Friday Tips for Speakers

Your Running Mate

At a recent meeting, people in the front rows of the audience were excited by a speaker’s powerful words while the rest of us towards the back of the hall heard zilch. Why the @#%$  is it that people recoil from using a microphone? They do all the steps needed to prepare their presentation, rehearse it ad nauseam then fail at the last hurdle.  My blood runs cold when  a speaker refuses the microphone saying  ‘No thanks, I don’t need it. You can hear me can’t you?’ in a well articulated and projected voice. Once their presentation is under way they forget the volume and all that work is wasted. Three tips for using a microphone.

Seek out it. It wants to work with you to promote what you are saying.

Learn to use it. Before you speak , get used to the feel and weight of it, find out how to turn it on and off. If it is on a pedestal, practice  raising or lowering it till it is the right mid chin height. For more sophisticated microphones lapel or  a headset, the sound technician is your new best friend, they will mike you up and brief you.

Use it. Hold it a hand span  away from  mid-chin level for best amplification. Speak. For lapel and headset microphones simply wear and forget, the sound techno will do the business!

3 -7 Seconds to Prove

Researchers from NYU found that it takes us between three to seven seconds to make a judgement about a new person. During that time our brains are slicing our first impressions about how the person’s grooming, dress, posture,body language, smile and attitude affects us. As these snap decisions are based on  cultural and emotional issues it is unlikely you can be all things to all people.

But things you can control, appearance, will give you a head start in creating the right impression.   First attention to all those little and not so little give-away signs that signal you care  – in other words grooming.   Obvious stuff like a manicure, good haircut, clean shoes, nasal or ear hair trimmed, stockings without a run and a good deodorant.

Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society said Mark Twain. Obviously from his final sentence Twain lived in another century where a sight of a well turned ankle from under a long skirt could get a gentleman’s  blood rising.  But his quote clothes make the man/woman is still sound especially when standing in front of an audience.

Your choice of dress should reflect the audience and environment.  A big pucker event requires  formality, an all day gardening workshop does not.  There are shades of grey (not Fifty) when choosing the appropriate garb. Research your market/audience. Ask yourself how will they relate to you if you wear your ‘going out best’ or would they be more comfortable with something less obvious.

Finally make sure the outfit you choose is comfortable and you feel good in it.  Feeling good = increases confidence.  Oh and one other thing – SMILE it is one of the key things that contribute positively to that 3/7 second prove.

Friday Tips

microphone7 Tips for Presenting Workshops to Adults.

  1. Understand that we all learn in different ways, develop plans and strategies to help adults learn. Importantly we need to feel free to direct our own learning process.
  2. Adults have a lot at risk when trying new behaviours or attempting new skills. Be supportive.
  3. Adults do not like long periods of inactivity, keep the lectures short and involvement long.
  4. Be sensitive, new information or ideas that conflict with beliefs take longer for us to absorb.
  5. Adults are goal-orientated.
  6. The physical environment is important – to learn effectively adults need to feel comfortable and relaxed.
  7. Like children, adults  gain considerably from positve re-inforcement.

Recommend: Research Adult Learning Principles 

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New fiction writers information – Show it Don’t Tell it

Read Jessica Bell’s  Show & Tell in a Nutshell   (or visit her blog)

Visit Write to Done blog and devour How to show (not tell) A writing lesson from John LeCarre

Visit The Write Practice and practice The Secret to Show Not Tell  penned by Joe Bunting