Why You Should Get Time on Stage Before You Speak

I know this sounds petty and simple but most speakers don’t really bother taking some time on the stage they’ll be speaking at before their actual presentation or speech when they really should. Here are six important reasons why:

  1. Lighting for you: Knowing where the light will hit will help you orient yourself where you should look and not look when on stage. If the lighting seems too bright for you, then you can ask the technician to lower it a bit when it’s your time to speak.
  2. Lighting for the audience: For stage actors, they usually find comfort at the fact that they seldom see the faces of their audience because of the blinding lights that are focused on them on stage. For speakers, this may not be the case. Some speakers want to see visual feedback from their audience while others prefer to not see the audience too much. To be sure how the audience will be lighted, ask the technician and test how brightly lit the audience will be to help you know what to expect and help you decide what else you can do to remain confident during your talk.
  3.  On your mark: Some speakers like moving around the stage when they talk. Can the stage accommodate your movement or would it be better to just stay at the center the whole time? Will there be cameras to record your presentation? Where will they be stationed? These are some of the things you should know to help you present better.
  4. Entry and exit: Knowing where you’ll enter and exit after you are introduced and after your speech will help boost your confidence and make the flow of the whole presentation run smoother.
  5. Monitors: Always test the monitors, teleprompters  and other speaking aids and know where they will be stationed so you can estimate if your notes will be readable.
  6. Intimidation factors: Some speakers like to speak in a grand ballroom while others prefer a more intimate setting. Know the things that could intimidate you so you can be better prepared to face them.

For more info, please head to this post:

Stage coaching checklist: 6 reasons you should get time on stage before you speak

Apply Pilates Workout Principles to Your Presentation

In Pilates, there are key principles that pertain to physical endurance and strength. These principles can also be used to improve one’s skills in public speaking and presentations. They are:

1. Breath

I can never reiterate enough that breathing properly oxygenates the blood thereby increasing circulation. For speakers, breathing makes one calmer and thus, more in control of their nerves, their voice and the direction of the speech they’re giving.

2. Concentration 

The same with Pilates, speakers must also be able to focus well on their presentations. There shouldn’t be any careless moments or wandering thoughts.  Deliver your message carefully by directing your body and your voice to the task at hand.

3. Control

In Pilates, there is a method they call “Contrology” or the “The Art of Control.” In giving speeches and presentations, control must be done in the delivery of the message as well. You can’t just keep on talking or go on and on and on. You should be able to control the message you are trying to convey and when the audience gets restless, you should be able to control their attention as well by directing the flow of the conversation to the intended results.

To find out what the other Pilates Workout Principles are which you can apply to your presentations, please head to:

Give Your Presentation Skills a Pilates Workout

Three Things You Can Do to Stay Calm When Presenting

No matter how experienced we are at presenting and speaking in public, some of us still do feel terrified at the thought of being in front of people. You know the usual reaction: cold sweat, shaking voice, increased heart rate, shaking hands, etc. Don’t worry, THIS IS NORMAL. 75% of the population suffers from fear of public speaking so you are not alone. This knowledge alone ought to perk you up and lessen your fears a bit.

Below are three simple things you can do to calm yourself down and make you better prepared:

1. Breathe and keep breathing. 

Take deep yoga breaths and slowly release each one. You’d be surprised at how instantly you’ll feel less tense and a whole lot better. As you slowly take in air, think positive thoughts and release them to the world as your breathe out. Proper breathing coupled with positive visualization will do wonders for your nerves.

2. Practice, practice, practice.

There’s no better way to prepare your speech or presentation than to keep practicing. After all, practice makes perfect and it’s true. However, don’t just memorize what you have to say. Know what you want to say like it’s the back of your hand. So whichever way the story goes, you’ll be natural at conveying your message and you and your presentation will come off as authentic and sincere.

3.  It’s not the end of the world.

Keep everything in proper perspective. Whether you have given the best presentation of your life or not, the world goes on. With enough practice and constant positive thinking, being able to give a great presentation is a very possible feat. But if ever that is not the case, learn from it and move on. Learn to only worry about the things that can affect you a year from now at the least. The rest are just details you need to work on and let go.

For more insight on this matter, please head to:

How to Remain Calm before a Presentation


How to Write and Tell Your Story

Stories must always be kept brief and simple to create more impact for your audience. Here are five basic steps you should do to accomplish this:

1.      Setting – provide the right setting by building up the story first. Answer the questions “What?”, “Where?”, “When?” and be as vivid as you can with the description.

2.      Main Characters – Who are the people in the story? Describe them in detail and know how you want your audience to feel about them.

3.      Obstacles Encountered – This is where the main plot will be highlighted. Describe what is happening and how your characters are reacting to what’s happening.

4.      Resolution – After you have done the build up, it’s time to give the resolution so you won’t keep your audience hanging in the air.

5.      Lesson Learned – This point ought to show your audience how your characters have matured or grown from the situation. Lessons learned must match your audience’s set of values so they can better relate to the characters and be compelled to act if necessary.

Keep everything brief and concise. If you need to tell this story over and over, do it differently each time.
For more information, please head to:  Communicate to Win: 024 – Writing Your Story

10 Awesome Communication Tips from Great Leaders

Great leaders are also great communicators. And when we say communicators, we don’t mean “talkers”. Instead, it pertains to that point when interactions with others are consistently following these ten basic principles below. After all, communicating well is not about the messenger but what the message can do for the receiver of the message. In short, it’s still about the audience and not the speaker.

1. Speak not with a forked tongue: In most cases, people just won’t open up those they don’t trust. When people have a sense a leader is worthy of their trust they will invest time and take risks in ways they would not if their leader had a reputation built upon poor character or lack of integrity.

2. Get personal: There is great truth in the axiom that states: “people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” If you don’t develop meaningful relationships with people you’ll never know what’s really on their mind until it’s too late to do anything about it.

3. Get specific: Specificity is better than Ambiguity 11 times out of 10: Learn to communicate with clarity. Simple and concise is always better than complicated and confusing.

4. Focus on the leave-behinds not the take-aways: The best communicators are not only skilled at learning and gathering information while communicating, they are also adept at transferring ideas, aligning expectations, inspiring action, and spreading their vision.

5. Have an open mind: A leader takes their game to a whole new level the minute they willingly seek out those who hold dissenting opinions and opposing positions with the goal not of convincing them to change their minds, but with the goal of understanding what’s on their mind.

6. Shut-up and listen: Great leaders know when to dial it up, dial it down, and dial it off (mostly down and off).

7. Replace ego with empathy: Empathetic communicators display a level of authenticity and transparency that is not present with those who choose to communicate behind the carefully crafted facade propped-up by a very fragile ego.

8. Read between the lines:  Keep your eyes & ears open and your mouth shut and you’ll be amazed at how your level or organizational awareness is raised.

9. When you speak, know what you’re talking about: Develop a technical command over your subject matter. If you don’t possess subject matter expertise, few people will give you the time of day.

10. Speak to groups as individuals: Great communicators can tailor a message such that they can speak to 10 people in a conference room or 10,000 people in an auditorium and have them feel as if they were speaking directly to each one of them as an individual.

For more insight plus a bonus tip, please head to:

10 Communication Secrets of Great Leaders

Two Things to Help You Avoid the Doom Loop When Presenting

Many presentations these days tend to be doomed to failure simply because of our unavoidable and subconscious survival instincts. It is but natural for many of us to go into fight or flight mode when presenting simply because it is a horrifying experience for many to be standing and talking in front of a live audience. Thanks also to mirror neurons, our audience can see and feel what we’re actually feeling if we’re not too careful, and they tend to mirror those feelings too and soon communication breaks down. You feel like your audience is losing interest and you panic… your audience panics in return and there goes your presentation down the drain.

So what can we do to avoid this scenario? How can we prevent presentation doom from happening?

Here are two tips you can do provided by Nick Morgan:

  1. Control your gestures.  For the most part, controlling our facial expression is quite easy. We smile even if we feel like crying. We generally put up a happy face even if we feel like beating someone to a pulp. But how about the rest of our body? How do we control our gestures? After all, they happen with the help of our unconscious mind and most of the time we are not even aware of it. What we can do is practice in front of the mirror or have someone observe us while speaking. Have that person point out the negative gestures we do which don’t help our presentations at all.Repeat as often as possible until we are able to control the littlest of our unhelpful gestures.
  2. Control your emotions.  This one is easier to do. It’s just a matter of training our minds and changing our behaviors. If you don’t feel particularly excited about giving a presentation, think about a time when you last felt happy, excited and giddy. Use that memory to access the emotions you need at the moment to help you with your presentations. Then just repeat this process until it’s second nature to you.

For more insight on this matter, please head to:  How to Avoid the Presentation Doom Loop

The Four Commandments of Storytelling

Wherever we may be (at home, in the office, with our friends or colleagues), we always tell stories no matter how simple or complicated. But if we want to create a big impact to our audience, here are four commandments we ought to follow:

1. Begin with the end in mind. – You’ve probably heard of this phrase from Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits. It also applies to storytelling.  “Storytelling is joke telling. It’s knowing your punch line, your ending. Knowing that everything you’re saying from the first sentence to the last is leading to a singular goal.”

2. Heed the Greatest Story Commandment: “Make me care.” – In this instance, make your audience care whether there are only  few people listening to your story or a multitude of them. Remember, it’s always about your audience and not about you. Your story must be able to evoke the right emotions to compel your audience to act.

3. Make the audience work for their meal. – “Don’t give them four. Give them two plus two.” – When giving your story, don’t divulge all the details. Make your audience crave for more and let them solve some of the problems on their own. “Good storytelling is the well organized absence of information – that absence draws us in and makes us want to know more.”

4. Make it personal. – “Use what you know. Draw from it. [Capture] a truth from your experience. [Express] values that you personally feel deep down to your core.” It’s the same with blogging. Why do you think bloggers are usually more effective than traditional PR or ads? It’s because bloggers draw from their own experiences which make their posts more authentic, credible and real.

For more details about the four commandments of storytelling, please head to:

Follow the Four Commandments of Storytelling

How to Achieve Vocal Power When Presenting

Apart from your non-verbal communications skills, how you speak in front of your audience also carries a lot of weight in being able to  persuade, or inform, or educate your audience. Depending on how you use the vocal tools you have, you can be regarded as a person with or without authority and most importantly, credibility.

Here are the vocal tools you can use to create  presentations with impact:

Creating the Palette – by varying the pitch, tone, inflection, pace, pauses and other emotional nuances of your voice, you can help create visual pictures in the minds of your audience which will help convince them of what you are talking about.

The Potential of Your Voice – by relieving yourself of daily tension, your voice can become more powerful. Practice breathing, yoga and meditation to help you feel more relaxed. When you’re relaxed, the more you can project your voice confidently to your audience.

Getting to Flow – By making sure that you look and sound good while at the same time offering the audience a message worth listening to, then you will be able to move your audience and compel them to listen to you,  believe in you, and take action.

Delivering Honesty – Your audience can see right through you no matter how many times you have practiced your speech. So just be yourself and make sure that what you’re saying resonates with who you really are.

For more insight on this matter, please head to:

4 Ways to Achieve Vocal Power

How to Make Panel Discussions More Lively

We’ve all attended a panel discussion at one point in time. Did you ever wonder why it usually comes off as stiff and formal? Did you ever think that perhaps there is a way to make panel discussions more lively, relaxing and fun?

Below are some of the things you can do to make panel discussions more fun especially if you get to be one of the panelists:

1. Learn about the other panelists in advance. You can do this by reading about them online, reading their blogs, looking at some of their video presentations. This way you get to have an idea of what these other panelists are like and you can easily adjust your attitude towards them when yo meet them in person.

2. Have a conversation with the moderator. You can sort of pre-interview the moderator about what to expect during the panel discussion, what specific topics should get covered, what kinds of people are attending the event, etc. This way, you can prep yourself while at the same time help the moderator string the process along in case he/she is not that prepared.

3. Meet your co-panelists in person. Although this is not always possible, it doesn’t hurt to try to invite them for drinks the night before if only to meet them, have a feel about what and how they do things. This way, when the day of the panel discussion arrives, everyone will feel more at ease and relaxed.

4. Ask the audience questions. Most of the time, panel discussions do not ask for audience participation. But remember, panel discussions are presentations too and when it comes to presentations, it’s always about the audience and not about you. So ask your audience and encourage them to participate. This will make your time at the panel discussion more interesting and memorable.

For more insight on this matter, please head to:

How to make your panel more fun