Elizabethkuhnke's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Public Speaking

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

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher


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

And… Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher 


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

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

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

and…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

The Three Stages of Circular Communication

Listening, learning and leveraging…


The ability to connect with your listener and to communicate with clarity, confidence and commitment is your number one key to success. Sound reasoning, innovative solutions and logical conclusions are rendered meaningless if you fail to persuade, influence and inspire your listener.

During these tough times of belt tightening and cutbacks, clear, credible communication is no longer an option, it’s a necessity. Colleagues, clients and constituents demand transparency, honesty and accountability and with the empowered citizen having choice and voice, frank and candid two-way communication if the only alternative for building relationships and enhancing your reputation within your communities.

Communication is circular; it is not a one-way street. By repeatedly practicing the three steps of circular communication – listening, learning and leveraging – you can gain your clients’ respect, establish rapport, and produce outstanding results.

Listening Actively

In addition to what your customers say, listen for how they deliver your message. Details and data are important in understanding your clients’ requirements and how they expect you to address their interests. The way they speak – revealing their moods, attitudes and emotions – provides you with further valuable information. Turning your antenna and responding to what you observe through their non-verbal behaviour increases your ability to understand and respond to the speakers’ needs and concerns.

Learning to Learn

Soliciting specific feedback and being willing to act on what you hear increases your ability to connect with your customers. By engaging your clients as partners and giving them responsibility for identifying problems, you empower them to work with your departments and agencies as you seek sustainable solutions together.

 Aristotle believed that effective communication is a combination of ethos [the credibility of the speaker], logos [the truth and relevancy of the message], and pathos [the emotional and appropriate response of the receivers]

 Leveraging the Learning

Having listened and learned, now’s the time to leverage your gains. By improving deliverables and performances, you demonstrate that you’ve taken on board what you’ve discovered. By improving the services you offer, you show that you’re responding to customers’ needs. By improving your communication, you display willingness to engage with your communities in positive, proactive, and productive ways.

The Benefits of Circular Communication

Because the pressures and priorities of the public sector shift and change according to circumstances, so do the requirements and expectations of its customers. Nothing is set in stone and agility, flexibility and a willingness to listen, learn and leverage separate great communicators from the also-rans. Circular communication creates trust between and agency and its communities. No long lasting, productive relationship can exist without trust at its foundation.

For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And… Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

How to make the most of your next meeting

Don’t miss the chance to impress your colleagues, clients or boss – and inch closer to that pay rise. Use Kuhnke Communication’s top tips to achieve your aims and make the most of each and every meeting.

 First of all, make an entrance. When you enter the room, hold for a moment to take in the scene.  If you’re carrying a notebook, pad, or lap top, hold it by your side, not in front of you.  Hiding behind your props makes you look defensive and as if shielding yourself. Once you’ve surveyed the room, acknowledge others who may already be there before moving.  A simple smile and nod of the head will do before you speak.  Do not scurry into the room.  When you move, move with purpose.

Next, sit upright, with your weight evenly distributed.  Leaning forward shows interest and involvement, sitting back indicates that you’re stepping out of the discussion and are reflecting on what’s happening. Feel free to take as much room at the table as you can.  Men spread out leaving women squished in wherever they can fit.  Folding your hands, leaning forward with your elbows resting on the table demonstrates that you’re claiming your space.

When it comes to your part, whether presenting or pitching. Distribute your weight equally between both legs (i.e., don’t stand with your weight mostly on one, bending the knee of the other, jutting your hip out). Standing ‘4 square’ with your feet and knees placed evenly beneath your hips makes you look strong and in control.  Put your hands in the power position (elbows bent, hands together at waist level, finger tips touching or one palm resting in the other.) You can also hold your hands by your sides.  This may feel uncomfortable and it’s the strongest position you can take.  You’re completely open to your audience, in your most vulnerable position, saying in effect, “Here I am.  I have nothing to fear.” Hold your head as if it were floating on a gentle lake, with your chin parallel to the floor.  Lifting your chin can make you look arrogant and dropping it may make you seem unsure.  Establish strong eye contact.  When you speak look at your audience 65-85% of the time.  NEVER look at the screen behind you if you’re making a power point presentation.  And NEVER read from your notes.  The moment you break eye contact, you give away your power.  NEVER stand with your hands clasped in front of your pelvis (Fig leaf position), this makes you look defensive and protective.

Finally, avoid any other common mistakes. Women give up their power by making themselves small.  They tend to bring their shoulders forward and hold their arms close to their bodies.  In addition, they often stand with their legs crossed, making them look like little girls instead of powerful women. They also tend to nod frequently in agreement and smile to excess. This makes them appear conciliatory, which, while fine in theory, can be interpreted as relinquishing power. Strive to maintain a neutral stance as described above, with a calm and impartial expression.

 For more information visit www.kuhnkecommunication.com

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

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

And…Follow us on Twitter! www.twitter.com/diamondpolisher

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