Are You Listening

I posted the video below on my Twitter timeline last night. https://youtu.be/UUP02yTKWWo These were the stats on this tweet as of lunchtime today It is amazing to see how many people are empowered by this heart warming video. Seeing this young boy with hearing impairment hear for the first time can bring a tear to the eye and make those of us with full hearing, ever grateful. Funnily enough though as adults one of the biggest issues we have is how well we do listen to each other. Not to just what is being said, but what is not being said as well.  How many times have you been in a conversation where someone spoke over you before you had finished your point? Conversely how many times have you listened to someone thinking you wish they would hurry up and finish so you could say, what you have to say? How many times have you glazed over, crossed your arms, rolled your eyes, looked past someone or...
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How to Pitch Perfect

  There are many instances when, as professionals, you have to pitch. Whether it is skills and talents, or the products and services for the organisations that you work for. As a presentations coach I have had the pleasure of working with a number of individuals to help them effectively pitch in some of the areas below: * Senior positions of leadership * Fundraising for charities * Seeking partners for a growing company * Seeking investment for their startup One of my favourite areas is working with startups. It has been a blast working with entrepreneurs looking to pitch their ideas. Over the last two years I have had the pleasure of working with a group of exciting entrepreneurs who have been pitching their business ideas to Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group. They learn to hone their core message, practice and refine their delivery skills all to essentially win over both Sir Richard and the panel of exciting entrepreneurs who help him to decide...
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The Power of a Good Story

Part of what constitutes a good presentation by leaders and those who would inspire people to action is a well placed story. Storytelling has become somewhat of a trendy topic but well before and well after the “trend” has disappeared at the core of great speeches will always be that great personal story. Whether a business case, a successful customer story, a political win, when we can connect and show possibilities, vulnerabilities and the championing of the human spirit. But what happens when the story is not your own? When it is borrowed from someone else? When you cannot fully empathise with the story because it is not part of your own personal journey? Of Myths and Legends In a speaker forum that I am part of the subject came up about stories which are not necessarily true but have been hashed over time to appear that way. What happens when people repeat such stories which either have no elements of truth in them...
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Helping Leaders Present Better

For years I have sat and cringed whilst I witnessed leaders and senior execs, who should know better, churn out some really cruddy slide decks on PowerPoint and Keynote or send some people to sleep with somnorofic presentations with no personal touches. Even worst still it pains me to see people pitch for investments and new business with no sense of the either the process, planning or performance required for a good pitch. I spent a lot of time working individuals who want to build their confidence as it dawned on them that good presentation skills, whether in the the scenarios I mentioned above, or as part of one’s skill set for interviews, are essential for today’s workforce. Especially leaders. I thought rather than just sitting their cringing why not work on a series of programmes that would solve the pain of being able to deliver a great presentation. Not only their pain but mine too. Programmes that would set the...
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Science of Persuasion

We are our stories. Whether we are looking to negotiate salary, pitch a business idea, convince people of a political strategy or speaking about change, we are looking to persuade in our work through effective stories. This video by Robert Caldiani and Steve Martin demonstrates the six core factors that make the story have impact and persuasion. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFdCzN7RYbw...
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How I Draft My Speeches

One of the most frequent questions I get asked as a speaker and from my executive speaking coaching clients is what formula do I use to draft a speech. Now it may seem I am giving away the holy grail of my work but this is the simple formula I use: 1. BACKGROUND: Topic: What is the specific area they are looking to hear about. Effective Communication? Leadership? Presentation Skills? Storytelling? Career Development? Audience: Who am I speaking to and what are the top three things the buyer is looking for from me? Are there any sensitive issues that I should avoid? What background data can I/do I have on the organisation to make this more personal? Stage: Am I sharing the stage with other speakers and if so how can I compliment them in my presentation. 2. DESIGN: I craft my speeches using three core movements, a bit like a film or a play. ACT ONE: The Intro I usually like to start with a story. Something that will emotionally...
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Presentations are just theatre!

I was in conversation with my eldest daughter the other day. Being the child of shall we say, parents who have never had real issues with shyness, we were waxing lyrical on what really brings out confidence in people. After a rather enlightening conversation, where she actually schooled me on some lost forgotten drama techniques it got me really thinking about how underrated drama is as part of formal education Confidence Builder From a young age in school I remember being in nearly all the school plays and musicals. Tin Pan Alley, Wizard of Oz, Aladdin, Sweeney Todd...you get the drift. Immersed in these plays really helped to sharpen my own confidence and ability to be able to stand up in front of audience and deliver in my style. My wife was also involved in amateur dramatics and without name dropping actually shared the stage with a famous British Actor as well as being involved in other productions. Without a shadow of a...
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