Thursday, 6 July 2017

Style without Substance is Relationship without Love

Public Speaking Secrets - Speak and Grow Rich! (series)

#11 Content is King

A casual relationship has nothing to do with love, and it does not last long. Love is what makes the relationship strong and lasts long, in many cases a lifetime. When you go for a date what do you look for in the other person? Do you look for only style and suave or do you look for substance and character?

Humans understand pretty fast if they are getting something worthwhile from another person. We do not want to waste our time by attending a presentation which is not useful for us. If you focus only on your body language, your voice and your movement on stage, you will not succeed. Like the foundation of a building, content is the base on which you build everything else. A weak building with a beautiful exterior and design will not stand for long. A presentation or speech without useful content but garbed well with external show will not be remembered or appreciated by the audience.

The preparation stage is extremely important because this is when you structure and build your content. Analyse your audience, research on what would be a useful takeaway for them, and then build your speech or presentation based on this evaluation and understanding. Always give the audience something that they can use after the presentation.

#10 Walk. Stop. Talk.

Zubin Rashid is an International Consultant in Public Speaking, Intercultural Consulting, and Team Building. He is an Author of 4 books, including his latest on personal growth and development called Dream Learn Act Achieve. He is a Newspaper Columnist, and frequently contributes to different media. He has been featured in various newspapers and magazines as an author, and as a soft skills and public speaking expert.

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Public Speaking Secrets - Speak & Grow Rich! #10

#10 Walk. Stop. Talk.

The small plant sways graciously as the breeze passes over it. The dancer on stage uses planned movements synchronized with the music and we love to watch her perform. The speaker walks to another part of the stage confidently and briskly and the audience is watching him and focusing on his speech.

There is something about movement. Anything that moves attracts us. But the kind of movement defines whether the attraction creates a positive or a negative image in our mind. Since I am writing about public speaking and presenting, let me tell you about a simple rule that you can follow on movement. Remember these three words: Walk, Stop, Talk.

Walk when you are introducing a sub topic or point.

Stop after you have introduced the sub topic or point.

Talk about the sub topic or point in detail after that.

Repeat the process for every sub topic or point.

The fine tuning on movement can only be done with practice. You will have to build within your own mind the frequency of movements based on the presentation time and the points that you want to cover. For a longer duration speech you use less frequent movements.

Are you following the rule of Walk, Stop, Talk?

Friday, 16 June 2017

Public Speaking Secrets - Speak & Grow Rich! #9

#9 Posture and Presentation

The man who stoops is the man with no energy. The woman who puts her hands on her hips is too aggressive for the audience. The person who stands straight and walks with the head held high is the one who is seen as confident.

What you just read are examples of postures in presentations. If you are speaking in front of an audience, your posture speaks louder than your words. A posture that communicates confidence, enthusiasm and energy, will keep the audience focused on you. No one likes to watch a tired and low energy person giving a presentation or talk.

Observe yourself in the mirror and try different postures. You will understand to a large extent which postures communicate what meaning. Take this seriously as this would create an important part of your image as a speaker.

Are you displaying the right postures during your presentations?

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Public Speaking Secrets - Speak & Grow Rich! #8

#8 Gestures Communicate

Close your eyes and imagine someone speaking without any movement of the hand or the body and with an expressionless face. Do you think such a person can hold the audience’s attention for long? I am a strong believer in gestures. This is something that helps a person to communicate with more conviction and helps the audience to understand the meaning of the words better.

Gestures compliment the words that are spoken. Be it with the hands or any gesture from any part of the body. We use all kinds of gestures to make the words more visual for the audience. A lively presenter with these gestures is loved by people who listen to them.

Stand in front of the mirror and speak a couple of sentences. Speak without gestures first and then with them. You will notice the difference. Remember to use the correct gestures. You cannot point upwards and say “down”!

Are you using gestures while speaking in front of an audience?

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Public Speaking Secrets – Speak & Grow Rich! #7

#7 Where do the hands go?

I remember when I first got up on stage to speak when I was in school, I was not trained and did not know what to do with my hands. So, I stood like a statue with my hands at my sides and spoke without much expression. That was how I started.

So, where do the hands go? One important thing to remember is to use the hands for gestures. You can communicate through your hands. In fact, hand gestures that compliment the words spoken makes a powerful communication. Whatever you say is made easier for the audience to understand with the help of gestures.

The second point to remember is what you would do with your hands when you pause or when you are listening to someone in the audience ask you a question. The palms come together, and you keep one palm on another and the palms are kept close to the tummy area but not touching it, and at a height near the navel region.

Practising the use of gestures and keeping the hands at the right position would help you become a much better presenter and speaker. Body language constitutes 55% of communication according to research.

Are you using your hands for gestures?

Friday, 19 May 2017

Public Speaking Secrets – Speak & Grow Rich! #6

#6 Breathe slowly. Stay calm.

Controlling nervousness has a physical aspect. When you get nervous you start breathing faster and chances are you will have a dry throat and mouth. Many people ask me what can be done in such a situation. While there are points about the mind that need to be considered, however, let us focus on the body and understand what can be done.

I found that learning to breathe very slowly is an instant solution. When you take long and deep breaths, you slow down your heart beat and feel relaxed. The nervousness reduces and allows you to speak calmly. This needs to be learnt and practiced to improve its effects.

I also advise speakers to drink a moderate amount of water to prevent the mouth to become dry very fast and to keep hydrated and fit. When you speak, you need to be on top form!

Do you take three deep breaths and drink some water before every speech or presentation?

Friday, 12 May 2017

Public Speaking Secrets – Speak & Grow Rich! #5

#5 The Face Speaks

Expressions are the windows to the meaning of your communication. Your face is of utmost importance in public speaking. Words are of not much use here if not accompanied with facial expressions.

Imagine someone speaking to you with a blank face. This person has no expressions. How would you feel? Will you understand everything this person says? Wouldn’t it be better if you see happiness on the face when you hear something happy, or see an expression of sorrow when something sad is being spoken about?

Your facial expressions help the audience as most people are visual in nature. We pick up meanings easily through the facial expressions. In fact, if you face speaks a different language than your words, people would be confused, and in fact, would be more likely to believe your face than your words. For example, you show a sad face and say you are happy. What would the audience believe?

Are you expressing through your face while presenting in front of an audience?

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Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Public Speaking Secrets – Speak & Grow Rich! #4

#4 The Lighthouse Technique

The eyes are the windows to the soul. Well, your eyes are very important in public speaking. Think about any moving light. Does it attract your attention? Yes! If you have heard about the lighthouse, you would know that it has a moving light that guides ships. We use this concept to connect eye-contact with the audience in public speaking and presentations.

What you do is rotate your head to your left and to your right when speaking. But you do it naturally. When you speak to a group of friends seated to your left and right, what do you do when you speak? Don’t you look at all of them at different times while you are speaking? We do the same in public speaking.

This lighthouse technique is one of the important tools to maintain audience interest. If you do not look at a section of the audience, they would feel ignored, and at a sub-conscious level, would lose interest in what you are saying.

Do you use this technique during your talks and presentations?

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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Public Speaking Secrets – Speak & Grow Rich! #3

#3 The Magic of Voice

There are numerous examples of leaders in history who have stirred their audiences through their powerful speeches. What made their speeches so great? While content and words play an important role, which I will deal with in a later article, there is something we need to know about that is equally essential, if not more.

This important element is the magic of your voice. Modulation of your voice can make the audience sit up and listen. How do you tell stories to children? Don't you modulate your voice and create expressions that help children to visualise the story?

Remember, your voice is what makes a great impact. Practice every day to improve your expressions. Move from a monotonous voice to varying your tone and volume to express yourself better. Do you modulate your voice every time you speak?

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#1 Smile when you say something important
#2 Standing Tall

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Public Speaking Secrets – Speak & Grow Rich! #2

#2 Standing Tall

The language of the body has more impact than simply verbal communication. A very important aspect of this is posture. While presenting, how should you stand?

This appears quite simple, yet, I have found most people don’t stand straight while speaking or presenting. There is a tendency to incline towards one direction or the other. You may find yourself leaning towards your right, and then after a while you change that direction.

Standing tall fundamentally means standing straight. In fact, when you are standing straight you are at your tallest height. This posture also makes you look confident and more in control of your own movements.

The best way to check if you are standing tall, or not, is to get your speech or presentation video recorded. Watch yourself in the video later and see your posture. Are you standing tall?

Friday, 3 February 2017

Public Speaking Secrets – Speak & Grow Rich! #1

#1 Smile when you say something important

What a wonderful universal language this is! Smile and you can diffuse all the tension. Smile and you can win hearts. Smile and the audience will remember what you said while you were smiling.

Have you ever thought that we have such a simple yet highly powerful tool in the form of a smile? When I take my son out (he is 15 months young) he smiles at so many people. These are strangers in different places – parks, malls, museums – and they mostly smile back. His smile is infectious. I am sure they would remember that smile for some time.

Public Speaking is about connecting with your audience. Smiling brings positive energy to your speech. From a psychology perspective, when you are saying an important point make sure you give a smile, even a hint of a smile, and your audience will remember that point for a long time.

So, with all the great benefits of a smile, start that practice right now! Are you smiling?! :)

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Training as a Profession

A Trainer adds a lot of value to the corporate world and to institutions. Imagine you have been in a field, say sales, finance or information technology, and you have gathered knowledge and skills that when shared could help a lot of people to upgrade their skills and perform better. However, the challenge lies in whether you would be able to impart the lessons well, whether you have the skills of a trainer to deliver that content in a manner that would help the learners.

There is definitely a dearth of excellent trainers. The void becomes evident when we see trainers not performing well. The reason is because either they lack the necessary knowledge and skills in their subject or domain, or because they lack the skills of a trainer.

If you are experienced in a domain you can become a great trainer and make a profession out of it. In a few years time of practicing as a trainer, you can become a high profile trainer who has her / his calendar filled in no time! So, what are those knowledge and skills that would help you? Let us have a look at a list of things, but please note that there is more that you could do than just these points.

1. Facilitation Skills: These are the basics. What should you do as a trainer in a classroom? How should you interact with the audience, what should be your body language, how can you use eye-contact and your voice modulation to engage your audience, and such other points form part of your facilitation skills.

2. Training Needs Analysis: This is perhaps the most important part. If you do not know what exactly the need is, what the gaps are, you would not be able to design and develop the right level of content in the training.

3. Training Design: Many trainers do not know the science behind design. You need to understand the steps that could be followed, what elements and methodology could be used and what flow should be there for the content based on the objectives of the training that you have set.

4. Content Development: This is about filling in the content based on your Training Needs Analysis and the Training Design. The content has to be enriching and useful for the participants and at the level at which it is to be delivered.

5. Evaluation of Effectiveness: How do you evaluate if the training has added value to the participants in terms of results that they have got because of it? What evaluation methods can you use?

6. The Theories of Adult Learning: These are the foundations that would set you apart from average trainers. The psychological aspects of learning when well understood helps you not only speak to your clients or stakeholders with complete confidence, but also helps you design and develop much more effective training programs.

Well, this list can go on to a lot more. I personally believe that we all have the educator inside us. And if we have significant knowledge and some experience in a domain, be it sales, finance, soft skills, management, teaching, technology, or any other subject, all we need is some learning on training and we can get into a noble profession of helping others to grow. A great career awaits you with unlimited potentials of earning and growth!

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