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Stand and Deliver

November 28, 2013

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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

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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

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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 »

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