When you’re smilin’

Your mom probably told you this– along with “stand up straight,” but smiling is a good thing. Singers know that if their pitch is off or flat, they add a slight smile and the pitch improves.

If your speaking voice feels flat or dull, generate a genuine smile to positively affect your tone and demeanor. When you smile at your audience, their mirror neurons fire and initiate brain activities that evoke warm feelings. It’s an efficient way of getting an audience to experience empathy or pleasant emotions. Of course, only smile at the appropriate times in your presentation, but make it happen early for the best effect.

Smiling also enhances likeability. Recently, we conducted trainings at Realogy in New Jersey. Participants were so witty and engaged that we laughed constantly. The benefit? We liked one another immediately, and they had an impressive level of achievement. Plus, we all left feeling refreshed and satisfied.

 

Time-Worn

David Sax's NY Times article: End the Innovation Obsession explored how society values innovation. But innovation cuts both ways. To please investors, customers and the media, firms put a priority on inventing new technology. Unfortunately, many of those innovations wind up in landfills or the dustbin of...

Engine of Action

Last week, our client Ethan was developing a story to open an important presentation. In our rehearsal, he began by describing the physical location, weather, and the background of the characters. Not only did this take nearly three minutes-- his story had no forward motion. When...

Favourite Exercises

Yorgos Lanthimos' film The Favourite is getting great buzz. Lanthimos wanted immediacy and authentic vulnerability from actors Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone and Olivia Colman. He achieved this outcome with three weeks of rehearsal, having the actors do seemingly goofy exercises like jumping from floor tile...

Game Changer

Last Monday night, one game broke records, wowed fans, and forged its place in football history. For fans of the LA Rams or the Kansas City Chiefs (both with 9-1 records this season), it was a nail-biter all the way. With continuous well-executed plays and...

The Bus Moment

Earlier this week we were training in New York for NPD, a market research firm. While in discussion with a group president, Tim directed us to prepare his leaders for their "bus moment." We were stumped. We'd never heard the term. Tim explained. "In leadership roles,...

Reading Signals

Melissa McCarthy, while touting her new film Can You Ever Forgive Me? called herself a "dinosaur" because she doesn't text, email or tweet. Instead, she observes human behavior and incorporates those insights into her characters. All well-trained actors, sketch artists, and scientists have highly developed...

Embracing Your Stage Fright

It’s not just you. Most people suffer from speaker anxiety. In my years of coaching and training clients, I’ve found that speaker anxiety can be greatly diminished simply by speaking on a regular basis and having the right tools in place when anxiety rears its...

Always Look for Feedback

Rehearse your presentation in front of a trusted colleague, friend, or family member. Poll them for specific feedback. If you simply ask “How did I do?” most people will say, “Great!” which tells you nothing. Ask for specifics like the goal of your presentation, what...

Be Colorful, Creative and Specific In Your Speech

To be a successful speaker or communicator, the most important thing you can do is put your full attention on the audience and what would serve them best. If you want to deliver value or drive others to take an action, trust your intuition and...

Silencing the Voices in Your Head

The pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect and deliver presentations that no one can criticize becomes a metaphorical straight jacket. The nagging voice that resides inside our heads is loud, obnoxious, and demoralizing. Moreover, it kills our creativity. No speaker can simultaneously monitor...