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We know that when you don’t have rapport with an audience, you have no effective communication. I was recently reminded, and very forcefully, how true that is. I was in a presentation where the first speaker was skilful, relaxed, upbeat and enthusiastic, had no need of notes and was known and respected by many people in the group. His rapport with the audience was perfect. People hung on his words. Enter speaker two. Low key and a little dry, he spoke without energy or enthusiasm in his gestures or voice, talked as much to his notes as to the audience…
I have been working with a client in Lexington, Kentucky this week. It is one of the largest NGOs in the USA, serving the needs of impoverished communities in the southern Appalachian Mountains. Some of the people on my workshops were the managers of particular projects; others were from building maintenance, finance, HR and donor funding functions. I did not quite know what to expect; working in a country that is quite different from South Africa, in a business culture that is driven by a mission to serve those who are in need. Maybe the communication issues that people raised…
Do you dread having to make an important presentation?Do your hands sweat?Does your mouth go dry?When you start to speak, does your brain freeze up?   There are few people who don’t feel some nervousness when they speak to a large audience in a formal environment, but once you know how, you can control nerves in many ways. One of the most important things is to be well prepared, and to have confidence that your material will be well received by the audience.   Your first step should be to decide on the objective of any presentation.Are you informing the…
In public speaking you only get one chance to make a first impression.In a presentation you may have no more than 10, and at the most 30 seconds to make an impression on your audience. The opening to a presentation is in many ways the most critical part and it always pays to plan it particularly carefully. In the opening you need to set the tone for the presentation, attract the attention of the audience and orient them to the topic. From the very beginning you also need to start developing rapport, or a connection, with your audience. There are…
Many a good presentation has been ruined by a mannerism. A mannerism is a repetitive and distracting gesture, movement or use of words, and you’ve probably seen presenters use most of them. Ending every other sentence with the word ‘okay’ or ‘you know’ Fiddling with a ring, a necklace or a piece of clothing Clasping the hands just above waist level Jangling coins or keys in a pocket Twirling a piece of hair or scratching your nose Swaying from side to side Mannerisms are nervous gestures that become distracting and irritating when you keep repeating them. They might not be noticed at…