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Hand gestures

President Clinton tucked his thumb under his index finger relied on that as his “go to” gesture.

President Obama emphasized points using an index finger.

President Trump pushes the wrist and palm of his hand….forward, towards the audience to punctuate his words.

I contend….your audience shouldn’t remember the gesture.  The point of the gesture is to provide meaning to the word.

PREVENT A POOR PERFORMANCE

“Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance”
Stephen Keague, The Little Red Handbook of Public Speaking

Mr. Keague is right. I recently worked with the head of Cyber Security for a large corporation, prior to his presentation before the Board of Directors. Together, we re-wrote his speech so that the language was relatable and easy to follow. My client practiced in front of his team; he practiced a couple of times before his boss; and he practiced whenever he had the chance.

The practice paid off. His boss received many compliments, and the interest of the Board was piqued – something that never happened before when the presentations were technical and flat. The Board requested more presentations like this, so that they can have a deeper understanding of his department’s responsibilities.

So, proper planning and preparation produced a professional, polished and poised presentation.

NOW OFFERING ON-LINE COACHING

Have an important speech, job interview or high-level meeting coming up and need to quickly brush up on your presentation skills?

Then you think… how am I going to fit a coaching session in with travel, traffic and all that time spent away from the office? How convenient would it be to have a speech coach a couple of clicks away?

This is why I now offer virtual coaching as a part of my services.

How does it work?

 Contact me today to schedule a 15-minute phone conversation:

Email: gcohn@gloriacohnconsulting.com

Call: 650.906.4155

During that initial meeting, I will ask you a few questions about your organization and identify your specific, immediate needs. We will then set up a course for action.

The first session: you choose the topic(s)

  • Organizing, writing and refining your content
  • Creating and working with slides
  • Identifying your audience and their needs
  • Understanding the nine body language skills and how to use them
  • Knowing your natural strengths and leveraging them
  • The art of Q&A
  • Creating a sound bite
  • Effective listening skills
  • Reviewing and discussing any video links

We will set the agenda for any follow-up session(s) at the end of the first meeting.

Length of sessions

 The length of the sessions is flexible. They can be as short as ½ hour, or as long as 3 hours. I want to be responsive to your needs and be respectful of your time.

Technical requirements

GoToMeeting works great. Click the link below to make sure you’re able to connect to a virtual session.

https://care.citrixonline.com/gotomeeting/get-ready

Ready to get started?

 Contact me today to schedule a 15-minute phone conversation:

Email: gcohn@gloriacohnconsulting.com

Call: 650.906.4155

 I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have. I look forward to hearing from you and to helping you enhance your delivery skills.

 

 

If English is not your native language, are you still struggling finding the right word?

In the San Francisco Bay area, I have many clients whose first language is not English. When I work with them on enhancing their presentation skills, a common fear is either mispronouncing a word, or using the wrong word when explaining a concept.

I know there are some positions where one has to carefully select words, and that being precise is essential.

But, for many of us, I would ask …..is that really what your audiences want from you….to always say the right thing at the right time? To never mispronounce word?

Even if English is our first language, how many of us can achieve that?

Here is my advice.

First –  be kind to yourself; mastering a language is difficult and public speaking can be scary.

Second – try this. When the right word is not coming to you, call it out. Say, “I am searching for a certain word, but it is escaping me.” You might discover that the audience is willing to help you find that word. Or, you can say, “I am not thinking of it, so let’s move on.”

Third – prepare. When practicing, make sure you select words you are comfortable saying.

 

DON’T AVOID AUDIENCE INTERACTION

 

 

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I cautioned several clients recently about timing; their presentations went on way too long.

When I asked why they hadn’t edited out extraneous information, they said they packed their talk with tons of information, in order to ward off questions at the conclusion of their presentation.

If this is strategy you are thinking of employing, don’t.

Questions are the most dynamic part of the presentation.

They allow you to further connect to the audience.  That connection comes when you listen to their issues, empathize with them, acknowledge a different point-of-view, or solve a problem.

If you fear being ambushed by a hostile question, or even being thrown an inquiry you can’t answer, you can prepare for those possibilities in advance.

Keep this in mind.   When you lengthen your presentation, the audience retention plummets; you risk losing, boring or annoying your audience.

Don’t give them an excuse to tune out and turn to their phones for entertainment.

Plus…you may get that bothersome question anyway.

Monotone voice? Use your hands.

If you talk in a monotone, and you want to add more modulation to your vocal delivery, try using hand gestures that draw a picture of the word.

In my years of training and coaching, I have discovered an interesting outcome when people use hand gestures…the voice naturally expands and becomes more expressive.

There is one important key to this: the hand gesture MUST match, describe, or illustrate the word you are saying.

Try this experiment. Say the following sentence and use your hands to illustrate an “expansive bay window.”

“In my living room, I have an EXPANSIVE BAY WINDOW overlooking the bridge.”

Did you hear your voice amplify?

I suggest you practice this skill first, before you incorporate them into a presentation. Here’s how. Look for words that describe an object, a motion, or an action. Example words are: stack of papers, balance, moving forward, no way, rising, lowering, spending more than we’re taking in.”

A safe place to practice this is when you are talking on the phone. Exaggerate the hand gestures and see how this affects the energy in your voice.

Once you have practiced and feel confident that your gestures are becoming more natural, set a goal for yourself. When you are preparing your talking points for a meeting or presentation, look for 3 or 4 words where you can add a gesture. Make a conscious effort to do so.

It is truly an authentic way to add expression to your voice.