“It’s not you, it’s me” – Why business presentations can fail…

To put it bluntly, your audience is not remotely interested in you.

In what you can do for them, yes, but not in you. Abandon the oft excruciating ‘darling’ suffix from “It’s not you, it’s me” and we’ve segued from classic failed relationship to classic failed business presentation, a topic that has cropped up several times in recent client workshops.

How many speakers focus on themselves and their achievements & credentials rather than on the needs of their audience?

Take heed of sound advice from a famous orator, Abraham Lincoln; just as relevant two centuries later.

“When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking [about] what they want to hear, and one third thinking about what I want to say.”

Wine for the weekend?

One of the joys of living where there was once an orchard is inheriting a vine, about which I know very little other than it now occupies a considerable amount of the fence ‘twixt us and our neighbours. The late sunshine this Autumn seems to have produced a bumper crop of grapes!

Left to their own devices, said grapes would deliver an adequate return. Some munched by us, some left to mulch, some pecked by passing pigeons and other winged visitors to the garden. Fortunately, we have access to a touch of expertise, magic and sparkle in the wine department, courtesy of a neighbour’s father in law, who has just collected several drums of those sweet, purple globes bursting with promise and flavour, at the same time delivering a bottle of ‘Dorking Red,’ produce of last year’s harvest.

Ah what delights! How can you put a value on sitting in the Autumn sunshine, supping your own glass of heaven, produced from your own raw materials? (OK, so it may be pipped slightly by another neighbour, Denbies Vinyard just a few yards round the corner, but you know what I mean).

So how does this segue into Public Speaking and presenting? Stay on the vine with me for a moment…. It’s about that touch of expertise; that set of skills and techniques, that magic and sparkle that can transform the raw materials of your (s)talk into something rich in flavours, subtle nuances and a taste that will be remembered by all that imbibe at your table or consume at your conference….

Do enjoy a wonderful weekend!

(Ges thoroughly enjoys talking about wine, albeit has richer and more flavoursome expertise in Public Speaking & Presenting. If a workshop to build these skills and deliver confidence for your team, or a talk for your conference would be welcome, please do get in contact at ges.ray@speakinginpublic.info or on 0794 108 3722 )

The power of breathing!

How can something as simple as breathing have such a dramatic effect on the initial impression you make on your audience? Let’s take a look, and use some practical, day-to-day examples.

Have you ever had to stand up to speak at an ‘occasion’? Perhaps you needed to speak a few words at a party, or read a speech at someone’s wedding, even a eulogy – it can be quite a step up when you have to speak in front of clients in a business presentation!

What happens? Your stomach has taken up gymnastics and is doing backward flips, all on its own. Your hands have turned into damp dishrags – please, no-one greet me with a handshake at the moment. You hurry up to the front, you’re going over the words in your head, you immediately started speaking and very rapidly run…out…of…breath, just like I’m doing now…

Very soon, you’re caught in a vicious circle of not wanting to stop talking, whilst also not wishing to embarrass yourself by taking great gulps of air, and so it goes on…your brain is torn between trying to remember the words and staying alive…

So what can we do to avoid hitting that panic button?

Relax. When you walk up to that lectern, that spot in the room, turn round to face your audience, smile, and take a good, deep, breath.

You may be worried that a vast chasm of silence has opened up in front of you, and that you have got to, you simply must, fill the gap with words…… But that’s not the case.

Your audience won’t be feeling the same as you do; time is relative. Your audience will simply have clocked that you are there, ready to speak, ready to address them, and by pausing for a moment you’ve a better chance of catching their attention.

Simply taking that breath at the outset makes you look more confident; you’re more poised, you’re engaging their attention, and helping yourself sound more confident. The breath helps lower your diaphragm, lower the tone of your voice, helping you sound more relaxed and authoritative. Try putting that into practise now