Let’s get our ducks in a row

If you cut to the chase and get your ducks into a row, you will be able to focus on the bottom line. It is obvious that you need to put your nose to the grindstone, pull up your socks and focus on the critical success measures. Then when the dust settles, you will see the light at the end of the tunnel and start sailing with the wind beneath your wings…

…yawn

Do you use clich?'s in your speeches? How often? The above example is rather extreme, but how much value do those extra phrases add to your communications? I see this happening a lot in corporate and business presentations (hence the term boardroom bingo – a simply game in which you complete a space in a bingo card whenever the speaker uses a jargon word).

Sometimes it is a long phrase, such as "get your ducks into a row", and sometimes just one or two words, such as "you know", or "kind of…". These words and phrases detract from the effectiveness of a presentation, adding unnecessary fluff that adds little or no value to your message.

A way to practise is to listen to interviews on talk radio – take note of how often people being interviewed pad their speaking with filler words, wrapping their message in layers of unnecessary bubble-wrap.

This is another reason for recording your presentations, to become aware of the superfluous words that you add to our presentations. I keep finding myself guilty of doing so, you need to be constantly aware of your word usage when speaking.

So, when you speak, please cut to the chase, focus on the message,

and so on and so forth…

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4 Steps to effective listening

Do you know why we were given two ears and one mouth? Because it is twice as hard to listen as it is to speak!

Here is a very simple approach from Steve Shapiro to follow to become a more effective listener.

  • Pay attention to what they are saying
  • Acknowledge what was said
  • Clarify to avoid confusion
  • Respond to what was said

By following these simple steps, you wall avoid the trap of waiting for the other person to finish speaking before speaking, and learn to listen to what other people have to say.

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The A-Z of public speaking

The A-Z of public speaking in 26 phrases…

  • Have a great attitude on and off the stage
  • Body language and gestures enhance your message
  • Make connections with the audience
  • Delivery and content are key
  • Speak with energy and enthusiasm
  • Facts tell, stories sell
  • Get to the point
  • Use Humour to make connections
  • Inspire your audience
  • Use original Jokes
  • Know your audience
  • Record and listen to your speeches
  • What is your message?
  • Notice how your audience is responding to your speech
  • Speak at every opportunity (stage time!)
  • Is PowerPoint enhancing or detracting from your speech?
  • Q cards can be useful ? especially for a long presentation
  • Rehearse your presentation
  • Simple messages are easy to understand
  • Stick to time
  • Does the audience understand your message?
  • Use Visual, auditory and kinesthetic phrases ? address all the senses
  • When in doubt, leave it out
  • Use real-life eXamples
  • You are not the star
  • Zzzzz ? don?t put your audience to sleep

What would you add?

Sticking to the CODE?

qrcode A simple method to improving your speeches

Content ? what is your topic, why this topic, what is your angle on the topic, why is it important to the audience, what stories are you going to tell to illustrate your points?

Organisation ? how are you going to structure your speech, what are your key points, how many key points, what is going to go into the intro and conclusion?

Delivery ? You only get one take when presenting, how are you going to make the most of it?

Evaluation ? to become a better speaker, you need feedback. Ask others what they thought, record yourself and listen to it afterwards. Figure out what really worked in your speech, what didn?t and how you can be even better next time.

(thanks to Martin Louw for the idea)

Note: The image on the right is a QR code – see if you can find the hidden message