Friday, August 1, 2008
T alk slowly (see my earlier post: Slow Down!)
E nunciate (speak clearly, articulate)
L isten actively to the caller
E mpathize with the caller
P ick up the phone quickly (2-3 rings is appropriate)
H ave a good attitude
O ffer your services or help
N ote down important information
E nd on a positive note
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Keep things simple. Focus on what's called the 3rd person singular (he/she/it). You'll notice that everything else is the same!
I: am - have - do - work
you: are - have - do - work
he/she/it: is - has - does - works
we: are - have - do - work
they: are - have - do - work
you (plural): are - have - do - work
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
How many people are you talking to?
First of all, how many people will be in your audience? Visualize the size of the audience, where you will stand and how you will interact with them. What will their seating arrangement be like? Will they be at a boardroom table, in a large auditorium, at numerous circular tables, or in rows? Keep these things in mind when you design your visuals and plan interactive activities.
What are the demographics of your group?
Keep your content relevant to the demographics of your group. How old are the people in your audience? Are they mostly men or women? What are their ethnic backrounds? Your material should be as fine-tuned to this audience as possible so that they find your talk relevant, up-to-date, interesting and educational.
How do you get this information?
Many speakers send a pre-talk questionairre to the event organizer or corporation with all the information they would like to know before the talk. Don't be afraid to do this. Organizers are happy to see that you are customizing your talk to their group. If your speaking at a meeting at work it's a little bit easier to think about audience factors since you probably know your colleagues fairly well.
Related article: The Top 5 Things to Know about Your Audience - Before You Give Your Talk!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Remember that people judge you from the minute they see you, not the minute you step on stage or to the front of the boardroom. Begin preparing yourself for your talk before you enter the room you'll be speaking in.
Push your shoulders back, raise your chin, pull in that belly and stick out that chest. It's amazing how when you look confident you also feel more confident. Enter the room like you own the place. You have every right to be there. Everyone who is there is there because they want to hear what you have to say. Your thoughts and words are important. Your posture should also show that!
In addition, proper posture will help you with your breathing and voice projection during your talk. By standing up straight with your chin slightly higher than horizontal you are actually opening up your airway. This is important for voice projection since your voice travels on your exhaling breath. You need to be able to take a nice deep breath and use your diaphragm to push that air out again.
Monday, July 28, 2008
As you speed up, you make compromises in your articulation. You cut off the ends of words and shove words together. Sentences also run together, making complete thoughts hard for a listener to decipher.
When speaking in public, audiences generally prefer a speaking rate of around 200 words per minute. Casual conversations and meetings with individuals one-on-one are generally much faster. A rule of thumb: the more formal the presentation (and the larger the audience), the slower your speaking rate should be.
A client of mine once said after listening to someone speaking at the proper rate, “But it would just be PAINFUL for me to speak that slowly.” “Good,” I said, “It should be painful at first. Otherwise you’re still speaking too fast!”
That said, be careful your rate doesn’t end up being too slow. You could sound tired, bored or as if you’re speaking in a condescending manner to your audience.