Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Take Four Tips from Trump

Donald Trump is not your typical politician. But his C.A.R.U. is worth a billion dollars to any apprentice presenter. I’m not talking politics. When I see Trump on television I am looking at his communications style—it’s unique, clearly defined and overflowing with four gems less polished speakers should steal.

My daughter says, “Mom, you love a good acronym!” She’s right. There are three things I just can’t walk away from—cookies, chocolate and acronyms! That’s why I have cooked up this acronym for Trump’s stump speech style, “C.A.R.U.”

1. CONVERSATIONAL – Actually, Trump is a master of the three C’s (confident body language, conversational delivery and comfortable stage presence). He walks on a stage like he owns it. He has a face-to-face conversation with his audience (he rarely speaks from notes). And he’s just as comfortable talking to one reporter as he is a crowd of hundreds. Tip #1: You can captivate any audience if you are confident, conversational and comfortable on stage.

2. ANIMATED – Trump doesn’t use a lot of gestures, but when he does, they are powerful. He has even impersonated fellow politicians, to get some laughs. Trump does a mean Bernie Sanders (Democratic presidential candidate) losing control of his crowd to two women hecklers and a spot-on Marco Rubio (GOP presidential challenger) reaching for a water bottle during a speech. Tip #2: You can use your face and body to keep your audience engaged and amused. Remember, everyone loves to laugh!

3. REPETITIVE – Trump uses the power of repetition well. Even toddlers know that he only wants to “Make America Great Again”! Tip #3: When your audience can repeat your catchy slogan, you know you’ve made your point!

4. UNIQUE – Trump’s unmistakable style starts with his face—he rarely smiles. He likes to pout and comb his hair in that signature front-side flip. My advice is simple: bring your personality, sense of humor and special style to your next presentation. For example, I never step on stage without a nearby prop, a few laugh lines and my short Afro. Tip #4: You don’t have to be perfect—just authentic—to connect with your audience.

No, I will not be voting for Donald Trump (I’m ready for Hillary). But he is a speaking coach’s best friend. Trump has a lot to offer speakers still looking for a unique presentation style. Thanks, Donald. Your C.A.R.U. is worth a billion dollars to any apprentice presenter!

If you’re having trouble developing your unique presentation style, contact Coach Rosalyn Gist Porter, 407-761-7625 or Rosalyn@portercoachyou.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

What Defines You Better Than Your Resume?

Do you remember this scene from the movie “Best Man Holiday” when Harper (played by Taye Diggs) asks his old college buddies (and the boyfriend of a dear friend) to boil their core values down to three words? Lance (played by Morris Chestnut), an NFL football player in the film, quickly rattles off his big three—“faith, family, football”.

Can you rattle off the principles you stand for? Recently, I thought about my three core values as I prepared to deliver a speech on business storytelling. I traced my defining values—caring, coaching and competence—back to the small Caribbean island of Nevis, the homeland of my maternal grandparents. My grandmother Adina passed these values on to my mother Helen, who passed them on to me.

Caring, coaching and competence—my values—tell you more about me than my resume. They represent who I am and what I stand for. As a business communicator for more than 20 years, I have seen a slow decline in our ability to connect and communicate with each other.

We have very short attention spans, and they’re shrinking every year. The average person’s attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 (before Facebook, YouTube and Twitter were around) to only 8 seconds in 2013.

That means, when you talk to people, you need to be a skilled communicator to hold their attention. That’s why I teach business executives and professionals how to deliver their message in an interesting way. We need competent communicators who can connect with any audience, no matter how short their attention span is.

I believe communication is the key to solving problems at home, in the workplace and in the political arena. That’s why I love standing before a group or sitting with a client coaching them on what to say or do to express their ideas with passion, enthusiasm and power. Coaching presentation skills is my way of adding more effective communicators to our community, corporations and schools. Those are my core values.

The next time you’re in a job interview, at a networking event or making a business presentation, please share one or two of your core values. You’ll be more memorable if you include your values in a story or example that illustrates the essence of who you are. Remember, your core values define who you are better than your resume!

Stories are a great vehicle for connecting people. Learn how to share your personal or professional values through storytelling. If you want to build your business storytelling skills, email me at Rosalyn@portercoachyou.com

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Healing Power of Storytelling

No matter how old you are, the loss of your mother creates a void in your life as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon. When my 93-year-old mother died in June, I struggled with a profound sense of loss. Intellectually, I told myself, “You were blessed to have Mama in your life for nearly 60 years”. But emotionally, I knew that I’d never hear her voice again, watch her play the piano, touch her soft face or taste her best dish—spaghetti with turkey meatballs!

The day of her funeral was hot, sunny and emotionally draining. Thank goodness, my cousin Laura (the tall lady in the photo) flew from Virginia to Louisiana to be with us. She was right there to help us get through that day. After the service, she showered us with stories about aunts, cousins and uncles we barely knew.

Instead of wallowing in sorrow, we hung on her every word. When she talked about crazy Uncle Rob, you could just see his anger in her face, hear his mean voice and feel the pain he inflicted on his wife. Laura brought that bully alive (he’s been dead for years) with vocal variety, strong gestures and colorful descriptions. She helped us take our mind—if just for a short time—off our pain.   

Laura’s stories connected us with the past and made us treasure our family more. Although it is hard to live without the woman who was the heart of our family, my mother’s strength and spirit will always be with us. So will the tradition of storytelling.

Storytelling reminds us that we love, we laugh, we cry, we grieve and we are stronger because we are all connected. The healing power of storytelling turned my salty tears into belly laughs and my deep sorrow into eternal gratitude. Thank you, Laura, for sharing stories that lifted my spirits and touched my heart!

Stories are a great vehicle for connecting people. Learn how to share your values, success stories and pivotal life lessons through storytelling. If you want to build your business storytelling skills, email me at Rosalyn@portercoachyou.com

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Three Deadly Public Speaking Myths

As a public speaking coach, I run into people who try to convince me that they don’t need my help. That’s OK, everybody doesn’t need a coach. But some of the reasons they throw at me are myths that can keep you from being a great speaker. The excuses I hear most often are dangerous myths that can kill your speaking performance. So let me give you a dose of reality:

Myth #1: The Slide Geek says, “My PowerPoint deck is my speech!”
Reality: Your PowerPoint is a tool to help you deliver your message. It's not the main attraction. When your slides are a word-for-word replica of your speech, you'll lose your audience. Recently, I saw a speaker read her entire presentation to us from slides that had no pictures, just endless lines of text. It was painful! Several audience members were glued to their phones, not the speaker. As a presenter, you need to interact with, inspire and talk directly to your listeners. Use your slides as visual reinforcement of your key points, not as a visual sleeping pill!  

Myth #2: The Teacher-turned-Speaker says, “I’m a teacher, I know how to speak.”
Reality: No audience wants to be lectured to. A great speaker is really an edu-tainer, part educator and part entertainer. You’ve got to make your audience laugh, learn and feel differently because of your presentation. Have you ever seen motivational speaker Les Brown? He delivers a message in a way that touches your mind and your emotions. Don’t just pour facts and figures on your audience, engage them in ways that are fun and mentally stimulating. Great speakers take teaching to a higher levelthey inform, inspire and entertain!

Myth #3: The Know-It-All says, “I took a speech class in high school!”
Reality: There’s always more to learn. Even great actors and athletes have trainers. One lady told me her high school speech class was so great, she now knows everything there is to know about presenting. Really? That must have been some class! When you are a performer (speaker), you can always find new ways to perfect your craft. Why do you think Olympic athletes, opera singers and well-paid actors have coaches? A coach can help you take your performances to the next level.
 
If you are looking for new ways to inform, inspire and entertain your next audience, email me at Rosalyn@portercoachyou.com

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Like Maya Says, "When You Know Better, You Do Better"

Recently, I spoke to a group of business women about moving obstacles (fear, nerves, inexperience) that are keeping them from being better speakers. I ended that talk with a quote from poet and teacher Maya Angelou. She told Oprah Winfrey, “When you know better, you do better.” That simple idea is the inspiration for my company’s name, Better Speaking Skills.

I created this company so I can help people speak better, think better and perform better on stage and in life. I am passionate about two things, education and empowerment, and I truly believe that better communication can make the world a better place.

Better communication leads to better understanding and that moves us one step closer to solving our problems. If your problem is fear of talking to a group of people, better training can help. If your stage delivery is dull, boring and stiff, speaker coaching can help. If you want to become a more dynamic speaker, you need to learn better presentation skills.

After spending 28 years behind the scenes as a writer and editor, I decided to turn my retirement years into a quest for personal and professional fulfillment as a speaker and public speaking coach. Yes, I have a little ham in me. I love to be on stage. But I love to teach and help people become better communicators and leaders.

My mission is simple. I seek to empower, inspire and educate my clients so they stand tall and speak with poise, power and passion. When you know better, you do better…on stage and in life!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Musical with a Message

I sat across from my daughter as we watched the musical “Seasons” at the Orlando Fringe Festival. We were impressed with the powerful acting, beautiful singing and the smart messages woven throughout the lives of two women, Hope and Helen, who confronted life’s challenges and faced their fears head-on.

As Hope got ready for her wedding day, she was afraid that she may lose her mother, who was dying of cancer. Helen’s plans for medical school were interrupted by an unplanned pregnancy. She was afraid she’d never fall in love with her new husband and their baby. Both women grew stronger as they confronted their fears.

As a public speaking coach, I see many people who are afraid to stand in front of a group of people. They use glossophobia—fear of public speaking—as an excuse for not developing their brand, their leadership skills or their full potential.

In the musical, Hope and Helen learned that death, birth and marriage are scary. But those experiences brought them unexpected gifts. Hope’s mother lived to see her get married and Helen fell in love with her baby and her husband.

If you are silently suffering from glossophobia. There are three things you can do to face your fears:

1. Decide that you have more to gain by mastering presentation skills, than you have to lose by telling yourself and others “I hate public speaking”.

2. Make change a priority. Make 2014 the year you learn a few new presentation skills. Look for opportunities to practice speaking to small groups of friends or business associates.

3. Think about how your fear is holding you back. If you conquer your fear of public speaking, you’ll grow as a professional, as a leader and a person who has a voice that needs to be heard.

You can recover from glossophobia and conquer your fear of public speaking. I’m pulling for you! If you need more motivation, email me at Rosalyn@portercoachyou.com

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

3 Quick Ways to Win Over Your Audience

Have you ever stood before your co-workers, strangers or friends to give a few remarks or a prepared presentation? Your hands were shaking, your heart was almost jumping out of your chest and your only thought was—“Please let this torture end quickly!”

We’ve all been there…Standing before a group, thinking about how uncomfortable we feel. But all you have to do is flip the script and change your focus. When you focus on your audience, instead of yourself, you both will feel better.

Your audience wants to cheer for you—nobody wants you to be boring, uncomfortable or scared. The audience is rooting for you, so just think of your speech as a talk with a group of friends. You can connect with your audience and ease your nerves if you adopt the delivery style of Chris Rock, Kevin Hart and Wanda Sykes.

Stand-up comedians are a good role model for how to warm up an audience, talk conversationally and make eye contact. If a comedian or a speaker doesn’t connect with their audience, they will “bomb”. But there are three quick ways to win over your audience, connect with them and turn them into your cheering squad:

1. COCKTAIL PARTY CONVERSATION – Talk to your audience like you’re talking to friends at a cocktail party. You don’t get nervous when you’re talking to friends or family, so think of your audience as a group of new friends. Make sure you are sharing information with friends, not “preaching” to them.

2. DON’T STARE AT YOUR PAPER – Be comfortable enough with your remarks so you can talk about them, and glance down at your notes (only when necessary). Make eye contact with the entire audience many times. Don’t stare down one or two people in the audience. Look directly at many faces for short periods of time, rotating around the room, from all sides.

3. EASE INTO THE HEAVY STUFF – Don’t be in a hurry to shove your main points down the audience’s throat. Take time to get to know them and connect with them before you rush into your message. Spend a few minutes (5% of your speech time) building a rapport with your audience. For example, ask a question that requires an audience response; share a funny story; or find common ground (talk about universal experiences everyone can relate to, like the weather).

Remember, to win over your audience, make sure you have a conversation with them; maintain good eye contact; and lead with small talk. When you build a rapport with your audience, they’ll have a stronger connection to you and your message.