Category Archives: Communication

How to Overcome Stage Fright

Along with the science behind stage fright.

Do you get sweaty palms, weak knees, or heavy arms  when speaking in front of an audience? You’re not alone. Overcoming stage fright can be a difficult task, but you can deal with it.

This animated lesson from Ted-ed looks at stage fright not as an emotional response, but as a physiological response. Then, it’s not so much something to be overcome as to be adapted to.

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10 Simple Communication Resolutions for 2014

Here are some things you can resolve to improve the way you communicate with others. These are simple changes, easy to keep all year.

  1. I will talk less.
  2. I will listen carefully.
  3. I will always tell the truth.
  4. I will encourage someone every day.
  5. I will treat all people with respect.
  6. I will make more positive and fewer negative comments
  7. I will match my actions to my words.
  8. I will actively cultivate my relationships.
  9. I will write more thank-you cards.
  10. I will talk to myself in a way that makes me feel better.

5 Reasons to Market Yourself or Product with Public Speaking

As part of my professional development, I belong to a Human Resources association. Each month they have meetings with a variety of speakers. Each year they hold a regional conference, with more speakers and presenters. You probably do something similar as part of your profession.

By and large, the speakers at these events are marketing a product or service: often themselves. Some are blatant about it (they rarely come back a second time) while most let their presentation “sell” for them. If you’re willing to speak in public, you have to a strong tool for marketing you and your service.

Here are five reasons for marketing yourself in front of an audience:

1. It clarifies your message.

Speaking to an audience forces you to be clear about what you do and why people should use your service. This clarification can help you focus your other marketing efforts as well.

2. It gives access to a targeted audience.

You get to choose the audience you want to target. If you provide employee assistance programs, you’re going to want to talk to Human Resources professionals, benefit companies, small business owners, etc. Your focused message gets delivered to a target audience.

3. The potential for word-of-mouth marketing is unlimited.

A couple of weeks ago, my boss came in with a web address for me. He had heard a speaker and thought I might have use for the service presented. I visited the web-site and signed up for the newsletter subscription.

If you have your other marketing tools in place: web-site, blog, e-mail newsletter, etc., you can connect your listeners to your product. If they see a benefit to what your are offering, they will pass it on to others.

4. It’s creative.

An audiences can be a focus group for your product. They’re going to ask questions. If you’re attentive to the types of questions, you can find weaknesses in you current offering or grab ideas for new products and services. Let them teach you how to build your business.

5. You can make money.

Many organizations pay their guest speakers. You’re getting paid to market you’re product! This is a good thing.

Whether your goal is to build a network marketing organization, increase your exposure, sell your book, or market left-handed scrolling widgets, telling people your story always helps.

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Overcome Fear of Public Speaking


Mark Twain

Mark Twain said, “There are two types of public speakers: those who are afraid and those who are liars.” For anyone who fits into one of those two groups, how do you overcome the fear and become better speaker?

You’re not going to eliminate the fear factor, but you can learn to get past the fear. Here are 6 basic steps all successful public speakers have mastered:

Be Prepared

It’s not just the Boy Scout motto. If you really want your confidence to sky rocket, be totally and thoroughly prepared. The more prepared you are to give a talk, the more confident you become. Prepare by writing out your presentation, at the every least have an outline and rehearse it more than once. At the very least, practice your stories and be sure to have stories every time you present. Try to memorize your opening, your stories, and your closing.

Preparation means not only knowing your subject, but knowing your audience and what they need to hear. Evaluating your audience is a critical but frequently overlooked aspect of presentation preparation. When you you understand your audience and their expectations, you can tailor your presentation content, language, and style to communicate effectively. That will make you more confident that the material you are presenting is appropriate and useful to the audience.

Expect the Best

Unless your speaking in a prison, you’re not talking to a captive audience. If they didn’t want to hear what you had to say, they wouldn’t be there. Take courage from the fact that you have been asked to speak because the organizers feel you have something to say to their group.

Use Your Nervous Energy

The trick is not to get rid of the fear, but to harness and control it. Your fear is energy and you can channel that energy into your speech.

Before standing up to give a presentation, it is a good idea to try to release some of this pent up tension through a simple, unobtrusive isometric exercise. Starting with your toes and calf muscles, tighten your muscles up through your body finally making a fist. Immediately release all of the tension and take a deep breath. Repeat this exercise until you feel the tension start to drain away.

Get Out in Front

Don’t hide behind your material. When we are nervous we tend to read our speeches, focus on the Powerpoint notes and hang on to the lectern for dear life. The audience wants to connect with you. Get our from behind the lectern. The movement will help release your tension and will draw the audience into the presentation.

This is another area where your preparation comes into play. Set aside your materials and communicate a bigger story than data or facts can provide.

Don’t stare at your notes or the back wall. Connect to your audience as individuals. Look into peoples’ eyes as you speak. Make your presentation personal. Eye contact can help you relax and judge audience reaction to your presentation.

See Your Success

Don’t focus on what could go wrong. Replace that image with one of you successfully delivering your presentation. If you are using props, handouts and technology, prepare a back-up plan for anything that could go wrong.

  • Know how you will proceed if the projector breaks down.
  • Decide how you’ll interacted with the audience if they seem to be losing attention.
  • Be prepared to answer tough questions after your presentation.

Visualize a successful outcome. It is not the mistake the audience will remember, but the way you handled it.

Experience, Experience, Experience

An important factor to success as a public speaker is to speak. You can’t buy confidence on eBay. Confidence comes with experience. Get out there and speak. Building successes will lead to new public speaking challenges. You’ll be amazed at the reaction of others to your ideas, authority and leadership, when you begin speaking in public.

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Top 5 social media tips for small businesses

Top 5 social media tips for small businesses

(NC) – Limited by time and resources, Canadian small business owners often view having a presence on social media channels as a daunting task. However, with over 18 million Canadians on Facebook alone, setting up a page for your business is a simple and cost effective way to be more discoverable, build relationships with new and existing customers, and drive in-store or online sales.

Here are five easy steps to amplify your social presence and help grow your business:

• Say more with less: When posting Facebook content, keep updates to 90 characters or less. People are more likely to browse short updates, so it’s no surprise that posts following this rule see 60 per cent more engagement.

• A picture says a thousand words: Engage fans visually by using photos. If you’re stuck on a subject, try snapping pictures of your latest products or personalize the page with pictures of yourself and your workplace. Posts with images receive more engagement than those without.

• Be searchable: Make sure your company’s address, phone number and hours are up to date on social media. As more Canadians start using Graph Search, a product that enables people to find information through the filter of their friends, having relevant and up-to-date information on your page will help your business be more discoverable.

• Find the right audience: When sharing a post, make sure you’re targeting the right people. Select the target on the right side of your post to determine the audience. You will be able to target the post according to several criteria including age, gender and location. Do you own a local floral shop? Use Facebook’s targeting option to drive increased traffic around Valentine’s Day by targeting people who are in a relationship in your city.

• Timing is everything: Schedule your posts for the time of day and day of the week when the majority of your users are on social media. The time will vary depending on your business, and you can test to find out what works best for your customers. If your business tends to be busier on the weekends, try scheduling a post on Thursday or Friday to promote your weekend sales.

See more marketing tips and success stories from fellow business owners at

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The Principle Components of Communication

Understanding the basic components of communication can help you become a better communicator. Aristotle outlined the basic model of communication in 336 B.C. Whereas Aristotle viewed rhetoric as an art, we tend to see it now more as an experience. The three basic components are not separate and distinct entities. Rather they are tied together. Communication is an experience between speaker and listener.

The first component: The Message

The speaker shares the message. Messages are not limited to words that are spoken. They are conveyed by facial expression, gestures, physical appearance and tone of voice. In fact, much of a message is communicated at the nonverbal level.

Even when words are used, they don’t always convey a message. One of the basic principles of semantics is that the word is not the thing, the word is only a symbol for the thing. The common urban legend says that Eskimos have many words for snow, while in English we only have one. That fact is, just as in the languages of the North, English has a number of words for snow: blizzard, flurry, drift, snowflake, etc.

However, as this well-known Bill Clinton quote from January 1998 illustrates, verbal messages become more complex when the precise words used take on a value of their own.

Now, I have to go back to work on my State of the Union speech, and I worked on it until pretty late last night. But I want to say one thing to the American people. I want you to listen to me. I’m going to say this again: I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky. I never told anybody to lie, not a single time; never. These allegations are false, and I need to go back to work for the American people. Thank you.

The second component: The Speaker

As if the words were not sufficiently complex, the speaker adds a another dimension of complexity to the message. The speaker also conveys a message with tone of voice, appearance, and gestures. This secondary message includes all the nonverbal communication a speaker employs to emphasize or augment the verbal message. The speaker may dress in a certain way to project a specific image, may smile to project friendliness, may raise his or her voice to gain attention.

However, the messages speakers intend to convey can be affected by secondary messages which they did not intend and may be unaware of. They may have mannerisms that affect the audience’s interpretation of what is said. The above example from Clinton is sometimes referred to as Clinton’s “finger wagging” quote because of the style in which the President delivered the statement. The tone and speed of his voice is often imitated.

A speaker’s physical characteristics can influence their messages. One only has to look at the recent selection of a Democrat contender for the American Presidency to see how the issues of gender and race played into the many messages in each campaign.

The third component: The Audience

The same message, delivered by the same speaker, will not necessarily be received the same way by different audiences or even different listeners in the same audience. The audience background, attitudes, and beliefs affect the message they hear.

An audience may have strong religious or political convictions that provide them with a completely different frame of reference. Even such subtle factors as the time of day and the atmosphere of the occasion will have an effect. A tired audience may be impatient with jokes, whereas an audience in a frivolous mood may see almost anything as funny.

If you want you message to be as clear as possible when delivered, each of these components need to be taken into consideration.

RecommendedThe Mind Mapping Manifesto A Practical Cure for Information Overload

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