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Tel: 01202 798128

Email: dee@simplyamazingtraining.co.uk

How to give a presentation at a virtual meeting


As technology improves and travel budgets decrease, virtual meetings have become almost the norm, especially for younger generations who use this type of technology in their daily lives anyway. If you have a virtual meeting coming up and need to give a presentation, here are our top tips for giving a virtual meeting presentation.

Virtual meeting Tip #1 – Make sure the technology works!

According to the Productivity at the Office report by Jabra (2015): “Over half (51 percent) of respondents agree that meetings without direction or a clear agenda lead to wasted meeting time, 32 percent cite lack of decision-making, 31 percent cite lack of follow-up, 26 percent a lack of preparation and 25 percent the effect of latecomers.”

In a conference call situation specifically, the survey says: “some of the most annoying issues are due to sound, whether not being able to hear people’s voices, irrelevant background noise, connection issues, overall audio quality or not knowing if speakerphones are working as intended.”

Virtual Meeting

Virtual meeting tip #2 – Make conference calls engaging!

Conference calls or video calls need an extra special effort to be engaging and easy to listen to because you have no (or less) body language to help your message be understood.

  • Make it a two-way conversation – ask for hands up or comments in the dialogue
  • Use tag questions (more about that in Dee Clayton’s book, High-Performance Presentations – Public Speaking Tips & Presentation Skills to Engage, Persuade and Inspire!”) because tag questions work. Don’t they?
  • Quickly communicate WHY people should want to listen (not flick through their inbox)

Virtual meeting tip #3 – Have a clear structure

Use the Simply Amazing Structure (SAS) to guide your call content, otherwise, it’s easy for the listener to get lost. You may benefit from breaking your SAS into even smaller chunks than you would with a face-to-face meeting. Try not to cover too much in one call. As you come to the end, ensure people have committed to their action/deadlines rather than assuming they have, and when you are fielding questions having a helper to group any questions that are sent in while you answer others is useful.

For more tips and techniques on making conference calls effective and engaging, and for ideas on where specifically your “Presenter Personality Style” could improve in the context of  virtual meeting presentations, discover more about our tailored one to one presentation skills mentoring, or read “High-Performance Presentations – Public Speaking Tips & Presentation Skills to Engage, Persuade and Inspire!” by Dee Clayton or contact us today!

The importance of good posture in public speaking


Good body language when giving a presentation plays a huge part in so many ways – here are my top three:

  • It helps you to feel calm & confident on the inside and look calm and confident on the outside
  • It demonstrates high status meaning the audience feel you have something worth listening to
  • It helps you to breathe easily and project your voice

When you stand with a strong presentation posture you feel calm and confident inside. Take a look at our video on the topic and try it out for yourself! Once you feel calm and confident the audience can’t help but sense that from you and see it in you. (The opposite is also true that if you look scared and nervous the audience will see that and feel that too).

Did you know? Typically 14-16 areas of the women’s brain are active when reading body language compared to a typical male’s brain with 4-6 active areas.

Did you know? When asked to decode a silent movie woman were twice as good at it than men. 87% of women correctly guessed what was happening in the movie Vs just 42% of men. Apparently, homosexual men and men in highly emotional jobs did nearly as well as women.

Did you know? Someone with autism may not exhibit typical body language and may seem incongruent with what they are saying. Additionally, they may not be as naturally skilful in decoding other’s body language.

Rightly or wrongly, human nature drives us to follow (and trust) high-impact or “high-status” individuals, so if you want to influence and persuade, having a good presentation posture and avoiding unconscious low-status body language is a good idea.

Body Language & Status Exercise – try this out!

  • Reflect upon which of these styles you are most like?
  • What can you learn from that?
  • Practise your new body language whenever you can – even standing in a queue!

Can you see how important body language is? And it all happens before you’ve even said a word!

Finally, good posture and body language is critical to ensuring you stand up straight, open your windpipe and can breathe easily. You won’t suffer from a shortness of breath and you’ll add to your calm composure. A good presentation posture also leads to better voice production and projection so you don’t have to shout to be heard.

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Stop your voice and hands shaking during public speaking


We recently worked with a high-powered businesswoman. She was confident, articulate, intelligent and very well respected within her organisation. She had to present to senior decision makers on a daily basis, and that didn’t faze her one little bit. But put her on a stage to deliver a ‘formal’ presentation, and the shakes would start. First, shaky voice syndrome which then spread to her hands. This one area of her job revealed a massive chink in her confidence.

You might wonder ‘why does my voice shake when I’m nervous?’ It’s one of the most common speech anxiety symptoms. Many, many people suffer from a shaky voice and hands when nervous – and even shaky voice anxiety long before the presentation has begun. When our brain releases adrenaline, it increases our heart rate and causes shaky hands or voice, dry mouth and sweating.

So does that mean there’s nothing that can be done about the shakes? Absolutely not. There are long-term and short-term solutions.

The long-term approach to shaking voice when presenting

The ideal situation long-term solution is to reduce the amount of adrenaline produced when you are about to give a presentation. This is what we do when we work with our clients to help them to “Tame Their Public Speaking Monkeys” – we help them to think about public speaking in a more positive light, meaning the amount of adrenaline produced no longer leads to the shakes.

You can deal with your stress and anxiety by taming your ‘Public Speaking Monkeys’ – those voices of self-doubt that say negative and discouraging things (“Your knees are knocking”, “No-one is listening because you’re so boring”, etc). If you suffer from shaky voice or hands during presentations and you are ready to take action, get in touch. You can buy our book Taming Your Public Speaking Monkeys: Building confidence for public speaking and presentations, or you could learn more about our multi-award winning one-to-one presentation skills training programmes and work with us in Bournemouth, St Albans or London. Once you’ve tamed your monkeys, you can flourish as a calm and confident speaker.

The short-term solution to shaking voice when presenting

If you don’t like presenting and you’ve become nervous or anxious about it then the adrenaline will come and can cause the shakes. Once adrenaline is present in the body you need to use it up as fast as possible (where appropriate) and use temporary techniques to control your nerves and reduce the production of any more.

If you are able to, exercise before the presentation because this will use up some adrenaline. You don’t want to jog around the lecture theatre though so if you are already in the venue here are some tips to reduce shaking when public speaking:

A. Slow and deep breathing can be very helpful for calming down your mind, body and heart rate. Learn to relax your breathing – try this out!

  1. Slowly breathe in through your nose for 4 seconds
  2. Next hold your breath for 4 seconds (if comfortable)
  3. Breathe out through your mouth for 4 seconds
  4. Hold your breath for 4 seconds
  5. Repeat this process twice more

B. For more information on improving your breathing check out if you are doing it right in this blog Don’t forget to breathe!

C. Posture – Instead of worrying about your voice shaking when public speaking, focus on having a good presentation posture/position before and during your presentation.

D. Use a previously created positive Confidence Charm. A collection of positive memories to put you in a different state) which is fully explained in my book Taming Your Public Speaking Monkeys.

E. Follow our top tips and techniques on how to relax before a presentation

F. Easier said than done but try and get a good night’s sleep

G. Stay healthy – Some research suggests staying hydrated and healthy eating can help – however tempted you are – avoid alcohol intake the night before (or on the day!) and avoid excess caffeine intake.

H. Holding a microphone can accentuate any shaky voice, and putting it too near your mouth can highlight any shivering sounds – follow these tips to ensure you use the microphone correctly on our “Using a microphone for public speaking” blog.

Oh, and that businesswoman we mentioned at the beginning? She tamed her monkeys and now she enjoys every aspect of her work and feels calm and confident when she’s delivering a presentation. She surprised herself by saying she actively enjoys public speaking now!

Top tips to stop shaking hands when public speaking

After a recent talk, I gave on how to Engage, Persuade and Inspire when giving a presentation, a very senior person came up to me and took me to one side. They described how embarrassed they were when they came to give a presentation – they just couldn’t stop their hands from shaking. Their content was strong and they had practised hard but no matter what they did they couldn’t stop those shakes. They’d even tried beta blockers but they didn’t work either. I explained that it was those pesky “Public Speaking Monkeys” that cause the nerves and fear. That in turn caused more adrenaline to be produced and that I caused the shaky hands and sometimes a shaky voice too. As you begin to dread speaking more and more you create a downward spiral which makes the next time even worse.

I said that instead of having a spiral of negative thoughts the long-term solution was to work with either me, Dee Clayton or Marion Hewitt here at the multi-award winning Simply Amazing Training.

As a short-term fix I suggested they follow these tips to reduce shaking hands when giving a presentation:

  1. Learn how to relax before a presentation – this will minimise the impact of the Public Speaking Monkeys and produce less adrenaline
  2. Don’t hold your notes – people will notice your shaking hands even more if you are clasping pieces of paper read my blog on “How to avoid reading your presentation” to ensure you make notes that help not hinder you.
  3. Muscle clenching can use up adrenaline and distract your brain from problem areas. If your hands are shaking, try to (subtly) clench different muscles like those in your legs.
  4. Control where you put your hands, don’t allow them to wave around all over the place it will just make the shakes even more noticeable – Watch the video “How to…presentation posture/position” so you know where to have your hands and arms when presenting.

Outcome

A few weeks later the man I’d met at the talk called me to book one a one to one mentoring programme with us. During the second session with us, he learnt how to tame his public speaking monkeys and stop dreading presentations.

As a result, he reduced his adrenaline levels and began to feel more positive.  In the subsequent sessions, he learnt a presentation posture to ensure he remained calm and confident when presenting and learnt the SAS structure so he knew exactly what to say and didn’t need to hold any notes.

In the final session, he got to practise with his mentor and get honest, supportive feedback on some easy wins to be even more confident in his body language and voice so he remained calm, confident and ready for anything.

If you’d like to learn more about our multi-award winning one-to-one presentation skills training programmes we’d love to hear from you – we are happy to work with you in Bournemouth, St Albans, London and surrounding areas. Or if you’d like to work with a multi-award winning company with accredited trainers like Dee Clayton and Marion Hewitt, passionate about helping you contact us for more information about how we can help you with your fear of having a shaky voice or shaky hands whilst presenting at work.

 

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Bananas found to cure public speaking fear


After years of study, multi-award winning Bournemouth based entrepreneur Dee Clayton has found the cure for Glossophobia or speech anxiety. No one has to feel nervous or worried about public speaking any longer! You may think it all sounds bananas and that’s because it is -because bananas are rich in potassium they can help overcome presentation anxiety.

It all started, Clayton says, in 2015 when she read on the BBC website that “We use it [potassium] to help generate an electrical charge which helps the cell function properly. It helps keep your heart rate steady, it helps trigger insulin release from the pancreas to help control blood sugars, and more importantly keeps blood pressure in check”. Shortly after she saw The Daily Mail had published an article entitled “How a banana a day can keep strokes at bay”.

Banana on gluten free toast

The time was ripe to experiment on a bunch of public speaking clients, to see if using bananas could peel back the layers of public speaking anxiety. But with more than 1,000 varieties of bananas the research took longer than expected and her timetable slipped.

Today Dee finally shares the research which shows split results. Clients in the Brown group who spread ripe bananas on gluten free toast every morning fared slightly better than those in the Yellow group who ate theirs with custard. Both groups outperformed the control group.

Dee warns “don’t eat too many though” – as the BBC website warns: “if the level of potassium in the body is too low or too high it can result in an irregular heartbeat, stomach pain, nausea and diarrhoea”… just the very symptoms public speaking anxiety brings on in the first place!

What is an expert?


I was recently working with a presentation skills client in Bournemouth to ‘Tame his Public Speaking Monkeys and help increase his confidence when presenting.

He is very knowledgeable in his field and wanted to be known as an expert but had ‘monkeys’ telling him he wasn’t good enough.

So, when we had ‘Tamed his Public Speaking Monkeys’ we discussed what could he do as a presenter to increase his personal impact, and clearly show the audience he is an expert in his field. What might influence their thinking?

Be confident to be contentious – an expert will invite debate and enjoy being challenged. This evolves, and you will become known as a thought leader with the ability to influence.

Have a clear structure – focus on what the audience wants from the presentation and show a real understanding of their world – the challenges, opportunities, etc.

Use language appropriate for the audience – explain things in a way the audience will understand and is relevant to them. Don’t overwhelm them with complexity they don’t need to know – it will confuse them not impress them! A real expert can make difficult things clear.

Include active participation – maybe short exercises or tasks within the presentation. Use techniques like tag questions to invite participation – you know what one of those is, don’t you? This will help people learn, understand and retain information better.

Invite questions and thoughts throughout the session – this gives an opportunity to answer competently and demonstrate expertise. Give examples from your experience where you can to increase your credibility.

Show your passion for your subject – speak slowly and clearly but don’t be afraid to put energy and enthusiasm into your voice.

Maybe you have a conference speech to deliver, or will be a keynote speaker at an event or part of an expert panel? If you would like to learn more about these techniques and how ‘Taming your Public Speaking Monkeys’ will help you build your confidence as a presenter in your field, we offer training in Bournemouth and Southampton. If you would like to find out more please call me, Marion Hewitt, today on 07954 331169 for an informal chat about how we can work together or contact me by completing the website contact form on the right.

My first visit to Virgin Start Up in Bournemouth


Last week I enjoyed attending my first Virgin Start Up at THIS Workspace in Bournemouth (a very cool work area in the Echo Building). I really wanted to hear from both speakers, Bournemouth based entrepreneurs and I wasn’t disappointed.

The speakers were Jimmy Cregan from Jimmy’s Iced Coffee (stocked in Ocado, Selfridges, Londis, Waitrose and Tesco) and Rupert Holloway from Conker Gin (Dorset’s first independent gin distiller who only 3 years ago was a chartered surveyor!)

To start the evening off they both gave a slightly more formal presentation and I liked that they allowed their personalities and personal stories to shine through. (I’ve made a note to self to share my personal stories more too – what about you?)

Then they did questions and answers section and I wanted to share this clip with you. Rupert says if you’d asked me to speak on my last career I would have “sweated myself into the grave. I’d hate it…but because it’s my passion …it doesn’t faze me”. (note: If you aren’t running your own business but still need to present well get in touch, setting up your own business isn’t the only way to get comfortable speaking!)

Take as many learning’s from it as you choose and specifically I noticed:

  • It’s important to know why you are talking, what does the message mean to you
  • Believe in your message make it “totally true” to you
  • Being relaxed and comfortable with a conversational style makes the audience feel like friends

If you want to learn more about how you can be relaxed, authentic and engaging in front of an audience get in touch with us today or connect with us on Facebook to be the first to hear about my new book “How To Avoid Career Limiting Presentations – Your Guide To Public Speaking In Business.”

Importance of authenticity, transparency and sharing meaningful messages


I wanted to share with you a case study clip from a talk I went to recently with two Bournemouth based entrepreneurs Jimmy Cregan from Jimmy’s Iced Coffee (stocked in Ocado, Selfridges, Londis, Waitrose and Tesco) and Rupert Holloway from Conker Gin (Dorset’s first independent gin distiller who only 3 years ago was a chartered surveyor!)

Not only do I love that there’s a name check for “my” beach (Southbourne Beach, Bournemouth) but that they are talking about sharing what they are doing on a day to day basis to add to their brand story.

They promote showing authenticity, transparency and sharing meaningful messages. The talk is in online marketing context, but public speaking and business talks are similar because it’s your personal brand at work, your product/service brand or your company as a whole. When communicating especially speaking, authenticity is the way to go.

Much quoted and still true…Be yourself, no one else can do it as well as you

If you want to speak up in an authentic manner like Jimmy and Rupert, get in touch today or join our Facebook Page to be the first to hear about my new book “How To Avoid Career Limiting Presentations – Your Guide To Public Speaking In Business.”

 

 

The benefits of using a microphone for public speaking


I was working with a one to one client recently in Bournemouth who had been feeling nervous about a public speaking event and had then unexpectedly been handed a microphone to use. As you may imagine, this did nothing to help his confidence!

Why should you use a microphone? It will mean less strain for you; it allows for more expression to comes across when you speak; and it is easier for your audience.

A microphone won’t make a bad presentation good, just louder! All the things we teach clients about ‘Taming Their Public Speaking Monkeys’ – overcoming those annoying voices in your head saying things like ‘your presentation isn’t good enough’, still apply.

So, when you have tamed those monkeys, our top tips for using a microphone are:

  • Stand correctly (we call this Presenter Stance) enabling you to project your voice into the mic.
  • Breathe properly – deep, slow and measured breathing makes it easier to produce your voice and then include expression and emotion that adds to your message.
  • Do a proper sound check (and I don’t mean tap the top and say ‘testing, testing’!) before the audience arrives. Check:
    • Is the volume set correctly for the room and audience size? Enlist the help of someone to walk all around the room to check from every vantage point.
    • Talk through several sentences so you are used to the acoustics of the room and the sound of your voice within it.
    • Check where the speakers are located, not just so they are in the best place for the audience so you avoid any feedback noise if you get too close.
    • Do you know how to turn it on / off and mute it?!
  • If you are going to encourage audience members to participate and contribute, have an additional roving microphone that has also been tested, along with a willing volunteer to take it round.

Remember, when planning the content of a presentation, as we teach in our Simply Amazing Structure (SAS) it is always all about the audience. This includes making it easy for them to hear you.

Oh…and the client I mentioned, is now confident with a microphone after our time working together, using it like a pro!

 

I would love to work with you to Tame Your Public Speaking Monkeys in Bournemouth or elsewhere. Please get in touch with me, Marion Hewitt, today on 07954 331169 for an informal chat about how we can work together to help you become a calm and confident presenter.

 

 

Gold and silver award-winners!


An award winning end to 2017 with a gold international award and a silver national award.

One of our licensed practitioners, Marion Hewitt, who works as an independent coach alongside her work with Simply Amazing Training, was awarded the Continuous Professional Development (CPD) Coach of the Year Award at the TCA International Coaching Awards. And on December 1st, Simply Amazing Training took silver at The SME National Business Awards. Although we were pipped to the post for first place, we were thrilled to come second out of 13 finalists and to be acknowledged for showing “outstanding initiative” and “sound management practices.” You can read about all the other awards we have won here.

Simply Amazing Training founder, Dee Clayton, says of the recent wins: “It is great to have all our hard work and success recognised in this way. I’ve been developing my innovative and fun presentation skills training for the past decade, and I’m glad that other people see the value in my unique monkey taming approach for dealing with public speaking fear. But it’s not just about self-gratification – these awards are a positive thing for our clients too. They can be confident that their trainers have comprehensive skills, continuously updated knowledge, and new ways to support clients to reach their goals.”

If you know someone who would like to join our award-winning team, we are currently expanding the business nationwide. We are licensing other trainers to join us and use the Simply Amazing Training monkey taming approach. We are currently looking for licensee trainers in Reading, Southampton and Hertfordshire so please contact us for more information. As a licensee, you could earn extra money alongside your main job or work on a flexible, part-time basis.

We hope to continue this run of success into 2018 and beyond!

Why do I stutter when I am nervous?


Would you like to speak fluently, feel more relaxed and be confident that you won’t stutter when talking, presenting or public speaking?

If you suffer from situational stuttering, this is an outcome of anxiety and is different to people that stutter related to a medical condition. Situational stuttering can vary from a slight hesitation to an inability to complete saying a word or sentence.

The most common time to develop a stutter is between 2 and 6 years old, during what is referred to as the imprint period. This aligns with clients recalling being asked to read something in class during their early years at school, they stumbled or stuttered over a word and others in the class laughed. This created the unhelpful ‘you’re going to stutter’ monkey, that voice of self-doubt that says negative things.

So, what can you do to overcome stuttering as an adult and how can you stop stuttering when nervous or anxious?

  1. Replace your unhelpful monkey with a new helpful monkey. This is done by catching, connecting and taming the unhelpful monkey that is telling you that you will stutter. We do this through our mentoring programme, or you can read the book to learn more (see below).
  2. Take long, deep breathes as you prepare to speak. This will maximise the flow of oxygen around your body and brain, interrupting the adrenalin response, known as ‘fight or flight’ and enable the body to adopt a normal relaxed response, both in mind and body.
  3. Use the presenter stance. Take a moment before you start to relax, focus on being grounded and adopt the presenter stance.
  4. Slow down your pace of speaking. Use a metronome (there are apps for this, see How to speak slowly using apps) and practice talking in time with it, gradually slowing the pace. You could do this practicing a presentation or just reading out loud, as long as you get used to the ‘feel’ of talking at a slower pace. You can be sure that it will sound much slower to you than it will to your audience. It is rare that we think someone is speaking too slowly!
  5. Plan and practice. Everything you do to prepare will contribute to a reduction in anxiety and therefore stuttering. Follow our tips on planning, practicing, getting feedback etc. See How to relax before a presentation.
  6. Use purposeful pauses. These have double value as they give your audience time to reflect on what you have said and enable you to take a moment to recall your plan and know what you will say next. As with pace of speech, it is unlikely to sound a long pause to your audience. If you’re not convinced, try recording yourself to hear both pace and pauses put to effective use.

 

If you would like to learn more about how we work with clients to change mindset through ‘Taming your Public Speaking Monkeys’ you can:

 

 

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