Archive for September, 2015|Monthly archive page

Avoid The Awkward Close

In Uncategorized on September 25, 2015 at 4:55 PM

Endings tend to be awkward. Saying goodbye to a friend, leaving family after a holiday event, ending a relationship, or even just knowing what to say at the end of speech.

Those last words though, that final thought, create the feeling that encapsulates the event. Do you want to walk away feeling awkward, unsettled, and unsure or do you prefer feeling happy, excited for the next encounter, and inspired?

The answer is clear.

I heard a fabulous speaker recently who ended an engaging, thought provoking, humorous talk with the phrase: “I guess that is all I have to say”. What a let-down for the audience and what a let-down for the speaker. You could almost see the awkwardness in the air as we politely applauded.

There is an easy solution for this predictable problem though: simply recap the purpose of your talk in one sentence – say it with a smile, and leave the stage.

What is it you hope to leave the audience with when you are done? What was the point of your talk? What do you hope they will do next? If you take the time to plan and practice this one line, you will end each meeting, each conversation, and each presentation leaving a very positive impression on your audience.

The next time you speak, take the message of your talk, put it into a single sentence and use it as your closing line. You will be amazed at how good that feels and how well the audience responds.

(Hint: Did you notice what I just did?)

This Speaking Tip is one in a series from iSpeakEASY. We help people present information in an exciting and relevant manner – usually by helping them avoid the mistakes discussed here. Contact us for information on workshops and coaching.

© 2015 by iSpeakEASY. All Rights Reserved.


Do We Really Need To Feel Nervous?

In Uncategorized on September 18, 2015 at 11:58 AM

Serge is a Mexican national working in the U.S. as drywaller. He is an artist in his ability to put surfaces on walls. feeling nervous

He attended a speaking skills workshop focusing on delivering a clear message in 30 seconds or less. After the workshop, Serge approached me and said “I knew I was nervous speaking to others. English is not my first language and I am shy. I had no idea that all these other people where just as scared as I am.”

The “other people” he was referring to were white, educated, English speaking business owners including attorneys, accountants, and nutritionists.

Serge had internalized what he felt were his weaknesses and thought that is why he was afraid to speak in public. That day he learned public speaking makes many people nervous regardless of education, ethnicity, or background. For Serge on that day, the playing field had been leveled, at least in his mind.

Fear of speaking is universal. We all fear being exposed as inadequate, of being asked a question we can’t answer, of making a fool of ourselves. We can focus on what we perceive our deficits to be and use them as a block, or we can flip it around and look at our assets and use them as a stepping stone.

For Serge, a man of color working in a wealthy, predominantly white community, he allowed his perceived deficits to make him nervous. That day he realized almost everyone, regardless of country of origin, native language, or skill set is nervous. He felt inadequate as speaker because, at times, he tripped over words. The fact that he is a skilled tradesman, an artist and a hard worker had slipped his mind.

What are your perceptions of your weaknesses? What causes you to be afraid when you speak? When you look at your peer group, what do you perceive they possess that you do not?

Now flip that around. What special skills, training, background, passions, interests and attributes do you possess? What qualifies you to do your job or speak on your topic?

Both lists are real and important – the list of fears can hold you back while the list of skills will propel you forward.

Fear of public speaking is universal. Which of the two lists will you choose to focus on?



© 2007 by iSpeakEASY – All rights reserved. This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY.

We help people profit from their words. Call for information on individual coaching or group workshops.