Tuesday, November 18, 2014
As a young senior executive at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, I was regularly called upon to meet Federal politicians when they came to do talkback radio.
Talkback radio in Australia is one of a few in the world that engages with and wields enormous political power.It is more powerful here than in the US or Britain.
John Howard, the second-longest serving Australian Prime Minister knew the power of this media platform.
In the mid-90s as Leader of the Opposition in 1995 and Prime Minister in 1996, I got to meet him on several occasions and escort him to the ABC studios in Adelaide Terrace in Perth.
He was always engaging on radio and in the flesh.
I've previously analyzed Howard's great skill as a political marketer.
This time, I wanted to look at his speaking skills.
Here's an analysis of hearing him up close and personal recently at a private breakfast in Perth.
1. The Look and Wardrobe
He still wears the power dress of dark suit, white shirt and red tie.
He wore cufflinks and did his jacket up.
At age 75 years, he looked fit and tanned.
2. The Memory and No Notes
Howard suffered a hearing impairment in his youth and he continues to wear a hearing aid.
This encouraged him to develop an excellent memory. A tool he still uses today.
By relying on memory, this allowed him not to wear glasses.
3. The Eye Contact
His eye contact with the audience was excellent.
This has been a skill developed over a lifetime of giving speeches and this is a learned skill anyone can master with enough practice.
4. The Loud Voice with Variety
Even up the back of the room everyone could hear him.
Excellent projection, tone, timbre and control.
5. The Rapport Building
In this speech he acknowledged the influencers in the room, like former Premier Richard Court and veteran businessman Harold Clough.
6. The Language
You can tell he is a trained lawyer and masterful with words.
John Howard is considered short, even though he reportedly is of average height at 176.5cm.
The way he stood at podium made him appear taller.
8. Body Language
What stood out was his expansive use of arms and body.
When he used the term "huge breakthrough" he pushed his arms forward congruent with his message.
When he talked about supply and demand curves, he crossed his arms to illustrate two lines in a graph crossing.
Very subtle but worked in context.
9. Use of Metaphors
"He could intercept a ball and run for the try line like the best of them," was more memorable one when describing the talent of fellow colleagues.
10. Finish on a Strong Point
His closer was very strong.
Please consider my next public speaking seminar on Tuesday November 25th 930am to 1pm. Book here.
Feedback from Public Speaking Masterclass - Powerful and Persuasive Speechwriting September 23rd 2014
Feedback from past delegates:
"I liked his personal relationship with the content."
Marcelo Mesquita, Owner Intense Health Clinic, Booragoon
"Powerful reminder of the principles underpinning speech writing."
Oye Akindele Obe, Managing Director Akata Resources, West Perth
"I liked the stories and grabbing the attention of the audience."
Andreia Mesquita, Nutritionist Intense Health Clinic, Booragoon
"I liked his hostory of the story"
Damian Ganzer, Director, Bioffice, Morley
Learn the art of speech building, structure and writing in this half-day seminar. This workshop is ideal for anyone wanting to better understand the techniques used by the professionals. Write better speeches in less time.
How to write for impact.
How to make a memorable beginning.
Seven strategies for targeting your message to your audience.
How to weave personal stories into your presentations to build
credibility and audience rapport.
The 14 strategies President William Jefferson Clinton uses in his
How to plan for audience interaction.
How to write a powerful ending.
Total Cost: $495.00 (incl. GST)
Ongoing mentoring for 90 days after the event and we will review any speeches you write valued at $400.
Next course is Tuesday November 25th 930am to 1pm.
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
"What I learnt was the importance of having a catchy subject heading in emailing so that my EDM will not be in the "trash". I also learnt how business planning effects the company marketing strategies. Understanding the STEEP concept is very useful and enhanced my knowledge."
Yeng Choy Mei, Assistant Manager Republic Polytechnic Singapore
"Thomas is an engaging trainer who has great and in-depth knowledge of email marketing, from traditional to new media. He is also very approachable and is open to discussion very freely. He has also shared some very insightful ways to making an EDM easier to reach out to its intended target audiences. Knowing and understanding the common mistakes are important to creating an effective email direct mailer."
Daniel Loo, Executive, Strategic Marketing, NTUC Income Insurance Co-operative Limited, Singapore
"In a relaxed and informal environment, Mr Thomas Murrell was able to present a very informative workshop addressing all our issues. He was helpful with his explanations and kept everyone engaged throughout the session by keeping the topics interesting. There is definitely a lot to take away from the workshop."
Shivvani Jegatheesan, Executive Community Relations, Singapore Children's Society, Singapore
"Mr Murrell taught the class based on his experiences. The case studies and examples he gave were really useful and relevant. I really enjoyed the course, especially the group work he assigned us to. He helped me understand email marketing better and how I can better engage my target audience on social media such as LinkedIn. This is the course to attend if you would like to do email marketing more effectively."
Carol Huang Wansi, Executive Community Relations, Singapore Children's Society, Singapore
"Thomas has good knowledge and great concepts about email marketing. He is able to guide us during our group discussion and lead us to the right direction. A very good mentor indeed. I have learnt the different aspects of email marketing, the Do's and Don'ts and the things to look out for when creating an EDM. I enjoyed how Thomas interacted with us during our group discussion and was able to give ideas and suggestions."
Eileen Po, Events Executive, NTUC Income Insurance Co-Operative Ltd, Singapore
"Before I attended this course I did not know what are the ways I can market my product and how to find a database to send product information to. After attending this course, I have many great ideas on how email marketing works. How I can obtain a database to send product information, how to use SMART goals to achieve my target goal. I really appreciate the facilitator, Mr Thomas Murrell in allowing the class to brainstorm the ways I can market my product with a minimum cost incurred."
Daphne Phua, Director Inspirational Mind Pte Ltd, Singapore
Thursday, August 07, 2014
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Having a speech, presentation or seminar professionally recorded is one of the best investments you can make.
I regularly recommend this process to my executive speech coaching clients.
Here are five reasons.
1. To Gauge Audience Response
Like any good qualitative research technique, video recording a speech allows you to capture in real time an audience's response to the speech.
What was the overall effect on the audience of the speech?
Were the speech's presentation goals met in terms of outcomes?
Did the speech fit the audience and context of the event?
2. Speaker Performance Improvement for Initial Impact
"Is that what I really look like? Wow, I need to get a haircut, lose weight and not look so serious!
Is that really the sound of my own voice?
It sounds so different. I hate the sound of my own voice!"
This is very common feedback from novice speakers when they watch the replay back for the first time.
It can really shatter their confidence.
The first viewing or listening to a speech will be a shock for the speaker for many reasons.
So this first viewing needs to be taken in context.
Firstly, how the speaker hears their own voice - essentially via bone-conducted sound reaching the cochlea directly through the tissues of the head - is very different from how the audience hears the speakers voice.
When you speak and the sound is recorded and then played-back, sound energy spreads in the air around you from your vocal cords and is not echoed in the head.
When you hear the recording played back it doesn't sound the same to you - often because the deeper, lower-frequency vibrations traveling to your ear via bone and tissue are eliminated so it sounds higher pitched and less pleasant to listen to.
That's why you don't like it.
Not because you have a bad voice - but the physiology of how you hear your own voice is different to how others hear it.
Great let's move on then.
3. To Improve Content
You never know what impact the content of a speech is going to have until you deliver it to a live audience.
Here are some typical questions I would ask a client in a speech video review feedback session when we concentrate on the content only.
"How was the set-up and introduction from the MC?"
"Did you get the audience’s attention during the opening?"
"Was it a "winning beginning" where your attention-grabber was relevant to the topic and theme?"
"Did your opening scene engage the audience using visual (see), auditory (hear) and kinaesthetic (touch) anchor points?"
"Was there enough character development, scene setting, and emotional tension?"
"Did you build rapport with the audience by reflecting back issues they may be preoccupied with?"
"Did you clearly give your audience both a reason to listen, and a clear direction such as a clear premise, thesis or objective?"
"Was the outline or organization of the speech easy to follow?
"Did you support your three main points with concrete case studies, examples, stories, statistics, metaphors, or analogies?"
"During the speech did you connect with head (logic), heart (emotion), and hip-pocket (WIIFM)?"
"Did you re-cap your three key points?"
"Did you close the story and your ending provide a feeling of closure?"
"Did you leave your audience with something to think about, feel or do? A clear call to action (CTA)."
4. To Improve Delivery
Your body language must match your verbal message.
Gestures are very important.
The camera never lies about your delivery and you can't argue with the reality of the recording.
It's staring you in your face.
If you find looking at the complete video too confronting, here's a two-step process to make it easier.
First, listen to the speech with the visuals turned off.
Questions I ask in this style of coaching session are:
"Was there vocal variety? For example, did you vary your vocal pace, pitch and volume in a way that enforced your message and kept it engaging?
Do you need to project more?
How was your use of language? Was it appropriate to audience and was there any jargon or slang that the audience couldn’t relate to.
Was it culturally appropriate?
How was the enunciation and pronunciation?
Any crutches or filler words such as Ahs, Ums?
Did the rhetorical devices such as simile, analogy, contrast, rhyme, alliteration, metaphor, acronym or memory hook work?
Did you pause long enough after important points or rhetorical questions or after humour points?
For example, did you let people have the time to laugh or did you step-on the laughs and move on too quickly?"
Second, watch the speech with the audio turned off.
Questions I ask in this style of coaching session are:
"How was your eye contact?
"Did you speak from memorable key words or did you look down at wordy notes too much?
Did you divide the room into quarters?
Did your facial expressions, body language such as stance, movement and gestures distract from or enforce the message?
Did your gestures look natural?
Was your wardrobe and attire appropriate? How was the hair, make-up and grooming?
Did you move with slow deliberate movements or was there noticeable pacing, rocking, and hand-wringing?
How was the choreography, seven minute rule and integration of visuals?"
5. Leverage Your Authority Status
Once you have had a speech recorded professionally, how can you leverage this to a wider audience via other media platforms?
Here are my speech coaching questions:
"Can you post it on YouTube?
Can you post it on Facebook?
Can you put it on your website?
Can you email it to others?
Can you put a ink in your company newsletter.
Can you tweet it?
Can you put your visuals on Slideshare and post to groups on LinkedIn or add to your portfolio?
Can you post the audio as a podcast?"
There are so many ways to share and curate video and audio to position you as the recognized authority in your niche.
Please consider my next public speaking course on Tuesday August 12th 2014.
Numbers limited so book here.
Monday, July 07, 2014
Do Your Hands Hurt or Help You in Public Speaking? The Case For and Against Hand Gestures in Public Speaking Part Two.
As mentioned in my previous article, one of the most common questions I get asked when doing executive speech coaching and running courses on public speaking is what do I do with my hands?
Well, this is a much debated question.
Some coaches argue gestures should be restrained while others advise that gestures should be used for greater emphasis of impact.
There is no right or wrong answer, so I’m going to argue the case for both!
The Case For Hand Gestures in Public Speaking.
Well if you are going to use your hands in a presentation to look natural, how should you use your hands?
Visual cues to an audience really help to draw them in and help to emphasize points as well.
Firstly, it comes down to what kind of presentation you’re giving.
Secondly, what kind of presenter you are.
Thirdly, what type of audience you are speaking to.
Finally, the room set up and especially the area or platform or stage you have to present from.
1. Use Natural Gesturing Throughout Your Presentation
Try to use natural gesturing throughout your presentation because we naturally gesture with our hands.
During a normal conversation with family and friends our hands are moving around.
It looks awkward to clasp your hands together in front of you or put them in front of your belt or even worse your groin region.
That’s not a good look and probably not the best way to use your hands.
So think of a speech as an animated conversation where your energy levels are slightly higher than a normal conversation. So what we want to do is bring your normal gestures into your speech.
So don’t be afraid to use the natural gestures that you would during a standard conversation with one of your friends.
If you want to look natural, use natural gesturing.
Remember styles do differ depending on your personality, for example extroverted outgoing personalities tend to use very big hand gestures. Certainly your cultural background may also come into play.
On the flip-side, if you’re a shy, more reserved and introverted person and you’re using big hand gestures, it is not going to be authentic and congruent with your personality.
This could distract and take away from your message because it’s going to look unnatural because you’re not being yourself.
So be your true and authentic self.
The whole point of gesturing is to add value to our message. So there’s no definite way that you should gesture. We have to tailor our gesturing based on our audience, based on what kind of material we’re presenting, based on who we are.
2. Impact for Important Points
Use gestures for impact on important points.
Visual cues can be effective to emphasize what you are saying.
Acting out the scene using your body will be an impactful way to engage an audience when telling a story.
For example, if you’re talking about improving performance then use that visualization. Pretend to be moving from a low base to a high base.
Use kinaesthetic speaking and the whole stage.
If making three different points, stage left for point #1, and centre stage for point #2 stand and stage right for point #1.
You want the audience to see points 1 to 3 in a left to right view (their left to their right) because this is how people read information.
So you need to do the exact opposite as the speaker – mirroring this facing the audience – you move from your right to your left.
If you need to elaborate for any of these points just go back to the position on stage that represents the point.
This is a great technique for off the cuff speaking or speaking without any aids such as whiteboard or PowerPoint.
Do not do not try this if you have the points on a PowerPoint slide. It will just confuse the audience!
Hand gestures that are larger than the outline of your body communicate a large idea or concept. If something is really big then stretch your arms out really wide and to say this is a massive point or this is massively important. For example, the sales challenge is this big.
So if you’re using that natural gesturing but then you get creative on those important points and use visualization techniques, then that can add power, authenticity and variety to your presentation.
3. Mix It Up
Just like you want to avoid a boring monotone voice and you should have vocal variety, you should also avoid repetitive gesturing.
This can also be referred to as a non-verbal body language crutch.
Often many people are unaware they are doing it until they are told or even better see a video recording of themselves presenting.
Some body language examples:
Hands hidden so your audience can’t see your hands means it will be hard for them to trust you.
Compared to hands open and your palms at a 45-degree angle, this communicates that you are being honest and open.
Hands open with palms down sends the non-verbal message that you are certain about what you are talking about.
Palms facing each other with your fingers together often give the impression that you have expertise about what you are talking about.
Palms’ facing each other says "I'm an expert on this".
Be aware that if all your hand gestures are large and fast people will perceive that you are chaotic or out of control.
Remember though, if we are just as animated as we are in our everyday conversation then our hand gestures look small and our facial expressions look like we are not doing much at all especially if we are on a stage a long way away from the audience.
By being more animated you actually are more impactful as a speaker and convey more emotion.
So use hand gestures to project your feelings and emotions.
People remember emotions more than facts. That’s why storytelling is so powerful in a speech.
Your body language must match your verbal message.
Gestures must be relevant to the phrases being used at the time, otherwise there is a danger of giving your audience conflicting messages.
Facial gestures can be most effective. For example an animated facial expression can greatly enhance your speech and help build rapport.
Mirroring and matching the body language of individuals in your audience is also a very powerful way to build audience rapport.
5. Slow Deliberate Movements
This is the most powerful way to use hand gestures.
Nothing rushed - nothing fast.
This will give you more stage presence and charisma and hence make you more believable and credible as a speaker.
Because this is often a new skill and conflicting with all the anxiety and adrenalin in your body, it takes practice to achieve this skill.
There is a lot going on in a speech.
You will be working the stage, giving a presentation, talking, trying to make eye contact, trying to give hand gestures, remembering your content, working the visuals, and mixing it up every seven minutes using the DARE principle. That’s a lot of things to do at once.
You need to practice progressively. Start by taking small steps.
It does takes practice, some say 10,000 hours to master a good speech, but over time you become better and better. If you watch yourself back on video you will see that is very normal to be more animated than less animated.
So the best rule is - if hand gestures are supporting the delivery of you message then generally they will add value to your speech.
But if the hand gestures are taking away from the supporting of your message then generally it’s going to weaken the impact of your presentation.
As for me, I like slow and deliberate hand gestures.
Please consider my next public speaking course on Tuesday August 12th 2014. Book here.
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Do Your Hands Hurt or Help You in Public Speaking? The Case For and Against Hand Gestures in Public Speaking Part One
Do Your Hands Hurt or Help You in Public Speaking? The Case For and Against Hand Gestures in Public Speaking Part OneBy Thomas Murrell MBA, CSP International Business Speaker
One of the most common questions I get asked when doing executive speech coaching or running courses on public speaking is "Tom, what do I do with my hands?"
Well, this is a much debated question.
Some coaches argue gestures should be restrained while others advise gestures should be used for greater emphasis or impact.
There is no right or wrong answer, so I'm going to argue the case for both!
The Case Against Hand Gestures in Public Speaking is the first part of this two-part article.
Here are five reasons why stillness in public speaking is a virtue.
1. Trust is Eroded
Recent research shows a third of an audience are less likely to trust a speaker who they believes uses too many hand gestures.
Too many hand movements and you have already lost the trust of 30 per cent of your audience.
The Jab and pointing for example are rarely received well by an audience.
Whether it's pointing directly at people, or jabbing into your hand, it comes across as an aggressive or accusatory gesture.
Speakers when they are nervous are also less trusted by an audience.
Hands grasped in front of you for example communicates that you are nervous or tentative, as does touching your face, hair, or neck.
Gripping speech notes or the podium for dear life with white knuckles is not the look of a confident speaker either.
Other tell tale signs include excessive "hand washing" or "pen clicking".
"The Wringer" is another variant where the terrified speaker holds their hands together massaging the palms with each other as though they are trying to keep warm on a cold frosty winter's morning.
2. Hands Are a Distraction
You see many people making simple mistakes.
They are holding their hands in a certain way that actually distracts from what they're saying.
Sometimes a speakers hand will be in this continual motion and actually attract an audience's attention and all of a sudden the audience has forgotten what they've said.
They just focus on watching their hands and not what is being said.
Clapping and slapping for example can also become a distraction if you don't pull it off well.
This could be hand clapping, or - often - unintended hitting of your hand against your side or knees or even worse the microphone!
Hands can confuse audiences when the gestures don't match the words.
For example using the word "big" while your thumb and finger indicate something tiny.
Using the double-handed first two fingers together and slightly bent with hands moving up and down gesture to illustrate you are going to give a quote is a big no no.
Some people might think you are talking about bunny rabbits.
Hand gestures can make the speaker look awkward and the audience then just feels sorry for them.
Beware of awkward gestures such as the "fig-leaf stance" where hands are clasped in front of your groin a la Adam and Eve.
A variance is the "Royal stance" where hands are clasped behind the back. This is often known as the "I have no arms" approach to public speaking.
And my favorite "the teapot" where one hand is on the hip like the handle of a tea pot and the other hand is pointing in the opposite direction like a spout.
Here is a list of uncomfortable gestures I commonly see in nervous and awkward speakers:
Scratching various parts of your body
Playing with your ring finger
Touching your face, especially nose
Swaying from side to side
Shifting your weight
Pacing back and forth
Touching your ears
Adjusting your hair, including preening and twisting of hair
Adjusting your clothing, including pulling of sleeves
Putting your hands in your pockets
Playing with pens and white board markers
Jingling coins in a pocket
5. No value
Gestures must add value.
Your body language is meant to add value to the words that you're speaking, not take away from it.
My pet hate is the line "hands up if you .... " approach by some speakers who then put their hand up. I always feel like I'm back in kindergarten and being treated as a five year old when a speaker does this.
So it's something that is very important to take control of. It's something that we have to think of because if we don't take control of our hands they will do whatever they want and they will run away from us and it will look awkward and it will not add value to our presentation and that's what gesturing is meant to do.
My tip from speaker trainer Colin James is this, feet shoulder width apart, parallel and put the thumbs down the seams of your trousers.
This is the most authoritative, powerful and least distracting stance to have.
For you as a speaker it might feel a little dorky and stiff, but from the audience's perspective it is the least distracting so they can really focus on your words and message.
In the next edition, the argument for hand gestures.
My next public speaking course in August 12th 2014. Book here.