BEN - Making the Perfect Pitch, Making a Good Impressionby Nicki Davey

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BEN - Making the Perfect Pitch, Making a Good Impressionby Nicki Davey

  1. 1. How to Make a Good Impression Delivered by Nicki Davey, Director Saltbox Training & Events Ltd www.salt-box.co.uk Tel: 01373 837333 info@salt-box.co.ukwww.salt-box.co.uk 1
  2. 2. Verbal and non-verbal communicationMehrabian identified that, when talking about things which involve an emotional response: 7% of the message is in the words that are spoken 38% of the message is paralinguistic (the way that the words are said – tone of voice, volume, speed etc) 55% of the message is in facial expression and body languageGood communication skills are essential for success. While verbal and writtencommunication skills are important, nonverbal behaviours make up the majority of ourcommunication. To speak convincingly to a group you need to show that you are ACE: A....................................... C....................................... E.......................................ACE can be demonstrated through:Non-verbal communication: o Body language o Facial expressions o Gestures Examples of ACE non-verbal communication:Verbal communication: o What you say o Tone of voice Examples of ACE verbal communication:www.salt-box.co.uk 2
  3. 3. Tips for communicatingDress for successNever dress more casually than your audience, but wear comfortable clothes which you feelrelaxed in. The key is to look current and appropriate for your audience and the occasion.Wear a minimum of jewellery if you tend to fiddle with it.SmileYour audience will tend to mirror your expressions, and the surest and simplest way tocreate a rapport with an audience is to smile at them. Practice smiling if necessary.Stand proudlyProper posture helps you breathe and project effectively, and serves as a foundation foreffective gesturing. Stand tall, as if to say, “I am confident,” not “I’m melting…, melting…,melting.” Do not lean on the lectern for support or stand with your hands on your hips.Plant your feet firmly a shoulders-width apart. If you have a tendency to sway from side toside or rock back and forth, take a step or two and plant yourself again.GestureUse hand gestures to support your spoken words and express feelings—just like you dowhen you’re talking with your friends. If you’re uncertain where to place your hands, one ofthe most effective hand positions for speakers is the steeple position, in which the handsare placed in a position as if you are about to applaud. Stuffing your hands in your pocketsbrings the audience’s attention to the wrong part of your anatomy. If gesturing does notcome easily to you while speaking, force at least one gesture into each sentence during yourpractice sessions.Make eye contactStrong eye contact bonds you to your audience and makes your presentation more personaland believable. Start and finish your presentation without referring to your notes. Whenreferring to your notes: Pause, glance at your notes, then look back up to speak—do notspeak to your notes!Put some fire in your voiceMany presenters who are labelled “boring” could easily lose that title by developing a moredynamic speaking voice. If you tend to speak in a monotone, practice your speech out loudseveral times into a tape recorder. Play with the variety in your voice – speak loud at times,soft at others. Try speaking fast and then slow. The variety is what will keep listenersattentive. Also, by moving your hands and gesturing, you’ll find that your voice becomesmore expressive.Speak with ENTHUSIASM!You cannot expect listeners to be enthusiastic about your ideas when you sound indifferent.It’s essential that you convey your enthusiasm.www.salt-box.co.uk 3
  4. 4. Avoiding “Ums”, “Ahs”, and “You Knows” Here are some proven ways to help you get rid of those annoying "filler" words: Practice your presentations out loud. The more familiar you are with the thoughts you wish to express, the less likely you will need to search for the "right" words when youre up before a group. Try to catch the start of "um" and "ah" (you can feel it formulating in your vocal cords). Then replace it with a pause. Count silently "one, two" while saying nothing to your audience. This takes practice, but will beRecord your practice much appreciated by listeners.and real presentations.Many people areunaware how oftenthey use these annoyingfillers. You may be Get a “presentation buddy.”surprised. Ask this person to sit in on your presentations and provide you an agreed upon silent signal if you start using the fillers. For example, she could raise a couple fingers near her mouth to remind you to monitor your word choice. Keep a glass of water handy. Sip it in between key ideas. This will Increase your eye contact. force you to pause Most "ums" and "ahs" come when we are and not utter a looking away from people. Practice looking filler word. into peoples eyes more directly and youll find it difficult to utter those filler word. www.salt-box.co.uk 4
  5. 5. Vocal Projection and ToneWhether you are speaking at a packed lecture hall or presenting to a small team meeting,effective voice projection is essential if you want people to hear you clearly and take youseriously as a speaker.Effective voice projection depends on a combination of three key areas:  Breathing technique  Resonance  PitchThere are plenty of exercises to develop all of these areas, but here are a few which, ifpracticed regularly, will really make a difference to the way your voice sounds and travels:You’ll be heard at the back of a busy room without resorting to shouting. Breathing technique Good voice projection requires efficient working of the lungs, intercostal muscles and diaphragm. The diaphragm is an umbrella shaped muscle which helps push air out of the lungs. The diaphragm should move down and push the belly out when breathing in, and move up, pushing air out of the lungs and pulling the belly in when you breathe out.Place on hand on your belly (below the ribcage, over your belly button) and one hand onyour back. Breathe in slowly, and feel the gap between your hands get wider as your bellymoves outward. Take a few deep breaths in and out and feel the hand on your belly movingout and in as you do so. Now place your hands, with fingertips touching, across your belly,just below the ribcage. Breathe in and feel your belly move out, then breathe out making ahard, quick “Huh” sound – you should feel your belly contract as the sound comes out.Repeat several times. Practice this abdominal breathing regularly so that it becomes normaland natural (in the car, watching TV – anywhere). Then try making different sounds. Hearhow much stronger and clearer the voice is, and how much more it projects when youbreathe abdominally.Abdominal breathing also improves our physical and mental health by detoxifying innerorgans, promoting blood flow and digestion, increasing oxygen supply to the brain andmuscles, as well as improving concentration and reducing stress.ResonanceResonators are the speakers in your head. Your voice originates at your vocal cords andthen resonates through your chest, throat, and head as it comes out of your mouth. Whenpeople have a cold and their sinuses are blocked, their voice doesn’t resonate well and theywww.salt-box.co.uk 5
  6. 6. sound odd. To improve vocal tone, one must "open up" the chest, throat, and head cavitiesto allow the voice to resonate.Hold your nose and say “Many mighty men making much money in the moonshine” withas much force as possible. Then immediately let go of your nose and say the same phrase.You will immediately hear the difference in the force of your vocal sound.Humming is another way of improving resonance: Hum at a comfortable pitch, then movethe pitch slightly lower and pay attention to how your chest feels. Continue humming untilyou can feel the vibration in your chest – try to increase the vibration in your chest. Thenmove the pitch slightly higher and pay attention to how your head feels. Let your mouthopen gently. Hum until you feel the vibration in your tongue and lips, behind and aboveyour mouth. Then continue humming, attempting to increase the vibrations in your mouth,tongue and lips. Finally, return to your chest again. Repeat the whole exercise, but alwaysensure you end with your chest in order to develop a full, luscious sound.Note: Remember to breathe frequently, and stop if you get light headed.PitchEveryone has an optimum pitch (which is usually lower than their normal speaking voice). Tofind your optimum pitch, place your hand on your chest, at heart level. Breathe with yourdiaphragm (see above) and say a long “Oooooooh” starting with a high pitch and swoopingdown to the lowest pitch you have and then up again. Pay attention to the vibration on yourchest - there will be a specific pitch level in which you feel more vibration than the others.This is your optimum pitch - the more vibration you can achieve the better. Practicespeaking at or around this pitch (but NOT on a monotone!)CentringRemember : Breathing (into your abdomen) Balance (be aware of the energy all around you, not just in front of you) Gravity (Root yourself in the ground, let your centre of gravity drop) Quality (identify one aspect where you will increase the quality by 10%)www.salt-box.co.uk 6
  7. 7. MAKING FRIENDS WITH YOUR NERVESBeing nervous is natural – it means you care about giving a good presentation. Yournervousness produces adrenaline which helps you think faster, speak more fluently, andadd the needed enthusiasm to convey your message. Know that you can be nervous andstill do a great job. Learn to make friends with your nerves – don’t try to fight them. Hereare some tips:1. Accept that nervousness is normal It feels worse to you than it looks to others.2. Be properly prepared Nothing can beat good preparation, knowing your material, and rehearsing to make you feel confident3. Identify your own symptoms then do it on purpose but over-exaggerate it until that part of your body is worn out (eg knocking knees or shallow breathing)4. Make sure you are properly hydrated Start drinking water about 3-4 hours before. If your mouth is dry, take a sip of water and make sure you moisten your lips and between gums and cheeks as well. Massage your face to stimulate the salivary glands5. Disrupt your normal movement patterns (eg by walking on heels) to interrupt the body’s function and reduce nervous symptoms6. Move around whilst presenting Deliberate, steady movement helps to maintain people’s attention but can help to hide your wobbly legs etc. Take care not to sway, rock or fidget, or distract people by moving too quickly.6. Balance your breathing Breathe out fully, expelling stale air, then breathe in through the nose to balance breathing. Take time to get breathing even.7. Don’t look directly at people’s faces Although eye contact is really important, if looking directly at people makes you too nervous, you can give the impression that you are looking at people by looking just over people’s heads.8. Test out the space Arrive early and practice speaking in the space beforehand. Get a feel for the room and make yourself “at home” in it.9. Massage your palmswww.salt-box.co.uk 7
  8. 8. The brain function for the palms is next to the one for speech/mouth and will therefore relax your vocal chords etc.10. Be Yourself You will be much more nervous if you try to be something or someone you aren’t. If you aren’t a natural joker, don’t feel you have to make people laugh. If your vocabulary is simple and straightforward don’t feel you have to use complex language.11. Don’t try to be perfect. The fear of public speaking often stems from a fear of imperfection. Accept the fact that no one ever gets it perfect and neither will you. You do not have to become Super Speaker, never saying “er” or “uh,” and never losing your train of thought12. Visualise your success. Close your eyes and picture yourself delivering your talk with confidence and enthusiasm. What does the room look like? What do the people look like? How do you look? Picture your successful presentation in detail and allow your mind to help turn your picture into a reality.13. Arrive early and greet people as they arrive As well as giving you time to rehearse a few times, you can make a point of greeting people as they arrive. Introduce yourself to strangers and turn them into new friends. It’s much easier to address a group of supportive friends.14. Don’t tell others that you are nervous. This has a way of feeding stage fright. Smile big and act as if you are confident. Your audience will mirror your body language and soon your act will be replaced with the actual feelings of confidence.15. Avoid caffeinated and alcoholic drinks. Caffeinated drinks increase your heart rate and can make your hands shake and give you the appearance of nervousness. Attempting to drown your fear in alcohol can cause you to forget things, be inappropriately spontaneous and slur your words. Its all right to have butterflies in your stomach. Just get them to fly in formation. Rob Gilbertwww.salt-box.co.uk 8

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