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Speaking With Conviction…Over the Phone

I have been working with a recent college graduate who is seeking an entry level job in sales and he is finding that many of the positions available are cold calling, telemarketing positions. While I am not certain that sitting behind a desk, on the phone for 80-100 calls a day, is the best fit for this young man, his job search got me thinking… What does it take to properly convey your message and deliver a captivating presentation over the phone?

Even if you’re not a telemarketer, you’re likely giving phone presentations every day. Think about it…we live in a world saturated with technology. Tools like Skype, GoToMeeting, and Telepresence are common in business, and you probably use them often. Yet, how much thought have you given to using these presentation options effectively?

When you’re using any one of these tools, you are essentially giving a presentation over the phone. You have to deliver your ideas without the benefits of a face-to-face meeting, or you have to speak to an image on a computer screen. When you’re faced with these situations, how can you use your public speaking skills and prevent your message from going down in flames?

Here are a few things to remember when trying to be persuasive over the phone or when videoconferencing:

Vary your vocal emphasis and inflection.

You’re on a conference call and your presentation is on the computer screen via GoToMeeting. You are talking about profit and loss margins, ROI, and, synergy. You’re using as much business jargon as you can to impress your clients. However, you forgot one thing: your shining personality!

Too many speakers deliver bland presentations in live settings, let alone over a conference call. To be compelling and interesting when you’re not physically there, you need to vary your vocal delivery. Using emphasis and inflection on key words helps your audience stay engaged.

Don’t let yourself drone on in order to get through your meeting. Rather, give your audience the opportunity to glean extra meaning from your words with some variety in your intonation and some diversity in the range of your voice.

Pay attention to your clarity and speed.

When speaking to a group in a live public speaking situation you always want to articulate clearly and talk slowly. When speaking to a group over the phone or via your computer, you need to pay extra attention to these points.

I cannot stress this enough. Producing a clear voice and a clean sound from a computer microphone or a speakerphone is difficult. Words will inevitably be lost due to static and choppy internet connections. So open your mouth, raise your volume, enunciate clearly and slow down.

When you speak slowly and articulate clearly, you enable your audience to catch every word, even if there is static or connection choppiness, so they don’t lose the entire meaning of your content. Give your listeners the chance to keep up and they will give you their full attention.

Smile and enjoy yourself!

While your audience may not be able to see you, they certainly know when you are smiling. Whenever you deliver an exciting and emotional presentation, whether in person or over the phone, feel it! Show your emotions through your facial and physical gestures; your audience on the other end of the line will absolutely be able to follow along.   

When you are excited and smiling, your voice naturally changes pitch. It is just as easy to recognize those speakers who enjoy themselves over the phone as it is to recognize those who simply run through the motions. Therefore, enjoy yourself and let your colors shine through. Your virtual audience will thank you for it with their rapt attention.

When you follow these three tips, you’ll be able to give virtual and phone presentations that engage both the hearts and minds of your listeners….and that inspire them to action.

10 Minutes of Poise, Power and Passion

One of my passions in life is helping my clients and those in my online community improve and strengthen their speaking and presentation skills so that their message will have a powerful impact on all those who hear it. As such, my company, DeFinis Communications, gives people the training, tools and resources to choose the right words and say them with skill and confidence.

 

Because of this commitment to performance mastery, our clients develop greater poise, power and passion whenever they speak—whether in the boardroom or the dinner table. By helping our clients build a high level of skill and change unproductive behaviors we help them compete and succeed, professionally and personally. It’s what our clients like best.

 

As part of our teaching approach we show video clips of different speakers to demonstrate various levels of speaking skill. These speakers act as role models by either setting the gold standard for quality performance or showing us what “not” to do. Video is a powerful teaching tool because it addresses the question our clients always ask: “Can you show me what you mean?” Consequently, we are always on the lookout for examples of performance mastery in any performance discipline.

 

We look for examples of high performance in sports, with such masters as Tiger Woods and Shannon Miller, and in theater, music or dance. Great performances happen everywhere and in many different disciplines. If we are observant and take the time out of our busy schedules to watch such performances, we can learn much about public speaking. Composure, confidence, pride, discipline, timing, rhythm and focus are among the many skills and qualities that are a part of any great performance—including public speaking.

 

Today I received an email from a friend of mine containing a link to one of my favorite pieces of music and a reminder to “smell the roses.” With the holiday season upon us, my friend’s message was clear: don’t let a busy life displace the joys and wonders of the world. I heard her message loud and clear. 

 

If you can spare 10 minutes and 20 seconds to watch this video you will see a superb example of performance mastery and hopefully be as inspired and delighted as I was.

 

I am pleased to share this beautiful performance by concert pianist Freddy Kempf, who truly embodies the notion of poise, power and passion. I hope you will enjoy and learn from this master.

Success with Slides: A PowerPoint Presentation Guide (Part 2)

In part one of this two-part post, we talked about the seven sins of PowerPoint. If you missed it, you can read it here. So now that you know what not to do when preparing your slide deck, here are the seven virtues of what you should do to create informative, entertaining and memorable slides that will motivate your audience to action