Archive for the ‘Understanding your audience’ Category

Tell Show Ask | Public Speaking Tips

Tell Show Ask

Communication is a major problem in organisations. People don’t deliver the right message in the right way at the right time. if you get this wrong, it makes public speaking more difficult.

My friend Matt Church speaks of the three primary channels through which you can share a

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Presentation Skills

Many speakers will share a quote in a presentation to add power to their message. Here is how to use them for greatest impact.

  • Use them as supporting evidence. Deliver your point and explain it, then drop the quote in. It’s better to show that you have an idea that Obama supports with a quote, rather than having an idea of Obama’s that you have pinched and tried to expand.
  • Know the quote verbatim. No reading it out, no putting it on the screen. If it is integral to your message, it stands to reason that you know it back-to-front.
  • If you must put the quote on the screen, don’t use ‘Quotation Marks’. Quotation marks reduce the quote to a temporary message.
  • Always attribute the quote to the correct source.

As always your thoughts appreciated below.


Darren Fleming –

Persuade one-by-one

Persuade One-by-One,

When you are send your next group e-mail write it as though you are sending an individual e-mail. This will make it more personal to the reader and you will get a better response. When the recipient reads the e-mail it will sound as though you are writing directly to them – not to a group that they just happen to be part of.

Why does this work?

Compare their point of view to yours. When you write it you are in a one-to-many relationship. However, when they read it, they are in a one-to-one relationship. While they can see that you have sent the e-mail to many, they are reading it on their own and will respond as such. Make you language specific to an individual. Instead of asking, ‘Can someone assist with the training’ try, ‘Can you assist with the training.’ This puts the onus directly on the recipient to respond.

As always your thoughs below…


Darren Fleming –

How to tell if people are really listening to the boss

Want to know if people are engaged in what your Boss is saying at your next team meeting? You’ll notice this after a report has taken about 3-4 minutes to deliver.

When your boss/colleague/whoever has finished talking observe how others MOVE. Do they start moving at the same time, shifting their weight from side-to-side, moving their whole body as though they have just woken up? If they do, there is a good chance they have just woken up – or at least come out of a trance.

This happens when your voice becomes monotone. When it is monotone it becomes hypnotic. In the way that a good hypnotist will relax you into a trance with their voice, you can do the same to your team if you are not careful

You can avoid this by varying your voice in speed, volume, tone and even just pausing……………mid sentence. It does not matter how interesting your message is, if it is delivered without energy and enthusiasm it will disengage your team.

Now I know that this does not happen when you speak, but it will for others at your meeting

Just Because You Can Does Not Mean You Should

Last weekend I attended a conference where the presenters would just not stop talking. Each person on the agenda felt they had a duty to congratulate the last and next speaker for the job they had done. Then there were other speakers who to 20 minutes to say what could have been said in 5.

What was the result of this? because there were so many speakers (5 in 20 minutes) the whole event lacked rhythm. We could not settle into the speakers and listen to the message they had. It was like trying to watch TV with the ads coming thick and fast. Those that did have extended times to speak lacked substance and the audience stopped listening.

What is the solution?

Make sure that every person who gets up to speak will add value to the event message and deliver value to the audience. If they don’t add value, do they really need to speak? Just because someone can speak, doesn’t mean that they should. As the great philosopher Groucho Marx put it, ‘Very few sinners are saved after the first 20 minutes of a sermon.’


Darren Fleming


I’ve got eye contact – now what?

Just about every speaking book, blog or coach will tell you that eye contact is important when speaking. And while eye contact is important, that is not the whole game. What should you do once you have made eye contact?

The effect of making eye-contact is driven home by what you do once you have made it. There are several things you can do, depending what you want to achieve.

  1. Stare – This is when you hold the gaze for too long and the other person becomes uncomfortable. Generally not conducive to good communication.
  2. Stare down – This is when you show your position of power/authority over the person by holding them in your gaze. You let them go when you are finished ‘drilling’ them, or they break eye contact admitting their subordinate position.
  3. Break eye-contact. This happens when you feel that you should move on because you don’t want to be caught staring. There are 3 ways to break eye-contact. Break by looking down puts you into a submissive position and shows weakness/lack of confidence – almost like saying sorry for looking. Breaking by looking up has the similar feel of being ‘caught staring’, but is not submissive, but it is still not strong. It still gives the impression that you are moving on after being caught staring. Breaking eye contact horizontally shows that you are just moving on with your eye contact. This is the best.
  4. Move on as part of the natural flow. If your eye contact is moving from person to person when addressing an audience, it will put you in a position of control over yourself and others too. This gives you a sense of authority that your audience wants.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


Darren Fleming


Political Speak: We believe vs. the Facts

With elections in South Australia and Tasmania this coming weekend, as well as a Federal election and Victorian election due sometime this year, it is appropriate to look at political language – and I’m not talking about politically correct language.

In election mode you will hear speakers from all sides of politics telling us what is the right way to think on a particular topic. Unfortunately though, the words that they use will often detract from the message given. For example:

When someone prefaces a comment with ‘We believe…’ or ‘The labor/Liberal party believes…’ they do so to give power to their statement. Unfortunately it does the opposite. When you add statements such as ‘We believe’ you are by definition offering an opinion. And as we all know, opinions are never wrong – but they are debateable.

What should be done instead of offering an opinion? Simply state your opinion as a fact.

Instead of saying, ‘We believe putting in a highway is the best thing to do’ say, ‘Putting in a highway is the best thing to do.’ The difference is subtle but profound. Your audience is no longer hearing an opinion, but a fact. Facts are much harder to argue with than opinions.

Next time you hear your local Poli offer their opinion, ask yourself if you would believe them more if they gave you a fact instead.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated.


Darren Fleming

Why the Fear of Public Speaking?

Why do people fear Public Speaking?

There are many statistics that state public speaking is our greatest fear. Apparently it is higher than the fear of spiders, snakes, flying and even death itself (though there are not stats on the fear of dieing from a snake or spider bite while flying)

Why do people fear public speaking so much?

It is something that was conditioned into us in school and we live out in the workplace.

As teenagers at school, the teacher forced us to stand in front of our classmates and deliver a book report. We were given no practice or advice on how we should do it. Being self-conscious teenagers, we stood up and immediately thought everyone was judging us – and judging us poorly! Is it any wonder why there is such a real fear of public speaking. Now at work, when we have to stand and speak, we relive those school day fears and tell each other how much we hate public speaking.

But the reality is far from our school experience. People want to see us succeed. After all, who wants to have to sit through a boreing presentation?

Overcoming your fear of public speaking is very easy when you are shown how to do it. Just like learning to drive a car, it was easy to learn how when someone showed you! How do you do it?

  1. Stop telling yourself and others you don’t like public speaking
  2. Stop telling yourself you are no good at public speaking
  3. Give public speaking a go
  4. Get help from someone who knows about public speaking. You would not go to a mechanic to get legal advice, so go to a speech coach to get speaking advice.

Now, imagine yourself commenting on this.



How Will You be Different for Your Clients in 2010?

With 2010 promising more than 2009 ever could, how will you be different for your clients? Will your sales team visit them and offer the same products in the same old way, just hoping that they will need your products this time?

Or will you enable them to be different. Here’s how you can do it:

  1. Break the mould: Give staff permission to vary the traditional sales presentation. If the client sees the 2010 sales presentation as 2009 extended, why would they pay attention? They have seen it before!
  2. Then jump on the bits of the mould: Encourage your staff to try something different. Just because your staff have permission to try something new in the sales presentation side does not mean that they will. Actively encourage them to be different.
  3. Equip them: Give them the tools to be different. This includes training, support material and maybe even pricing structures (though this is not as important). If you want things to change, how will they change unless you drive the changes with a new approach?
  4. Get ideas from industries not related to you. If you are in the superannuation game, look at what the food sector is doing to sell their product. You will be amazed at what you can learn. If you look at your own industry too much you will put the blinkers on to what is possible. Industry experts have their place, but keep your eyes open for someone who knows nothing about what you do. That is the person who will question the norm.

If 2010 is to be different to 2009, how will YOU make it different. As always, your thoughts are appreciated below….


Darren Fleming

Comfort vs. Competence

Many people say that they are comfortable when speaking to groups. Unfortunately comfort rarely equals competence.

What they mean by saying they are comfortable is that they do not feel nervous when standing in front of a group. This is not usually a good thing. Elton John once told Andrew Denton that he is always nervous before his concerts. He is not alone in performers who feel this way.

Being comfortable has nothing to do with how effective your presentation will be. Effective presentations are about connecting with your audience and having them adopt your message. They are not about you feeling comfortable.

Feel the energy that the opportunity to present gives you. Don’t call it nervousness; call it excitement!

As always, your thoughts on this are appreciated.

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