Categories
Coaching communication public speaking

Uptalk can be lovely

Uptalk can be lovely

As we move from authoritarian leadership styles to more collaborative leadership styles, you might want to insert a little uptalk into your conversations.

What’s uptalk? It’s when you raise your voice at the end of a sentence. You speak a sentence, but the upward lilt makes it sound like a question. It makes you sound uncertain, tentative, or even dubious.

It’s OK to be uncertain. It’s OK to not speak with absolute authority and conviction at all times. It’s OK to be skeptical.

And it’s totally OK not to know all the answers!

I’m one of the few public speaking coaches I know who thinks a little uptalk is lovely. Aside from signaling uncertainty, uptalk increases vocal variety through pitch changes. Variety can make it more interesting to listen to your voice.

As long as it’s not done to distraction, a little uptalk can make you more approachable and likable. Those qualities can make you a more effective and collaborative leader.

Listen to Jeopardy to understand the value of uptalk.

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Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

🔥🔥🔥 Laura also teaches “Presenting On Camera” – a live, interactive group class for sales and training professionals who need to shift from in-person to on-camera presentations. Call to inquire about availability and rates.

Categories
Coaching communication crisis web meetings

Practice flags, bridges, and hooks

Flags, Bridges, and Hooks

You’ll want to practice your flags, bridges, and hooks. They can help you as you present on camera or go into media interviews.

Flags, bridges, and hooks help make a media interview conversational. They also help you answer tough questions and make a stronger impact.

🚩 Flagging statements signal you’re about to say something important. Think of someone planting a flag: it captures attention.

Flag examples:

🚩 If you remember one thing: remember this…
🚩 This is the key takeaway…
🚩 It all comes down to this….

Flagging Statements

🌉 Bridging statements signal you’re about to transition into another subject. Think of crossing a bridge: you’re going from one area to another.

Bridge examples:

🌉 Let’s turn our attention to…
🌉 Another area of interest is…
🌉 Let’s look at…

Bridging Statements

🦈 Hooking statements inspire your audience to ask follow up questions. Think of dangling tempting bait that lures the interviewer into asking questions you want them to ask.

Hook examples:

🐠 That’s just one easy method to…
🐠 There’s yet another way to get even better results.
🐠 I recommend a totally new approach.

Hooking Statements

Of course, there are other examples of flagging, bridging, and hooking statements. 🦈

Be prepared. Drill your tough questions, and practice your flags, bridges, and hooks before your next media interview or online, on-camera appearance.

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Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

🔥🔥🔥 Laura also teaches “Presenting On Camera” – a live, interactive group class for sales and training professionals who need to shift from in-person to on-camera presentations. Call to inquire about availability and rates.

Categories
Coaching communication public speaking

Try this 1 mindfulness technique to reduce stammering

When smart people start to stammer…

…it’s often because they’re thinking 10 steps ahead!

🤔 They’re thinking about what they’re going to say in 5 minutes.
🤔 They’re thinking about what someone might ask them in 2 minutes.
🤔 They’re even thinking about what they might forget to say!

All that thinking? It’s what smart people do!

But thinking about a zillion things while you’re talking takes being “present” out of your “presentation!”

In a public speaking consultation for a smart person who stammers, I borrow an exercise from the world of theater.

It’s an exercise called “actioning.” It’s both a theater technique + a mindfulness technique rolled into one exercise.

If you’re a smart person who’s developed a stammer, try giving actioning a try. It gives you a focus point, so you can stay present in your presentation.

Actioning gets you out of your head. It usually gets good results. Here’s how it works:

Think of an action verb. An action verb is a word that fits between the words “I” and “you.

Think I “hate” you or I “love” you! Except instead of verbs like “hate” and “love,” think of a verb that’s more appropriate to the tone of what you want your audience to do, think or feel.

Then, instead of focusing on each word that you’re saying, focus on the action verb as you speak. That way, your words will flow out of your mouth a little more easily, because you’re not in your head.

You’re not thinking about every single word that you’re going to say. You’re thinking about the emotional power of those words.

For example, you might pick an action verb like persuade. Or you might think of another action verb as you go on in your speech or presentation.

Do you want to intrigue people? Do you want to mystify people? Let your action verb guide you. Use an action verb as your focal point as you speak.

There’s a whole range of action verbs that you can use to help express what you’re trying to communicate. Try actioning because it can help you get out of your head and focus more on the emotional intent behind the words that you’re saying.

And if you’d like to learn more about actioning, read Actions: The Actor’s Thesaurus by Marina Calderone and Maggie Lloyd-Williams.

Amazon Link to book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076DQ3YQZ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

You can draw from a wide range of action verbs that can help you stay focused and present as you speak.

What are some of your favorite action verbs to use as a focal point as you speak?

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Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

🔥🔥🔥 Laura also teaches “Presenting On Camera” – a live, interactive group class for sales and training professionals who need to shift from in-person to on-camera presentations. Call to inquire about availability and rates.

Categories
Coaching communication

What can you do when you’re presenting and you freeze?

Big Muscle Movement

What can you do when you’re onstage and you freeze?

Try a BIG MUSCLE MOVEMENT.

What to do:

Find a BIG MUSCLE MOVEMENT that works for you.

It should be something you can do easily, that you enjoy doing, and yet looks great or reasonable on stage.

Practice this technique. Do it daily. And make it part of your pre-speech warm up exercise.

If you ever find yourself flailing on stage, you can perform it on the spot.

For me, I like breathing from my diaphragm (that’s a big muscle!) and spreading my arms wide (more big muscles!)

Some people like the butt clench. Your butt may not be huge, but the gluteus maximus are huge muscles!

I’ve seen entertainers spread their arms and twirl when they got lost. (Singers can pull this move off: CEOs probably can’t!)

Why the BIG MUSCLE MOVEMENT technique works:

When you feel afraid or panicky – you lose fine motor skills (small muscles) — but gain large muscle response.

Freeze, fight, or flight. That’s your evolutionary response kicking in. Take advantage of it.

Use your large motor skills to calm yourself down on stage.

What’s your go-to BIG MUSCLE MOVEMENT?

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Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

🔥🔥🔥 Laura also teaches “Presenting On Camera” – a live, interactive group class for sales and training professionals who need to shift from in-person to on-camera presentations. Call to inquire about availability and rates.

616-284-1688

Categories
Coaching communication crisis video web meetings

Try the Turkey Tail Technique in your next Zoom Meeting

Turkey Tail Technique for on camera presentations

You need to maintain eye contact with a reporter or interviewer during an on-camera appearance. And yet, you need to cover your main talking points. And stick to an agenda and stay on time.

And you don’t want to have wandering or shifty eyes while you’re talking on-camera! What to do, what to do? How can you look at the camera and still keep focused on your main talking points?

Try using what I call ‘THE TURKEY TAIL TECHNIQUE.”

In the Turkey Tail, you put each agenda item or main talking point on one post it note. Stick the post it notes across your laptop or monitor. Fan the post it notes out like a Turkey Tail!

That way, you can subtly and evenly glance at your agenda items without having wild or wandering eyes. You can maintain good eye contact with the camera, and still keep on top of your agenda and main talking points.

Try the Turkey Tail Technique in your next Zoom interview or Zoom meeting

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Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

🔥🔥🔥 Laura also teaches “Presenting On Camera” – a live, interactive group class for sales and training professionals who need to shift from in-person to on-camera presentations. Call to inquire about availability and rates.

616-284-1688

Categories
communication crisis Education fun Presentation public speaking web meetings

Zoom Meetings: Prevent BATS IN THE CAVE with 2 simple tips

I’ve been in quite a few Zoom web meetings lately, and I’ve seen a lot of BATS IN THE CAVE, if you know what I mean.

If you don’t know what I mean by BATS IN THE CAVE — it’s when someone is using the camera on their laptop and I can look straight up their nose during the meeting.

Really, BATS IN THE CAVE is not a good look on anyone!

If you use a laptop for web meetings, I’ll give you two tips to help you get rid of that BATS IN THE CAVE look.

1. Get a stack of books. Raise your laptop up so your eyes are level with the camera.

2. Get a sticky note. Attach it to your monitor with an arrow or a smiley face, reminding you to look up and SMILE.

It’s the simple things. You can MacGyver this and still look like a polished professional.

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Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte.

Categories
communication

Body Language Tip: when networking, look at feet

networking look at feet

Some people find networking awkward, but it doesn’t have to be. Not if you get in the habit of looking at feet.

Feet???

Yes, feet!

Feet point toward interest. If you’re talking to someone and your feet are pointing toward each other, cool. You’re both interested and engaged.

But when someone’s feet start to stray, it’s a good time to walk away. It’s been swell, but it’s time to move on.

As you approach a group, you might wonder if it’s a good time to join in. Watch for an opening. When someone’s foot starts to stray outward, it may be a good time to step in.

Body language doesn’t lie. Look for body language cues when you network. It can make connecting and moving on much easier.

Categories
Coaching communication Presentation public speaking

Weird is where the growth happens

A client was rehearsing her presentation. She stood on stage with her arms crossed in front of her. I stopped her.

“Try standing with your palms out,” I told her.

She did, then stopped.

“That feels weird,” she said.

“Good,” I said. “Try it again.”

She did.

“Still feels weird,” she said.

“Again.”

“Still weird.”

“Again.”

Weird is natural when you’re learning a new approach. When you’re training new muscles, it’s bound to feel uncomfortable.

It’s weird.

It’s why we drill and rehearse. Until it feels natural, it’s going to feel weird.

It might be comfortable to do what you’ve done before, but weird is where the growth happens.


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, her courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy classes à la carte.

Categories
communication design PowerPoint Presentation video

6 Tips on Using Color in Slide Design.

using color in slide design

Color choices on your slides are important. People react to color on both a physical and emotional level.

Often, we see color on PowerPoint slides that don’t seem to have a purpose. Or worse, the color undermines the emotional intent of the message. Sometimes, setting constraints or following basic rules on colors can help you make better color choices.

Here are 6 quick tips that cover the basics of using color in slide design.

1. Use bright colors to attract + stimulate. Don’t use color merely for decoration. Use it for a purpose like drawing attention or setting a mood.

2. Use muted colors for reflection + contemplation. You don’t want to be in “attraction + stimulation” mode all the time. Think about the emotional content of color and how it can enhance learning outcomes.

3. Be careful about using too much color on one slide. It can be confusing. Remember the design concepts of contrast and sameness: without balance, you can create clutter and chaos.

4. Beware of bevels, gradients, and red text. They can be hard to see.

5. Check contrasts for accessibility. For those who are color blind or have photosensitivity, some colors may be difficult or impossible to see. Check contrasts at https://webaim.org/resources/contrastchecker/

6. Consider a limited, coordinated color palette. Pick one that meets your needs here: https://color.adobe.com/

What’s your fave quick tip for using color in slide design?


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte.

Categories
communication content ideas storyfinding

Creating a culture of storytelling: 4 areas to begin your story hunt

4 places to find stories

Are you creating or nurturing a culture of storytelling at your organization?

In my storyfinding workshop, we talk about 4 areas to begin a story hunt:

1️⃣ Online reviews. Start mining online reviews. People will sometimes describe an experience they had with your company. How can you follow up to create a story?

2️⃣ Complaints + Compliments. Talk with the people on the front lines. Ask them: what’s the weirdest complaint you’ve received this month? Or try: tell me about a compliment that you didn’t expect. How can you transform the offbeat or unusual into a story?

3️⃣ Interviews + Conversations. Set out with the intention of collecting stories in your interactions with people. Say “tell me a story about a time when you faced a challenge at work” to hear a classic story about overcoming obstacles.

4️⃣ Meetings. If you want to create a culture of storytelling at your company, start with meetings. Kick off every meeting with a story — or ask someone else in attendance to do so. “Heard any good stories lately?” or “What did you learn today?” can often yield some vivid employee storytelling.

Where else can beginners look to find great stories?

Create a Culture of Storytelling at your Organization: Where to find stories


Laura Bergells is a professional story finder. She writes, coaches, teaches, and speaks. Check out her online courses at LinkedIn Learning.

If you’re a LinkedIn Premium or Lynda.com member, these courses are free! If you’re not a member, you can either become a member or buy each of these classes à la carte.