Author archive

How To Keep Things In Perspective – Public Speaking Nerves

July 24, 2014

Posted by in Blog with no comments

perspective

Butterflies in your tummy, sweaty palms and a dry mouth can become things of the past if you follow these few simple steps to turn your public speaking nerves on their head.

Glossophobia, the fear of speaking in public as it is better known, is regularly listed as the most common of all phobias and many books have been written about how to overcome this state of mind.

In my work it is often the one thing that motivates people to make contact with me and frequently turns out to be masking of an altogether different emotion.

Indulge me if you will…

I want you to imagine you have been invited to deliver a presentation to a group of important officials about your absolute field of expertise. You have had a fortnight to prepare and the presentation is written and rehearsed (finally). You will be speaking for 20 minutes and will be handling questions at the end of the session (time permitting). You know precisely where you will be meeting and what you are going to be wearing and someone else is sorting out the IT for you (hooray).

An added pressure is that your overall ‘performance’ will determine whether or not you gain a long overdue promotion at work which will attract a hefty pay rise (and I mean a seriously hefty pay rise). You have to deliver the presentation tomorrow and, if successful, will start your new job on the first of next month so those extra pounds will soon be in the bank.

So, how have you been feeling?

  1. Have you been suffering with an upset tummy (butterflies), sleepless nights and heart palpitations?
  2. Have you convinced yourself it will all be a disaster, that you will forget everything you want to say and make a complete fool of yourself and?
  3. Have you started to think you should never have put yourself forward for this stupid promotion in the first place and stand no chance of success?

All of the above are perfectly reasonable emotions and would be experienced by many in the same situation but what if we took some time to listen to what is REALLY going on here? What if we could ‘re frame’ our feelings and come up with some strategies and techniques to concentrate on making your presentation a HUGE success and that ‘hot shot’ promotion a reality?

So, what have you been feeling?

  1. What if the emotions you are experiencing are not ALL based around fear?
  2. What if the world becoming your oyster is almost too incredible to bear and you are feeling the exact emotions you felt as a child when you secretly hoped for a Scalextric, a new Chopper bicycle (the link takes you to a Chopper Owners Club!) or a Tiny Tears that really cried?
  3. What if these physical symptoms are not, in truth, a fear of messing up with the presentation but are in some way related to the fear of not being able to spend those extra earnings on holidays, houses or pension provisions?

We forget that the physical symptoms of anxiety and excitement are incredibly similar. Somewhere between childhood and adulthood these emotions become confused and ‘fear’ becomes the dominant label.

So, how can you change your perspective?

  1. How would things feel if you chose to embrace the excitement?
  2. How much more engaging and ‘real’ would you be in the delivery of the presentation if you used the excitement positively?
  3. How much easier would it be for the interview panel to make the ‘right’ decision’ if they could see how excited you were about the job in hand.

They say a change is as good as a rest so next time you start to feel ‘anxious’ stand back, change your perspective and leave the rest to success!

Bye for now.

Heather 

How To Hold Things Together When Delivering A Eulogy At A Funeral

June 13, 2014

Posted by in Blog with no comments

floraltribute

By Heather Noble

One of the most common questions I am asked about Public Speaking is ‘Do you have any tips on how I can hold things together when delivering a eulogy at a funeral?’

Being asked to speak at  a funeral is not only a great honour but is often the very last thing we are able to do for a loved one and it is that which makes us so very desperate to say and do the right thing and that leads to a fear of not being able to keep our emotions in check.

Fear of breaking down in tears in a genuine concern for so many as they feel that in doing so they have somehow ‘messed up’. I’d like to share with 5 key things to remember when taking to the lectern at a funeral which will not only help you to ‘do things right’ but will leave you feeling emotionally rewarded and connected with the person you have lost.

  1. Check in advance with the vicar, priest or civil celebrant as to how long you have available to speak. Perhaps share with them what you plan to say, if only to avoid any duplication with what they plan to cover in their tribute. They aren’t going to ask you to change your reading but more likely will amend theirs accordingly.
  2. Allow yourself time to write, reflect and become familiar with what you are planning to say. If you are reading a poem or piece of prose written by another person, give yourself time to practice reading it aloud. Things sound very different when we read them inside our head so taking time to notice the pauses, variations in pace and punctuation are all very important.
  3. Focus on the person in question and what they meant to you. This way your sincerity and appreciation of them will shine through. Of course you can make reference to what they  meant to others but the essence of what you say should be a reflection of how they made you feel. What they leave you with in terms of knowledge and memories and the spiritual part of them that you will carry with you in the future.
  4. This is one of the very few occasions where I would recommend you read your words verbatim from notes but do make sure you are familiar with the text. Print it out in large font instead of using a book and certainly not hand writing. Allowing yourself time to pause, breathe and give eye contact to the congregation will also need to be factored into the reading. Keep the pace slow (the slower the better) and keep your back straight and chin raised to help  with the projection of your voice.
  5. And finally, remember, it is absolutely acceptable to get emotional when delivering a eulogy for someone who has touched your life. Don’t try to stifle the emotion because it is this that will make the reading beautiful and sincere.

Following these few key rules will, I promise, help you to keep your emotions and nerves sufficiently in check to deliver a fitting tribute to a special person.

Feel free to share your comments, experiences and thoughts for the benefit of other readers.

Bye for now.

Heather

 

How To Fast Track Speaking Confidence

May 27, 2014

Posted by in Blog with no comments

starsnewsshops

Sometimes we all need a way to fast track our speaking confidence and one of my first jobs helped me to learn precisely this.

My first job in the public eye was in a local newsagent shop called Star News.

I can remember my first day so very clearly and all the nerves and apprehension that I was to learn would always accompany the first day in a new job.

Selling sweets, newspapers and tobacco in itself wasn’t going to be terribly taxing but dealing with customers was going to be terrifying.

That was until my colleague Paul (a gorgeous and trendy 16yr old) arrived on the scene.

As I took my place behind the news counter alongside him I looked, quite obviously, petrified. How on earth was I going to cope when we opened for business.

The rather wonderful Paul uttered 5 words that were to echo through my working career for the next 30yrs.  He assured me there was no need to be nervous and advised to simply me ‘pretend to be on stage’.

And that really was sound advice. When you are on a stage you can become a character, you can become one step removed, you can hide behind the ‘fourth wall’. The same applies when presenting and idea, delivering a speech or making a telephone call.

Naturally, there are other skills that you need to draw upon to give a convincing performance but these can all be worked upon and developed into a genuine style.

If in doubt, observe some of the great performers, the great orators, the national treasures of this world. You’ll see the real person but you will also see the ‘stage version’ of their persona. That is what looks like public speaking confidence.

If time is short and the need to ‘perform’ is real you can fast track your speaking confidence by taking a leaf out of Paul’s book. It worked for me…

You can build on the above by contacting Heather  on 01691 700800 for help with a wide range of communication skills including presentations, meetings and telephone techniques.

May 20, 2014

Posted by in Suppliers with no comments

Thanks so much for your public speaking workshop last week.  I’m sure that everybody took something positive and helpful away from the session. I found it really useful for my public speaking and it was also interesting to hear you give examples of how to present specific information. I think I’d like to work on a more engaging and direct style of delivery, if it suits me! Thank you so much for helping us in our work in this way.  

J.D.  Business Development Manager (UK), Self Help Africa

Customer Service – are you missing the point?

May 6, 2014

Posted by in Blog with one comment

image

As business owners we invest an awful lot of time in considering how to deliver the best levels of customer service and spend even more time putting procedures in place to deliver on these great ideals.

So why is it, inspire of these efforts we sometimes actually make matters worse?

Take for example Ryanair. Last week a truly hilarious and very cleverly written letter of complaint was addressed to Ryanair by a less than happy customer, Mr James Lockley. The letter was posted on Social Media Site Facebook and soon went viral. (Click here to read the letter in full, it is pretty clever).

In essence, Mr Lockley arrived for his flight a little later than planned. There then followed a sequence of events which not only led to Mr Lockley missing his flight but resulted in additional cost for replacement flights and taxis, an unplanned overnight stay and missing the wedding reception he and his wife were flying to attend.

Each of these things in isolation would have been infuriating enough for even the calmest amongst us but it was the way that Mr L was treated that made the whole situation worse.

No doubt, Ryanair spend an awful lot of money on creating their brand and defining their place in the market. Budget airlines receive quite a bit of bad press but let’s not forget they are, and always will be, budget airlines.

However, where in the rule book does it say that budget has to mean poor customer service? Budget may mean ‘no frills’, it may mean ‘basic’ but it should never mean poor quality. After all, we wouldn’t expect a budget airline to use poorly maintained aircraft so why is it acceptable for us to be given an inconsistent message and less than polite staff. I imagine it is this in particular that will prevent many of us from flying with Ryanair.

Moving a little closer to home, just a couple of weeks ago my husband and I decided to visit a lovely pub, that we know well, for a very late lunch or very early supper (it was 4.30pm, you decide). We hadn’t booked a table as it was a last minute decision to eat out (mind you the pub in question doesn’t take ‘same day’ bookings so we turned up on spec).

The pub wasn’t at all busy but most of the tables were marked as ‘reserved’ and laid for evening meals. Each table had a little card that said the time of the booking and stated the table could be used until that time. However, neither my husband nor myself felt comfortable sitting at ‘someone else’s table’ just in case they arrived early or we left later than planned. We were clearly not alone in this as there were 2 other groups of people doing the same thing.

Anyway, we kept looking and eventually spotted a lovely table that was waiting to be cleared from some earlier diners. We enquired whether we could sit at the table in question but were asked to wait while the waitress wandered off to speak to another waitress who checked in a book to see if and or when the table was needed again.

Eventually, after loitering like a couple of interlopers and almost deciding to walk out with embarrassment we were granted use of the table. Hoorah!

Now, you may think that I shouldn’t blame the staff for simply trying to ‘get ahead’ of themselves for the evening shift and in many ways I don’t but imagine if there was a different way of achieving the same result for everyone without making us feel like unwanted and unwelcome customers.

Imagine a situation where all of the tables are laid for the evening sitting but without the ‘reserved’ cards. Imagine having just one member of staff standing at the entrance to the dining area. Imagine one side of a conversation that goes a bit like this:

‘Good Afternoon, can I help you?’

‘Are you looking for a table for 2, 4, 6 …?’

‘We are just in between sittings but we do have a few tables available if you think you will be finished by 7.00pm, 7.30pm, midnight…?’

‘Would you prefer to sit near the window or near the fire?’

‘Please take a seat, here are a couple of menus, I’ll be back in a few minutes to take your drinks order’.

This way, we are happy, we get a warm welcome, we understand we are on a time limit, we accept the situation and can relax and view the menu.

This way, the staff are happy, they get to keep their tables ‘under control’ and can be sure that we will be leaving on time and if we look like we are outstaying our welcome, they have every right to politely eject us.

This way, we are full of happy memories and feel able to return again to enjoy the warm welcome and great food in the future. Perhaps with friends or family.

So, next time you are pondering what good customer service really looks like, take a moment to think of what really matters to your customer, consider what their ‘must haves’ really are and save yourself time in doing just a  little bit less and achieving a whole lot more.

 

 

 

Stand and Deliver

November 28, 2013

Posted by in Blog with no comments

standanddeliver

From time to time we all have to stand up in front of a group of people to speak. Whether it is an informal thank you to family and friends or a more official speech for business, it is entirely natural to be nervous and apprehensive.

Believe it or not, nerves are good for us. They keep us ‘on our toes’ and prevent us from becoming complacent. Even the most experienced speaker feels some anxiety before speaking in public. If they don’t they probably won’t be a terribly interesting as a speaker, we are after all, only human.

The following public speaking tips are based upon lessons I have learned (and mistakes I have made) during my public speaking experiences AND from observing many different presentation styles.

Let’s assume you know your audience and what is expected of you, let’s assume you know (at least in part) what you want to say and let’s assume you feeling just a tad nervous…

Try to adopt some of the following performance tips next time you stand up in front of a room full of expectant faces. They might just help.

1.       Don’t Speak, Talk

Be yourself, don’t try to be as good as or as funny as another speaker. This will distract you. Simply focus on being true to yourself. Speak naturally, don’t try to lose your accent if you have one. Forget your ‘telephone voice. Save that for when you are speaking on the telephone…oh, and remember to breathe

2.       Dress Code

There is an unwritten rule that, when invited to speak to a group, you should aim to be at least as smart as the smartest person in the room. Speaking to a room full of young students in jeans might not require you to wear a business suit but, speaking at business conference would. Feeling comfortable in this way will enhance your performance and enable you to ‘own the room’.

3.       Don’t Tell Jokes

Jokes aren’t funny. Really, they aren’t. If you use them you run the risk of alienating members of your audience. That’s not to say that humour doesn’t play a part in any presentation, in fact, it is key. Use anecdotes or the odd funny aside to punctuate and provide breaks in your delivery.

4.       It’s Theatre Dahling…

No matter what the occasion, we can always use a little theatre. Believe it or not, even when reading at a funeral, theatre is called for. Theatre does not equate to ‘razzmatazz’, far from it. Theatre, in public speaking relates to voice projection, eye contact and pitch of your voice. Whatever the occasion, choose a ‘character’ to fall back on and work that room.

5.       Listening styles

And finally, remember that each member of your audience will have their own preferred listening style. Whether they are VISUAL (absorb information by what they see), AUDITORY (absorb information from what they hear) OR KINESTHETIC (absorb information by what they do), they will all be absorbing what you are say in the following proportions;
7% of what you say (words). 38% of how you say it (pitch, pace, tone) and 55% through your body language (eye contact, gestures, stage presence).

Award winning? Me?

November 4, 2013

Posted by in Blog with 2 comments

 

Young Enterprise AwardHaving recently bought a whizzy new laptop for the office I was sorting through the mountain of emails that we all seem to accumulate these days when I came across this photo and realised that I hadn’t mentioned it here.

One of my main passions is that of personal development and in particular helping members of our teenage population to grow and flourish as they so often fall into an abyss and are tasked purely with trying to gather academic qualifications whilst their personal development (that is the development of themselves as a person) is neglected. I think this is really sad.

One of the great initiatives I support is Young Enterprise and I work with youngsters from a local secondary school to support them in the running of a company for a year. We have weekly meetings where I offer support and guidance to the weekly board meetings and find the whole process hugely rewarding.

Seeing how young minds think and watching these young people develop across an academic year is reward enough for me but imagine my absolute gobsmacked joy when the members of Blue Gecko at The Marches School in Oswestry nominated me as the Business Advisor of The Year.

Here I am collecting my trophy at the end of programme awards dinner earlier in the year. I was literally bursting with pride.

If you want to find a way of  ’giving something back’ or ‘paying it forward’ as I like to think of it, you can find out more about Young Enterprise by clicking here.  It is a hugely rewarding experience.

We all know how to eat an elephant…

September 28, 2013

Posted by in Blog with no comments

eatthatelephant

Attracting the right audience for our business can sometimes feel like eating an elephant but it needn’t be.

We may have all heard about the best way to an elephant but do we remember to use the same principles for our marketing strategy?

In business it is so easy to crave a bite of every cherry on the tree (no jokes about painted toe nails here folks). The desire to be all things to all men, particularly during hard times, can be overwhelming and the temptation to compromise quality for quantity roars loudly.

We all know that when there is less work to go around, the harder we have to work for our share but, believe it or not, this doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds.

Whatever your business, the only real key to success is to be VERY clear about what you can offer your client. If you don’t know this, how can they understand what you have to offer? Once you know what makes you great it becomes all about attracting the right audience. Once you’ve done that you can begin to hone in on where these clients ‘hang out’. And once you’ve tracked them down, it’s just a case of grabbing their attention.

As a starting point, here are a few tips on how to begin to eat that marketing elephant;

  1. What have you got to offer?

Take time out to really think about what it is you have to offer clients and write down a few broad headings as to what type of client your services/products could appeal to.

  1. Where do your clients hang out?

Look at your existing, and past, client base to see what types of client you have attracted in the past. Categorise them under a few broad headings and give some thought as to how you came to be selling to them in the first place. Where did you meet them? What was it you sold to them? What else could you have sold to them? What feedback did they give you? Can you use this feedback to highlight your products/services to others Use this information to identify and seek out similar types of client.

  1. How do you capture their attention?

Clients want solutions, we all want to cut through the elephant dung, we just want to know what’s in it for me so…Ask clients for feedback on the products or services you provided and use this information to find creative ways to ‘attract’ potential clients. Eg. If a client says your service gave them ‘peace of mind’ then potential clients need to know that you are in the market for providing ‘peace of mind’

So you see, it’s doing things chunk by chunk you can really focus on your message, identify your true market (rather than the ‘anyone and everyone’ strategy) and, from that, widen your horizon in a very ‘specific’ way.

The above tips might only equate to nibbling the elephant’s ears but hey, you’ve got to start somewhere…

If you need help or guidance in of the above areas, please feel free to contact Heather on 01691 700800 for an informal chat on how Salt Solutions might assist.

Stand and Deliver

August 8, 2011

Posted by in Blog with no comments

Speaking in public doesn’t come naturally to many of us. In fact, it seems to be a skill that we develop as a child and then lose as we enter adulthood. Perhaps it’s something to do with our hormones…

The most common ‘issue’ when it comes to speaking in public or presenting to a group are nerves. Those butterflies and sweaty palms that trouble us all can be considerably reduced by following a few key steps. Read more »

Contact us

Book me for

  • Skype Coaching, 1-2-1 Sessions, or as a Speaker
  • Call now on 01691 700800

Connect