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16 Oct



October 16, 2013 | By |

Energy: Synonyms: – Vigor, force, potency, zeal, push.

Other meanings: Life force.  Capacity or tendency for intense activity

Why does it matter? If you are giving a speech, who cares if you can intersperse it with a record breaking amount of star jumps?  You might impress some but mostly you will bewilder your audience.  They will either think you’re an annoying show off or simply really bad at time management, having to pack in a work out at work.

Think of energy in terms of a force within you that is transferable. In the context of interactions, you want to harness it and utilise it in a way that is exciting, contagious and inspiring.

Think of energy in terms of the feelings you create for the people you talk to.

Great. How do you do that then?

Initially you have to inspire a positive vibe within yourself. Difficult if you are a naturally dour individual but here’s the thing. Giving a speech is a job you have committed to. Even if you later regret making such a promise, it’s out there and it needs dealing with. Like any role, preparation can make all the difference.

Feeling comfortable with what you’re wearing is important. If you believe you look good, you are more likely to believe your audience will see that too. That will elevate your confidence and self-belief.   It’s not always about what you wear; you can give a brilliant, thought-provoking speech in a tracksuit. It’s about how you perform. Until you become accomplished, use every prop available to help you feel ‘propped up’.

If you have to talk about something that doesn’t inspire you, find inspiring ways of delivering it. If appropriate, drop in humorous anecdotes, or interesting statistics. Smile and tilt your head at times. Look out at who you are talking to. You can’t transfer energy without looking for a connection. Look like you care about the information you are delivering.

How do you sound when you speak? Does your face match your words? Do you widen your eyes when you express something surprising? In effect you are a story teller. Consider how your tone, pitch, pace and volume contributes to your delivery. Practise and record yourself? Most people have a webcam. Be as bold and over the top as you like. It’s not until you really see your own extremes you can know what you are capable of and what feels right and wrong.

Whilst most people don’t like watching themselves back or listening to their own voice (okay so we all know people who don’t have this problem) it’s really beneficial. You are probably quite familiar with the ‘inside’ you but the ‘outside’ you could be a relative stranger.

Don’t worry; once you get over the initial cringe festival you can learn valuable stuff about yourself. Do you look friendly? Do you sound interested? Do you speak so quickly you sound like you’re late for an appointment?

Before your speech, take slow, deep breaths; hold your head up high. Smile and believe in yourself.  Remember, positive thinking is the right food for a good mood.

13 Jan


The Power of a Smile

January 13, 2013 | By |

Why is smiling so important in human interaction?

When people bestow a smile upon is, it feels like a small gift or a compliment, at the very least it is a polite acknowledgement. However, you have been given something. It is social currency. 
When speaking even about the driest subject, a smile makes people warm to you and want to listen to you. If you’re sporting teeth out of a horror movie, closed mouthed smiles with bright eyes can still have impact, so don’t lose heart. Just mean it.
According to writer Marianne LaFrance, author of ‘Lip Service’, women smile more than men. Apparently men with more testosterone smile less than those with less testosterone.  If you’re a grump and try to justify this by thinking it makes you all man, all you’re doing is avoiding wielding your magic smile powers!
A French neurologist, Guillaume-Benjamin-Armand Duchenne, determined that, smiles of genuine happiness or pleasure, utilize muscles around the eyes as well as those around the mouth.  We’re all aware of ‘smiles that fail to reach the eyes’.  In studies, people who view faces with ‘Duchenne’ Smiles, rate them as more intelligent, capable, friendly, attractive, kind and sincere.
Allegedly around 80% of us are able to pull off a fake Duchenne. However, not all smiles need to be mega-wattage; showing a band of perfect veneers and eyes all crinkly and sparkly, to make a positive impression.  Look at Ms Mona Lisa! People have been talking about that smile for centuries!
We all have a range of smiles, some examples:
1.    The ‘Duchenne smile’ which takes over your face because you are too happy to conceal it.
2.    The ‘I think you’re attractive but I am going to keep my smile small and brief, so you don’t know how keen I am’ smile.
3.    The ‘God you’re boring but I know I have to be polite’ smile which is about as sincere as a loan shark.
4.    The ‘I am terrified about the speech I am about to give but if I smile at you all, you’ll be kind to me I know you will!’ smile.
If you want people to think flattering things about you, then practise the Duchenne smile.  As much as you can, THINK HAPPY, then smile. Most people can manage to grin broadly and crinkle their eyes but if there are conflicting messages, such as arm folding or brow furrowing then the recipient won’t be fooled. Feel it and mean it.
Just smile more in general, even if you’re on your own, it will lift your mood.
Smile at people you like and smile at strangers you pass in the street. (Maybe SOME discretion is advised) Above all, smiling humanises you, makes you seem warm, and nicer to be around. Whether you’re in an interview, giving a speech or proposing, a smile can only ever add to the occasion.

For more information about public speaking go to