Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Five Reasons to Video Record Your Next Presentation

Having a speech, presentation or seminar professionally recorded is one of the best investments you can make.

I regularly recommend this process to my executive speech coaching clients.

Here are five reasons.

1. To Gauge Audience Response

Like any good qualitative research technique, video recording a speech allows you to capture in real time an audience's response to the speech.

What was the overall effect on the audience of the speech?

Were the speech's presentation goals met in terms of outcomes?

Did the speech fit the audience and context of the event? 

2. Speaker Performance Improvement for Initial Impact

"Is that what I really look like? Wow, I need to get a haircut, lose weight and not look so serious!

Is that really the sound of my own voice?

It sounds so different. I hate the sound of my own voice!"

This is very common feedback from novice speakers when they watch the replay back for the first time.

It can really shatter their confidence.

The first viewing or listening to a speech will be a shock for the speaker for many reasons.

So this first viewing needs to be taken in context.

Firstly, how the speaker hears their own voice - essentially via bone-conducted sound reaching the cochlea directly through the tissues of the head  - is very different from how the audience hears the speakers voice.

When you speak and the sound is recorded and then played-back, sound energy spreads in the air around you from your vocal cords and is not echoed in the head.

When you hear the recording played back it doesn't sound the same to you - often because the deeper, lower-frequency vibrations traveling to your ear via bone and tissue are eliminated so it sounds higher pitched and less pleasant to listen to.

That's why you don't like it.

Not because you have a bad voice - but the physiology of how you hear your own voice is different to how others hear it.

Got it.

Great let's move on then.

3. To Improve Content

You never know what impact the content of a speech is going to have until you deliver it to a live audience.

Here are some typical questions I would ask a client in a speech video review feedback session when we concentrate on the content only.

"How was the set-up and introduction from the MC?"

"Did you get the audience’s attention during the opening?"

"Was it a "winning beginning" where your attention-grabber was relevant to the topic and theme?"

"Did your opening scene engage the audience using visual (see), auditory (hear) and kinaesthetic (touch) anchor points?"

"Was there enough character development, scene setting, and emotional tension?"

"Did you build rapport with the audience by reflecting back issues they may be preoccupied with?"

"Did you clearly give your audience both a reason to listen, and a clear direction such as a clear premise, thesis or objective?"

"Was the outline or organization of the speech easy to follow?

"Did you support your three main points with concrete case studies, examples, stories, statistics, metaphors, or analogies?"

"During the speech did you connect with head (logic), heart (emotion), and hip-pocket (WIIFM)?"

"Did you re-cap your three key points?" 

"Did you close the story and your ending provide a feeling of closure?"

"Did you leave your audience with something to think about, feel or do? A clear call to action (CTA)."

4. To Improve Delivery

Your body language must match your verbal message.

Gestures are very important.

The camera never lies about your delivery and you can't argue with the reality of the recording.

It's staring you in your face.

If you find looking at the complete video too confronting, here's a two-step process to make it easier.

First, listen to the speech with the visuals turned off.

Questions I ask in this style of coaching session are:

"Was there vocal variety? For example, did you vary your vocal pace, pitch and volume in a way that enforced your message and kept it engaging?

Do you need to project more?

How was your use of language? Was it appropriate to audience and was there any jargon or slang that the audience couldn’t relate to.

Was it culturally appropriate?

How was the enunciation and pronunciation?

Any crutches or filler words such as Ahs, Ums?

Did the rhetorical devices such as simile, analogy, contrast, rhyme, alliteration, metaphor, acronym or memory hook work?

Did you pause long enough after important points or rhetorical questions or after humour points?

For example, did you let people have the time to laugh or did you step-on the laughs and move on too quickly?"

Second, watch the speech with the audio turned off.

Questions I ask in this style of coaching session are:

"How was your eye contact?

"Did you speak from memorable key words or did you look down at wordy notes too much?

Did you divide the room into quarters?

Did your facial expressions, body language such as stance, movement and gestures distract from or enforce the message?

Did your gestures look natural?

Was your wardrobe and attire appropriate? How was the hair, make-up and grooming?

Did you move with slow deliberate movements or was there noticeable pacing, rocking, and hand-wringing?

How was the choreography, seven minute rule and integration of visuals?"

5. Leverage Your Authority Status

Once you have had a speech recorded professionally, how can you leverage this to a wider audience via other media platforms?

Here are my speech coaching questions:

"Can you post it on YouTube?

Can you post it on Facebook?

Can you put it on your website?

Can you email it to others?

Can you put a ink in your company newsletter.

Can you tweet it?

Can you put your visuals on Slideshare and post to groups on LinkedIn or add to your portfolio?

Can you post the audio as a podcast?"

There are so many ways to share and curate video and audio to position you as the recognized authority in your niche.

Please consider my next public speaking course on Tuesday August 12th 2014.

Numbers limited so book here.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Do Your Hands Hurt or Help You in Public Speaking? The Case For and Against Hand Gestures in Public Speaking Part Two.

As mentioned in my previous article, one of the most common questions I get asked when doing executive speech coaching and running courses on public speaking is what do I do with my hands?

Well, this is a much debated question.

Some coaches argue gestures should be restrained while others advise that gestures should be used for greater emphasis of impact.

There is no right or wrong answer, so I’m going to argue the case for both!

The Case For Hand Gestures in Public Speaking.

Well if you are going to use your hands in a presentation to look natural, how should you use your hands?

Visual cues to an audience really help to draw them in and help to emphasize points as well.
Firstly, it comes down to what kind of presentation you’re giving.

Secondly, what kind of presenter you are.

Thirdly, what type of audience you are speaking to.

Finally, the room set up and especially the area or platform or stage you have to present from.

1. Use Natural Gesturing Throughout Your Presentation

Try to use natural gesturing throughout your presentation because we naturally gesture with our hands.

During a normal conversation with family and friends our hands are moving around.

It looks awkward to clasp your hands together in front of you or put them in front of your belt or even worse your groin region.

That’s not a good look and probably not the best way to use your hands.

So think of a speech as an animated conversation where your energy levels are slightly higher than a normal conversation.  So what we want to do is bring your normal gestures into your speech.
So don’t be afraid to use the natural gestures that you would during a standard conversation with one of your friends. 

If you want to look natural, use natural gesturing.

Remember styles do differ depending on your personality, for example extroverted outgoing personalities tend to use very big hand gestures. Certainly your cultural background may also come into play.

On the flip-side, if you’re a shy, more reserved and introverted person and you’re using big hand gestures, it is not going to be authentic and congruent with your personality.

This could distract and take away from your message because it’s going to look unnatural because you’re not being yourself.

So be your true and authentic self. 

The whole point of gesturing is to add value to our message. So there’s no definite way that you should gesture. We have to tailor our gesturing based on our audience, based on what kind of material we’re presenting, based on who we are.

2. Impact for Important Points

Use gestures for impact on important points.

Visual cues can be effective to emphasize what you are saying.

Acting out the scene using your body will be an impactful way to engage an audience when telling a story.

For example, if you’re talking about improving performance then use that visualization. Pretend to be moving from a low base to a high base. 

Use kinaesthetic speaking and the whole stage.

If making three different points, stage left for point #1, and centre stage for point #2 stand and stage right for point #1.

You want the audience to see points 1 to 3 in a left to right view (their left to their right) because this is how people read information.

So you need to do the exact opposite as the speaker – mirroring this facing the audience – you move from your right to your left.

If you need to elaborate for any of these points just go back to the position on stage that represents the point.

This is a great technique for off the cuff speaking or speaking without any aids such as whiteboard or PowerPoint.

Do not do not try this if you have the points on a PowerPoint slide. It will just confuse the audience!
Hand gestures that are larger than the outline of your body communicate a large idea or concept. If something is really big then stretch your arms out really wide and to say this is a massive point or this is massively important. For example, the sales challenge is this big.

So if you’re using that natural gesturing but then you get creative on those important points and use visualization techniques, then that can add power, authenticity and variety to your presentation.

3. Mix It Up

Just like you want to avoid a boring monotone voice and you should have vocal variety, you should also avoid repetitive gesturing.

This can also be referred to as a non-verbal body language crutch.

Often many people are unaware they are doing it until they are told or even better see a video recording of themselves presenting.

Some body language examples:
Hands hidden so your audience can’t see your hands means it will be hard for them to trust you.
Compared to hands open and your palms at a 45-degree angle, this communicates that you are being honest and open.
Hands open with palms down sends the non-verbal message that you are certain about what you are talking about.
Palms facing each other with your fingers together often give the impression that you have expertise about what you are talking about.
Palms’ facing each other says "I'm an expert on this".
Be aware that if all your hand gestures are large and fast people will perceive that you are chaotic or out of control.

Remember though, if we are just as animated as we are in our everyday conversation then our hand gestures look small and our facial expressions look like we are not doing much at all especially if we are on a stage a long way away from the audience.

By being more animated you actually are more impactful as a speaker and convey more emotion.
So use hand gestures to project your feelings and emotions.

People remember emotions more than facts. That’s why storytelling is so powerful in a speech.

4. Congruency

Your body language must match your verbal message.

Gestures must be relevant to the phrases being used at the time, otherwise there is a danger of giving your audience conflicting messages.

Facial gestures can be most effective. For example an animated facial expression can greatly enhance your speech and help build rapport.

Mirroring and matching the body language of individuals in your audience is also a very powerful way to build audience rapport.

5. Slow Deliberate Movements

This is the most powerful way to use hand gestures.

Nothing rushed - nothing fast.

This will give you more stage presence and charisma and hence make you more believable and credible as a speaker.

Because this is often a new skill and conflicting with all the anxiety and adrenalin in your body, it takes practice to achieve this skill.

There is a lot going on in a speech.

You will be working the stage, giving a presentation, talking, trying to make eye contact, trying to give hand gestures, remembering your content, working the visuals, and mixing it up every seven minutes using the DARE principle. That’s a lot of things to do at once.

You need to practice progressively. Start by taking small steps.

It does takes practice, some say 10,000 hours to master a good speech, but over time you become better and better. If you watch yourself back on video you will see that is very normal to be more animated than less animated.

So the best rule is - if hand gestures are supporting the delivery of you message then generally they will add value to your speech. 

But if the hand gestures are taking away from the supporting of your message then generally it’s going to weaken the impact of your presentation.

As for me, I like slow and deliberate hand gestures. 

Please consider my next public speaking course on Tuesday August 12th 2014. Book here.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Do Your Hands Hurt or Help You in Public Speaking? The Case For and Against Hand Gestures in Public Speaking Part One

Do Your Hands Hurt or Help You in Public Speaking? The Case For and Against Hand Gestures in Public Speaking Part One

By Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker
One of the most common questions I get asked when doing executive speech coaching or running courses on public speaking is "Tom, what do I do with my hands?"
Well, this is a much debated question.
Some coaches argue gestures should be restrained while others advise gestures should be used for greater emphasis or impact.
There is no right or wrong answer, so I'm going to argue the case for both!
The Case Against Hand Gestures in Public Speaking is the first part of this two-part article.
Here are five reasons why stillness in public speaking is a virtue.

1. Trust is Eroded
Recent research shows a third of an audience are less likely to trust a speaker who they believes uses too many hand gestures.
Too many hand movements and you have already lost the trust of 30 per cent of your audience.
The Jab and pointing for example are rarely received well by an audience.
Whether it's pointing directly at people, or jabbing into your hand, it comes across as an aggressive or accusatory gesture.
Speakers when they are nervous are also less trusted by an audience.
Hands grasped in front of you for example communicates that you are nervous or tentative, as does touching your face, hair, or neck.
Gripping speech notes or the podium for dear life with white knuckles is not the look of a confident speaker either.
Other tell tale signs include excessive "hand washing" or "pen clicking".
"The Wringer" is another variant where the terrified speaker holds their hands together massaging the palms with each other as though they are trying to keep warm on a cold frosty winter's morning.

2. Hands Are a Distraction
You see many people making simple mistakes.
They are holding their hands in a certain way that actually distracts from what they're saying.
Sometimes a speakers hand will be in this continual motion and actually attract an audience's attention and all of a sudden the audience has forgotten what they've said.
They just focus on watching their hands and not what is being said.
Clapping and slapping for example can also become a distraction if you don't pull it off well.
This could be hand clapping, or - often - unintended hitting of your hand against your side or knees or even worse the microphone!

3. Confusion
Hands can confuse audiences when the gestures don't match the words.
For example using the word "big" while your thumb and finger indicate something tiny.
Using the double-handed first two fingers together and slightly bent with hands moving up and down gesture to illustrate you are going to give a quote is a big no no.
Some people might think you are talking about bunny rabbits.

4. Awkward
Hand gestures can make the speaker look awkward and the audience then just feels sorry for them.
Beware of awkward gestures such as the "fig-leaf stance" where hands are clasped in front of your groin a la Adam and Eve.
A variance is the "Royal stance" where hands are clasped behind the back. This is often known as the "I have no arms" approach to public speaking.
And my favorite "the teapot" where one hand is on the hip like the handle of a tea pot and the other hand is pointing in the opposite direction like a spout.
Here is a list of uncomfortable gestures I commonly see in nervous and awkward speakers:

Scratching various parts of your body
Playing with your ring finger
Touching your face, especially nose
Swaying from side to side
Shifting your weight
Pacing back and forth
Touching your ears
Adjusting your hair, including preening and twisting of hair
Adjusting your clothing, including pulling of sleeves
Putting your hands in your pockets
Playing with pens and white board markers
Jingling coins in a pocket

5. No value
Gestures must add value.
Your body language is meant to add value to the words that you're speaking, not take away from it.
My pet hate is the line "hands up if you .... " approach by some speakers who then put their hand up. I always feel like I'm back in kindergarten and being treated as a five year old when a speaker does this.
So it's something that is very important to take control of. It's something that we have to think of because if we don't take control of our hands they will do whatever they want and they will run away from us and it will look awkward and it will not add value to our presentation and that's what gesturing is meant to do.

My tip from speaker trainer Colin James is this, feet shoulder width apart, parallel and put the thumbs down the seams of your trousers.
This is the most authoritative, powerful and least distracting stance to have.
For you as a speaker it might feel a little dorky and stiff, but from the audience's perspective it is the least distracting so they can really focus on your words and message.
In the next edition, the argument for hand gestures. 

My next public speaking course in August 12th 2014. Book here.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Writing and Pitching Winning Media Releases course, Tuesday May 6th 2014

Feedback from Writing and Pitching Winning Media Releases course, Tuesday May 6th 2014.

"Very informative, hands-on, a lot of real-life examples. I liked that it was a smaller group as it was easier to get the maximum out of Tom's knowledge,"
Delta Contos, Marketing Coordinator at Strike A Chord Foundation, Perth

"Being very clear and structured helped my understanding. The examples and exercises in the workshop encouraged me to put the learnings into action."
Hossein Sedeghat, MBA - E-Marketing, UWA

"I liked the interactive nature and networking with new people. The content was rfelevant and easily applied to both media and article writing,"
Toni Duckworth, Supervisor, Business Advisory HLB Mann Judd, Perth

Next course Tuesday June 24th 2014. Book here.

SGX - "Reducing Risks in Mining via Project Evaluation Studies" seminar in Singapore on Thursday 12th June 2014

John Stanley Retail Guru and International Speaker Podcast

John Stanley Retail Guru and International Speaker shares his business speaking tips with Thomas Murrell (pictured) in this special podcast.

"Think globally, act locally" is one of his key messages.

Click here to download…

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ten Social Media Lessons From the Movie "Chef"

Ten Social Media Lessons From the Movie "Chef"
By Thomas Murrell

Chef the new comedy movie that premiered recently is a great case study on how social media can destroy and build up reputations.

Some call the movie "food porn", others a documentary on how to make a good cheese toastie or is it a giant product placement for Twitter?

Sure the movie features a strong lineup of Hollywood A-List stars, including Scarlett Johansson, Dustin Hoffman, Sofia Vergara, and Robert Downey, Jr and a soft feel good storyline.

But what it did for me though was make me hungry and make a beeline for the first food truck I saw in my hometown of Perth.

In fact, I went surfing at the glorious Leighton Beach on a Sunday morning soon after seeing the movie and there was a Brazilian food truck there called Comida do Sul.

I couldn't help but stop and have something to eat based on the movie experience!
New media technology has long been fodder for Hollywood movie makers.

Think You've Got Mail in 1998 and its narrative on the way digital communication could impact lives.

Meanwhile, blogging was brought centre stage with Julia and Juliet.

Now Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Vine are central to this movie and the concept of shared experiences.

Chef is the story of a man whose life is ruined and then redeemed by social media.

The movie represents digital communication onscreen in an elegant and simple way as onscreen tweets materialize in the air and then, when sent, fly off like a bird.

Chef is written, produced and directed by Jon Favreau who plays the main character Carl.

Here are 10 Lessons on Social Media from the Movie:

1. Twitter is Not Like Texting or Email
The story goes that Chef Carl is an aging Generation Xer who lives his life mostly offline.
He has an email account and knows what YouTube is, but he doesn't understand how social media works or what its value is.
This becomes apparent after he fires off what he thinks is a private tweet to a food critic who gave him a particularly vicious and personal review.
In real life Favreau considers himself "pretty savvy" with social media-he maintains an active Twitter account with 1.7 million followers.
Compare this to his onscreen counterpart Carl who is completely unschooled in exactly how public an ill-considered tweet can become.
2. Viral
There are four types of media - paid (advertising), owned (your own created content/websites), earned (PR) and shared (social).
The first two are controlled media where you control every image and message.
The second two are uncontrolled and this presents a risk.
With PR you can try and reduce the risk by writing a media release and doing media training but when social media goes viral you have no control over its distribution and what comments will be made.
In the movie, Carl's obscene rant goes viral, and an online war of words ensues.
3. Don't Rant in Public
We're seeing the rise in citizen journalism where anyone with a mobile phone and internet access can create media content unfiltered.
The scene where Carl angrily confronts the critic at his restaurant, leading to a meltdown that's captured on video and uploaded to YouTube, where millions view it is central to the plot.
It was amusing to see people at the restaurant capturing the moment on mobile phones and ipads.
After the very public meltdown, no one is willing to hire Carl. It appears that social media has ruined his life.
4. Amplifies
When content is captured on social media it is a lasting record and can be both shared and viewed over and over again.
The experience of conceiving of, considering and sending a Tweet is cleverly depicted in the movie.
"It's a multiplier. It will multiply whatever you're doing," says Favreau in a media interview.
"Like when you embarrass yourself. We all have our bad moments, but most of them happen behind closed doors. When that's on public display, that's what is going to define you. In the same way [when] you're doing something good you want to share... You're sharing it not only with your friends or the person whose hand you're holding, but-if you hit on something very special-maybe with an entire culture."
5. Permanent
This is the scary part about social media.
It is a permanent record but that is also a strength.
In __Chef__ social media plays a role in both the main character's downfall and eventual redemption, but the new technology is seen in generally a positive way.
The movie portrays in an accurate way the permanence of Twitter and Facebook posts.
6. Builds Visibility
Now coming to the positives about social media.
When Chef Carl leaves behind the stuffy, high-pressure environment of the upscale dining world demanded by owner Dustin Hoffman, he opens a food truck and re-discovers his authentic passion for central American food.
He and his son take the truck on a tour of great American food cities like New Orleans and Austin.
At each stop, lines of customers greet them because Carl's son had been documenting the journey and tweeting the truck's location and uploading pics of the food to Instagram.
That social media promotion helps his new business succeed in a big way.
It turns his negative celebrity YouTube fame into a positive.
The scene on the Miami beachfront with the police officer is a little unrealistic but highlights how YouTube fame works in mysterious ways.
7. Attracts Customers
The mobile nature of a food truck versus the stationary anchor of a traditional restaurant lends itself to letting fans know where your next location will be.
It is like the traditional musical chime from a Mr Whippy ice cream van as it drives through the suburbs.
In the movie, Carl's son uses social media to attract customers, an absolute necessity to keep their fans informed of their exact location.
8. Visual
Many people don't get the fact that social media is primarily a visual medium.
The movie really is a visual feast of beautifully presented food.
The use of visual sharing platform Instagram captures this perfectly in the movie.
9. Video
The power of YouTube is central to the movie.
Also a new technology, a mobile app called Vine makes its Hollywood debut as Carl's son creates and posts short looping video clips that document the road trip.
10. Personal Growth
If you are still cynical about social media as a way of driving new customers then this movie will dispel all those myths.
It presents the pros and cons of social media in a business context that is easy to understand and easy on the eye.
In essence the main premise of the movie is that social media is a great platform for personal growth - to learn from your mistakes and move on.
Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries. You can subscribe by visiting Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. 

Thursday May 1st 2014, 5.00-6.30pm PwC Perth, Level 15, 125 St Georges Terrace, Perth, WA, Actuaries Institute "Better Public Speaking"

I especially enjoyed meeting people from the Actuaries Institute - pictured with door prize winner Elizabeth Angkola and Curtin University lecturer Kevin Bowman.

My next public speaking course is June 10th 2014. Book here.