Loss Art of Elocution–Learn the 5 Critical Elements to Make better Audience Connections

Learning to be comfortable with strangers and friends alike means understanding and using the basics of effective communications. To differentiate yourself it is important for you to understand and practice elocution techniques which now are called body language or non-verbal communications. Unfortunately and over time elocution techniques which are more that good non-verbals are not being taught to most public speakers.

el•o•cu•tion

Pronunciation: (el”u-kyOO‘shun), [key]
n.
1. a person’s manner of speaking or reading aloud in public: The actor’s elocution is faultless.
2. the study and practice of oral delivery, including the control of both voice and gesture

Natural Expression of Thought by Speech and Gesture.

Natural tones are the tones of truth and honesty, of good sense and good taste. It is with them only that the understanding is successfully addressed; with them only that we can arouse and keep awake the intelligence of the listener, which is the object we always have in view, whether we speak our own language or that of another.

Critical Elements of elocution

  1. Attitude
  2. Speech Patterns
  3. Posture
  4. Hand Gestures
  5. Eyes Focus and Contact

Attitude or Mental Schema/Set

  • You are among friends who want you to succeed.
  • You are prepared.
  • You have covered every base.
  • You will survive.
  • It cannot be as bad as you expect!

Speech Patterns

 Use up and down inflection and eliminate sing song and monotone

Pick words you can pronounce—use common language to connect with audience

Punctuation is there for a purpose—pause

Raise your tone slightly

 Natural Posture

Stand up straight –right foot forward; feet 12 inches apart

Stand on your own two feet

Choose your space—and build a triangle for movement

Take a deep breath

Relax and use 10 second relaxation technique

Hand Gestures

An extension of posture and eye contact

Adds emphasis

Must not be distracting—be natural

To use gestures you cannot have other things in your hands

Practice, practice and practice

Rules to Present By–

Find a friendly face or someone to whom you just talked too before the meeting

  • Use the one person one idea method for connecting. Eye contact needs to be about 3 seconds per person, then move on to someone else
  • Create a positive and supportive connection by smiling
  • Build rapport and reinforce openness and flexibility during the speech
  • Practice the Rule of Five:Don’t take yourself so seriously.
  • Eliminate fill speech. Just pause and take a deep breath before speaking.

Want to Make Your first Step Toward Effective Public Speaking? Try these 3 Proven Methods.

“Unique connections, even if there are 1 or 500 people in your audience, are purposeful, personal, and passionate. Your message needs to be relevant and responsive to the audience needs and interest.” -Coach Mark

We all know that a lack of effective communication skills (public speaking) will seriously harm your career and relationship prospects. Whether you are a project manager, frontline employee, or CEO, your ability to communicate in a clear and compelling manner will be important component on how successful you will be. If you can not communicate and connect with your different shareholders your great ideas and intellect will not matter.  So how do you go about making a positive impression and gain credibility with any audience.

1.  Your audience will respond warmly if you remember to not just talk or lecture at them but find creative ways to connect and engage with them.

My first rule of sticky presentations is “NO Connection = NO Interest.”

This is plainly intuitive, if you have sat through a boring presentation, you disconnect because the presenter does not take your needs into consideration  and does not make the message relevant to your problems, needs and interest.  So the question is, “how to effectively connect with your audience?

a. The easiest way to create a connection is to meet as many people 1 to 1 before you walk on stage. Then, use some of the information you have gathered in your “meet and greet” conversations to salt into your opening remarks. This technique provides a valuable time for you to get to know people and gather information that makes your present come alive to the audience.

b. Create audience member engagement and involvement. Your audience does want to be a passive vessel for you to empty your message into; they want to be an active and engaged part of  your presentation. Right at the beginning of your presentation, pose a challenging question or use a quick activity like an audience survey to find out their needs and interest in your topic; this kind of activity always works because the audience now feels that you care about them and you have provided an opportunity for them to think about and provide input into the presentation design. This method provides content so that your message can be customized to their interests and questions.

The question or activity, must align with the audience members current reality, needs and issues to get and hold their attention. If I am presenting to a group that has been told, “You HAVE to be in attendance to receive CPE credits or other reasons. I might ask “What would they rather be doing  than be at this presentation?” Or I might ask the audience to tell another member what would make this a great presentation. After their short discussion I will conduct a shout out session to get some feedback on their discussions.

Having created some engagement through involvement we can link this to the subject of the presentation like this, “Knowing you are interested in “A”  let’s begin by discussing why “A” is important…”

My second rule of presentation skills is, “No Competence=No Confidence”  

I have seen competent people lack confidence in presenting and confident people lack competence (nothing is as dangerous as a confident fool!).

When coaching people to feel confident to present well, I use the Cognitive Behavioral Technique of Mental Rehearsal that when confronted with anxiety or performance confidence issues. This CBT technique encourages  finding a trigger of something you are already confident doing such as playing the piano, or shooting a foul shot in basketball etc. and tap into this past experience and feeling of confidence so that you can access this feeling in your mind and body before presenting. For some people this lack of confidence or anxiety about presenting is a “double bind” that we must feel some confidence to attempt to present well and only when we do this will we gain the competence; and with competence comes confidence! An effective presenter is also competent in the subject matter of their presentation. Sometimes this just means you are competent to share your perspective on a limited piece of information.

So when getting ready for your presentation learn everything you can about the topic and subject to be discussed by doubling the amount of prep and practice compared to the allocated length of your speech. For example, for a  1 hour speech put in at least three hours of prep and practice time.You may only speak about 10% of what you know but your competence will show when you can make your subject matter clear, concise and compelling.

This brings me to my third rule, “No Compelling Message No Memory or transfer by Audience to Action ”

People will only remember one or two or three points from your presentation, so plan your presentation so that those 2-3 points will stick with them. Techniques for making a point stick include:

  • Repetition – remember kinder garden and repeating your ABC’s over and over.
  • Gestures or Actions – get the knowledge from the mind into the body with a powerful physical trigger.
  • Visuals or Video – we live in a multimedia world so use powerful graphic or short videos to create a visual link to your sticky points.
  •  Story Telling– powerful personal stories engage the audience and are great memory triggers for your message.

So in Summary, here are my 3 Rules for Making Sticky and Effective Presentation Skills

1.  No Connection = No interest

2. No Competence =No Confidence

4. No Memorable Message = No Transfer to Action  

Self- Coaching tool–The C.A.R.E.Communication Model for Connecting with Others

James Humes, former presidential speechwriter, who identifies public speaking as “the language of leadership, says, every time you speak—whether it’s in an auditorium, in a company conference room, or even at your own desk—you are auditioning for leadership.”

The CARE Model of Audience-Centered Conversations.

The CARE Model™ is the ability to present information in a voice and common language that connects with your audience needs. Thus, extraordinary leaders are considered audience-centered when they use the following four communication channels:

Connect– develop rapport and be open to others input into the agenda to be discussed

Awareness-through gathering information and needs of participant through questioning and probing the presenter has the opportunity to adjust and be more responsive to audience members interests.

Relevance–relate stories and ideas that ring true for others. This increases the attention and interactive nature of your presentation. You are providing something practical and important to audience members life’s.

Empathy–understand issues and opportunities from the other person’s point of view, before providing your own opinion and developing common ground solutions for follow-up actions.

Most presenters have  an over reliance on just one channel and focus for communicating with their audience. I call this the Joe Friday approach–Just the facts, please…Just the Facts. Business leaders who use this approach often speak on just the factual channel and then don’t understand why their messages didn’t resonate or connect with audience members. Good communicators understand that listeners always filter a message through their own perceptual and emotional bias. By focusing on open communication principles speakers can conquer fear and false assumptions by inspiring their listeners to align and unite toward a professional and clear vision based on shared values and coherent principles of communication.

An Extraordinary communicator must Eliminate these 6 Annoying Behaviors.

Reflection: ” A good orator is pointed and impassioned.” Cicero

  1. Don’t put all the words of your presentation on the slides. You have a captive audience, so let’s give them all the information we can. If the information does not fit just make more slides with a smaller font.  The Rule of 6 by6 (Six lines with only six words) is either unknown or just ignored. The adult learning principle of providing relevant and concise information is not seen as important by some designers. Only use enough effective words to make your point and inspire the audience.
  2. Don’t waste time rehearsingjust wing it. This is just another meeting and not that important as a State of the Union address or Board of Directors meeting. It’s not as if we have the time to practice and rehearse the presentation which is not given the priority it deserves.
  3. Read everything on the slides. Sure, throw in a few examples or stories here and there. No one in the audience can verify your claims because they are overwhelmed with a “data” dump. This leads to audience members checking-out and being frustrated.
  4. Don’t pay attention to correcting your distracting habit of “fill speak : Saying, “Um” and “Uh” often isn’t that big a deal. In fact this type of vocal miscues sends audiences running for the door, a crossword puzzle or their smart phone. The easy way to stop this irritating and distracting activity is to simply pause and take a breath before making your next statement.
  5. “It’s what you say and not how you say it” that matters. Don’t worry about your delivery, your expertise and reputation and overwhelming  content will carry the day.
  6. When an audience member tries to ask a question during the presentation– just brush it aside or say you will answer it later in the speech. The participants get the message  not to ask questions or challenge your ideas.  Lose credibility and connection by this tactic. If the question is asked try to calmly and clearly respond to their concerns.

Want to create an edge for your next presentation? –Try this Tip

“Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion and belief.”
You have prepared well, designed a powerful message, supported by examples and stories and of course your PPT slides.  Now it is the day of the performance. So you are looking for an extra boost so that the presentation is a success. Here is boost–If I had only one TIP  (to insure presentation success) to give, it would be to create an Aha Moment through story telling. To craft such a story takes time and needs to be relevant to the audience.  In the delivery style for communicating an Aha moment  you need to be passionate  and inspiring about your topic, let enthusiasm out and show your emotion for the subject being addressed.

Yes, you need a powerful AHA message supported by facts, stories, examples and maybe slides if they don’t become the focus of the speech. All this is called great content. And you do need a deep and authentic belief in your topic or all of this preparation is for naught. The biggest item that separates mediocre presenters from excellence is the ability to connect with an audience in an authentic, inspiring and exciting way. Don’t let you fears hold you back. Be confident. And let your passion for your topic come out for all to see. For me it’s a few slides to enhance visually one of your core ideas and a warm and passionate speaker over a cold and dull speaker with slick slides wins every time. So what do you use to get that little edge you need to overcome your fear of failure? Share with us your secrets of presentation success or failure, so we can learn from each other. Stay tune for next blog on the most famous and inspiring 17 minute speech that changed this person’s life and ours. Can you guess who this young man was and what and where he was speaking?

Want to improve your Presentation Skills–Don’t miss this unbelievable offer to “Jump Start” the New Year.

Speaker Training “TASTER” OFFER—Jump start your career by starting the New Year Right

LEARN the KEYS TO “STICKY “PRESENTATIONS

“It is not enough to have sticky concepts and ideas. You have to present them so people get it.” Jay Ehret, The Marketing Spot

Sometimes you’re just not sure whether something is right for you, particularly if you’re thinking of skill training or personal changes. Taking up a new approach or breaking through an old fear, like speaking before a group, can seem daunting.  When it comes to public speaking, it’s usually seen as a bit like going to the dentist – you know that you need to do it to stay healthy or you ignore it till it hurts so much you hardly have a choice or you hate it so much you have to be dragged to the office.!  I took some time to listen to the feedback from a recent survey I ran with participants in my presentation seminars regarding their feelings about learning to be better presenters. Two of the main issues raised were the need to have a more convenient (less time away from office and easier access to coaching at a reasonable and affordable cost) way to get speaker training. Second, is the need to be able to experience 1 on 1 coaching and the opportunity to try out some of the more pertinent and customized advice before committing to a bigger investment in speaker coaching.

I am now ready to be responsive to your needs. I’ve designed a special ‘Taster Offer’ especially for those who’d like to experience a more personalized exposure to improving their presentation skills and confidence without any major financial outlay or time commitment. This special Presentation Training Package is brought to you by Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D., who has over 30+years of coaching executives, lawyers, accountants and other professionals in how to improve their communication skills.

The current Taster Offer I’ve put together has additional bonuses valued at just over $1,500 and as such, limited seats are available for the program.  The offering consists of the following:

  • TASTE training Module will focus on the following: assessment of present skill level and style, planning and preparation basics, as well as feedback on a video tape you will send me along with your application and fee for the “Taste” offering.  This module deals with planning your presentation, how to design compelling and “sticky” messages from the listener’s point of view.  There is also an assignment and several exercises for you to work through with specific and individualized feedback.
  • Bonus One you get lifetime access to the private email support group where you can talk to other presenters who have taken the “taster” module about how to overcome any barriers you’re having in executing the presentation system or Smart-Step tools provided.
  • Bonus Two you also get access to the private Facebook group, this is a closed membership group and entry is strictly limited to “Taster” participants and presentation coach.
  • Bonus Three – two sessions of speaker coaching.  I will personally spend time with you during two 30 minute sessions of speaker coaching.  These normally cost $250/session and take place via Skype. These are 1 on 1 coaching and feedback sessions not a group webinar.
  • Bonus Four – a special incentive.  If you like the “TASTE Module” and feel that you’d like to continue with the rest of the course then for those who purchase the Taster Offer there is a discount of 50% off the rest of the course, meaning that you make an investment of $195.00 for the “Taste Module” (including bonuses) as opposed to the regular price of $795-995 for live but not customized group seminars.
  • Extra Offer—An on going Coaching and feedback package. You receive Video feedback for three speeches you give during the year for additional $150/review and feedback report.

100% satisfaction or money back—no questions asked. Let’s get going. Just respond to this posting in the comment section with your e-mail or phone and we can set you up for your first session.

Thanks –Mark W. Hardwick,Ph.D.

Want to understand communication “Blind Spots” –Take the Presentation Style Index.

“Whatever strengthens and purifies thinking, ignites the imagination and adds knowledge  about who we are, is useful and necessary for individual growth. “ Mark W. Hardwick, Ph.D.

Presentation effectiveness is all about helping people learn how to connect and communicate with others, starting with ourselves.  Committing to self-understanding and awareness is challenging and risky.  No one else can do it for you.  There are many ways to find out more about your preferences, strengths and areas for improvement.  You can pay more attention to informal/formal feedback from others, access your core personality attributes, seek understanding through trying different life experiences and challenges and seek insight through assessment instruments like the Presentation Style Index (PSI).

Why do many of us know more about our favorite sports team or our next car, than who we are and how our communications are experienced by others? Generally, it is because we do not seek feedback.  We assume that what we have been doing brings us success so there is no need for improvement. This indicates that you might be living in denial, contentment, confusion or fear about learning how you come across to others.

Taking responsibility for our choices and being responsible for life is no small task.  This ownership begins with self-understanding.  In taking the Presentation Style Index (PSI) we encourage you to examine what you say and do.  This knowledge provides information to gauge your impact on others and then own the responsibility for changing those things needing improvement.  Many have said we develop our communication effectiveness by understanding our strengths and managing our weaknesses, so let’s get started on exploring and finding out that unique person –you, your presentation style and how it impacts others. Continue reading “Want to understand communication “Blind Spots” –Take the Presentation Style Index.”