Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Archive for the ‘Public Speaking’ Category

The 5 Golden Rules of Interviewing:

• Get your predetermined message across.

• Let nothing go by default.

• Keep off other people’s business.

• Only answer the question asked.

• Avoid sounding defensive or that you’ve been ‘got’.

Though the ‘media monster’ may bare its teeth every once in a while, you can actually enjoy going into the fray, have your say and leave them wowed and yourself intact!

Giving simple straight forward answers is not enough. The good TV or radio interviewers are looking to create something that is both entertaining and informative. It is essential therefore to understand what makes for a good interview and will keep the audience’s attention.

Afterwards, encourage those around you to tell you the things you did well. Very few of us make progress by being told what was wrong with our presentation. When we’re up in front of an audience we all have very fragile egos.

Finally, someone once asked Dan Rather what he’d learned in 30+ years of broadcasting. He replied, “Don’t eat spinach before you go on the air.” Good advice. During those 15 minutes of fame no one wants to be remembered as the person with a green glob on their teeth.

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My team know how to persuade me to complete tasks when I’m prevaricating, postponing, and procrastinating. They already have established a common ground and an emotion connection with me. They know how to make their cases compelling by appealing to my values, including my desire to make a positive difference in other people’s lives. They offer help and gear their approach to my decision-making style. And when all else fails, they direct their efforts to what drives me in combination with my needs and desires. While my latest book Persuasion & Influence For Dummies (P&IFD) is filled with useful techniques and insights into how to persuade people to do what you want them to do, here I share a few simple thoughts and tips that can lead to a big difference.

Get to know what matters to people. The more you know, the more able you are to affect their behaviour. When you know what inspires people and what they can’t live without you’ve got a guide for persuading them to follow your plan. How can you do this? Pay attention when they talk about what’s important to them. Listen not only to the words they say, notice how they speak and move. What’s their tone of voice? What words and phrases do they use to express their thoughts and feelings? What is their posture like and how are they gesturing? If the other person is speaking quickly and talking about feelings, and you’re speaking slowly and discussing thoughts, chances are your attempts at persuasion won’t fly. The most successful persuaders are those who communicate in a similar way to the people they want to persuade. P&IFD as well as Body Language For Dummies (now out in its 2nd edition), have many tips for communicating with people in a similar way.

The most successful persuaders are those who can render sound judgment at appropriate times. When your judgements are condemnatory, self-righteous, or constantly critical of another person’s beliefs and behaviours, don’t be surprised if s/he disregards your demands. The ability to stand outside of a situation and look at it clearly in an unbiased manner is one of your greatest tools for persuading others to do your bidding. If you force your agenda on people whom you want to persuade, without taking into account their situation, your chances of persuading them to do what you want are slim.

The cornerstone of persuasion is credibility. Credible people are trustworthy. You can believe what they tell you and you can trust them to listen. Fundamental to establishing your credibility are integrity, consistency and the ability to resist radical mood swings. If you lack sufficient credibility, don’t expect to be able to persuade others to take on board your suggestions. The good news is, you can develop and nurture your credibility. For more about building your credibility, pick up a copy of Persuasion & Influence For Dummies.

Remember: Support, encouragement and trust are fundamental to influencing people who want to make a difference. For these people, the work and the opportunity to make a difference is more rewarding than money, prestige and incentives.

Warning: When you’re persuading someone to do what you want them to do, don’t deliberately make them feel anxious or ashamed. While both approaches may yield temporary gains, someone who’s been shamed won’t want anything to do with you in the future and will be disinclined to speak positively about you.

Anecdote: I recently had to terminate the services of a supplier. I wrote to her that while I value her efforts, results and our working relationship, my business model has changed and I no longer require her services. I finished by saying that I would happily recommend her and her company to others. Her response? Expressions including “I have to say that I’m very disappointed that you have chosen to end our relationship in this way…”, “would have been more appropriate”, and “you did not have the courtesy to…” peppered her reply. While I appreciate that she may be worried about her business, I did not appreciate her approach to persuade me to change my mind. As for recommending her services in the future? I’m less inclined to do so now.

Tip: Rather than trying to talk someone into doing what you think is the right thing to do, persuade them by appealing to their personal beliefs and values.

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Quick Tips from Kuhnke Communication on How to Present Yourself with Confidence:

1.Claim your space. You have the right to be heard and the right to speak. People ask you to speak because they’re interested in getting to know you and hearing what you have to say.

2. Move with purpose. No 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, concerns. The more you know about your audience the better able you are to gear your remarks to them.

4. 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 into the ladies room before you speak and do a few horse blows, hums, and tongue twisters to loosen up your vocal mechanism.

5. Resonate. 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 your speech is about cooking, encourage your listener’s to host a dinner party. Etc.

6. Tell stories and anecdotes. Include examples. Use vivid language, including metaphors and similes.

7. Structure your content. Have a clear introduction (10% of your presentation) no more than 3 main points (The Rule of Three. 70%) and your summary (20%)

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, then look up at your audience and speak. They want you to do well. No one wants to see a speaker fail.

9. Breathe from your boots. 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. Before you speak, visualise yourself presenting as you want to. Make the picture real. Hear your voice – strong and resonate. See your audience looking at you with pleasure and interest. Feel the energy in your body focused and flowing easily as you make your point. Feel yourself smiling and enjoying the experience. Create the reality you want to achieve.

11. Have fun. If you enjoy what you’re doing, so will your audience.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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Sometimes we don’t all have time to read a lot of materials, so here’s Kuhnke Communication’s cheat-sheet on how to communicate with impact.

When You Speak

 Make your language vivid and descriptive

 Be clear, complete and precise.

 Repeat your points for emphasis, confirmation and clarification. Be creative in your phrasing.

 Confirm that your listener understands.

When You Listen

 Give your complete attention

 Listen with an open mind. Refrain from judging what is being said and shutting down.

 Listen for and reflect on both the words and the feelings behind the spoken words.

 Ask opened questions: who, what, where, when, and how. Avoid asking why. It will lead to a vague, unspecific response and may sound condemning.

 Pause to process what you have heard before responding.

 Avoid responding with but, yet and however. If you disagree, do so diplomatically.

 Let the speaker you know you respect them and value their thoughts and opinions – especially when they differ from yours.

 Confirm meaning. Clarify important points.

Nonverbal Communication

Use positive body language

– When speaking: well supported posture; look at your listener and use comfortable eye contact; varied volume, rhythm, pitch and pace; expressive facial and hand gestures.

– When listening: alert body; face the speaker; comfortable eye contact; receptive gestures.

– Be Aware of Cultural Differences in Nonverbal Communication
 

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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The ability to motivate a team as well as yourself is key to achieving good management skills.

 One of the challenges facing CEOs and managing directors is how to keep motivating the people who are supposed to motivate others in the organisation.

 The question has several different dimensions. Too often senior managers – the people whose responsibility is to provide leadership in an organisation – don’t realise the impact (or lack thereof) of what they say. It is this impact that either fires up managers and employees, or sets the stage for indifference and malaise. It does not have to be that way.

 Seldom are senior managers prepared to take the time to find out what managers and employees hear when they are on the receiving end of motivational speeches.

The reality is in most cases, that the recipients of the message are actually hearing something other than what is intended. 

This is not simply because the speaker says the wrong words; it is often because of the way in which the words are said.

Once a CEO is aware of how managers and employees are receiving his messages, he needs to begin to work on building creative tension into his presentations. Creative tension is a way in which you can conv ince people to get together to achieve a goal.

An excellent example is the famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech given by Dr Martin Luther King in l963 in Washington, DC. King’s challenge was to motivate people to change the way some Americans viewed the Civil Rights movement in that country. His speech captured the imagination and commitment of people by using creative tension.

In using this technique to motivate people in an organisation, a speaker first paints a picture of the way things are in the organisation (the current reality), and then paints a picture of what could be (the desired future) for the organisation. By doing this, the speaker established a gap between what is and what could be.

Then, by building the case for changing from the current reality to the desired future and how to get there, listeners are able to clearly understand the challenge they face and why they need to accept the challenge.

By both making the case  for closing the gap and walking the listeners through the steps to get there, the speaker is able to show why it is better to close the gap by moving the current reality closer and closer to be desired future instead of just weakening the desire to achieve something better.

In medieval times, there was a philosopher named William of Occam, who stated: ‘One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything’.   This belief is known as Occam’s Razor, and it means that there is no value in doing more than needs to be done. This includes talking things over before a decision needs to be made.

Getting things done requires discussion and input but only if the discussion and input are focused on the real issues the company is facing; and only if a decision comes out of them.

Discussion – good discussion that is – requires that you explain the situation you are facing the things that complicate the situation, and then offer an option that will resolve the situation. It doesn’t require ramblings about other issues or other agendas.

Good discussion also requires good listening. And good listening means that you not only hear the words being said, but hear what is behind the words.  

Think of why that person has that view. Talk about which options make the most sense. 

Which options will provide the greatest leverage with the least prolonged effort? Which options will provide the greatest return on investment? And which options will have the least negative unintended consequences? Then make a decision.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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You’ve prepared, you’ve practiced, and you’re rearing to go.   Pumped with adrenaline and ready to take on all challengers, you walk into the arena where you’re met with an angry,hostile, resentful audience.

 

Whether you’re speaking to an assembly of 1 or 1,000 managing your listener’s negativity is paramount if you’re to communicate successfully.  Panicking will get you nowhere.  By applying the 3-D principle: Depersonalise,Detach, and Defuse you’ll increase your confidence and come off looking like a star.

  • Depersonalise  People carry their own agenda and personal baggage.  Someone’s response to you may have nothing to do with you personally.  For example, a client was struggling with a member of her staff, who was named Donna.  It turned out that the client’s husband had recently left her for another woman, whose name was also Donna. The problem wasn’t the staff member’s capability or competency, it was her name. Lesson learned?  Don’t take it personally.
  • Detach
      Contain your feelings, expunge your ego, and distance yourself from the emotion.  Engaging with the attacker sets up a
    competitive dynamic in which one wins and the other loses.  By remaining open and asking questions for gaining clarity you’ll neutralise the situation.
  • Defuse A bit of appropriate humour goes a long way in defusing negative energy. If your tension rises and you respond defensively, the negativity will increase. Remember: Respond to the situation; don’t react to the person.

 

Knowing What Triggers Your Reactions

 There are people in this world who just annoy you and you don’t know why. By investing time to recognise who and what sets you off you’ll increase your ability to handle whatever negativity gets thrown your way.  Below are different types you might recognise as Triggers:

  • The Know-It-All:  This person has an answer for everything and wants to actively participate in your life.  Acknowledge the positive
    contribution the person makes, and that you will consider their input.  You do not promise to act on their suggestions, just to consider them
  • The Fault Finder: Whines and complains about everything and comes up with no solutions.  This person takes pleasure in complaining.  No matter what you say, they’ll respond with, “Yes, but…” Tell them that you are looking for solutions, not further problems, and that you would appreciate their suggestions.
  • The Expert Challenger: These people need to be recognised for their expertise.  Acknowledge their contributions and remain open to their input.  By inviting and acknowledging the challenger’s expertise you’ll build rapport and create an ally.
  • The Wanderer: This person immerses himself in the minutiae of the detail when a quick answer is all that’s required.  To stop
    them from droning on, cut in, summarise what they’ve said and thank them for their contribution.
  • The Loser: This person never admits to being wrong or making a mistake.  With low self-esteem, this person can only make himself feel better by making other people wrong.  Let them save face by agreeing to disagree.
  • The Controller:  Dominance is paramount to this person.  Able to intimidate others by monopolising a conversation or activity, you can control them by asking for others to respond.  If the person continues to dominate the conversation/meeting/event take a break, and have a quiet word with them.
  • The Talkers:   No matter how good you are at connecting with an audience, there will be times when two or more people will engage in conversation during your presentation.  If it’s a large audience, ignore the disruption.  If they’re distracting the people near them, they’ll soon be told.  If it happens in a smaller group, you’ll have to manage the distraction.  You can do this is the following ways:
    • Make eye contact and stop speaking until they look at you.
    • Ask them directly to hold their conversation until the break.
    • Walk toward them, stop in front of them, and keep talking. 
  • The Hecklers: Ignore them and continue as you planned.  If you don’t respond to them, they’ll soon give up.  If they continue, ask their name and what organisation they represent.  This usually works because hecklers want to remain anonymous.

 

The point to remember about difficult audiences is that when someone is acting disruptively, it’s more often than not about something other than you.  The person is suffering from an unmet need.  Whether it’s the loser needing to be right, the complainer needing to be comforted, or the controller needing to dominate, by depersonalising, detaching, and defusing, you’ll remain in control and the other person’s negative behaviour might even disappear.

 

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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The ability to connect with your listener and to communicate clearly, concisely and confidently is consistently ranked the number one key to success by leaders throughout business, politics and the professions.

 No matter how sound your reasoning, how compelling your arguments, or how logical your conclusions, if you fail to persuade, motivate, and convince your listener your efforts will be in vain. 

And how can you convince your audience – be it an audience of one or one thousand? 

By connecting at an emotional level.

In order to connect successfully with other people your voice must be free, compelling, and authentic.

Add Vocal Variety

Depending on the tone of your voice, you can either instantly engage your listener or turn them off entirely.  Aim for a voice that has a range of tones.  No matter how interesting the information, if your tone is monotonous your listener will tune you out. 

Observe Your Listener

There are numerous traps people can unintentionally fall into when speaking.  Some people speak too loudly in an effort to make others listen.   Others are surprised to learn that they come across as aggressive when making their point.  And there are those who mumble, letting the ends of their sentences trail off, forcing the listener to strain to understand what they’re saying.  When you speak, observe your listener to determine how you’re being received.

 Release Tension

If you’re holding tension anywhere in your body, it will constrict your voice.  A tight voice sends out negative messages, regardless of how you’re actually feeling.  If you’re concerned about what you have to say, yawn before speaking.  Yawning opens your throat, frees your voice and eliminates tense sounds.

 Connect with Your Content

If you fail to make an emotional connection with the words you speak you can’t expect your listener to connect with them either.  Make a list of powerful words – for example, love, hate, beautiful, everything, nothing, always – and practice saying them with energy and meaning. When you feel a connection to the words you speak, your audience will feel compelled to listen to what you have to say.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

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