Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

Archive for March, 2010

I’ve got eye contact – now what?

Posted by Presentation Skills on March 29, 2010

Just about every speaking book, blog or coach will tell you that eye contact is important when speaking. And while eye contact is important, that is not the whole game. What should you do once you have made eye contact?

The effect of making eye-contact is driven home by what you do once you have made it. There are several things you can do, depending what you want to achieve.

  1. Stare – This is when you hold the gaze for too long and the other person becomes uncomfortable. Generally not conducive to good communication.
  2. Stare down – This is when you show your position of power/authority over the person by holding them in your gaze. You let them go when you are finished ‘drilling’ them, or they break eye contact admitting their subordinate position.
  3. Break eye-contact. This happens when you feel that you should move on because you don’t want to be caught staring. There are 3 ways to break eye-contact. Break by looking down puts you into a submissive position and shows weakness/lack of confidence – almost like saying sorry for looking. Breaking by looking up has the similar feel of being ‘caught staring’, but is not submissive, but it is still not strong. It still gives the impression that you are moving on after being caught staring. Breaking eye contact horizontally shows that you are just moving on with your eye contact. This is the best.
  4. Move on as part of the natural flow. If your eye contact is moving from person to person when addressing an audience, it will put you in a position of control over yourself and others too. This gives you a sense of authority that your audience wants.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

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Posted in Business Presentations, Executive Speaking Skills, nervousness, Politics and speaking, presentation skills, Public Speaking books, public speaking tips, Toastmasters, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Political Speak: We believe vs. the Facts

Posted by Presentation Skills on March 15, 2010

With elections in South Australia and Tasmania this coming weekend, as well as a Federal election and Victorian election due sometime this year, it is appropriate to look at political language – and I’m not talking about politically correct language.

In election mode you will hear speakers from all sides of politics telling us what is the right way to think on a particular topic. Unfortunately though, the words that they use will often detract from the message given. For example:

When someone prefaces a comment with ‘We believe…’ or ‘The labor/Liberal party believes…’ they do so to give power to their statement. Unfortunately it does the opposite. When you add statements such as ‘We believe’ you are by definition offering an opinion. And as we all know, opinions are never wrong – but they are debateable.

What should be done instead of offering an opinion? Simply state your opinion as a fact.

Instead of saying, ‘We believe putting in a highway is the best thing to do’ say, ‘Putting in a highway is the best thing to do.’ The difference is subtle but profound. Your audience is no longer hearing an opinion, but a fact. Facts are much harder to argue with than opinions.

Next time you hear your local Poli offer their opinion, ask yourself if you would believe them more if they gave you a fact instead.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated.

Cheers

Darren Fleming

Australia’s Corporate Speech Coach

Posted in barack obamas inaugural speech, Executive Speaking Skills, John Howard, kevin Rudd, Politics and speaking, public speaking tips, Sales Presentations, Understanding your audience, World Classs Business Presentations | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »