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Archive for the ‘creativity’ Category

For many, being an effective speaker is a mystery; for others, they feel fairly comfortable and think that’s all they need. Since speaking is the best way to get known as an expert and build your business, it’s important to really know how it works. Over the past 17 years of coaching public speaking, I’ve developed a thorough breakdown of everything necessary to speak powerfully. It can be categorized into 3 levels.

Level One – The Core Foundations 

  • Strong Content. It’s essential to know how to put together a great presentation – how to grab attention at the beginning, keep your audience members engaged both emotionally and intellectually, and move them to want to work with you or follow your call to action.
  • Comfort – turning nervousness into confidence. This is a curious skill, because when most people hit a new edge (for some, just speaking at all – and for others, it’s presenting in front of a much bigger audience or with higher stakes), then they get nervous – even if they’re confident otherwise. Other aspects of comfort:
    •  Knowing how to warm up for a presentation, and how to recover if you lose your mojo mid-way through.
    •  The inner mindset – how you treat yourself (are you critical? Fearful? Or self-accepting and caring for yourself?).
  • Effective Use of Voice.
    •  Clear Enunciation. Don’t make the audience struggle to understand you.
    •  No Fillers, such as “Um.” If these are largely present, they’ll undermine your credibility.
  • Powerful Body Language. This includes several areas:
    •  How to completely relax. Body tension will hurt your presence as well as your voice.
    •  How to stand. The right position will cause to both look and feel more confident.
    •  How to walk. Aimless wandering or pacing will hurt; deliberate steps and walks will guide your audience through your presentation.
    •  Gestures. Those hands aren’t just meant to dangle there!
    •  Facial expressions. These also help establish connection, while they bring out more  of your personality.
  • Connection. You simply must authentically connect with your audience in order to move them. There are 9 aspects of connection, 7 of which are pertinent to speaking, so it’s a long topic, but you need to begin with connecting with… yourself.
    •  Eye contact. Strong eye contact will cause every person in the audience – no matter how large it is – to feel like you’re speaking directly to them.

Level Two – Presence

Presence isn’t an intangible, and it’s not a pat answer. Here are the most important components:

  • Integrated Comfort and Connection. When you learn to easily get yourself into a state of being where you are both fully at ease, and also deeply connected with your audience (and with yourself!), you’ll be on your way.
  • Staying Fully Centered. Few people can do this under great pressure; those who can become leaders. Knowing how to breathe deeply is a good start – and many other exercises help with this.
  • Enhancing the Voice. This includes finding a more resonant, relaxed voice. It’ll then literally resonate more fully with your audience.

Level Three – The Dynamic, Charismatic Speaker

  • Advanced Vocal Dynamics. Mastering how – and when – to utilize and combine pitch, tempo, volume, pausing, enunciation variation, and tone will help you hold the audience’s rapt attention at all times.
    • There are also 4 powerful speaking styles, which you can use effectively (more difficult to describe in brief, so I’ll leave it at that).
  • Advanced Body Language. Beyond the basics, there is a deeper level of movement available to you. Yoga is a good start; movement techniques used by actors and dancers will take you even farther.
  • Mastering Emotion. Acting techniques will help you find a fuller range of emotion to express yourself and move the audience.
  • Charisma. While the above elements help bring it out (especially when they’re combined), this also arises from more advanced acting techniques.
  • Professionally Crafted Content. While the standards for crafting a talk work at all levels, to move to another level, the content is fused with emotions. That is, everything you say is deeply stirring or moving – no matter what the topic.

What level are most speakers at?

Unfortunately, I’ve found that the majority of speakers who don’t suffer from a lot of fear are somewhere around mid-level 1. That is, they feel somewhat comfortable, but still really need to master the essentials of body language and the voice. The sad part is that because they feel a little confident, they don’t get the help they need to really step up their game.

Want to learn these skills quickly, instead of taking years figuring it out yourself?

My training program, Claim Your Voice: Speak with Power and Presence, covers Levels 1 and 2. There’s less emphasis on content, which is easier to implement; thorough guidelines are provided for participants to apply themselves. The biggest difficulties in speaking lie in all of the other areas, which are far trickier and more nuanced.

Even if you’re doing okay right now, you may have little idea how much better you can be! When you transform your connection skills, body language, presence, and mindset, the audience will be completely yours.

If you’re ready to step into your  full potential as a speaker, you are warmly invited. Please go to http://www.ClaimYourVoiceNow.com for full details and to register.

And, if you’d like another perspective and hear me speak about it, watch a free video training at http://www.yourtruevoice.org.

–Jonathan Bender, MS, MFA, WholeSpeak  – http://www.WholeSpeak.com

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Routine is great. No, really: if we had to reinvent the wheel every single day, how could we get anything done? At home, we brush our teeth, eat breakfast, get out of bed… and that helps us function. And at work (even if you work from home), we go through our days doing what is needed.

Over time, though, we can start to lose passion about what we’re doing. When everything gets too set, it becomes a drag.

What if life could become a creative act, wherever you go? And even if you work for a large corporation – or even if you are an entrepreneur who works out of your basement – can you imagine if your day was infused with creativity and aliveness, while still being productive?

ACTIONS: 

  1. Let yourself vocalize today. Sing a little… make funny sounds! Dance, even – give yourself more expressive freedom to bring more aliveness to your day.
  2. Optimize your workplace performance by acting – playing a role – of someone who does your own job more efficiently, is even better, and has far more fun than you normally do! See what happens.
  3. Join me at the Creativity in Business Telesummit.

Had to tell you about this: I’ll be a featured speaker at this incredible online event, Oct 22 – Oct 31, 2012. It’s for entrepreneurs, leaders, executives, managers, learning and innovation officers, facilitators, trainers, OD and HR practitioners, consultants, coaches and others who want to be more innovative, adaptive, resilient, and expressive in the changing world of work.

Register for free: http://bit.ly/QzG6oS

Transformation and productivity have never been this much fun before! Wanna join me?

In part 3 of getting over blocks, we saw that a block may be an aspect of yourself that has a message, and needs more room to express itself. Another approach, for creative blocks in particular,  is that they represents something that might not be the right path for you at this time. Perhaps it’s more an idea that sounds great – or something that was more alive for you in the past. Maybe this isn’t just the right time to bring a particular project forth.

Action: If you feel a block around a particular creative project or endeavor, it may a sign that your energies should be placed elsewhere. Think of different projects on your drawing board. With each one, notice how your body feels: tense? relaxed? energized? Move forward with the one that has the most positive energy within, and release – for now – whichever ones feel more constricted.


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