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The art of public speaking

How to talk like ted


What makes great public speakers stand out? What are the speaking skills you need for a successful presentation? Whether you are a bestselling author who has presented their book to tedx events  a million times or this is your first presentation, you cannot inspire others unless you know some very basic speaking secrets that can teach you how to give talks like the best speakers in the field. 

The first piece of advice you have probably been given so far is to practice relentlessly, and although this is good advice, you need to know what to practice, or you may be not advancing your skills in the right direction. 

If I were to ask you to introduce yourself in front of an audience of strangers you most likely would feel not especially comfortable to be isolated from the crowd and to be alone and kind of stranded with lots of pairs of eyes staring at you. For most people this is the kind of situation that makes the fight or flight or freeze responses start to be activated.

So if that's you, don't worry about it. One of the things that I will be teaching you is some fundamentally simple techniques that you can use so that you're a little bit more in the driving seat so that you can ride the crest of those hormonal shifts rather than be at the mercy of them.

Although the essential learning for this needs to be embodied so you can understand how it feels in your own physical form, in your own voice, in your breath, in your sense of yourself in the space, it can be useful to also point out the principles that underlie transformation in this area. In this article we will be focussing first of all on the body. 

Here's a SUMMARY of the points covered in this article:

  • How to create an atmosphere that rivets your audience's attention
  • How to make a great entrance and first impression
  • The essential mindset to be a great speaker
  • The 10 most common mistakes to avoid when introducing yourself and your topic

Make your Audience Pay Attention: How to Make a Great Entrance and Speak like Ted


giving presentations man-standing-in-front-of-people-sitting-on-red-chairs-

When speaking it is important you are as comfortable as you can in a stationary position. If you are used to doing large events, it's great to be able to move but what I encourage you to do is to be conscious about when you're moving and when you're not. So for example, if you wanted to say something dynamic, you might choose to move, but then you would want to return to your still place. So whenever you move you have a place to return to so that you don't end up with a random way of moving, but instead you have a fundamental connection with the ground under your feet. 

EXERCISE 1: GET GROUNDED

1.

Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Let your feet spread and let your knees  soften. Be careful not to lock your knees. To understand what this mean consider this: if you push your knees back as far as they can go, they won't go any further and you will feel then the tension in your thigh muscles build up. Now let your kneecaps soften. This doesn't mean you have to bend your knees, it's just about having a softness and flexibility in your knees. Spread your feet as much as you can. 

2.

See if you can feel the surfaces of your feet against the floor, your toes, your backs of your toes, the balls of your feet, the sides of your feet in your heels. Standing at your full height, imagine that there is a string and that string comes up from the centre of your head and it's coming up to the sky and dropping down like a line all the way through the centre of your body and entering the ground between your feet.

3.

Open the shoulders, allow the arms to be as soft and relaxed as they can. Close your eyes and have a real strong sense of the attention being in your feet, bringing all your attention to your feet. Get a sense of the distribution of your own weight. Do you feel your weight is even between your left and right feet? Try to distribute your weight so it's a little bit more on the ball of the foot rather than on the heels.

4.

Imagine your foot is like a  three pin plug where the two pins are on the ball of the foot and the single pin is in the heel.  The three pin plug goes into a socket and the grass in the ground under ground underneath your feet. So you've got a very strong sense of a connection with the ground under you. If you want a natural image you can imagine instead that your feet are like the roots of a tree.Have a sense of your body weight and the ground under you supporting you because to create a sense of authority, of personal presence, of sense of gravitas, it starts from the ground up. So balancing your mental energy with the energy that goes into the earth is really helpful.

5.

Trying to keep your body as straight as possible take your weight forward onto your toes and then around onto one foot, the on the other. And then try to go around the back. You can't do a very big arc of a circle when you go onto the heels without your toes lifting off.  See where your own edges are and notice where your heels start to lift off. Take yourself on a little exploratory journey. Play with gravity and your balance. Make your circles like a corkscrew, smaller and smaller until you feel you have come to your center.

6.

Open your eyes and have a little look around. Drop your chin very slightly. Have a look around the room having a look around at everybody. Check that you are not on your back foot because it comes across as under energised. It comes across like you're not ready. Be on the front foot, get a sense of readiness and enthusiasm. 

EXERCISE 2: PREPARE BY PRACTICING DIAPHRAGMATIC BREATHING

diaphragmatic breathing

To create the conditions in which people want to give you their attention you need to know how to make an entrance. First of all it is important to be as calm as possible. You will always experience a bit of nerves but to avoid getting into a panic it is essential you spend some time before your speech or presentation taking a few diaphragmatic breaths. 

When you do this you stop the panic response because you switch on the parasympathetic nervous system. The diaphragm is a big dome shaped muscle that cuts us in half. It moves out and down and it causes the abdominal muscles to rise on the inhale and fall on the exhale. Lots of people are so used to taking the breath into the upper chest that only the chest moves. So place your hands on your abdomen and see if you can soften around the belly a little. Now, as you inhale through your nose make sure your belly moves out, as if you were inflating a balloon. As you exhale slowly push all of the air out of your lungs until there is no air left. Make sure your out-breath is longer than your in-breath. 

Feel Confident on Stage

The six fundamental mind hacks for achieving lasting performance success

EXERCISE 3: THE ENTRANCE SEQUENCE

making an entrance speak like ted
1

Breathe in to Prepare

Stand up straight with your eyes on horizon rather than your feet. Breathe in to prepare.

2

Breathe out and Walk into the Space

Breathe out and as you do, take a few strides forward into the space. Stop in the middle of the space.

3

Land, and Breathe in to Ground

Ground yourself. Put your three pin plug in the ground or root your legs into the earth like a tree. Breathe in. This breath in is the one that is the most challenging because that's the one that says: 'I'm here. I have a right to be here. I'm taking you all in. I'm comfortable in my own skin.'


3

Breathe out to Introduce yourself

As you breathe out, introduce yourself and your topic.

Remember: One breath, One Sentence. Give your audience a chance to take in what you have to say by taking a pause and breathing in between sentences. 

woman shaking hands at presentation

The single greatest skill of top minds in public speaking : MINDSET 

You cannot inspire others and give ted presentations  or ted talks like the great ted speakers without the right mindset. As you land in the space and make eye contact with the audience you need to remember that you are there to connect with each member of the audience one at a time.

Whether there are two, twenty, two hundred or two thousand people in the audience what is important is forming a meaningful connection with each one of them one at a time. So do look at your audience before you even begin your speech and be curious about them.

Your job is to take care of your audience. The more comfortable you are on stage the more comfortable they will be. You are their permission slip to be themselves because the more you are authentic the more you give them permission to do the same. So switch your focus from yourself to making your audience feel good. This will also help you feel a lot more relaxed and help you distract you from any anxiety you may be feeling.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Your job on stage is to take care of your audience. Speaking is not about you. It is about sharing your knowledge and making your audience feel good. 

The 10 common mistakes to avoid during a speech

mistakes when giving a speech man uncomfortable

A lot of people when they get centre stage do not command attention. Your body says more about you than your words can ever do. Get your body in the right space and it will help you get your mind in the right space too, build rapport and make you and your audience more comfortable. Here's a list of common habits people engage in when introducing themselves or the subject of a presentation.

Do's

  • One breath, One sentence
  • Imagine you are holding balls of cotton between your fingers (to separate them) and relax your fingers by your side
  • Lift your elbows from your side. This adds gravitas to your posture
  • Allow a distance of two fists between your feet (hip distance apart), and stand up straight
  • Look straight ahead at eye level when walking in the room and meet your audience's eyes when first introducing yourself
  • Stand still and grounded, open your chest up 
  • Own the space: tell yourself you have a right to be here!
  • Project your voice to the back of the room
  • Allow your movements to be relaxed, slow and expressive
  • Smiling is good when it's authentic and genuine, not as a way to hide your true feelings.

Don'ts

  • Verbally Rushing
  • Forgetting to breathe in and pause before speaking
  • Bad posture 
  • Clasping Your Hands (usually in front of your belly) or making fists
  • Flapping your arms down
  • Tensing and Holding the same position for ages 
  • Shifting weight from foot to foot
  • Looking Down
  • Apologising
  • Feet too far apart or too close togehter
  • Letting your voice trail off at the end of the sentence
  • Fiddling with your hair or touching your face a lot
  • Smiling to hide nervousness 

Conclusion:

  • Take a few deep diaphragmatic breaths to prepare (See exercise 2). 
  • Get grounded (See exercise 1).
  • Use the Entrance Sequence to make a great first  impression (See exercise 3) 
  • When you are speaking: Only one sentence per breath
  • Remember your job is to take care of your audience


Want to know more? Find out how hypnotherapy can help you find your authentic confidence on stage.

 Download a free chapter of my best selling book!

Feel Confident on Stage

The six fundamental mind hacks for achieving lasting performance success


Guest Post: The Healing Power of Archetypes

Alternative Health - Healing with Archetypes

With the technological advancements in science and medicine, a good majority of sickness are already curable. Unlike before, when there were massive deaths through plagues and breakouts, man has already engineered ways to mitigate these kinds of social unrest. By making new systems and employing new discoveries in the field of science, health and wellness become more accessible.

However, not all illnesses can be cured in the hospital. As a matter of fact, more and more individuals nowadays come out with mental challenges like depression and lack of motivation. While popping a pill can patch-up this problem, such is more of a palliative solution.

For instance, a person suffering from depression expresses various negative habits. And while science may view this as a chemical imbalance in the brain, such can also be seen as a problem with the psyche. As such, choosing a medical solution never truly solves the root cause of the problem since it only focuses on the chemical imbalance instead of what’s causing it.

This is not to say, of course, that modern medicine is useless. Instead, this article seeks to be an eye-opener for other alternative healthcare options that one can tap into. By opening your mind on other possible solutions, it is likely that you will be able to use them all together instead of simply relying on one.

As such, we try to approach healing through the archetypes. By going into a brief discussion of what archetypes are and how they can possibly improve your health, it will become a lot easier for you to integrate them into your own life. Thus, in this article, we’ll be taking a quick detour on understanding how archetypes can be such.

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5 Ways Writing a Book Will Unleash Your Hidden Creative Genius

Mind Mapping Made Easy

How to Create a Mind Map to Outline your Book

Is writing a book hard? 

How often have you thought “I’m not creative?” Have you ever wondered at the creativity of young children playing, asking yourself how on earth they come up with such crazy ideas?

Creativity doesn’t disappear as we get older; we simply don’t practice it quite as much as we did when we were children. Traditional classroom schooling also doesn’t place a priority on creativity because teachers are so focused on teaching the curriculum and scoring tests. If you want to spur your creative juices once again, one of the easiest ways is writing a book. 

Of course, before you start writing the next bestseller, you need to prepare an outline and know what topic you’ll write about. What are you passionate about? What are you knowledgeable about? Are you an expert in a particular field? If so, you could write about your expertise so your business will grow. 

Whether you want to write a fiction book or you want to write non-fiction you will need to think about writing on your topic by testing the waters first. Start by writing a book plan. Focus on the story you want to tell. Don't worry about publishing at this stage. 

Here are just a few ways you can become a published author and unleash your hidden creative genius by writing a book:

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What helps with public speaking anxiety?

From Stage Fright to Stage Presence

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What is public speaking anxiety?

Fear of public speaking is also known as "Glossophobia", which is Greek for 'fear of words'. Obviously, speech anxiety does not mean you are afraid of words! What it means is that you are suffering from performance anxiety, which is a form of social anxiety. Also known as stage fright, speaking fear happens when you find yourself in front of an audience giving a speech or presentation while in a fight or flight or freeze state of mind.

When you are in this state the amygdala, which is the alarm center of the brain, has flagged up your current situation as dangerous and as a result, the panic button has been triggered. If you stay in this mode for long enough, you may start hyperventilating and may end up having a full blown panic attack.

Whether you only panic before a presentation or a speech or you get nervous while it's happening or you beat yourself up for making mistakes afterward, public speaking anxiety can have a severe disruptive effect on your life.  

Your mind's job is to keep you take your away from pain and drive you towards pleasure. If public speaking has been encoded as a danger by your amygdala, then you most likely will avoid it. Unfortunately, avoidance reinforces the problem so nervousness can quickly escalate into a full-blown phobia. 

The consequences can be very distressing:

  • You may avoid a specific university course just because it involves presentations. 
  • You may switch career or change your job because you can't handle speaking in public
  • You may not go for a promotion or turn down a dream job because it feels too challenging
  • You may fail to deliver a speech when appropriate such as at a wedding
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The 6 Fundamental Mind Hacks for Achieving Success

How to influence your mind

If you want to succeed in anything in life you need to know how to influence your mind. You need to know how to make your mind do what you want it to do, not what you don’t.

Have you ever noticed how we are surrounded by messages like 'Don't drink and drive' 'Don't forget your passport' 'Don't touch the button! 'Don't eat junk!' And how many times have you have ended up doing the very thing you were told not to?  Why is that? The answer lies in understanding how the mind processes information. 

For many years I have tried to explain to my clients how to successfully influence their mind but only recently I have come across an explanation that is both simple and accurate. I will borrow and adapt Marisa Peer's framework to make it very clear how to effectively communicate with your own mind. 

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How to Beat Depression without Antidepressants

Lies about what depression really is

If you are depressed chances are you have been told at least one of the following: 

  • Depression is a disease 
  • Depression is a just a chemical imbalance 
  • Depression is genetic  
  • The best cure for depression is antidepressants
  • It takes years of therapy to treat depression 

Your mother or father might have been depressed, your antidepressants may not be working, you may have been told you just have a chemical imbalance and there is nothing you can do to help yourself. I have encountered many people with depression in both my practice and in my personal life and having suffered from it myself and having been close to suicide at one point, I know what it is like to feel trapped in a nightmare with no end in sight. 

The good new is it is possible to overcome depression, no matter how long you've had it or what anybody else has said to you about it. Although depression causes a chemical imbalance, that is the consequence and not the cause of it. Although it is more likely that you will suffer from it if someone close to you has had it that is not because it is a genetic disease but because you have learnt how to think in a depressive way from those who are close to you. 

The truth about depression is that you can beat it. It may not be an easy peasy process but it is most certainly possible and the first step is to choose to believe that you can.

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Q&A: Mindful Communication: how to enhance your relationships

The Mindful connection

  • Do you want to feel close to your partner?
  • Do you want to have fulfilling relationships with friends?
  • Do you want to get along more easily with work colleagues?
  • Do you want to connect with more people? 

You care. And yet sometimes it doesn't seem like people know that. You don't want to feel alone and isolated but that's how you end up feeling a little too often. You don't understand how it seems to easy for some to make friends and have great relationships and so hard for you. Do they know something you don't or are they simply born that way? 

It may be easier for some to forge new relationships than for others. Perhaps they are less shy and more extroverted. However this does not predict whether those relationships will last long term or whether they would be truly satisfying to those involved. The quality of your relationships in the long run is more important than their quantity. And the quality of a relationship is measured by the quality of the connection you have together.

A true connection with someone is a vital experience that you feel in your whole being. Cultivating connection takes skill, and skills take time effort and commitment to develop. Let's have a look at what gets in the way of true connection and what enhances it.

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Clear brain fog and find clarity when you are lost

The real reason why you are underachieving

  • Do you feel lost, directionless and dissatisfied?
  • Do you feel like there is more to life but struggle to find out what that is? 
  • Do you feel like you are underachieving and you are not living up to your potential?
  • Do you feel confused, unclear, almost as if life is a puzzle and you just can't seem to find the missing piece? 

Perhaps you have a habit of going in one direction only to give up halfway and try something else or maybe you stay put and don't venture into the new because you're not sure if it'd be the right thing for you. You wish you were like those people that knew what they wanted to do in life since childhood. You wonder if perhaps you are just different from everyone else and there is no point in even trying but you don't want to give up just yet. 

You are aware that it's important to set goals but the idea of doing that makes you feel anxious or perhaps even angry. How do you set a goal if you haven't got a clue what you want? Goals may seem arbitrary or superficial or you worry you would get it wrong and then find yourself hating the direction you've chosen. Maybe you want to have no doubts before you start so you risk failure less. If only there was something you could do to clear the brain fog and actually be sure of yourself...

You may think you are alone in this but the truth is a lot of people go through this before finding clarity. So how did they find the answer that allowed them to move on? They stopped trying to find their direction in a rational way and instead connected to their heart's desire. Here's how.  

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Stay motivated and achieve your goals

Move past the struggle

Do you set goals but give up as soon as the going gets tough? Do you find it difficult to stay motivated and give up on yourself as soon as you hit an obstacle?

Perhaps you have decided to learn a language or maybe you want to lose weight or you want to save money for a trip. Maybe you want to write a book or kick a bad habit or have a better social life. No matter what your goal is though, as soon as you encounter a difficulty you feel deflated and find it hard to stay the course.

Maybe you are excited about finally writing that book but when you look at the blank page nothing seems to come out and you feel deflated. Or maybe you want to get fit but you haven't been to the gym for so long that the exercises seem way too hard so you never go back. Or maybe you decide to learn to play guitar but after the first few lessons you realise there is so much more to learn than you expected and it feels just too overwhelming to continue.

It doesn't matter what the goal is. Sometimes you take a few steps forward but end up stalling. Other times you don't start at all. You say to yourself: "maybe I  just don't have what it takes... I am too lazy, old, unfit, stupid etc. Other people seem to have it so much easier than you and you don't know why. You wish there was an easy way to just skip ahead and get it done but you don't know how.

After a few times of going through this pattern you start to feel nervous about trying something new, worrying that you might fail again. If you soon don't stick to your goals you will never achieve anything of value - you say to yourself. You will never be able to learn French, run that marathon, start your own business, ask a woman out. You are afraid you might never make that dream come true and that just feels depressing. 

You know what? You aren't alone. Believe me, I have been there, plenty of times. The good news is there is a way to get past your struggle. Your goal may at times feel like an unattainable dream but they may be closer than you think. Let me show you how to stick to your decisions and overcome challenges even when it feels like an impossible feat. 

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How to be a better person

Why do we compare ourselves to others?

Have you ever thought: "if I stop comparing myself to others then I'll never improve?" Me too. It makes sense right? The problem with this line of reasoning is that when you try to better yourself by comparing yourself to others, you will always end up finding an area in which you fall short. We tend to see what we are looking for and even if you didn't fall in the trap of assuming others are better than you without checking there's bound to be something another is better than you at.  

As a result, you can feel deflated, demotivated and even give up before trying. Even in the best case scenario, you will spend the energy you could have put to good use by improving your skills feeling sorry for yourself instead. It sounds like a losing game doesn't it? 

So do yourself a favor: only compare yourself to yourself yesterday, a week ago, last year. And here's the trick: focus on where you have improved, not where you fall short. 

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