Saturday, September 29, 2012

How Charismatic Leaders Speak to Touch the Heart

Presentations and seminars become all too familiar in the business world.  Jim Speaker is there with the overhead projector and PowerPoint slides-each with four of five points.  Hours later the seminar is over.  Seminars are informative but can be deadly. Just give me the handout and I’ll read it at home! It takes a dynamic and charismatic presenter to step out from behind the lectern and shake up and motivate their audience.

Facts touch or mind, but it is the power that comes from stories that touch hearts. Everybody loves a story. Stories give us insight life and human nature.  They can make us laugh and they can make us cry.  Storytelling will go beyond the bullet points and will make a memorable impression on the heart that can change a life. 

As a speaker, you can use stories to give your presentation the impact that you desire to:

• Tell inspirational stories to persuade, motivate or entertain.  Use stories to illustrate the point you want to make. Try to find stories that are relevant to the audience.  For example, for software engineers, tell a story about the young engineer who started a company in his garage and how Microsoft changed the world.

• Tell a story from your own experience.  Make a habit of keeping a story journal and record your day’s experiences.  You will have a rich supply of unique experiences to draw from to illustrate your point. 

• Use gestures and acting techniques to bring your story to life.  Don’t just tell your audience about a difficult client; get up and show them.  Actions have a greater impact on the point you are making. 

• Use description and dialogue.  Take your audience into the story by using description and dialogue. Help them visualize and feel that they are part of the experience.

• Practice your story until it’s natural.  Use the pacing and rhythm to communicate your message to your audience.  Listen to a tape recording of yourself.  Check how you have varied the tone of your voice and your speed to create the biggest impact in your story.

Remember it’s not about you; it’s about your audience.  You have a great story and an important message to convey.  By concentrating on your audience, you will become more confident and relaxed. This will result in your audience feeling comfortable and more receptive to your message.

To learn how to be more engaging and persuasive, visit: Charisma

Friday, September 28, 2012

Improvisational Comedy for Speakers Who Want to Electrify Audiences

Public speaking.  For some, the mere thought of getting up in front of a group of people and presenting a speech is more terrifying than heights, snakes, or even death.  Imagine how terrified those people would be if they were asked to get in front of an audience and speak with nothing prepared in advance – no script, no speech, nothing.  Sound crazy? Well that is what Improvisational Comedians do every day. Improvisational (or “Improv”)  Comedy is a form of theater where a group of actors take the stage with nothing prepared in advance and use audience suggestions to create instant comedy. If you have ever seen the popular television show, “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” then you have seen Improv Comedy.

The skills that allow an improviser to create instant comedy can immensely help any speaker to be more comfortable and powerful from the platform.  Here are three reasons why, if you want to be a more effective speaker, you must learn how to be a great improviser:

1) Improv Comedy, at its core, is about self-expression.  An improviser has only himself on an empty stage. Every idea he puts forth comes from inside of him. The best improvisers realize this and trust their instincts and let their ideas flow out.  Similarly, the best speakers realize that the audience is there to see them. Rather than hide behind other people’s ideas or style, they are 100% themselves as they speak. Many speakers make the mistake of taking acting classes to be more “dramatic” as they speak. The result is a speaker that looks fake and wooden.  Audiences don’t want “dramatic;” they want natural. Practicing Improv Comedy techniques can help you be much more natural.

2) Improv Comedy is an interactive format.  Improvisation may be the only art form where the audience is present at the time of creation. As a result, the audience’s needs, wants, and mood can be taken into account to direct the content. Great improvisers feed off of a crowd’s energy and build content the audience appreciates. The performer pays attention to the audience and makes subtle adjustments as she goes. Speakers would do well to adopt this approach.  Most speakers prepare their speech in a vacuum and deliver it exactly as practiced.   However, every audience is different. If a speaker pays attention to the audience as she is speaking, she can also make subtle adjustments to increase her effectiveness (adjusting pacing, energy, volume, etc.) If you do this, not only will your speech be more powerful, but you will also develop that coveted “rapport and connection” with the audience.

3) Things will go wrong. A speaker who relies solely on what they’ve memorized will be easily thrown by the distractions that invariably happen. If time gets cut, or a cell phone rings, or a heckler demands attention, the speaker will have no response. To an improviser, distractions are just one more tool to use to make their point. A key improv attitude is to “go with the flow.” As a speaker, this attitude will allow you to be unflappable from the stage. You will be deemed a true professional, and audiences will admire your ability to handle interruptions.

These are just three simple ideas that are a powerful way in which Improve Comedy can make anyone a more powerful speaker. There are many more ways related to all aspects of speaking: content, delivery, storytelling, style, humor, etc., but these three are the perfect starting point.  If you have never done or used improv, then consider taking a class.  Not only will you learn useful skills for speaking (and life), but it will be the most fun class you’ve ever taken!
For more information on effective communication and leadership, visit: and

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Leadership Learning: The Real Costs of Not Doing Leadership Training

A purported study from the Business School at Oxford University in the UK found that British businesses and public sector organizations are wasting almost $140 million on executive education programs that are poorly conceived and delivered. The study went on to say that 35 percent of HR directors and 21 percent of other executives believed that their current training and development programs were meeting corporate strategic objectives. The bulk of the money was being spent on individually developed courses for senior executives.

If those businesses want to quit wasting all that money on ineffective management training, I know where they can get their monies worth. And it doesn't have anything to do with having more academics design special courses, events, and outings for senior staff. Why not spend the money on leadership training and development down in the trenches, where it will really do some good?

The fact is that front line leaders don't get much training at all and precious little of it is actually about leadership skills. Maybe that's because companies think they're saving money by not investing in front line leader training. True, there's no budget line item absorbing funds that might be spent on the executive dining room, or art for the CEO's office. But there are what economists call "opportunity costs," the costs of not training front line leaders. There's the opportunity cost of lost productivity. Good frontline leadership builds both morale and profitability.

There's the opportunity cost of lost leadership. Great companies develop most of their own leaders. If you have to go outside for leadership, you incur recruitment costs and transition costs.

Finally, there's the cost of lawsuits. Good frontline leadership creates organizations where lawsuits are less likely. And, if the company is sued over a supervision issue, defense will be easier if the leaders have been doing their jobs.

How about your company? Do you develop your own leaders? Do you help them develop the skills they need to improve morale and productivity and avoid lawsuits? Think about that the next time you consider the training budget.

For more information on leadership and professional development training, visit: Charisma

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

6 Ways to Improve Your Personal Charisma and Communication Style

Here are six tips for improving your communication style to become more magnetic:

1. Knowing how to improve communication skills will come easier once you become aware of your own communication style. Each person has a unique way of communicating. Listen to your own speech. What sorts of words do you use? Which sort of body language and what tone of voice are you using? Now, think of someone who, in your opinion, is a good communicator. Compare your style to theirs. You’ve just taken an important first step in how to improve communication skills.

2. Now that you are aware of your own style, study the style of those around you. How do the most important people in your life converse? How do they say things? Look for approaches you can model and make your own.

3. Adjust to the other styles of communication. Don’t think it is too late to change your way of conversing because it’s been years. You had to learn to communicate in the first place and you can unlearn certain behaviors or change them. Sometimes we get stuck into a communication rut.

A father once was having a hard time with his teenage daughter. She was growing and he thought she didn’t tell him what was going on in her life. They were in a heated discussion when he asked, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Her answer was that she had, but he was too busy lecturing her to hear her. He learned that adjusting his style to his daughter would involve listening first before jumping right into solving the problem.

4. To build rapport, during a conversation try and match the other person’s movements, posture and verbal style. Don’t do everything they do, but mirror one or two things. For example, if the person gives mostly short answers to questions, you follow suit. Or, maybe they talk at a slower pace than you usually do-slow your speaking speed to match theirs. This may sound simplistic but it is a very potent way to make someone feel very relaxed and comfortable in your presence.

5. The way you communicate at home may not be the same as in a different environment. Make sure you change your style to suit the different setting. Some comments you might want to tell your best friend, in private. Other things can be shared in a group setting. Learn how to improve communication skills by altering your style for the appropriate setting. Many of us know someone who offers far too much information in a group setting.

6. Don’t criticize others for communicating differently. If we all communicated in the same way, we’d soon be bored with each other. Getting a good grasp of your communication style and finding ways to accommodate other peoples’ styles, is a good way to improve your communication skills.

For more information on profiting from effective communication, visit: Charisma

Sunday, September 23, 2012

3 Easy Steps to Add Charisma to Your Public Speaking

Throughout the history of human civilization, people have been expressing their confidence and strength, not only by force, but also by the noble art of public speaking. The orators of ancient Greece were highly respected and valued in the community. Likewise, today’s world leaders are admired and esteemed when they have the power to address the public with poise and conviction. Such a high regard for public speaking makes the average person cringe at the idea of talking in front of an audience no matter how big or small the size. Whether giving a toast at a wedding or delivering a speech to a large assembly, most people make a big deal about public speaking and try to avoid it as much as possible. But public speaking should not cause such a big fuss. Challenging as it may be, public speaking can be done with a few simple guidelines.

Before Making the Speech: Preparation

Like any other endeavor, public speaking requires careful preparation to be successful. Many people would dream of having those “inspired” spontaneous speeches seen in movies; however, such scenes rarely happen in real life. To have at least a decent speech, you should plan well. Even the world’s most famous leaders prepare for public addresses, and most even have teams to work on those plans. Well, even if you don’t have a speech preparation committee, you can prepare for public speaking.

First, you should know for what the occasion the speech is for. The Gettysburg address would definitely not be appropriate for a wedding; thus, a speech has to fit the event where it will be delivered to.

Second, you should examine the audience who will witness the speech. An assembly of academics would not take a perky speaker seriously; one should choose a suitable public speaking style based on the audience.

Third, you should ponder what is being expected in the speech. A farmer’s association would usually not be interested on a speech about the intricacies of bead work; one should carefully study the subject matter to be tackled in public speaking.

Again, dazzling spontaneous speeches rarely happen in real life. Most good speeches have been written before their delivery. While most noted public figures have speech-writing committees, you can make a good speech even without the help of a team of ghostwriters. When writing for public speaking, you should carefully organize the contents of the speech. It usually pays well to begin with a very strong introduction. It is important to catch the audience’s attention early to prevent them from being bored easily. Next, the body should be purposeful. The contents of the speech should relate well and support each other. It is not good to digress too much; though at times some deviations help attract attention when boredom arises.

Lastly, you should make a conclusion that sticks to the mind. No matter how stirring a speech is, it is useless if the people forget it the instant they leave the gathering. Conclusions should give a concise but memorable recap of the body.

Great speakers who persuade and arouse the emotions of their listeners seem like naturals. But, remember, no one is born with a gift to gab. They learned along the way—and so can you.

To lead with charisma and persuasion, visit: Charisma

Friday, September 21, 2012

Leadership: Is It For You?

Leadership is something that is fundamentally part of a society. It is necessary in any good society that someone stands up and takes charge. Leadership is essential, we know that, but does that mean everyone out there is a leader? The fact of the matter is that some individuals are not made to be leaders. They are followers.  And just as important in society as leaders are followers.  So, where do you lie? Are you going to play leadership roles within your life? Or are you better served being a supportive follower?

For many people, the instincts to take those leadership roles just come to them. It is just something that happens. They step up to the plate when needed. They respond first in class. They take charge of the baseball game on the playground. They step up to the plate on the job. While you cannot be first in every case, individuals that have leadership skills will often be seen and heard throughout their lives.

But, not all leaders are born with this talent. Many of them must learn it. People with an ambition to be a leader can do so by taking classes and studying the necessary skills that it takes to be a leader. While all of this may sound simple, it can be quite a task to learn. It is hard to teach a person to react in a situation that is not planned well.

Because leaders are determined by their actions, we often see that leadership roles are filled with individuals who put themselves out there to be chosen, so to speak. But, this is not always the case. In many cases of emergency, leaders are those that take charge long before anyone else reacts. In that, these individuals will have a cool head about themselves and be able to see the necessary work ahead while others are worrying, panicking or simply in shock. These are probably the true leaders in our society.

You don’t have to claim leadership to be a leader, you only have to take on the roles and responsibilities others will not assume.  Because it is easier to reap the benefits of another’s efforts and never lead, leadership skills will always be in demand.

For information on effective leadership and communications, visit: Charisma

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Becoming More Charismatic: How to Overcome Nervousness When You Speak In Public

 Even if the speech you have is already prepared and you know everything about it, public speaking can be difficult. Many people are very nervous when they speak in public. Here are some tips for you to overcome your nervous feelings when you speak in front of many people.

Preparing your presentation

1. Center on yourself. Try practicing standing properly – with your feet under the hips directly. This position is the best and most stable for speaking in public. Rehearse this position with somebody or in front of your mirror.

2. Your shoulders should be relaxed. The muscles in the shoulders support directly your larynx, so it has a fast effect on your voice. Shoulders should be rolled out.

3. Warming up the voice. You should treat all your presentations as if they were performances. Charismatic leaders know that people are moved emotionally way before they are moved intellectually.  Prepare yourself by rehearsing. Deeply breathe into the bottom part of the lungs. You feel your rib cage is expanding slightly higher than the navel. You should thrice sigh. Sighing is your signal to the body that everything is okay and it is just perfect to relax. Then make a siren sound, starting from a high note to a lower note at the bottom part of the voice range you have. With enough practice, you will be able to find the low note connecting to the place located right above the navel. This is the natural voice pitch that you have.

Managing meeting skills

1. Directing your voice. Every time you speak, imagine that each word you say is like a beam of laser traveling from your mouth to the end person listening to you. Practice this outlook to be able to reach many people at the same time.

2. Directing your thoughts. Pay attention to your thoughts, especially their beginnings and endings. Make your communication complete and fully rounded.

3. Diction as well as articulation. Convey clearly your message.

During questions

1. Give yourself time and space in breathing.

2. Before answering, slightly breathe out first. When you are flustered or nervous, you usually take in more additional air than you need, and you hold onto that air while you try to think. However, this is not helping you. Usually, this method causes you to panic. Remove this habit by breathing air first before you speak, allowing you to relax and thoughts to come in clearly and more logically.

To get free reports on persuasive speaking like charismatic leaders, visit: and

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Simple Leadership Basics

A great cloud of jargon, debate, and junk theory surrounds the idea of leadership, what it is, who does it, and how to do it well. But if you have just been promoted, and you're responsible for a group for the first time, there are only a few things you really need to know about leadership.

When you get promoted and become responsible for the performance of a group you become a leader. But you don't undergo some magical change. In fact, it will probably take you over a year to completely adjust to your new role.

You're a leader because the people in your group treat you like one. The only choice you have is what kind of job you'll do.

 As an individual contributor, you just have to decide to work harder, longer or smarter to improve performance. When you're responsible for the performance of a group, the group is your destiny. They choose whether to act or not.

When you become a leader, your influence goes up. The people who work for you pay attention to what you say and do. They adjust their behavior accordingly.

The result is that you use your behavior (what you say and do) to influence the behavior of the people who work for you to achieve a defined objective.

Achieving the objective is part of your job as a leader. The other part is caring for your people.

It may be possible to achieve good short term results without caring for your people. But you can't achieve long term success for you or your company without the willing cooperation of the best folks you can find.

At the end of the day, you can measure your leadership based on those two standards. Did we accomplish the mission? Are the members of my group better off today than yesterday?

You can find out more about all of this and learn it almost effortlessly from my digital book,
How to Use Charisma, Persuasion, and Influence to Develop Your Leadership Skills, visit:  Charisma

Speaking With Charisma and Magnetism Is By No Means Accidental

You might possibly know how jokes can complement your speech. But jokes can also cause your speech to be disastrous. Jokes are both a boon and bane to a speech.

If you are very much in comfort with it, use humor. Just check it first if it fits, serving as a breaker between sections or emphasizing a certain point. A funny and great line or comment that is irreverent can help liven up the presentation that you have and will help people to remember the things you have said. Of course any joke must be related to the topic that you have in some way. If you are not sure about something, you could also use a humorous photo or cartoon (with the permission of the photographer or illustrator, of course) in your slides.

Aside from making jokes or humor in your speech, you could improve your public speaking with these other tips.

- You should be able to grab your listeners’ attention even right at the start. That is why it is important that you start correct – confident posture, eloquent speaking style, controlled voice tonality and impact, and a nice, well-thought speech from you.

- The information in your message should be organized clearly and logically, making it easy for your listeners to follow what you are trying to say. Keep things easy and simple. Divide the information into smaller blocks and work from there. Highlight the points that you want your audience to remember.

- Your most crucial point should be the conclusion, bringing the speech to a close. The conclusion sets the tone of the speech, and lets the listeners think about and ponder on the things you have just said. Literary devices, such as quotes, stories, rhetorical questions, or surprising facts, can be used for concluding a speech, although of course, these devices should relate well to the topic of your speech.

- Deliver the conclusion that you have clearly and slowly. Keep eye contact with your listeners as you speak. Smile at them, thanking them for the time that they have given you.

You should remember all these tips and in due time, you would be surprised to see how these techniques have helped you in your future speaking presentations. Your listeners will eventually understand the information you have given them and respect you for your ability in delivering that information.

To speak with charisma, influence, and persuasion, visit: Charisma

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Proper Body Language During a Friendly Encounter Enhances Your Charisma

When interacting with somebody you are acquainted with, you must learn how make a good impression. Your body language would speak much louder compared to the words you are saying.  It is essential to be careful of one's actions towards another, since this may either strengthen the bond or ruin it due to offensive, rude manners and gestures.

Personal Space
Each one of us has his own personal space. We must respect each one's personal space; otherwise it is an invasion of privacy.  A person usually has a large personal space when around a person she does not know, but it will get smaller once he will get to know that person.

Greet With a Handshake 
A handshake is always a nice way of greeting, whether in formal or casual circumstances. Show confidence and interest in the one you are greeting with a firm handshake.  In shaking hands, it is important to make an eye contact and accompany it with a slight sincere smile.  Make sure your hand is pointing downwards, since pointing the hand upward may indicate awkwardness and hesitation.  See to it also that your palm will come in contact with the palm of the other person.  A handshake is also a safe method of greeting somebody.  Some countries find other forms of greeting awkward and unacceptable, such as kissing and hugging.

Gestures to Avoid
Avoid gestures that might offend the other party.  Avoid rude hand and arms gestures such as placing your hands into the pocket or on the waist, crossing the arms across your chest, drumming your fingers, tapping your hand or foot, fidgeting with objects, inspecting your fingernails, and propping your chin onto your hands. 

Also avoid turning or leaning your body away from the person.  It shows that you are very eager to get out of the situation you are in. Watch your posture as well. Avoid slouching or a sluggish posture. It is interpreted as lack of interest or boredom.  As much as possible, do not break the eye contact and look at other objects or people. This is a sign indicating that you are distracted or your attention is already somewhere else.

Show Interest
Show the other person that you are interested in your interaction or conversation by showing signs that you are a good listener.  Maintain eye contact to show that your focus of attention is on that person and in your conversation.  Lean towards him and nod your head from time to time.

Be Sensitive To His Body Language Too
In interacting with another person, observe his or her actions as well. He may be oblivious to his body movements, but he may be telling you that it is time to end the conversation. These are the kinds of people who find it rude to be the first one to end the conversation. Thus be sensitive when you are with other people; they might already be bored or annoyed.

Culture: An Important Factor
Consider also the culture of the person you are conversing with. There are countries with a very conservative culture, especially those in Asia. They may be very sensitive to the gestures you perform. Even if you do not intend showing rudeness to other people, you still have to be cautious of your actions.

To learn the magnetic traits of charismatic leaders and speak more persuasively, visit: Charisma

Friday, September 14, 2012

Delivering a Speech? Maintain Eye Contact

Body language is very important when delivering a speech.  Have you ever seen our great leaders fidget or make unnecessary movements while addressing the nation?  Since you are the center of attention while making the presentation, you should mind every move that you make so as not to bore or distract the people listening to your speech.

So you already have a speech prepared, you know the topic well and you are now standing in front of the audience.  They are in for a treat because you have prepared a great presentation, yet you also know that they have a very short attention span.  How would you keep them interested with what you are saying?  The answer is to maintain eye contact.  This is one public speaking technique that great speakers use when addressing a large group of people.

Here are some tips on how you can use this "trick" to keep your audience interested while delivering a speech:

Once you have already started speaking and have delivered your  introduction, take a look at your audience.  Do not be nervous if you see one or two people frowning as you are not sure of exactly what they are thinking.  Instead of looking out for unfriendly or blank faces, search for the people who are smiling and nodding their heads.  Try to focus on this person for a couple of minutes and look him or her in the eye.  This way, you would have an immediate "friend" in the audience to whom you can look at and gain confidence from.  This will not just increase your confidence but also relax you in the course of your speech.  Gaze steadily at your audience, moving from one part of the room to another. This way, you would immediately grasp their attention.

Never read your speech.  Just make an outline of the important points that you can expand on.
If you have visuals, do not read the bullet points word for word as this might imply that your audience cannot read that themselves.  With this, you are instantly creating a "bond" with your audience as a speaker since you do not have to keep on looking at your notes through the course of your speech.

The key to delivering a great speech is to just breathe, relax and make eye to eye contact with your audience.  Thus, you are not just making a physical connection with them but you are also ensured that you come out as a sincere speaker who wants to inform and interact with the audience through your speech.

To enhance your charisma and persuasive speaking abilities, visit: Charisma

Thursday, September 13, 2012

5 Tips for Conquering the Fear of Public Speaking

Reduce your fear of public speaking by taking the following steps.

1) Conduct Research.

Visit or call key participants to ask them what they expect from your presentation. That is, what do they want to learn from it? What do they already know about this topic? How will your presentation help them? Such conversations enlist these people as your allies during your presentation.  It also helps you learn what people expect, so that you can deliver it. This is like collecting the answers to an exam before taking it.

2) Prepare.

Write an outline, and if possible write a script for key parts of it (such as the opening and close). Then practice giving your presentation, without reading the script until you know it so well that you can deliver it conversationally. Avoid trying to memorize a script. That makes things too complicated and difficult. Practice your speech anywhere and at any time. For example, you can talk through parts of it while jogging, working on chores, or taking a shower.

3) Rehearse.

Practice your talk in the meeting room with a group of friends, coworkers, and (if possible) your boss. Ask for their comments on how to improve your talk. Also, use this as an opportunity to become familiar with the room and any equipment, such as a projector.

4) Be the Host

Arrive early so that you can meet and greet the attendees before your presentation.  Shake their hands and thank them for coming.  Introduce yourself to them and engage them in small talk. (e.g., "How are you?") Act as if they were guests coming to your party. This converts them from strangers into friends.

5) Expect Success

Fantasize doing a wonderful job. If you let nightmares run through your mind, you will scare yourself.  Give yourself confidence by expecting to do well. Know that everyone wants you to do an excellent job.

The key to success is being prepared. It helps you do a better job and fills you with confidence.

Related: Charisma