How to Connect with your Audience when Presenting

The public speaking world is awash with hundreds of techniques to make your presentation/speech ‘effective’ ‘have impact’ ‘be persuasive’, ‘entertaining’ … the list goes on.

But what purpose underlies all these techniques? It is to CONNECT.

Presenting is communicating and communicating is about connecting with the person/people in front of you.

That’s all very well you might say, but how do I connect?

Let’s start with 10 things we don’t do to connect when presenting:

Where does communication go wrong?

There’s no doubt – we all tend to take communication for granted. But as George Bernard Shaw pointed out, “The problem with communication… is the illusion that it has been accomplished.” We believe it to be a straightforward process and that when we say something the other person understands us fully and we, of course,…

How to build excellent working relationships

I recently gave a training course on managing relationships at work and thought it would be nice to adapt the section on the actions we can take to build relationships for this blog post.

It seems so obvious that having good working relationships leads to higher productivity yet many people don’t make this direct link. Good relationships lead to more innovation and creativity at work as people feel confident enough to express themselves, time consuming, energy draining obstacles such as office politics and back stabbing are removed and of course, if you want to progress in your career, a good relationship with your boss is fundamental.

So what can we do to build better relationships at work? Here are some ideas.

How to influence people in 5 simple stages

I’m busy preparing a course this week on persuasive speaking and influencing  skills. Despite framing up the course as we always do, that we’re concentrating totally on skills rather than teaching English, I suspect some of the participants expect me to wave a magic wand and present them with some set phrases in English that will make the difference between winning a contract and losing it.

The 5 essentials for leading a team

Most of us are required to exercise a leadership function at some time in our lives even though this may be in adhoc and informal situations.

However, regardless of whether you officially lead a team at work or only find yourself in leadership situations from time to time, there are certain elements that have to be present for you to lead a team effectively.

Be positive: one of the most important characteristics that a leader must possess is positivity. As a leader you must have a fundamental belief that you can change and improve things. Being positive means you see opportunities rather than problems, that you focus on what can be done to resolve an issue rather than dwelling on what can’t be done. The way you speak is also important, nobody will feel inspired by a leader who uses negative language to make judgements or expresses doubt before examining possible solutions.

“Stars don’t work for idiots.”

I love this statement, apparently made by HR guru, John Sullivan of San Francisco State University. It comes from a post about the resignation of Steve Jobs in The Harvard Business Review http://blogs.hbr.org/taylor/2011/08/why_steve_jobs_matters_to_you.html and how it encourages us to think about the legacy we ourselves will lead behind.

“Stars don’t work for idiots” a stark sentence yet full of meaning got me thinking about leadership and how many “idiots” there are, unfortunately, currently directing companies.

How many people are in positions of leadership simply because they excelled at a technical skill or because they happened to know someone who provided the famous “enchufe”? It really alarms me when I speak to reputable business people here in Spain who time after time lament that the overall standard of top directors leaves a lot to be desired when it comes to leadership and people management skills.