Seeing Red

IMG_5069Oh, you can colour my world with happiness all the way!   Colour My World – Petula Clark 1966

Stats say that silver-coloured cars are the most visible on the road in any light and least likely to be involved in an accident. If you want to soothe the troubled brow then pink is first choice. Yes pink is no longer the hallmark of the pretty young thing created in Barbie’s image it is now being used effectively in prison and mental care facilities to subdue the violent or erratic souls that live within. Yellow and orange make us hungry and wearing bright colours make us more attractive to others as colours are responsible for creating the 60-90% of first impressions and it seems we like colour.

Blue evidently clocks in as the global favourite colour but not necessarily linked to the fact that dogs can only see blues and greens but  can’t see red. BTW it’s a myth that bulls charge when they see red, colour has nothing to do with it the bull simply responds to a moving object.  Little known fact that seeing red before an exam evidently decreases your chances of doing well but red before a race will spur you on to win.

Another red gem –  women have an easier time than men identifying the subtle changes in the colour red because we have an extra X chromosome which allows us to see the full spectrum of reds from crimson to maroon to pillar box red whereas the blokes see red as red, no finite shades just red.

Artists must be seventh heaven playing with all the shades and tones of the colour wheel. Examing objects more intensely than the rest of us, seeing the minute and myriad of shades that make up the integrity of each colour. As Edouard Manet said There are no lines in nature, only areas of colour, one against another.

If colour makes you dizzy, nauseous, panicked, gives you rapid heart rate and a headache you may suffer from chromophobia an irrational fear of colour. But the good news is it can be treated so you, like the rest of us, can celebrate the rainbow bounty of colour that surrounds us.

For me the brighter, biting and bolder, the better – crimson with purple, hot pink with British racing green, lavender with emerald, chocolate velvet brown with shiny patent-leather black and palettes of green upon green upon green. Artwork that leaps out at me like the red splash on the white canvas in the recent French film Intouchables or Brett Whitely’s Self Portrait in the Studio that holds your gaze forever with its stinging cobalt blue background. Definitely yes – You can colour my world with sunshine yellow each day. Oh, you can colour my world with happiness all the way! Just take the green from the grass and the blue from the sky up above! 



Mystical union between a speaker and audience

Punchy, quality content must be a taken for any speech of merit but it is in the delivery that the true mettle of the speech will be proven.

Speaking Clubs offer regular speaking practice  and this will develop lectern confidence.  If you  couple this with learned techniques, like the pause, rhythm and colour in the voice to emphasis your message you will become a speaker of some competence.

I think the difference between a competent speaker and a memorable one is the individual who creates, what can only be termed as, a mystical union between him/her self and the audience.

This charismatic difference is found in a speaker who is authentic, completely warts and all true to his/her self.  Sometimes it needs a bit of coaching to push past our ego that wants to be seen as the dynamo at the lectern. It takes courage to accept the fact that you aren’t perfect. But when you are  unafraid to step into your authentic signature style – the audience will recognise the integrity of your language, posture and intent. They will reward you  with their responsive energy and you the speaker will experience the joy of  holding an audience in the palm of your hand.

Pet peeves. Speakers who do not run to time, complacent speakers who think they can wing it or use  jargon – so elitist.  Speakers who shy away from using a microphone,  read from their notes with no eye contact, But my all time head banging irritation is the rising inflection. No ladies and gentlemen it is not nerves that makes the voice squeak  it is a habit which is a barrier to the effectiveness of your communication. While the audience is still hanging with the question mark tremor at the end of your sentence that’s all they hear. It’s a habit a silly habit, record and listen to it and make an effort to quit it.

Here ends today’s lesson folks!

 My book ‘Finding Your Voice – Ten steps to successful public speaking’ in 2005. encapsulated  four decades of my speaking, training/coaching, speaker management and evaluation passion. Promoted by the publisher Lothian  as the definitive self-help guide to public speaking.