Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Archive for February 2011

It’s that time of year:  Awards Season. While the BAFTAS, Oscars, Grammys and Emmys may lead in the glamour stakes, most industries hoststheir own award ceremonies, in which the achievements of its outstanding performers are acknowledged.  Regardless of what business you’re in, there will be winners and losers when the prizes are handed out.  Whether you take home the bacon, or leave empty handed, how you manage the process reflects on your ability to win and lose with grace and dignity.

Whilst competition in life is healthy and beneficial, one of the hardest lessons is how to conduct yourself when you achieve success and suffer failure.  When all eyes are on you, how you manage your feelings and express them in your words, gestures, and expressions determines how people judge you.  Win or lose, by acting with good will, grace and enthusiasm, you’ll be demonstrating the characteristics of a champion.

  • Winners should behave with grace and dignity.  A warm smile, an appreciative look at your partner/date/audience, with your arms loosely placed confidently by your  sides is the perfect body language to avoid appearing arrogant.
  • Losers should also behave with grace and dignity.  Take the high road and save your tears, pouts and screams of frustration for behind closed doors. A warm smile and eye contact are good places to start for containing frustration whilst appearing happy for the winner.  If you didn’t pick up a gong speak graciously to the one who did. Lean forward in the winners’ direction to show affinity and alignment with them and smile.  Behave like a winner and you’ll look like one.
  • Winners should feel free to look happy.  Is there such thing as being over the top?  There are those who say that when Gwyneth Paltrow cried at her acceptance speech that she was a bit de trop.  And when Sally Fields cried out, “You like me.  You really like me!” some people were embarrassed for her thinking she had gone a step too far.  I thought she was expressing he joy and surprise with grace and good will.
  • Losers must appear calm and happy for the other winner. A lack of positive emotion will make you look like a sour puss.  And negative emotion will make you look like a poor sport.
  • When making a speech, keep your voice upbeat, put the smile in your tones, and make your words short, snappy and sincere.  Droning on for any more than 25 seconds is taking your audience into boredom land.
  • The most successful way to remain graceful when winning? Smile and say nice things about the people who helped you get where you are.  Without them you wouldn’t be there.
  • The most successful way to remain graceful when losing?  Smile and say nice things about the winner.  Also, commend the people you worked with.  You never know when you’ll work together again.  Treat everyone with respect.
  • When coming face to face with losers, winners should reach out and tell them what you thought was good about their performance.  Let them know what you respect about their work.  Speak with sincerity.
  • When coming face to face with winners, losers should compliment them on their performance and congratulate them on their win.
  • Whether winning or losing, act with good will. How you respond will be remembered long after the red carpet is stored away for another year.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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Connecting with your listener is essential for developing rapport and producing great results. What do I mean by connecting? Connecting is about treating others with respect, looking for points of commonality, and meeting them where they are in order to take them to where you want them to be. We must look at ways of connecting with people to ensure that we always communicate at our best.

When you think about connecting with others consider your purpose and how you can convey your message through the use of mind set, body language, and word choice. To truly connect, you have to care about your listener, treat them with respect, and meet them where there are. To connect with your listener follow these 3 simple steps:

  •        Be clear and confident. If you are clear about your purpose, confident about your message, and trust your ability to communicate successfully, you’ll be able to present your information in a way the audience can understand. Making your message relevant deepens the connection and holds your audience’s attention. Clarity, confidence and connecting make you and what you have to say memorable.
  •        Be present and listen. Engage with your listeners before your meeting or presentation. Ask them questions. What are their interests or concerns? What are their needs? Addressing them where they are strengthens the connection. Talking about what is important to them means they’ll connect with you and care about what you say.
  •        Be perceptive. Pay attention to your listener. Notice their expressions, voice, and body language. Match their mood rather than usurping it with your own. Connect with them where they are and then take them with you to where you want them to be.

REMEMBER: The point of your communication is to connect with your listener.

TIP: Look at people when you want to connect with them. Establishing eye contact translates as credibility.

TECHNICAL: Research shows that holding eye contact is important to establish a connection. More than 3 seconds can become intimidating, so keep it brief.

CAUTION: Be aware that in some cultures sustained direct eye contact is considered disrespectful.

FINALLY: Authentically connecting with people establishes trust and creates truly memorable positive impact.

Connection: 

  1.        Be clear
  2.        Be present
  3.        Be perceptive 

 The ability to relate and to connect lies at the very heart of any creative use of the mind, no matter in what field or discipline.
– George Seidel

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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  As Colin Firth scoops up award after award for his portrayal of stammerer George VI in The King’s Speech, Kuhnke Communication is providing you with some top tips for speech giving.

It is well known that a fear of speech giving is up there with a fear of death. Uncertainty about how to engage with your audience and anxiety of being judged by your listeners can impact on your ability to present. Here’s how to deliver a clear, concise and confident speech.

  1. Claim your space. You have the right to be heard and the right to speak. Remember that people ask you to speak because they are interested in getting to know you and hearing what you have to say.
  2. Avoid fiddling with your clothes or fussing with your hair. When you move, make sure your gestures and expressions support and illustrate your message, not detract from it.
  3. Connect with your listeners. Before you speak find out about them: their interests, needs and concerns. The more you know about your audience the better you are able to gear your remarks to them.
  4. Be articulate. No matter how smart you are, how powerful your message, and how compelling your story, if you can’t be understood you might as well send a memo. Warm up your vocal mechanism by going to a quiet place before you speak and doing a few hums and tongue twisters.
  5. Make sure your message touches your audience and calls them to action. No matter what your subject, leave your listeners thinking about what they’re going to do next. If your speech is about politics, encourage your audience to vote and volunteer. If you talk about cooking, encourage your listeners to host a dinner party.
  6. Tell stories and anecdotes, and include examples. Use vivid language, including metaphors and similes.
  7. Structure your content. Break down your speech into four parts: introduction, main body [use no more than three main points], summary and action steps.
  8. Speak only when you are looking at your audience. Have your opening and closing remarks memorised. If you need to refer to your notes, pause, look at them, and then look up at your audience and speak.
  9. Breathe from your diaphragm. When you’re nervous the tendency is to breathe from your upper chest, causing you to be top heavy and unbalanced. Stand with your feet placed squarely beneath your hips and shoulders to give you a solid foundation from which to speak.
  10. Remember, your audience wants you to do well. No one wants to see a speaker fail, so have fun! If you enjoy what you’re doing, so will your listeners.

For more information, visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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If you’re the kind of person who complains about not having enough time, quit your complaining and make better use of what you’ve got. 

Everyone has 24 hours in their day.  No more, no less.  If you want to round off your day with a feeling of pride and accomplishment, knowing that you’ve completed your tasks and are ready to take on the next lot,  get rid of your physical and mental clutter. Time is a precious commodity.  All too often people give away this limited resource to people, tasks, and possessions which drain their energy leaving them depleted and in despair. Personal preoccupations and self-imposed obligations can hold you back from pursuing your real passions. If you find yourself caught in the rat’s nest of meaningless matters, follow the tips below.   By banish ing your accumulated physical, mental and emotional clutter you’ll find yourself with more time, space and energy to enjoy life.

  • Audit your physical space.  Rid yourself of unwanted items.  If you have paraphernalia that you neither use nor enjoy, let them go. , Need a little money?  Sell them.  Want to make a charitable donation?  Give your things away.  No one else would want your tat either?  Throw it out.  You’ll notice a feeling of lightness in your life when you do.  . By clearing and organising your physical space you’re granting yourself the room to breathe.
  • Determine what’s vital to you for achieving your goals and what an attention distractor is.  Information overload, unrealistic aspirations and busyness are like addictive drugs.  They take up a lot of time and energy and keep you from focusing on what matters.
  • Let go of social obligations that you don’t enjoy.  Be clear in what you want from a relationship and let go of the barriers that keep you from achieving your goals.  Realise that putting up with things is a trap that consumes energy.
  • Say good-bye to guilt.

If you want to feel light, energised and open to new experiences drop the burdens that are holding you back. Every day life throws you many balls – choosing which ones to catch is the secret of a streamlined life.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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Whilst many of us take our voices for granted, many respected and influential people undergo voice training to improve their image at some point in their careers. Margaret Thatcher is known to have had voice coaching to lower her voice to sound more authoritative; George Osborne wanted to be closer to the public by sounding less upper class and David Beckham took lessons to deepen his voice in preparation for a career after football. The following explains why being able to control your voice is crucial and how you can learn to use it to your advantage.

Your voice is you.  It reveals your history and your present state. Your voice is your most powerful means for communicating. It can strengthen your message or, it can make you sound unconvincing and indecisive, greatly affecting others’ perception of you.

 There are different types of voices applied in different contexts. The head voice is used for excitement (children use it all the time), the chest voice expresses authority, the voice of the heart is saved for feelings and is very difficult to access if you’re not connected to the feeling and finally, the gut voice conveys your deepest, truest beliefs.

 Women frequently go into their head voice and can be perceived as less credible and persuasive than men. While using the head voice is fine for showing enthusiasm and excitement, avoid staying in ‘head register’ for too long. Equally, don’t use the chest voice too long, as it will sound monotonous. The key to successful application of your voice is variety which keeps your listeners engaged and helps emphasise the points you are making .

 Correct breathing is the foundation for a strong voice and is one of the stumbling blocks for both men and women.  Standing with your feet firmly planted under your body, hip width apart, imagine yourself as a tree, with roots connecting you to the ground beneath you.  Visualise your body filling the space all around you. As you inhale envisage the air filling your body from the bottom up.  Another image you can use is to think of the air as warm, golden oil, pouring into your body. 

 Finally, when it comes to speaking, think about the ‘CAR’ formula – Connect, Articulate, Resonate. Connect with your material and your listener, addressing their needs and concerns. Be articulate – if you can’t be understood your audience will tune out. Resonate – think of yourself as a lighthouse, with your voice like the beam of light, projecting itself into the darkness. You want to resonate both physically and intellectually with your audience so that your message is heard completely.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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While you’re already well into 2011, it’s not too late to turn this year into your year of achievement.  Face your fears, expand your horizons and make things happen. 

If you’re voicing the same wishes, hopes and fears that you have in years gone by, change the record.  Read our guide to banishing the monotony of negativity by  breaking out of your comfort zone, exploring new opportunities and making the most of life’s experiences .

  • Think big.  Banish the Uninvited Guest in your brain who’s holding you back with pessimistic and unconstructive thoughts. If you feel bored and stuck, do something different.  You could go out for a walk.  The change in scenery, the fresh air and putting one foot in front of the other will help you out of your rut.
  • Write down your rainy-day fantasies, own up to your secret hopes and dreams.  By identifying what you want, you’ve taken the first step toward achievement.
  • Pinpoint the bugbears in your daily life to help you create the life you’d love to have.  Eliminate what you can’t stand at present so you can fill the space with what you want in the future. Team up with a buddy; be that person a friend, a colleague or a coach.   Having someone providing support along your journey helps get you there…
  • Look before you leap. You don’t want to take the plunge only to find out there was no water in the pool. Explore possibilities step by step. Don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today.  You’ll feel a great sense of satisfaction taking the steps that lead to your goal.
  • Finally, avoid falling into guilt traps and people pleasing.  This is your life.  Just live it.  

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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