about them, about your message, and about making sure they understand you.
Charisma isn’t a noun - it’s a verb - just do it!
For more training on developing a Commanding Presence and becoming a charismatic communicator, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
We also provide private group training for organizations in the following formats: 2-hour, half-day, one-day and two-day training.
Learn more about our in-person training here
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
How to Increase Your Communication Effectiveness with Eye Contact.
There Are Three Levels of Eye Contact. First is "None at all", the second is "Scanning" – artificially making contact with listeners. The third is remarkably rare – it is Authentic, Fully Functioning Eye Communication.
The Five Secrets to Authentic Eye Communication.
1. Silence Is Your Friend.
Remember that all verbal communication begins in silence – the entire atmosphere of your meeting or presentation will change when you make sincere eye contact with everyone before you beg.
2. It's Got to Be Real.
Do not follow the advice of "experts" – who recommend that you look at individuals for two or three seconds and then move on to another listener. This is "pretend eye contact" – audiences can tell – and chances you will feel even more self conscious. Don't settle for anything less than your natural ability to pay very close attention to people.
3. Attitude Can Change Everything.
You may not be comfortable with eye contact in a professional setting, but most speakers, addressing more than eight or 10 people, fail to use authentic eye contact. Even a slight improvement will make you better than average.
Stop thinking about using eye communication as a huge challenge; rather think of it as an amazingly powerful tool which will immediately make you a far better speaker.
4. The Master Technique.
Share your first thought with an individual in the group - and look at their face for a reaction – and then move on to the next thought and share it with another listener. After an important statement, look at several people, one at a time, in silence. It emphasizes your point more effectively than speaking loudly.
When speakers do that – when they are truly in the moment and making continuous eye contact – in order to read our response – the effect is transformational.
5. You Were Born with This Skill.
The reason that so many people can master eye communication so quickly – and why it is so transformational – is that authentic eye communication is something that you have been doing since before you could speak! "Reading" your listeners' responses from moment to moment is a skill that every child is born with – and which precedes verbal communication.
I hope you will experiment with this, beginning in "safe" presentations. When you fully experience the benefits, your use of eye contact will make you a more comfortable, more effective and trustworthy speaker.
For more training on developing a Commanding Presence and becoming a Natural Speaker, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
The average person lists public speaking as one of their biggest fears, fearing it more than heights, small spaces, bugs, and in some cases, even death. Mark Twain quipped, “There are two types of speakers. Those who get nervous and those who are liars.”
Thankfully, the FOCUS!® Method addresses all the most common speaking concerns executives and leaders have when presenting impromptu or a prepared presentation, ranging from blanking out, not sounding credible, and deciding what information and message to convey.
What is the FOCUS!® Method?
The FOCUS! Method provides a way for both introverts and extroverts to “say less, and say it better” in all occasions - in meetings, interviews, one-on-one, and presentations with large audiences. It enables you to organize complex thoughts and ideas effectively, and then quickly deliver them in a way that is designed to be heard, remembered, and persuasive. It gives you a simple format to start, navigate, and end your message with, and therefore allows you to speak “off the cuff” about topics in which you are the expert. When you use this method, your anxiety will be significantly reduced, if not eliminated altogether.
Why Does the FOCUS!® Method Work?
The science behind the FOCUS!® Method is the Rule of Threes and the use of hierarchical memory. The combination of the two creates a unifying theme that relates to all the key points in threes, which are easy to recall and easy to navigate.
The Rule of Threes is simple: the best way to structure things is in groups of threes, because psychologists and neuroscientists tell us that our sensory memory can hold one to seven pieces of information, but our favorite number is three. Think of your phone number—10 random numbers are tough. But 3 sets of numbers are easy!
Perhaps because three is the smallest number that is required to make a pattern—and a pattern works because it’s powerful and memorable and easier to embrace. We’ve seen this throughout our history: Newton’s three rules of motion in physics, the three-note building blocks in musical harmony, the structure of essays (introduction, body, conclusion), prizes in competitions (1st, 2nd, 3rd), acronyms for companies and organizations, traffic lights, and so on. It seems that everyone has tapped into the power of three. There's even a website, www.threes.com that contains thousands of examples of threes.
So how can we apply this to making our speeches more memorable?
Well, first we must acknowledge and embrace the fact that our listeners are likely to only remember three things from our presentation. Therefore, it’s critical that we are intentional about what these three things are! When you create the content of your speech, develop a “headline” message, and three key sub-points, along with 3 simple supporting facts for each sub-points. The key is that you never ask listeners to remember more than the headline and these three clearly-stated key points. This combination of simplicity and repetition allows your audience to process the information and transfer it from working memory into long-term memory.
How does the FOCUS!® Method Work?
The FOCUS!® Method ensures that before you begin to speak you will:
Know exactly what your first statement will be.Know what you will say to finish.Know precisely which aspects of your topic you are going to cover.
First, tell listeners what your key point (“headline”) is and identify the three sub-points (in 3 concise sentences) you intend to address. This provides the listener with a mental “map” or preview of what you are going to say.
Furthermore, it immediately increases the listener’s attention by eliminating doubts about your position, how long you will speak, and which areas you will cover.
Second, address each of your sub-points, speaking spontaneously and in a conversational style.
Third, finish by repeating your headline and sub-points. This is the imprinting part; you imprint the message in your listeners by stating, validating and reiterating.
If you were to use the focus Method to answer a question, you would clarify and restate the question if necessary, then choose your headline. You would then write down or think of your three sub-points and deliver your headline and three points. Remember to speak spontaneously to each point and recap your headline and three points.
Where Can You Learn the FOCUS!® Method?
The Focus Method is just one of the transformational units in our Two-Day Commanding Presence: Advanced Communication & Presentation Skill Workshops. Participants will get a chance to create their own Focus Method presentations using current topics or issues and practice delivering them to other participants. We will record the presentations and provide 360-degree feedback.
Limited to only ten participants, each person receives all the personal coaching, exercises, practice, and video feedback they require and learn effective speaking skills in a comfortable and supportive learning environment.
After the course, participants will be able to:
• Speak with more confidence and authority in all business and social environments
• Manage personal stress and communicate effectively under pressure
• Quickly prepare memorable and persuasive text
• Deliver concise and compelling formal presentations to small and large groups
• "Think on your feet": respond quickly and eloquently to questions and enquiries in meetings, on the telephone, and in presentations
• Establish rapport with different personality types: persuade and influence with integrity
• Develop an individual and natural speaking style
Training for private groups in various formats: half-day, one-day and two-day fromats are also available Learn more about our training here
www.commandingpresence.com
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
In the delivery of a speech, there are two factors at play: the intention of the speaker and the perception by the audience of the speaker’s intent. The two do not always go together – there are gaps, misinterpretations, or in the worst scenario, backlashes. Perhaps it is a commonplace to acknowledge such discrepancies. But, can we do anything to avoid them when delivering our speech?
Naturally, we take great care in crafting our speeches and presentations. We would conduct thorough analysis of the audience so that we could relate to their experiences. We would diligently gather information, and compile statistics that are particularly compelling with this audience. We would use an appropriate amount of concise and simple supporting materials that suit the occasion perfectly. Further, we would exploit the characteristics of spoken words and choose apt analogies and examples to illuminate our points. Above all, we are prepared to commit ourselves to establishing rapport with this audience, acknowledging their expertise, their values and their constraints.
These are carefully crafted intentions. Will the perception of the audience reciprocate? Well, the perception of a speech has little to do with the intentions of the speaker, no matter how carefully it has been crafted. The audience leaves with their own understanding of what you meant – which might be quite different from what you intended to say – and even different from what you actually said. The reality of a speech is not determined by the preconceived intentions of its speaker. In other words, our speeches exist as perceptions.
So, how do we achieve the perception that corresponds to our intention when delivering a speech?
Let’s introduce “the natural speaker” – a speaker who is authentic and is naturally engaged in interacting with the audience. The natural speaker is authentic because he or she is genuinely involved with the audience in its thinking process.
The natural speaker knows that the reality of a speech lies in the perception of its intent by the audience. He or she sees the process of delivering a speech as one that discovers the real meaning of the speech through the interaction between the speaker and the listeners. He or she is vigilant, highly focused, and 100 percent attentive to the audience.
The natural speaker makes a remarkable contrast to those speakers who are battling with “fear of speaking,” who are either self-absorbed or worrying about “projecting” their voices or using “appropriate” gestures. Neither does the natural speaker bear any resemblance to those old fashioned speakers who stop dead at the end of a sentence and silently count to five because they has read in a book the importance of “pausing for effect.” To the natural speaker, delivering a speech is a process that functions on a higher dimension - a dimension that is very different from the one created by the monologue of the solitary speaker who is mentally disconnected with his listeners. The natural speaker is engaged with the audience in earnest – searching the listeners’ faces, looking into their eyes, and appreciating the meaning of what is being shared. The natural speaker experiences adrenaline and excitement from the anticipation and actual involvement in this process of discovery.
So, how do we achieve the perception that corresponds to our intention when delivering a speech? Now you have the answer! You achieve this by following the example of the natural speaker.
You’ll achieve the perception that corresponds to your carefully crafted intensions by studying from moment to moment the verbal and non-verbal responses of your audience, and refining accordingly the message that you meant to convey. You’ll find that every part of your speech will be more or less effective than you imagined it was going to be. Some of your speech will be irrelevant – other parts will take on a relevance you had not even thought of. Your audience will be gratified to learn from you things that you thought were of minor importance. They will be moved and touched by stories that you thought were only mildly interesting. And, as you may know, they will be annoyed and maybe even offended by some things that you believed would be comfortably accepted. This, in fact, is the essence of communication.
During this process, in which you as the speaker and your listeners are fully engaged, you’ll discover the real meaning of the speech that is being delivered and heard. Through the course, the speech itself evolves, thriving on the feedback of the audience. And in the end, you will find that, to your delight, intention and perception do reciprocate.
For more training on developing a Commanding Presence and becoming a Natural Speaker, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
Learn more about our in-person training here
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Is speaking simply an obligation for you?
What if speaking could transform your career - and your life?
Your academic and professional success is built on a foundation of excellent analytical and writing skills. Without those skills you could not have achieved your present position. How well you speak will increasingly become the determining factor in your success.
You may already be a good speaker. If speaking has not been a requirement in your work – you may feel that you’re not a good speaker. In either case, I’d like to encourage you to look at speaking from a fresh perspective.
Here are 10 compelling reasons to improve your speaking ability right away!
1. Becoming a leader.
Leaders speak. It’s that simple. But there is a priceless secret. Leadership does not teach us speaking skills; speaking teaches us the essential leadership skills! When you speak you add an emotional component to your ideas; your listeners understand you at a deeper level.
By speaking, leaders share their values, ideas and their enthusiasm. It is only when you speak that we truly know what you care about and we are moved to action.
2. A new kind of learning.
Most of my clients have a passion for learning. The classical method of study, the “Trivium” requires us to first understand, second to analyze, and third to translate the information into our own words so that we have "ownership" of the concepts and ideas. Speaking takes the value of this method to its highest level; by speaking about your areas of expertise in the context of a wide range of listeners, you have the opportunity – indeed the necessity – of considering your best thoughts in even greater depth, and from many more points of view than you would have from simply writing.
I have the privilege of working with some of this country's finest speakers; almost all of them acknowledge that as soon as they began to speak regularly they experienced a huge improvement in their knowledge and understanding of their subjects.
If you are passionate about your topic and want to become an acknowledged expert – there is no better way to achieve this than to speak regularly.
3. Contributing to your organization.
When we have achieved a measure of security in our own careers, we have the opportunity to shift our focus to adding value to our organization. This contribution requires continuous and effective discussions with people at every level, both inside and outside of our organization. Your ability to eloquently and persuasively present your ideas and to encourage and inspire your colleagues will distinguish your unique contribution.
4. Helping others.
Mentoring and encouraging your team members and your colleagues is rewarding for everyone, as well as for your organization. Mentoring requires exceptional listening skills, and the ability to communicate our understanding of our colleague’s challenges and opportunities. We write to communicate what we know – we speak to communicate what we understand and what we care about.
5. Improving key relationships.
Your success at work, perhaps even your enjoyment of your work, may depend on one or two key relationships. One bad relationship can take all the joy out of our work. Relationships that are not working will only worsen, unless one party takes the initiative to improve them. There are many strategies which have been proven to be effective, but they all have one thing in common – they all require an advanced level of verbal communication skills.
6. Achieving your financial goals earlier.
To rise through the ranks of your profession you must have a track record of successful projects and other accomplishments. To build on these achievements you must also be able to speak eloquently and persuasively to your colleagues, and potential clients. By focusing on speaking skills early in your career, you can change the entire trajectory of your progress towards success, and meet your career and financial goals five, or even ten years ahead of time.
7. Bringing enjoyment back into your work.
Four years ago, I began work with a new private client. “Jim” was 48 at the time, and a well known and successful litigator. Only a few people knew that Jim had always dreaded speaking. Jim suffered for days before speaking, and he always refused requests to speak at his association meetings, which caused some colleagues to think he might be arrogant. After only three months of working on his communication skills, Jim was able to address his colleagues at a trial lawyer’s convention for the first time. His presentation was a huge success. It was truly a joyous experience for Jim, for his staff and his wife who attended the speech. The next day, Jim came to my office to thank me; he said, “Now, for the first time I know I can be the kind of lawyer that I dreamed about being when I was in law school!” There are thousands of “Jim’s” in your profession. When you master a few basic skills, speaking can be an exhilarating experience – and you can bring the joy back into your work.
8. Building your self-confidence.
Speaking is no different than most other skills - when we practice the basics, we get better. But speaking feels like such an intimate reflection of who we are. Sometimes we would rather not speak, than look and sound less intelligent and less confident than we are. Many people judge themselves harshly. We measure our ability by our worst performance.
So, here’s a little “tough love coaching” from me to you – you simply don’t know enough about speaking to know beyond a doubt that you cannot be an excellent speaker. Regardless of genetics, or culture, or personality type, if you want to be a really good speaker, then that is exactly what you can be. Read a little about it, listen to good speakers, and get some coaching. Just do it! Enjoy the benefits you deserve and enjoy continuous improvement in your self-confidence.
9. Being remembered.
In many cultures there are traditions which inhibit speaking. “Children should be seen and not heard”; “women are not supposed to speak in public”; “be silent in the presence of your superiors”; “nice people don't speak like that”. In any case, whatever the cause, the tragedy is that many people are unable to freely share their thoughts and feelings, even with those people that love them. The custom of conversation is in decline. Family gatherings and family meals are no longer opportunities to learn more about one and another, as we focus away from our family and friends and towards television, iPods, and electronic games. I try to encourage everyone to nurture speaking and conversation in their daily lives in every way they can. It takes real commitment, and continuous and determined application, but the rewards are forever and our children’s children will thank us.
10. Building your organization's reputation.
Your record of success may be amongst the best. Your firm name alone may command respect. But right now, today, and for the future, your organization's success depends on the quality of each of the daily communications that your clients, colleagues, and potential clients have with each and every member of your organization.
Only a few organizations make the development of personal communication skills a top priority. Those who do, reap the rewards. There is a huge return on investment. Internally, you benefit from improved relationships, better briefings and brainstorming for important new ideas. There are better meetings, shorter meetings and fewer meetings. Externally, your excellent communicators are bringing in new business, nurturing existing business and establishing your organization's unique reputation.
Your turn.
If you care to comment, or would like to share some of your personal experiences on speaking, Commanding Presence would love to hear from you
For more training on developing a Commanding Presence, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
Learn more about our in-person training here
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
It takes only 15 minutes to leverage an entire working day. Block off 15 minutes on your calendar every day. Guard it with your life. No activity on your list requires more protection than this one. Use it, along with other planning tools you have, to make each day one of purpose, meaning, direction, and accomplishment.
Although many people choose the first 15 minutes of the day for this daily planning period, we recommend putting it at the end of the previous day instead. Planning at the end of the day has three major advantages:
1. You make your momentum work for you, rather than suffering the effects of inertia. The ideas will be fresher, because you have been at work all day and are well aware of what you have and have not already accomplished.
2. Doing this at the end of the day will give you a sense of closure on the day. When you’ve finished you 15-minute planning session, you will be able to leave work with a true sense of completion, having accomplished the last item on your list. Plus, you’ll be able to enjoy your free time and sleep well without worrying about things you need to remember to do at work the next day.
3. Planning at the end of the day will enable you not only to identify the most important task of the upcoming day, but will allow you to jump in right away the next morning and take on that task immediately. While others are still trying to find the tops of their desks or drawing that first cup of coffee in the lounge, you can already be on your way to a productive day.
Even if additional items come up overnight, you will spend less time inputting the newly acquired information the next day by not having to start at ground zero.
Dramatic productivity improvements will come from these 15 minutes a day. Use them wisely every day.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Commanding Presence | Communication and .. by The Late John Plank, Founder Of Com.. - 1y ago
This article is not only for people who still have a long way to go reaching their career goals. It is also for those of you who are already high achievers. You have battled and won the war (well, sort of). You have gained esteem in your callings. And perhaps you have reached the proverbial glass ceiling, of which a breakthrough is unlikely, though very much desirable.
So far, you have been doing fairly well. You have had a career plan and you are on the right path. Furthermore, you have gained expertise. Your specialized knowledge is of value in our society, and you are in an enviable position in your field. Yet, you feel that something is missing, the absence of which is holding you back, preventing you from realizing your full potentials. What is it?
Lack of Legacy
There was an extraordinary moment some while ago during a lunchtime keynote speech that I gave to 200 lawyers. I was surprised to see the Eureka effect that my audience appeared to be experiencing when I started talking about the legacy we would likely to consider leaving behind once we’ve reached a certain stage in our life. For about 30 seconds, those 200 lawyers, who were listening as they ate lunch and drank coffee, became utterly silent and still. I could hear a pin drop.
Here is what I said:
Many of you are in your 40s and 50s now. You’ve achieved most of your life goals, paid for your homes, risen to a level in your firm that you had hoped for, raised your children, and sent them off to university. So the question is, for the next precious one or two more decades that are left in your prime life, are you going to just do what you’ve been doing for the past 20 years? For all of us, at this time in our lives, the question is – “So, What now?”
Undoubtedly, the majority of my audience – who are highly accomplished career-wise, have reached a wonderful juncture in life, where work is less a necessity but more a willing exertion of their talents and expertise to gain satisfaction. For them, the time has, at last, arrived to think about a legacy to leave to the generations to come.
Whatever competitive spirit that has driven us up to this point and helped us to achieve major goals can be somewhat transformed. We have an opportunity now to make a contribution. Brilliant young professionals are not threats to our success – we can see them as protégés. Talented young professionals who are struggling now at a place where we have once been can be mentored, nurtured and encouraged. We can make contributions to the organizations we work for and to the profession in which we practice.
Embark on the Journey to Commanding Presence
Yes, you desire to break through the glass ceiling that blocks your professional ascendancy. Yes, you aspire to channel your still unflagging energy towards the making of legacies beneficial to later generations. So, how do you achieve your renewed ambitions?
Are you comfortable speaking about your expertise? This is essential to your success – if you can do it, that’s good – but it’s not enough.
Can you explain your specialized knowledge to colleagues and non-experts? If you can do this, you are on your way to success – that’s very good – but it’s still not enough.
Can you persuade your listeners while you are explaining to them? Now you are getting close.
Ultimately, you want to elevate your communication skills to a level higher than being merely adequate in exchanging basic needs, requirements, or specifics of tasks. On the higher level, you convert what you have learned about explaining specifics, analyzing or sorting data into mastery of persuasive communications that will contribute to the success and fulfilment of other people.
On this higher level, you speak to inspire. The ability to make complex things simple, to speak so people remember what you have said, and to inspire, encourage, reassure and affect the emotional state of mind of your listeners is what all highly successful professionals are able to do. I call it Commanding Presence.
The journey from expertise to Commanding Presence is challenging, but I promise you – if you truly love your area of expertise - it will be the most enjoyable, enriching and rewarding journey you could possibly make.
Check out our websitefor more information.
Three Major Consequences of Failing to Acquire the Ability to Speak Persuasively in Your Area of Expertise:
1. Limited Learning
Communicating your expertise is the highest level of learning available to you. Studies have shown that in addition to the traditional ways of study and experimentation, the act of communicating – especially teaching - provides us or gives us access to the highest possible level of learning.
2. Limited Leadership
If you aspire to any kind of leadership - from simply mentoring colleagues and leading teams to management and major leadership roles - you will be competing with colleagues who like you have experience, skill, positive attitude, empathy and vision. Many of your colleagues have these assets – only a few can communicate these qualities – and those who can communicate these qualities become leaders in their professions and in their communities.
3. Lack of Legacy
I once said to 200 lawyers at a lunchtime speech. It was an extraordinary moment; for about 30 seconds those 200 lawyers who were listening as they ate lunch and drank coffee were completely silent and still. I was frankly surprised. Here is what I just said, “Many of you are in your 40s and 50s now. You’ve achieved most of your life goals, paid for your homes, risen to a level in your firm that you had hoped for, raised your children, sent them off to university. So the question is are you going to just do one or two more decades of what you’ve been doing for the past 20 years? The question is for all of us at this time in our lives – “So, What now?” This is a wonderful time in the life of a professional – there’s an enormous amount of satisfaction to be gained. Whatever competitive spirit that has driven us up to this point and helped us to achieve major goals can be somewhat transformed. We have an opportunity now to make a contribution. Brilliant young professionals are not threats to our success – we can see them as protégés. Talented young professionals who are struggling now at a place where we have once been, can be mentored, nurtured and encouraged. We can make contributions to the organizations we work for and to the profession in which we practice. All of this contribution is related to communicating what we have learned and to analyzing and sorting it into persuasive communications that will contribute to the success and fulfillment of other people.
For more training on developing a Commanding Presence, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our Commanding Presence Advanced Communication and Presentation Skills Two-Day workshops.
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
Upcoming Two-Day Workshop Dates in Toronto
Contact us for more dates or to join our wait list
Register Now. Small Group Workshops Limited to 10 Places
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
“Stand up straight!”, “Shoulders back, stomach in!”, “Use power words!”, “Let your eyes go diagonally across the audience in both directions!” We have all heard or read these instructions on how to be a more effective speaker over and over again. Many of us have made lists of the things not to do as well; “Don’t say um!” “Don’t put your hands in your pocket or behind your back!” - and then there are the things we have to remember. “Remember to take a sip of water!” “Remember not to end statements with a rising inflection!” - and so on.
Much of this would be very useful advice if not for the fact that it does nothing to help the speaker’s state of mind. For a large number of people, public speaking is a very frightening thing. Being overwhelmed by fear, it is difficult for them to attend tips about appearance, manner, or performance trivia. These tips help little other than adding an extra layer of complexity for the speaker to deal with in an already nerve-racking process.
Some pundits may preach that nervousness is to be expected in public speaking as it is not a “natural” activity. There are many techniques, they say, to learn and obstacles to deal with. One just has to embrace the challenges. Alas, this is not very comforting, is it?
Many of my clients - professional trainers, university lecturers, seminar leaders and keynote speakers tell me the same thing again and again: “I never imagined that I could speak professionally using my own voice!” With the best intentions in the world, most of us start out believing that there is a formal or “appropriate” way of speaking in public. Subsequently, we unconsciously or even deliberately use a voice in public that is totally different from how we sound in private. This kind of departure from our natural voice adds enormous stress to the so-called “professional” speaking. Public speaking, in the most strenuous form of “professionalism” inspires only fear in people who adhere to such an unnatural approach.
The truth is that most professionals already have a highly sophisticated level of communication skills which they use in their social and family lives, complete with highly sensitive listening skills, ingenuous technique for establishing rapport and making their listeners comfortable. And the best news of all is that most people I know are capable of describing their thoughts, feelings and emotions in a wonderful range of vocal qualities using an almost infinite variety of pitch, volume and pace to convey subtle shades of meaning.
My point is this; if we already have these complex skills and if we are using an entirely different method of communication in our personal lives, why trouble with the so called “professional public speaking style” in which we have little, if any, experience relative to our other natural communications.
The good news is that things do not have to be as frightening or complicated as they appear to be. Public speaking can be similar to the kind of everyday conversations that we have with our families and friends. With this realization, the speaker’s state of mind can change from that of fear to confidence. Over the past fifteen years, I have found that people respond positively to this idea. And with a bit of practice, many have experienced a quantum leap forward in their public speech delivery.
Following are some practical tips to regain natural voice in public speaking:
Practice
Practice all of your speaking - whether it is a keynote speech, seminar or training that you are delivering - in a normal conversational tone, at the level that it would require to communicate to somebody sitting across the kitchen table. By taking the emphasis away from speaking “appropriately,” you will automatically engage all of the subtle and complex ways in which you normally convey your thoughts to the people that you care about.
Read the Audience
Also, you will find that, because you are completely relaxed, you will be able to “read” the person to whom you are speaking much more easily. Then notice that looking down at your notes - or taking a moment to gather your thoughts - is an entirely stress-free activity. Am I suggesting that this simple exercise will improve your public speaking? Am I suggesting that this amazingly low level of activity, which feels almost effortless, can possibly help with the highly sophisticated, macho business of power presenting? You betcha!
Focus on Your Audience
Human beings, if deprived of oxygen for less than five minutes, will die. It is the substance most essential for our survival from moment to moment. There is another substance without which human beings cannot live - it is a most precious commodity. Without it children cannot be happy, they cannot learn, they cannot grow - and in the last years of our lives, no matter how successful we have been, most of us would give everything we have ever acquired if someone would just provide us with a small supply of this. This substance which we all need is, of course, attention. It is in our power to give attention to everyone in our lives - and generally human beings are very generous in this, with one notable exception.
Many public speakers are miserly when it comes to giving attention to their audiences. They study their audiences - about their likes and dislikes, their products, needs and requirements. But for some inexplicable reason, as soon as a speaker is introduced, he or she is quite prepared to ignore the audience.
All you need to do is to do the opposite. Put aside your self-consciousness, direct instead your attention to your audience, and adjust your delivery according to your reading of the audience’s feedbacks. To the human beings, there is nothing more compelling than a fresh thought or idea honestly expressed, and nothing more exhilarating than listening to a speaker who reads our response and satisfying our concerns from moment to moment.
Your success as a public speaker is inevitable, because you already know how to be a better public speaker!
These are just a few quick tips on developing a Commanding Presence. For more training on developing a Commanding Presence, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
Upcoming Two-Day Workshop Dates in Toronto
June 25-26, 2018
Register Now. Small Group Workshops Limited to 10 Places
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
In part one of the article, I covered the importance of developing personal communications skills, the consequences of not possessing those skills, and the fundamental approach I take in helping professionals become master speakers. In this second part of the article, I deal with the four most common obstacles that have frustrated many professionals in their efforts to elevate their verbal skills and to achieve a high level of confidence in their public speaking performance.
The four obstacles are:
1. Fear of Speaking
2. Not sounding credible
3. Not being able to think "in-the-moment"
4. "Blanking"
1.Fear of Speaking
The number one fear in our society is speaking in public.
I can tell you that no amount of techniques or tricks -- no amount of practicing gestures or developing a "professional voice" will come close to relieving your fear of speaking. What works immediately is to begin with some thoughtful and rational contemplation of the phenomenon.
The most important thing to remember is that we need to define what kind of speaking produces this paralyzing fear for so many people. The old theory is that with the right posture, an authoritative-sounding voice and a seamlessly fluid delivery of content, we will be successful.
Most presentation skills training is based on this out-of-date theory. They still rely heavily on how to “look” confident and “sound” confident.
But Consider this:
We learn to speak in daily conversations; each of us has a lifetime of experience in that. But Public speaking is an “unnatural” way of communicating for most people. When we find ourselves in an unfamiliar territory, we lose confidence.
People of integrity most often experience fear of public speaking. They feel artificial and self-conscious when they are required to speak in this unusual way. Being “authentic” is often the highest value that a professional holds. Feeling, or the anticipation of feeling inauthentic can be very stressful and our natural ability to converse may desert us.
Many people are frankly out of their element when it comes to verbal communication – almost literally like a “fish out of water,” gasping to return to their natural environment of solitude, return to reading and writing.
Most professionals abandon their natural speaking skills under pressure. The very things that make a superb communicator in a comfortable environment are jettisoned as soon as the number of people in the room increases or the stakes get higher.
Then we fall into the habit of “reciting” our material – which combined with trying to “look” and “sound” confident – makes many public speakers look like really bad actors.
Three stressful characteristics of public speaking
There are different characteristics in public speaking. Some enable the speaker, engage both the audience and the speaker, and instill confidence in all participants. There are a few ways, however, that have negative impacts - they undermine the effectiveness of the speaker, make the process increasingly stressful, and worsen her/his fear of speaking along the way.
Following three characteristics are common in ineffective public speaking:
First, “One way” communication, where the speaker speaks continuously without paying attention to the listener. This is an artificial speaking style that tends to lose the audience.
Secondly, presenting material that is designed to be read, verbally. This is another “unnatural” speaking style that also tends to alienate the audience.
Thirdly, speaking in a “scheduled” way, with a previously set starting and finishing time. This is another unnatural way that seldom, if ever, exists in every day conversation. Unless the speaker is trained and experienced in dealing with the time constraints, speaking by a stopwatch can be very stressful.
Fear of speaking is not rational. However, the above styles of speech delivery, with their negative responses from the audience or the speaker’s own distress, only make things worse.
2.Not Sounding Credible
Many lawyers suffer intense anxiety when delivering their information verbally. While speaking, they feel that they are constantly forced to move forward with the text, without time to deal with doubts that the listener might have in the process. They feel disconnected. There is usually a split focus – the anxiety about delivering effectively combines with the anxiety of wondering if the points have been well taken – and all of this in the context of having to constantly move forward with the presentation.
Add to this the exhortations to stand, to gesture and to speak forcefully – and you have a perfect recipe for a panic attack!
3.Unable to Think on Your Feet
The unexpected question – or even the thought of the unexpected question - is for many speakers, terrifying.
According to a survey of my clients in the past ten years, these are the most common fears: “not knowing the answer,” “knowing the answer but forgetting it in the moment”, “giving the wrong answer”, “giving the right answer but missing out a key part of it,” “not knowing if all of the points have been made,” and “not knowing how to finish speaking.”
4.Blanking
Blanking refers to the awkward situation when the speaker forgets what she is supposed to say at a critical moment.
Blanking most often happens when the speaker feels compelled to speak without pause for reflection, and when the recitation of her speaking notes is not connected to any real thought at this moment. In these circumstances, anxiety is inevitable and blanking is not only possible but probable.
Read and Engage the Audience
So, you are absolutely right to be frightened of this kind of speaking – the question is “is there another way of speaking?” Yes, there is!
Consider speaking a process of interplay between the speaker and the audience, with the purpose to engage yourself fully in reading the audience and reacting to the audience’s response. The most effective cure for fear of speaking is to free ourselves of self-consciousness by being present in the moment.
How to prepare your material also makes a world of difference. We need to prepare our material for the “ear,” not for the “eye”. Speaking is a much more emotional experience for the listener than reading. The listener depends on our performance to discover the “meaning” of what we are saying – and the speaker needs to be alert to the listener’s response. And so in this long, round about way, we come back to the kind of personal communications we learned as children – totally in the moment, totally engaged and totally interactive.
Really effective speakers realize that every presentation is actually a conversation – and when the material is properly prepared, it can be tailored and adapted continuously throughout the presentation. As in a normal conversation, we can pay attention to the listeners and actually read their response from moment to moment. This is why reading presentations or memorizing presentations verbatim is so dangerous. The listeners sense that they are listening to a recitation and do not feel involved. Of course this simply increases the anxiety of the speaker and it becomes progressively more uncomfortable.
We admire eloquence, we know how valuable eloquence is – we may fervently wish that we had been born eloquent – but we are not.
The truth is that eloquence is quite easily achieved within the context of a particular profession or area of expertise. Eloquence is simply a process of creating powerful statements about all of those issues that you are dealing with – polishing them, memorizing them and then assembling them in different combinations to fit the circumstances. Most eloquent speeches are simply a “medley” of people’s best thoughts on a subject that they have had years and years to reflect on.
To acquire a high level of eloquence is a three-step process. First, understand what makes a statement memorable. Secondly, systematically develop powerful and memorable statements within your particular area of interest. Thirdly, practice and polish.
Along with the eloquence you’ve developed, the positive interplays between you as the speaker and the audience surely initiate a benign cycle towards higher levels of your performance. Each communication you deliver, with a high level of effectiveness and confidence that matches your professional strengths, will inevitably contribute to your successes. If you aspire to any type of management, mentoring or leadership role in your work, no matter what your area of expertise, your enhanced personal communication skills will enable you to go a long way in your career path.
These are just a few quick tips on developing a Commanding Presence. For more training on developing a Commanding Presence, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
Upcoming Two-Day Workshop Dates in Toronto
Register Now. Small Group Workshops Limited to 10 Places
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Personal communication skills and confidence go hand in hand for almost all professionals. Your academic education, your professional training, combined with your intelligence and positive attitudes, have made you a highly competent professional. Yet, only when you are able to communicate, especially verbally, and with confidence, your strengths can be manifested and appreciated. This is what we mean by personal communication skills. If you aspire to any type of management, mentoring or leadership role in your work, no matter what your area of expertise, your personal communication skills will determine how far you are able to go.
This article is written to address the challenges that face many professionals, whose reading and writing skills exceed their listening and speaking skills, who experience fear of speaking, and who strive to achieve a high level of confidence in their personal communication.
Listening and speaking skills not on a par with reading and writing skills
In the traditional professions -- particularly law and accounting, there is a considerable gap between writing skills and speaking skills.
This gap can be explained in terms of the academic requirements and training in these professions
In the first place, those professions attract people who are intellectually curious and who have an affinity for rigorous academic and professional training. Most, but obviously not all, lawyers and accountants prefer to reflect on important issues and write and read about them -- as a way of energizing themselves. Between academic and professional training, most lawyers and accountants engage in work activities in solitude. Furthermore, 90% of their studies and training are completed through the mode of reading and writing.
The corporate culture also plays a role in this disparity between writing and verbal skills
Lawyers and accountants typically spend a large percentage of their time speaking to their colleagues who are in tune with their own style and jargons, their tendency to use somewhat formal, written language is often entrenched.
There is less demand on a day-to-day basis for lawyers and accountants to "think on their feet". Most of our clients tell us that they do 90% of their communication at a keyboard. Most lawyers value their early morning, evening, and weekend opportunities to keep up with their work -- and so the habit of communicating in solitude and by writing is even more intensified.
Dire Consequences
The lack of Personal performance skills becomes an obstacle to further career advancement.
In the corporate boardrooms, where personal communication skills are in high demand, there are a higher percentage of extroverted professionals, many of whom have risen through the ranks because they are particularly good at verbal communication. In situations like this, traditional professionals feel that they are at a disadvantage. Their interest is not so much in becoming a “star.” But they feel that the level of their speaking skills does not accurately reflect their professional competence.
Failure in bringing in business
Many young lawyers are shocked to discover that professional competence is only the beginning. The ability to bring in new business is often the determining factor in a lawyer's success. Most lawyers' personality types are at odds with the idea of gregariously "selling" oneself. Socializing with clients and potential clients is often out of their comfort zones. It is not surprising that the legal profession is not noted for its sales and marketing abilities.
Marketing is one of the greatest challenges to a law firm. There is generally not much instinct for self-promotion – and marketing is seldom given the priority it deserves. Ask the marketing manager of almost any law firm in North America -- and they will tell you, in no uncertain terms, how difficult it is to get lawyers involved in the marketing and sales process.
Good verbal communication is marketing. Arguments, proposals, ideas and advice all need to be “sold.” Sooner or later the potential buyer is going to want a “live” meeting. If the verbal communication doesn’t match the written material, the “deal” may be off! Indeed, without a high level of communication skills, a law firm simply cannot sell itself.
The good news is that by simply developing personal communication skills, you can achieve your sales and marketing goals.
My Approach and the Commanding Presence Programs
Over 80% of our clients are subject experts and highly skilled in communicating through reading and writing. Our work is simply to facilitate the natural blossoming of these talents into live, in-the-moment, self-expressions. This may seem counter-intuitive -- but for 25 years now we have been helping professionals to make the transition to highly effective speaking on a regular and consistent basis. When intelligent subject experts focus their attention on their speaking ability, they are able to combine their intellectual curiosity, discipline and their passion for the subject into an extraordinarily high level of personal communication skills. Once the initial transition is made, the growth is exponential.
The Commanding Presence Programs have been designed to implement this fundamental approach, along with a set of systematically developed techniques to address the various impediments in the development of personal communication skills.
Obstacles in Developing Communication Skills
The benefits of having a high level of personal communication skills and the dire consequences of not possessing those skills should make professionals wildly enthusiastic about developing those skills. However, many professionals have not yet been able to overcome certain obstacles to achieving their goal pf becoming a master speaker.
Over the past 25 years of working with lawyers, accounts, and professionals in various organizations, we have found that the following are the most common issues that frustrate them whenever public speaking is involved:
1. Fear of Speaking
2. Not sounding credible
3. Not being able to think "in-the-moment"
4. "Blanking"
In part two of the article, I will deal with each of these issues -- and I hope to prove that every one of them can be relieved or eliminated very quickly.
These are just a few quick tips on developing a Commanding Presence. For more training on developing a Commanding Presence, managing anxiety, and increasing your speaking skills to the same high level as your writing skills then you should attend one of our
The workshop is designed to improve every aspect of personal communication skills, from strategy and text preparation to establishing rapport and overcoming speaking anxiety.
Participants are recorded 4 times with feedback from the other participants and personal coaching from the workshop coach. Each receive a USB of their video clips along with a letter of analysis from the workshop coach.
Upcoming Two-Day Workshop Dates in Toronto
Register Now. Small Group Workshops Limited to 10 Places
Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
close
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview