Speaking

Communication, Speaking

Talking with Your Hands

Talking with your hands My sister and I were chatting with our aunt’s neighbors at a senior residence, when one of them commented on the way I was chatting. Apparently, it involved gestures. Which is not unusual. We all use our hands when we talk. Clients sometimes tell me they think they over-use their hands. They’re usually wrong. The truth is, your hands really are almost as important as your words. And sometimes you can speak volumes with your hands. Using gestures when we speak is not only natural. It’s also highly correlated with charisma. That makes sense, right?  A speaker who stands stock still and doesn’t move their hands will be much less magnetic than a speaker who creates a visual experience for their audience as well as an auditory one. Where? Bottom line: wherever you’re talking, your gestures matter. So what gestures should you use?

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business person gesrturing with hands
Networking, Speaking

The What and the How

The What and the How - The headline The Atlantic is a plaintive question. “Do Voters Care About Policy Even a Little?” The answer, contained in the subhead, appears to be a resounding “no.” “Joe Biden turned one of the highest-polling ideas in politics into reality. Few voters have even noticed.” Here’s why the president’s problem matters to you and your business. Maybe … people just aren’t paying attention to what goes on in Washington, even when it tackles problems they’ve been complaining about for years. People are just much more concerned with their own lives than any federal policy. Maybe … other issues are more important to Americans than getting a break on drug prices or getting a job because of those much-ballyhooed infrastructure projects. It’s all about the cost of groceries and gasoline. Maybe … the news media are to blame—they don’t cover what the president has to say unless they can gin up some click-generating conflict, as in the student loan issue. Another bridge being built in another red county? Big yawn. Or maybe there’s something else at work.

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Photo of a smiling Joe Biden in an outdoor crowd. By Adam Schultz / Office of the President of the United States - https://www.facebook.com/POTUS/posts/404335568360079, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=116431821
Business Communication, Speaking

The #1 Skill We All Need

The #1 skill we all need. Sitting in church on Easter Sunday, I was thinking about you. And your presentation skills. Okay, not the whole time I was sitting in church on Easter Sunday. But you did cross my mind. Because I was listening to different individuals speak … and feeling their impact on the people in the pews. Here’s what I noticed. There were some announcements and some readings and the clergy and lay people who shared them with us were fine. Then there was a call for children to come up to the front of the sanctuary. And the youth minister talked to them … and us … in a way that was radically different from anything that had come before. His voice was strong. His tone was conversational. His energy was powerful. You could feel his impact on the kids right in front of him and on the adults in the pews as well. The way he spoke enhanced what he said. And it’s like that for all of us.

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close-up of microphone with blurred backgound of people
Business Communication, Speaking

Speaking Doesn’t Mean JUST Speaking Anymore

Whether you’re speaking on a stage in a big room, at a conference table in an office, or on a virtual platform, you’d best be prepared to do more than talk. You’ll need to create ways for your listeners to participate if you want to engage, inform, or persuade them. Professional speakers have heard for a while now that the people who hire them want meaningful interaction. The days of an orator holding forth from the stage while their audience passively takes it all in? Those days are already over for most of us, and on the way out for the rest. The demand for interactivity extends to anyone who finds themselves talking to a group, not just the pros who get paid for it. Here's what can help...

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photo of Catherine Johns on stage speaking with participant
Business Communication, Speaking

The Run-Through

The Run-Through. Every expert on speaking recommends rehearsal. Yes, that includes me. At the same time, just about every would-be speaker says, “Awww, I really don’t wanna rehearse.” Or something to that effect. Yes. That also includes me. Lately, I’ve been talking to leaders at the company, learning about their business. Getting a feel for the language they use. Crafting my content so it hits the mark for their team. And I enjoyed every minute of that research and preparation. Eventually, it was time to stand up and practice. And – I really didn’t wanna rehearse. What keeps a person from doing something that makes so much sense?

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