Practice at the beginning of the day to plant the seeds of change
.Eye Contact is your most powerful physical tool. Resist the urge to scan the room. Instead, extend and connect to individuals.
Hint: to practice with an audience, have them put their hands up for five seconds, while you extend eye contact to each person. Hand goes down when five seconds is reached. To practice solo, look at objects in a room, delivering complete thoughts to each object.
Pausing is your most powerful auditory tool. Speak as quickly as is natural, but leave space. Remember: “Fidgeting is for prey animals.”
- Hint: “Talk, Pause/Move, 1-2-3” exercise to practice pauses: say a complete thought, then move eye contact SLOWLY while counting to three in your head before you begin to speak again. Use real people or objects as eye contact anchors. Also, be mindful of this tool in real life, to make it a new habit.
- Use “snap to it” exercise for non-words: team members snap fingers on every non-word. You stop the snapping by pausing to replace the non-word.
Gestures are hard, unless you connect to the audience and let your hands go. If you don’t know what to do with your hands, get the audience to want, feel, think, or do something as a result of your talk.
- Hint: exaggerate gestures in rehearsal if needed. Practice beginning with a big gesture. Increase intonation to naturally access more gestures.
Movement can be used with purpose to direct our attention. Use the screen, flip chart, eye contact, and laptop as movement anchors.
- Hint: if you have fidgety feet, "paper train” yourself by standing on a piece of newspaper. You will hear it move if you fidget with your feet.
Intonation shows the audience you care and aids comprehension. Gestures are connected to intonation.
- Hint: to boost intonation, practice with kids’ books or poems. Practice tripling your energy with the “World’s Best Salesperson/Crazy Eddie” exercise.
Volume is achieved most simply by the commitment to creating understanding for everyone, even in the back.
- Hint: practice “Go Long”: speak to a friend, stepping back periodically, while maintaining the conversation.
Articulation is extra important on the phone with global teams. If English isn't your first language, increase clarity by opening the mouth more and over exaggerate the mouth movements.
- Hint: use "The Pencil Trick": put a pencil between your teeth and then speak, trying to really be clear. This strengthens the tongue