12 Tips to Improve Your Stage Presence

I missed correctly crediting this article when I posted. This was written a few years ago by my friend Kim Garreffa and first posted here.

When speaking in front of an audience, these tips will help you communicate more effectively on stage:

  1. Consciously lift your eyebrows. It will immediately brighten your face.
  2. Smile. A lot.
  3. Channel your nervousness into your diaphragm. Relax your neck, and your shoulders, and breathe slowly and deeply using your diaphragm. Put any tension you have there. When you breathe in, your stomach should push out. As you breathe out, your stomach should shrink. (Your shoulders should not move when you breathe)
  4. Hands should be at your sides and still, unless you are using them to express your piece, or are holding a microphone.
  5. Hold the microphone at an angle it so you are speaking directly into the top of it. The microphone should be 2 to 5 inches away from your mouth—no farther.
  6. Raise your voice pitch slightly from your normal speaking voice. It will make you sound more energized and less tired. Project your voice to the back of the room, using your diaphragm, not your vocal chords, to increase the volume. Enunciate your consonants.
  7. Stand with legs shoulder width apart. Stand straight. Don’t lean or slouch.
  8. Own the message you are communicating. Don’t just speak words. If the message isn’t important to you, you’re not going to make it important to your listeners?
  9. Make sure you have water handy. Nervousness often causes a dry mouth—often unexpectedly.
  10. If you are too nervous to look at the audience, look slightly above them.
  11. Memorize as much as possible before you get on stage. It will be easier to focus on expression and communication.
  12. If you make a mistake, ignore it and move on. The audience will forget it as fast as you do (if they noticed it in the first place). Facial expressions or comments only draw attention to the mistake and make it easier to remember.

Boost Your Success by Improving Your Speaking Skills

English: President Obama speaking at the Nucle...

Success in public speaking can open a world of opportunity for you. It can broaden your horizons through personal development, influence, and advances in your profession.

Public Speaking Influences Your Personal Development

In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, self-worth ranks highest. Giving speeches helps us realize self-worth through the satisfaction experienced when a good speech is given. We become more confident, especially when the audience responds positively. It also reduces anxiety when asked by an authority to speak in front of people.

There was a student who dropped a course five times because he hated speaking in front of the class. After some self-study on building confidence, he decided to give public speaking a try and was successful. He came to enjoy the experience and even volunteered to give more speeches.

Using public speaking tools such as research, conceptualization, and organization, you have a systematic and effective way of presenting your ideas. With this experience, you will be better able to express yourself. You will also become more open to other people.

Public speaking satisfies your sense of achievement when the audience accepts you warmly. This reflects your level of communication skills and acumen. All these contribute to your self-esteem.

Public Speaking Influences Your Society

It is not only you who can benefit from the art of public speaking, but society as well. Governments and local organizations listen to the voice of their members. With proper communication skills, you can represent the public in voicing your rights and opinions.

An example of this would be community discussion. When a neighborhood holds regular meetings, it discusses issues or courses of action. In the discussion, opinions are expressed. Those with strong speaking skills have an advantage in communicating their opinion.

People from all walks of life need to speak in public, whether formally or otherwise: students reciting in school; folks in a town meeting; citizens voicing national issues. There is no easy way to avoid public speaking.

Public Speaking Influences Your Professional Development

Public speaking can help in your career. We tend to think of success as measured by how long you have been in your job or educational qualifications. However, research shows, one of the best indicator of success in any profession is how often a person is asked to give speeches. Those who give more speeches tend to have higher salaries than those who give less or no speeches.

Take this average engineer. She enrolls in a public speaking seminar that teaches two hours a week for six weeks. After two months, she is promoted to senior engineer. Her boss has been noticing her superb presentations.

The longer you work for an organization and the higher you climb the organizational ladder, the more your boss will ask you to preside over meetings and to give talks to the staff and subordinates or the clients. The higher your position, the more your responsibilities in leading people under you; and the more you must speak effectively.

A manager once said, “From the chairman of the board to the assistant manager of the most obscure department, nearly everyone in business speaks in public or makes a speech at some time or the other.”

It ’s not just big organizations and companies, small organizations and businesses also need staff who are good public speakers. If the high school is not persuasive enough to tell the school board that new gym equipment is needed, the athletes might have to make do with the old equipment. If salespeople cannot explain their products with a convincing sales pitch, fewer people will buy the products. This is true for nurses, doctors, firemen, police personnel and other professions.

Whatever you do, your capacity and capabilities can be improved through effective public speaking skills.

7 Leadership Tips From Leaders

What is a leader?

A leader is a person who guides others toward a common goal, showing the way by example, creating an environment in which other team members feel actively involved in the entire process. A leader is not the boss of the team, but the person that is committed to carrying out the mission of the venture.

Leaders exist to get things done. Leadership is needed beyond the bounds of politics and business. Leadership is needed in families; schools and universities need leadership; charitable organizations need leadership. In fact, whenever there is an opportunity for two or more people to collaborate to get something done, leadership is a key ingredient.

Here are 7 tips on the subject of leadership from those who have demonstrated themselves to be leaders:

1. “Leadership can be thought of as a capacity to define oneself to others in a way that clarifies and expands a vision of the future.” Edwin H. Friedman – Leaders have vision. They share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow. The leadership vision goes beyond your mission and vision statements. A leader’s vision permeates the workplace and is manifested in their actions, beliefs, values and goals.

2. “Most important, leaders can conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.” John Gardner – Leadership is proactive rather than reactive. Leaders are good in crises – but they don’t sit around letting crises develop. Leaders identify potential problems and solve them before they reach crisis proportions. Leaders have an ability to identify and reap potential windfalls. Good leaders analyze and plan, then adapt their plans to changing circumstances and opportunities.

3. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader” John Quincy Adams – Actions still speak louder than words, particularly when your philosophies and behavior motivate people to do their best work. Nothing builds and sustains credibility like someone who leads by example.

4. “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and the will to carry on.” Walter Lipmann – John Maxwell calls it The Law of Legacy – A leader’s lasting value is measured by succession. Leaders develop and grow people, people who will help to build and lead the future of the enterprise.

5. “The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say ‘I’. And that’s not because they have trained themselves not to say ‘I’. They don’t think ‘I’. They think ‘we’; they think ‘team’. They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don’t sidestep it, but ‘we’ gets the credit…. This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done.” Peter F. Drucker – Developing the confidence and capability of your people will raise their self-belief. Show them you believe in their potential. Encourage them to take risks. Help them to learn when things go wrong . A leader who boosts the self-esteem of people will always be more successful in retaining people.

6. “Leaders are more powerful role models when they learn than when they teach.” Rosabeth Moss Kantor – Great leaders have the ability to gain knowledge, acquire skills and adapt behaviours to achieve their goals. They always improve their skills and learn. They study people and learn how to effectively interact with them. They understand the importance of continuous learning. Leaders have the ability to ‘unlearn’ old behaviours and develop new ones.

7. “Whatever happens, take responsibility.” Anthony Robbins – It’s easy take credit when things go right, and shift the blame when things go wrong. It’s particularly tempting for a leader. A leader is positioned to blame just about anyone and anything when things go wrong. However, as a leader, you must take responsibility. When things go wrong, if your first instinct is to look for someone to blame, stop. Ask instead, “what can I do to help fix this?” You’ll only get better at what’s under your control.

In summary, a leader:

  1. Has a vision
  2. Has a plan
  3. Leads by example
  4. Develops people
  5. Builds confidence in people
  6. Keeps learning
  7. Takes responsibility

Look at this list above and ask, how well do I stack up against these seven points? What ONE thing could I start doing that will enhance my skills as a leader?

8 Time-Saving Tips

  1. Use the “standby” or “hibernate” feature on your PC instead of shutting it down when you step away for a short time. You’ll be able to resume your work much faster than from a cold start.
  2. Find urgent computer files faster by starting file names with numbers. That ensures that they will be at the top of your list of files.
  3. Cut down on steps. Instead of jumping up every time you have work to deliver, stow it in an expandable file with slots organized by department. Then, take one stroll through the office to deliver everything.
  4. Take a “personal errand day.” For personal errands you can’t schedule on Saturday or Sunday, take a day off to take care of them all. That’s less disruptive than rushing from the office and back several times.
  5. Become a hero to staff members who know only the basic functions of your voice-mail system and other devices, by learning the shortcuts and most useful and underused features; then teaching them.
  6. Create checklists for common tasks, such as preparing your boss for a business trip. You’ll run through the preparations faster and will be less likely to forget a step, even when you don’t look at the list.
  7. Take a short break. Carve out 15 to 30 minutes at lunch for something you enjoy, such as walking, reading or photography. You’ll return to work with more energy.
  8. Anticipate wardrobe emergencies by packing quick-change options. Keep one full outfit ready in your closet for those mornings when you discover a missing button or other hassle. Tuck stockings or a neutral tie in the back of a desk drawer so you can change quickly, instead of trying to stop a run or clean a stain.

How to Manage the Rush Jobs

It’s 3:00 in the afternoon and your boss calls from the road and says, “Drop everything, I need this report in an hour.”

Fifteen minutes later another manager comes by looking for last-minute help with a PowerPointpresentation.

Meanwhile, you’ve skipped lunch, a courier is waiting on a delivery from you and the intern is hovering, looking for approval on the next step.

When urgent requests come in from various sources and you’re already pressed for time, how do you handle them?

Here’s four tips:

  1. Show how much is on your plate. Create a chart that shows the projects you are handling and the time required to complete them. It can be as complex as a Gantt chart or as simple as a pie chart.Another approach would be a two-column to-do list. Column one is tasks you’ve been asked to complete, column two is the task as you’re taking the action steps, scheduling them into your day.

    You then have a visual representation showing the trade-offs required to accommodate the demand for a rush job.

  2. Suggest work that can be traded-off. Conventional advice suggests placing the decision of priority back on the one requesting the rush job. “Here’s what I’m working on, you decide what is a priority for me.” That puts control of your workflow in somebody else’s hands.Instead, you make the suggestion as to what should be deferred to accommodate the job.  ”I suggest we move the deadline for the widget report to Wednesday. That way, I can complete your presentation today.”
  3. Point out any issues that might interfere with finishing a rush job. If you know you’re going to need information from Nancy and she’s in a meeting at a client’s office, let the requester know. This way you’re not left holding responsibility for not completing the task.

  4. Have a chart of common task times. Often, the boss will not know how long it took you to complete the rush job. You’re there until midnight, the boss went home at 5:00.

    Put together a list of tasks you commonly complete along with the time it takes to finish.For example: typing a 40-slide PowerPoint presentation: two hours, provided all the material is complete.The boss then has some idea what kind of time commitment  the request represents.

The boss, being the boss, may still go ahead and expect the rush job to be completed. However, this four-part strategy will help you gain control over those rush jobs.

How to be an Effective Employee

Sometimes being an effective employee is easy and sometimes it’s not —work responsibilities and circumstances vary, as do relationships with co-workers. One thing is certain: your attitude makes a big difference in how successful you are at work.

A positive attitude is a requirement of all of the following tips for improving your chances of succeeding at work.

Communicate positively and co-operate with others

  • Be friendly, supportive and co-operative. Develop a reputation for being easy to work with.
  • Contribute to the team. Everyone appreciates it when you help others who are swamped with work.
  • Treat everyone as your equal. The Golden Rule applies. Treat others as you would want to be treated. Compliment others when they deserve praise.
  • Don’t discus anything you would not want repeated; especially personal weaknesses or those of co-workers.
  • Ask for help when needed. People don’t mind explaining or demonstrating tasks if it is obvious that you have already tried to work the problem out on your own.
  • Be a good communicator. Give people your undivided attention during discussions, let them finish what they are saying and make sure you understand what has been said before you respond.
  • Be aware of your body language. Communication problems arise when what you say doesn’t match what your body is communicating.
  • Never criticize people in public. When you give feedback, do it in private, in an objective, constructive manner that helps people understand what they should do differently instead of just making them feel bad.
  • Communicate in a relaxed, patient and pleasant manner. People respond much better to calm discussion than to anger, sarcasm or commands.

Look and act the part of a responsible worker

  • Dress appropriately for the job. Consider the type of work you are doing, how your co-workers dress and the company image.
  • Look and act confident. Speak calmly, clearly and loudly enough to be heard. Look at people when they speak to you. Try not to appear flustered when things get very busy or when you are doing something for the first time.
  • Keep your work area neat and clean.
  • Be productive. Be on time for work. Don’t take extra-long coffee breaks, look after private business while you are on the job, or spend excessive amounts of time socializing. Let your employer know if you are going to be unavoidably late or absent, and use sick leave only when you are sick.
  • Finish important tasks even if it means working through breaks or occasionally staying past quitting time.
  • Use your time wisely. Plan ahead and do the most important tasks first. Organize your workspace and concentrate on one thing at a time, if you can. Take advantage of quiet times to do things you can see need to be done.

Set high work standards

  • Do good quality work of an appropriate quantity. Meeting work standards, quotas and deadlines goes a long way toward earning the approval of your supervisors and encouraging customers and clients to come back.
  • Make sure you understand the instructions before you start work on a new task. If there is a chance you will forget, write the instructions down.
  • The first few times you perform a task, follow instructions precisely. Ask your supervisor to check if you are doing things right before potential mistakes become a problem.
  • Be thorough. Do your work as correctly and carefully as possible. Check your work before handing it over. Don’t hesitate to do a job over if you think it might be unsatisfactory.
  • Work at a steady pace. Be a person who always gets things done.
  • Learn the “tricks of the trade” from senior staff and be open to new ideas about how you can improve your work.
  • Take responsibility for completing your work. When you have finished one task, move on to the next activity without waiting to be told.

Positive attitudes toward work and the people at work will help you to get your work done effectively and creatively and establish relationships that are pleasant and co-operative.

From ALIS

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