Public Speaking: Fact or Myth?


April 16th, 2011 by Frank Damelio

1. Eye contact should last about 3 seconds before moving on to next person.

Myth. Many courses on public speaking teach this technique. The problem is that it makes you look superficial. Instead, vary the duration of eye contact with each individual. Sometimes you will make a point to an individual that might last eight seconds. Just be sure to avoid the “stalker stare”.

2. Keep a formal demeanor when presenting.

Myth. I’m not saying be unprofessional, but most speakers appear as if they are giving a eulogy, which is bad . . . unless they really are. Your audience wants to see some personality; so don’t be afraid to be yourself.

3. It is imperative to stay within your allocated time.

Fact. This is probably “more true” than most speakers realize. There are few things that will make your audience resent you more than going past your time. Conversely finishing a bit early will earn you a great deal of appreciation.

4. Speak from the lectern/podium.

Myth. The lectern is a barrier between you and your audience. Perhaps this is comforting to you, but it doesn’t work for your audience. Get out from behind the lectern and you will outshine the other speakers by connecting directly with your audience.

5. Avoid fillers, “ums” and “ahs”.

Myth. Most speaking courses tell you to watch out for those filler words. Some even have the audience count them as you speak. This is counterproductive. The worst thing to tell someone to do before they present is to avoid saying “um”. The fact is that they will say it much more when they make an effort to avoid it. It’s like telling someone, “hey don’t think of a monkey”.

6. Dress at least as formal as your audience.

Fact. While many presenters are overly formal in speech, they sometimes underdress, which can be misconstrued as lack of respect by their audience. Always ask the organizer upfront how people will be dressed.

7. It’s okay to read from your slides because everyone does it.

Myth. Well, yes, almost everyone reads from their slides, but that doesn’t mean that your audience doesn’t greatly dislike it. It’s okay if the slide guides you, for example a ONE WORD bullet point to get you in the right direction is ok. Avoid long phrases and sentences.

8. If you’d liked this blog, you can help me by hitting one the buttons below to share.

Fact.  I would be much obliged.

Take a look at our upcoming full-day public speaking training in Worcester, Mass.

Download Power of Persuasion Notes Here.

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What is Your Public Speaking Personality?


March 27th, 2011 by Frank Damelio

Here is something fun that will tell you what your public speaking personality is. After years of teaching public speaking, we’ve compiled ten simple questions that will help you understand what kind of speaker you are and where you can improve.

Check out our upcoming intensive full-day public speaking seminar.

POWER OF PERSUASION NOTES: Download HERE

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Public Speaking: Death by PowerPoint


February 28th, 2011 by Frank Damelio

I just came back from the HIMSS trade show in Orlando. Many of the larger booths had presenters using PowerPoint to sell the benefits of their featured products and services. Not one presenter was using PowerPoint effectively.

Every presentation had either too many bullet points or cluttered graphs and most of the presenters were reading from their slides. These professionals must have taken a training course on presenting at some point, right? Probably, but it is simply easier to read your presentation off the slides, and since everyone else does it, why not?

FACT: Every presenter I saw was losing an opportunity to persuade their audience to invest in their solutions. Many of the audience members were “zoning”, and they were missing the message.

In this imbedded video, Don McMillan will make you laugh and remind you how to avoid death by PowerPoint.

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Public Speaking: Veiling the Nerves 101


February 7th, 2011 by Frank Damelio

Avoid looking nervous when you speak.

Many of my clients confide in me that they get nervous when giving a presentation or speaking in a group. It is interesting that these are highly confident people, who know their material. My experience is that it is simply in our DNA to feel nerves when presenting before our peers. If you are like most of us, you will benefit from these tips on veiling the nerves.

1. Slow your movement. As a general rule, confident people move and talk more slowly.

2. Never apologize or mention your nerves. It makes others feel awkward.

3. Steeple the fingers. Your hands speak volumes about you. The most confident hand position is where you steeple the fingers. Research shows this also conveys an aura of intelligence.

4. Notice the eye color of each person you are talking to you. This ensures keen eye contact and conveys confidence.

5. Especially when seated, take up more space with your body. Stretch out and lean back a bit. Just don’t overdo this, lest you appear arrogant.

Want more tips on being confident? Enroll today in one of our full day intensive public speaking seminars here.

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Stop Burning Trade Show Dollars


January 23rd, 2011 by Frank Damelio

Looking for a better ROI on your next trade show? This video is a must.

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Power of Persuasion: I’m a fraud


January 3rd, 2011 by Frank Damelio

I am a fraud, a fake, a charlatan.

How do you know when someone is lying to you?  They don’t just admit it.

I’ve been experimenting with that very question.  Most of my readers know me as a professional development trainer, but I am also an expert sleight-of-mind magician.  In professional performances I have a unique opportunity to test principles of body language and persuasion.  My latest experiment delves into the art of deception.

A member of the audience is asked to select a card at random.  She is then asked to repeat the card in her mind ten times.  Finally, she is asked to make a secret choice of being a liar or a truth teller.  My job is to ask questions and study her as she answers.  I must then determine her veracity.

Results: Liars unknowingly give off common signals

What are these common signals?

Some of the conventional wisdom was proven wrong.   Those of us who study body language have read that liars often look away, stutter, and pause to calculate a false answer.  Sometimes this can be true, but here is what I’ve found.

Male Liars:

  • Make far more direct eye contact than when they are not lying; thus overcompensating.
  • Answer faster and shorter.
  • Blink less than when they are telling the truth.
  • Make almost no facial expressions as compared to moderate facial expressions when they are telling the truth.

Female Liars:

  • Smile more and become overly expressive.  This can include a laugh or giggle for no reason.
  • Take a longer time to answer.
  • Shift eyes far more as they search for their answers.
  • While they make less eye contact than usual, when they do so, they tend to raise one eyebrow.

When I started my experiment in September 2010.  I was correctly “guessing” whether they were lying in 60% of cases.  After dissecting the differences between men and women, my success ratio is now at 90%.  It is not pure science, and some people pause or laugh because they are nervous. It helps to ask five questions that I know are true to use as a baseline to see how quickly they answer and how expressive they are.

Application:

The ability to persuade others is imperative if we wish to advance our personal agendas, careers and businesses.  It is a fact that when people internally disagree with what you are proposing, they will sugar coat and even lie to avoid what they perceive as unpalatable disagreement.  Once you learn to read others, you can understand when they are not sold, even if their words say that they are.  And this ability will prove priceless.

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Higher Testosterone = More Success?


December 21st, 2010 by Frank Damelio

Body language affects your testosterone, testosterone affects your…success?

Irrespective on gender, more successful people have higher testosterone levels. 

It’s a fact that your body language has a direct effect on how others perceive you.  For years studies have shown that by adjusting your body position, you can not only look but also feel more confident.  The latest research, summarized in Time Magazine, now shows that you can double your testosterone levels by simply improving your body positioning from low-power to high-power.  That’s amazing!

Simply watch how people subconsciously use their body position when they are comfortable and when they are uncomfortable.  You’ll notice that confident people assume high power positions that take up more space, which makes them look and feel more confident.  Those who are timid and nervous tend to assume low-power positions, which make them look and feel weak.

I have my feet on the desk and I’m leaning back as I write this blog.  I’m going to sit like this every day this week.  Let’s see how my biceps respond!

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Power of Persuasion: Look Younger by Moving


December 15th, 2010 by Frank Damelio

Look Younger by Moving

Standing in church I look over at my 4 year-old boy to see his body in continual motion.  His head turns left, then right and then he looks at the ceiling.  He puts his hand on his head, he leans back then forward.  Maybe I should have been listening to the sermon, but I couldn’t help to start counting how many seconds before Nicky moves again.  I couldn’t get past two.  Then I look at my eight-year old.  He moves around, but not quite as much.  I could count to ten before his head turns and his body shifted then five seconds later he puts his hands on the pew in front of him.  I started looking at other people.  Right in front of me was a man and his wife, both around seventy years old.  One of them moved only once in the first ninety seconds.  The rest of that time they appeared frozen in place. 

This got me thinking.  Is there a correlation between movement and age, and if so could a person use movement to appear more youthful?

For the following two months, we observed over 300 people in public places in the following age categories: kids, teens, twenties, forties, and sixties.  A head-turn, look at a watch, posture change, gesture, etc. qualified as making a move.  I only analyzed people in listening situations or alone, because when people talk they are far more animated.  Here are the results measured in moves per minute (MPM):

The older people grow, the less they move and shift.  Morbid as it appears, it is a natural progression towards death.  How does movement affect how others perceive you?

Likability is one of the six pillars of persuasion.  When studying the most likable people, one common denominator is that they nod and make facial expressions as they react to other people talking to them.  An observation made in this study showed that the older people grow, the less they externally react to others.  This may have a negative impact on how they connect.  Dale Carnegie said it best, “Be interesting by being interested”.

What about appearing younger?  After analyzing the chart above, we decided to test whether movement makes people appear younger. We asked people to watch a twenty-five-year-old woman for a minute and then guess her age.  In some circumstances she would move only once during the minute; in others, she would move ten times.  Here are the results:

1   MPM:         average perceived age: 22 years old

10 MPM:         average perceived age: 19.5 years old

Next we tried the experiment with me (age 43).  Here are the results based on 48 respondents:

1 MPM:           average perceived age: 40.7 years old

10 MPM:         average perceived age: 38.4 years old

You look younger when you move.  Movement requires energy and energy is associated with youth.  Lethargy is associated with age and decline.

The point of this blog is to remind us of how loudly our body language speaks to others.  Chances are if you allow yourself to be more animated you will be perceived as more likeable and a bit younger.  And, if it works for you, you can thank Jake and Nicky for their bouncy behavior in Church.

If you liked this, please comment here and share it by clicking below.

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Public Speaking: A Day To Remember


December 10th, 2010 by Frank Damelio

Here is an email I received from Jason Kallio, founder of ExpoVantage about the rewards of presenting.  Enjoy.

         “We focus on structuring our content with our teacher hat on so that we’re not misunderstood.  This eliminates noise which is confusion.  Then we deliver our content with passion, humanity and intent.  This is how we connect with our audience.
 
I did a high energy, fast paced seminar yesterday on 60 trade show tips in 60 minutes. One guy said that after 25 years in the business his experience backed up everything that I said, and he learned a few new things, too.  Content strong.  Facts are facts. Nothing too controversial about the topic.
 
One woman had been at another one of my presentations.  She implemented the tips that I had given.  Before we started, she experessed her excitement that I was the presenter.  She expressed her trust in my content, my energy and that it would be fun.  During my presentation I got her to back me up on the effectiveness of a tip about wearing two pair of socks & changing your shoes as ways to make it more comfortable throughout the day.  I would not have had this information had I not interacted before the presentation.  Had this information not been used, it would have been a lost opportunity to strengthen the delivery.  Humanity and improv make a difference.
 
To top it all off, a man took the time to come back in the room to complement me on my presentation skills.  He is in Toastmasters.  He had a standard that he was now comparing me.  He is a banker and presents often.  He does not feel present when he delivers his content.  I asked if he knew his material.  He was very confident.  After lengthy discussion, I suggested going to improv class.  This will open his mind to be in the moment.  He expressed that this would be out there for him.  He said his wife was going to laugh, but he was going to do it, and promised to report back.  He then said, “You made a difference in my life.”
 
We can choose to present or be an artist when we present.  If you are an artist, you have the intent to connect with your audience.  Connection is the greatest gift that we can receive.  (Realistic note:  The connection keeps getting you paid, and the joy you receive means you won’t feel like you work for a living.)
 
Art and Intent intact, it’s still likely that I was misunderstood at that seminar by someone.  You just cannot please everyone all the time.  However, in my book, this is a day to remember.  Living Life.”

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Public Speaking: I Hate Public Speaking


December 5th, 2010 by Frank Damelio

So many people hate public speaking.  They’d rather roll around in thumb tax and  take a bath in Tabasco sauce than get up and speak.

  • Where does this fear of public speaking come from?
  • What can you do to tame this fear?
  • Discover the answers in this amusing slide show.
  • Share it with your friends who need it.

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