Category Archives: Negotiation

Power Moves! – 5 Tips to Make Body Language Work for You!


Gestures and Body Language are important and powerful tools which have in them, an immense potential and ability to affect the end effect of our speeches and presentations! When used appropriately, our body gestures may enhance and strengthen the effect and points of our speech! Used indiscriminately, they’re liable to dilute and dampen the power and effectiveness of our presentations.

So what are some of the positive gestures and body language you may adopt to enhance your public speaking performance for maximum impact? Continue reading Power Moves! – 5 Tips to Make Body Language Work for You!

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10 Tips to Improve Your Speech


1. Speed Up, Slow Down

Varying your speed! You can slow down just before you reach the climax of your speech to add to the suspense. Or you can speed up to add drama and excitement to your story. Either way, you may add interest to your speech.

2. Vary your Tone

Same goes to your tone. You may use a high-pitched tone when describing a lady (or how your lady-boss howls at you at work) or a deep raspy one (like how Count Dracula might use to seduce his next victim).
Emulate a firm one for authority or a looser and relaxed on to generate that playful mood.

3. Vary your Volume

Increase your VOLUME to EMPHASIZE certain KEY words. Decrease it every now and then to make the audience strain to hear what you have to say.

Varying between the two can help you capture their attention whilst adding interest to the story you’re telling.

4. Pausing for Emphasis

This concept is pretty similar to varying your volume – somewhat. Have you noticed that the audience become particularly sensitive to their surroundings when silence is introduced suddenly in a room?

Wouldn’t you look up to check what’s going on the room when the speaker cuts off halfway in silence?

Make full use of this heightened sensitivity to drive home a key word or idea. The words or phrase following this silence should be as short as possible, preferably between 1 – 3 words, to avoid dampening the effect.

5. Eliminate Filler Words

Avoid using words like “Um”, “Er”, “Hmmm”. Generally, these words tend to convey a sense of uncertainty and suggest that you may be unsure of what you’re saying. These would definitely work against you during persuasive and/or sales speeches.

6. Smile!

Smiling (whenever necessary and appropriate) helps take fear away from your mind. Research has proven that a person’s state of mind may be affected by his physiology.

When you appear happy, confident and positive, your mind forgets about fear and you’re left to enjoy your presentation.

Smile and the whole world smiles with you!

7. Animate

Animate your message! In moderation of course. Gesticulate while trying to make point. Use your fingers to number your points “Firstly, Secondly, Thirdly etc”.

I’ve also realised how powerful facial expressions can be where it comes to animating your messages. Raise your eyebrows to depict surprise or shock. Or squint your eyes to depict scepticism.

There’re a thousand and one ways you can make use of your facial expressions to animate your message. Play around with your expressions and discover what your face can do by practising in front of the mirror!

8. Relax

Most of us are usually able to relate and speak to our family and friends without much difficulty.

Our minds perform best when they’re relaxed and free. Like our muscles, our tensing up can only lead to cramps, and it wouldn’t be nice to have a mental ‘cramp’ while your speaking!

Relax by taking deep breaths and focus on having fun!

9. Practise, Practise, PRACTISE!

Now if you’re still reading this, you may wonder – How may I relax and have fun if I’ve never done “this” before?!

“This”, of course, refers to speaking in public for the first time, or speaking frequently in public.

Well, to be completely honest, I didn’t enjoy the process of speaking when I first started too. IT WAS HORRIFYING!

But what I really enjoyed was the end product of speaking. I enjoyed knowing that I had taken a step that many others feared taking. And I enjoy having the knowledge that I’m a better person as a result of my act(s) of courage.

Now, I continually seek every opportunity to practise. Every act of courage I take propels me toward becoming a better speaker and person.

And I derive delight after each practice session!

10. Review

So is this a case of “Practise makes perfect”? – NO! It’s useless if you keep repeating the same mistake over and over again whilst hoping for a different a result!

Understand that there’s no perfect speech. Regardless of how good you are as a speaker, or how well delivered a speech was, there will ALWAYS be room for improvement.

Seek to improve yourself continuously. Review each speech session and see which areas you might need or want to pay greater attention to.

If required, record yourself and play it back for reviewing later.

Seek advice and feedback from your audience (where appropriate) to highlight blind spots.

Seek materials (like my blog! *winks*) to help you target specific areas for improvement!

Download the Complimentary Article on Winning With Fear to Speak with Confidence!

Matter-a-Fact Sharing – Speaking without Pressure


One of the biggest concerns when it comes to public speaking, presentations and general communication among people is fear. Generally, some people are really afraid of sharing their ideas and perspectives, mainly because they feel that they’re not in the position to share or that their ideas/views aren’t “good enough”. Some people just feel that they should not interfere in other people’s decisions and life!

Whilst I would generally agree that we should not expect other people to change, enforce our expectations on other people or make them do what we think they should do (re: interference), I think that deprieving our valued friends and family of our genuine concerns and perspectives is not something that should be encouraged too.

Personally, I’m a very strong believer in the need for awareness. I believe that awareness is a key ingredient for change and helps people make informed and credible decisions in life. After all, in order to change direction that we’re travelling in, we must know WHERE to go and HOW to change in order to effect that change. And questions involving the 5Ws and 1H really require awareness to effect.

Yet awareness can only come about when there’s availability of information. This information can come from many sources. It may be derieved from the media, from books, magazines and newspapers, or from people, teachers, relatives and… friends.

A friend once shared that he does not like telling people that he is angry or upset about something when other people does something that he upsets him. The reason(s) he gave was that he didn’t think he was a in good position to “tell people off”, “his views weren’t important”, or “I don’t think I expect them to change because of my words”.

Those were very strong concerns! And I believe many people would feel the same way too! We really don’t like inconveniencing people or make people feel uncomfortable. I think that is very responsible approach to people!

However, I also believe that depriving our friends and family of the chance to discover certain loopholes or personal blindspots for growth and making informed decisions is not a very responsible thing to do!

Sounds like a classical no-win situation aye?

Not exactly. One fellow trainer had once commented “I’m not here to convince or convert people. Just here to tell them the truth”.

This is exactly what you’re going to do – tell people the truth.

But herein lies another problem: Some people don’t like to know the truth! And some people don’t know how to tell the truth (with kindness)!

Well, fret not. You wish to use a technique which I call “Matter-a-Fact Sharing”.

F-A-C-T

1. Focus
Firstly, I think it’s important that the Sharer focuses on highlighting loopholes and airing concerns to the recipients who are about to receive our feedback. The key idea is to direct our thoughts, concerns and perspectives to our friends in form of a feedback and sharing WITHOUT the hope and expectation that they change.

2. Acknowledge!
Recognise that their life is theirs and whatever consequences that comes with whatever action they take will be held by them. Since you are you, and they are they (duh!), you will not feel the impact of the consequences of their choices at a full 100%.

Acknowledge the importance of their current actions and beliefs, but also seek to highlight certain points which you feel might be of importance to them. The key word is might. Remember, what’s important to you may not be important to them!

3. Be Calm
Be calm and cool. Allowing emotions to rule when you’re giving feedback on something sensitive is a potentially explosive affair. It’s like lighting a match next to a gas stove! A spark’s all it takes for a fiery and emotional encounter. And I doubt nobody would like to see that happen!

4. Time
The duration of your responsibility ends immediately after you’ve dispensed with your advice. Remember, you’re not there to convince or convert. You’re there to show the recipient a perspective or an idea which you think might be of importance to him/her!

Do not burden yourself with whether he/she buys your idea!

Matter-a-fact Sharing is all about relating your concerns (which are genuine of course!) and perspectives (what you see) to someone else. It’s not about what’s real or how true or false your idea is. After all, we can never really know to what degree our ideas are real/true/false and there are always exceptions. What’s real now may not be real in the future. And what happened to us in the past may not be relevent to the present. So remember, our advice need not necessarily be right! Neither does it necessarily have to be wrong/useless!

The value of our words and perspectives, therefore lies in the eyes of the beholder. It’s up to the recipient to decide. It’s after all, his/her life and thus his/her responsibility to accept/reject your advice.

So since we can’t make the decision for others, and since there may be substantial value in our message, then what the heck, let’s just share it anyway! We’ll leave the choice up to the recipient!

Don’t you think life would be much simpler that way? Wouldn’t speaking be especially easier this way?

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Disclaimer: Kindness never hurts! Hurting is never kind! You also wish to exercise tact and kindness in sharing!

For more information about kindness and sharing, you may refer to my post on Flattery VS Sincere Appreciation

Speaking to Sell


Sales and Selling has often been linked with the concept of persuasion and “getting people to spend money”. The idea of selling has therefore been tinged with a dose of negativity and skepticism.

However, despite the dictionary definition of the term “selling”, and the occupation that’s associated with it, the “salesman/salesperson”, selling is a universal activity that’s not confined to the ordinary sales associate that you see at our shopping malls and shops. A closer examination of the concept of “selling” however, reveals one thing:

WE ARE ALL SALES PEOPLE!

Consider this, when you’re making a presentation to your boss on why you should receive your promotion, aren’t you actually trying to sell him an idea? And when he rejects you, isn’t he trying to sell you another idea on why he won’t be promoting you (yet)?

How about the times when you’re trying to coax your little one to eat his/her vegetables? Or go to school? Aren’t you trying to sell him/her the benefits of (or the pain of not) eating vegetables?

What about social situations? Aren’t you trying to get people to like you when you meet someone new? Hey, what about that cute girl/guy that you meet at the party? `Nuff said!

Selling is a universal concept. Like it or not, we are all sales people in our respective fields and domains in life. Everybody is selling something everyday!

So, regardless of what you do, whether you’re a professional salesperson, a parent, a teacher, trainer, student or whoever! You’ve got to sell!

Well here are some pointers on how to sell effectively. In reverse order of importance:

3) Understand the specialties of your product/service.

How does it differentiate from the other similar products/services/ideas around?

2) Is your product competitive?

What are the advantages of using your product/service/idea?

1) How will it BENEFIT the your “customer”?

The benefits of solving the problem are fundamentally the key reasons why your “customer” is looking for something at the end of the day. Be it an idea/product/service – the “sale” should revolve around how your customer will come up tops by getting what he/she wants.

Therefore a key tip to your presentation/negotiation success would be to revolve your presentation around the benefits your “customer” would be getting!

So, what’s going to be your next big sales success?