Executive Speaking Weblog

Communication – the future of business

Posts Tagged ‘speaking tips’

Productive Team Meetings

Posted by Presentation Skills on March 26, 2009

Love ’em or hate ’em, meetings are part of our working life. As a leader in meetings, there are a few techniques that you can use to draw people into the meeting and get them contributing. This makes the meeting more productive as everyone is contributing and quicker as you are not sitting around waiting for someone to volunteer the information you are after.

So in your next meeting (which will probably be later today) try some of these techniques:

  • Where possible, avoid meetings straight after lunch. People naturally become sleepy after lunch. Meeting when our bodies are wanting to sleep does not bode well for interaction.
  • Speak to one and address many. This is an amazingly simple technique that will bring people into what you are saying. How do you do this? Simply use the word ‘you’ when possible. For example, instead of asking, “Does anyone have any questions about the sales budget’, ask, “Do you have any questions about the sales budget’. The difference is subtle but important. When you ask the first question, people in the meeting think, “He is not speaking to me so I can try and “hide here in the silence.” However, when you ask the second question the thought pattern is, “He is talking to me. What are my questions?” This is the reaction you want.
  • Give directions with confidence. If you have ever taught children, you will know that children can smell fear in a teacher, and will exploit it to their advantage. The same is true with adults. Whilst we will generally not play up to the level of children, if the directions you give are weak and ambiguous, people will not follow them with the same conviction as they would if you gave clear and strong directions.
  • Get their feedback properly. Feedback is often sought by asking, “Are there any comments or thoughts about the new sales plan?” This is general and consequently vague. Instead, ask, “How can you implement this new sales plan with your current customers?” Once again, this is focused on 1 person, but also on how they will use what they have just learned. They will instantly start thinking of how they will use what they have just learned.
  • If you want a quick meeting, remove all the chairs from the meeting room before hand. If people are standing up, they will be less inclined to waste time

How will you use these techniques in your next meeting? Please let me know below.

Happy meetings!


Darren Fleming

Australian Public Speaking Training

Posted in public speaking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Why people listen when Donald Trump speaks

Posted by Presentation Skills on January 8, 2008

It has been reported that Donald Trump earns about US$1.5m for a 1 hour keynote speech.  This would be in addition to any product sales that he has at the back of the room.  He will sell books, CDs, DVD and anything else he can get his face on.

But other than being pretty rich, why do people listen to him?  After all there are lots of other people out there that are just as rich (or richer) than he, but yet they don’t have the same cult following.  Why is this?

Have a look at this 2 minute video of him speaking and you’ll see why.

Why is he so good?

  1. He uses stories.  In this brief video he uses 3 stories
    1. What he learned at Warton
    2. His friend who bought a house
    3. The reporter at the back of the room.

Stories bring people into his message.  When people hear stories they connect with you as a speaker.  This is what speakers should be aiming for.

2.  Has a point to what he says.  Therefore, he has a reason for speaking.  If someone speaks for any period of time (even if it’s just a minute) and there is no point to what is said, there is no need to speak!


But is there anywhere that he can improve?  Well have another listen and see how often he cuts himself off mid sentence and fails to finish his point. On 4 occasions he interrupts himself to make a side comment or a general comment on what he is saying.  Only on 2 of these occasions does he actually go back and complete the thoughts that he interrupted.  The result is that he does not get his message across as clearly as he could. This can be frustrating for the listener.

“So what?”  I hear you ask.  “The guy gets paid $1.5m per hour.  He can do as he wants!”  Maybe so, but if I were paying that sort of money I would want all I can get.  But my real reason for bring it up is for the rest of us mortals who do not get that much but still speak to audiences.  Do you finish every thought and point that you start?  If you don’t, are you delivering your message as well as you could?  If you are not, are you getting the best out of your own time as well as your audiences time?

‘Til next time.


Darren Fleming

Australia’s Public Speaking Coach


Posted in Donald Trump, public speaking | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »