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2013 April

Are you a waffler?

April 29, 2013 | By | No Comments

Waffle – Noun – a batter cake with a pattern of deep indentations on each side formed by the grid-like design on each of the two hinged parts of the metal appliance (waffle iron) in which the cake is baked

Waffle -verb (used without object), waf·fled, waf·fling British – to talk foolishly or without purpose; idle away time talking.

waffle

So, are you a waffler? By this, I am sure you realise I don’t mean a maker of waffles. I am sure it could be a wonderful summer job in Prague for instance, for a gap-year student wanting an interesting European experience, or anyone with a flair for the creation of hot desserts. An appealing and possibly lucrative trade. How many people do you know would find it easy to say no to a hot waffle?

So are you? A Waffler that is? Someone who idles away time talking. Worse still, if you are idling away someone else’s time. A captive audience will not appreciate being waffled at.

How do we define waffle? To me, waffle is unnecessary verbal padding/stuffing/diversion that detracts from your speech/interaction.

Of course, if you are preparing a speech and you have a time slot to fill, it’s tempting to feel the pressure to do so with an overriding disregard for the actual integrity of the content. The more relevant and authentic your information, the more power and resonance your speech will carry.

The more research you can do, the more you can cherry pick the most pertinent facts and work on delivering them in an engaging and entertaining way.

When speaking a particular pathway to a certain fact, ask yourself how much of the journey is really necessary. Anecdotes, jokes, statistics, props can all have their place in a speech but don’t let the form take over the content. After all, you want to leave your audience remembering the message. If they do this because of your clever use of music, charts and quotes then all credit to you and your powers of creativity. However, if you leave them unsure of the focus of your message, with snippets of sentences and a mish-mash of unfathomable comments, then you will have wasted a valuable opportunity.

Keeping people interested takes practise. Some people are naturally funny and very watchable and they fall into performance mode with ease. However, these people shouldn’t get too complacent. Again, if you know you can rely on your experience and personality to keep the focus of the room it can be easy to take things for granted.

 Remember you want to leave your audience with a clear understanding of the point of your message, not JUST how quick witted you are and how suave you look when you spin across the stage in your Italian leather shoes.

You are there to impart information. You need to be clear, concise and compact. That way, it will be much easier to remember.

So, instead of filling the time you think needs filling, with worthless waffle, use the time to reinforce the points that are purposeful.

Keep the waffle in its most worthy place. On a plate in front of you, awaiting the whipped cream and maple syrup.

The Grateful Bride

April 9, 2013 | By | No Comments

I would like to say a big thank you to Molly Beaton who has agreed to be a guest blogger.

My name is Molly. I am 29, I am a teacher and I live in London. When I was 25, I met Chris, now 32 at my brother’s birthday BBQ. That was four years ago.

Chris and I have recently come back from our honeymoon in Italy. We had a magical time. We took more photographs than we’ll ever have time to look and ate so much neither of us have dared step on the bathroom scales. More than that, almost every day, we talked about our wedding and how brilliant it was. I am a details girl and had meticulously gone over every inch of planning like a military leader. While excited to be getting hitched, Chris wasn’t quite as concerned with the detail.

It didn’t surprise me when Chris said he wanted Pete as his best man. They were already good friends then over the recent years Chris’s inclusion in all our family events brought them even closer. Having my brother as my husband’s best man was wonderful. My whole family was over the moon.

In the months leading up to the wedding, Pete and Chris would often casually discuss parts of the wedding plans. One night, I overheard a conversation they were having in the kitchen about the Best Man’s Speech. ‘I don’t think I can do it, I am seriously having trouble sleeping. I lay there at night next to Gemma while she’s snoring away and all I can envisage is a room full of people sneering at me. I can hear booing, embarrassed coughs, laughter. You might have to find someone else mate.’

I knew my brother could be a bit socially shy but I had no idea things were this bad! Worse was to come. Chris said, ‘you have no idea how much I hate being looked at. Saying my vows is going to be hard enough but making a speech in front of a hundred odd people in a big marquee makes me feel sick. I am not sure how the hell I am going to do it’

I didn’t say anything there and then but I felt absolutely gutted. If anything, I thought, the Best Man should be helping the Groom with his confidence, not having issues of his own!

The next day I phoned Gemma. Gemma got together with Pete a couple of years ago. She’s a lovely girl and someone who I now consider a good friend. I shared with her what I’d heard. ‘What am I going to do with them?’ I asked. Gemma is confident and gregarious and in fairness to Pete he’s not a complete introvert, in fact in a situation with people he knows well, he can be the life and soul. I wasn’t dreading being the centre of attention on my wedding day, I was dreaming about lustfully. The last thing I wanted though was my fiancée and my brother to be miserable about it.

Gemma works in advertising and seems to know someone in almost every walk of life. ‘You need Rachel’ she said. She explained that Rachel is a Public Speaking Consultant who provides a wide range of services designed to help people communicate effectively and with confidence. She explained that if Chris and Pete had some coaching, not only would they benefit from massively improved confidence but they would learn techniques to make their speeches memorable for all the right reasons.

Rachel spoke to Pete on the phone and discussed various options. Rachel suggested she could work with Pete and Chris together so they could provide on-going encouragement and support to each other. The first session took place over Skype. I was able to see Rachel and chat to her myself. She was very positive, friendly and easy to talk to. She reassured me she could help Chris and Pete and had lots of techniques to teach them to give them the confidence the needed. For some reason I assumed I would be party to this, but no! I was banned from the living room and sent over to Gemma’s instead!

The next two sessions took place at my house and I agreed to not be part of it. (Letting go of that control was a learning curve!)

Ultimately, what I will say is that my brother delivered his speech like a pro. He said that while he had butterflies, it was more a nervous excitement than a feeling of dread. When my husband stood up, he was beaming and I know it was because he was no longer feeling imprisoned by his lack of self-confidence. Just before the wedding Rachel phoned both Pete and Chris to wish them good luck and remind them of key points to focus on. For me, knowing they both felt so much better took a huge weight of my mind and I was so happy for them.

Before my wedding I had no idea this type of service even existed and I am SO pleased we used it. It really was the icing on my wedding cake.

Rachel will be at Cliffs Pavilion Wedding Fair on Sunday 14thApril 2013 if you would like to see how SureSpeech can help you with your weeding speeches.