Saturday, February 21, 2009

Professionally Speaking-Swearing

A recent international workplace survey revealed that swearing, speaking loudly and talking about your personal life on a mobile phone in public spaces, topped the list of rude behaviour.

I was MC/ Facilitator at the recent AIME event (Asian Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo)in Melbourne Australia. One speaker did a lot of swearing on stage which didn't really add any value to his content and made a few in the audience noticeably squirm. Not only that, I lost track of the rest of his story as I couldn't stop wondering why he would even do that.....was it necessary? Was it appropriate? Never!

PS Tip: There are many ways to ensure your content has the required effect and punch you want to convey, without the use of swear words. Your body language, acting/delivery skills and descriptive prose and stories will increase your personal engagement qualities and transfer of expertise.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Professionally Speaking-Death by Support Act

When was the last time you saw a great Powerpoint offering? I mean something really engaging?Unfortunately many of us are still being subjected to boring, overloaded slides with the presenter making us feel like idiots as they read the content from the slide! 
In the professional speaking world, the two reasons a presenter would subject their audiences to a boring, content loaded powerpoint display is either they don't know their content/presentation or they have no presentation skills.

PS Tip: Consider your audience and respective learning styles, YOU ARE YOUR BEST VISUAL! Use as little text as possible, but lots of photos (a photo says a thousand words!). It is a SUPPORT ACT, not the main act and treat it as such.
 Check out for some new ideas

Monday, October 27, 2008

Professionally Speaking-Who said you could?

Recently I attended an event where a high profile speaker was being introduced. The introduction started out great until the MC decided to 'spice' it up a bit and add his own (stupid) comments. Not only that, his remarks were way out of line, didn't fit the event and I felt the speaker was getting a bit anxious and probably annoyed as well. 

PS tip-An MC's primary role is that of service and support. An introduction is meant to set the scene and give the audience a taste of whats to come. It is not a vehicle to showcase ones clever, witty remarks. If you want to spice up a rather serious introduction, a safe bet is to ask the speaker for something unique or humourous you can use.
For more information on how to write an introduction:

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Professionally Speaking-with friends in the industry.

I was fortunate to interview Christine Comaford-Lynch,  guest speaker at the National Speakers Association conference in NYC last week. She was fantastic, with lots of business tips from her book Rules for Renegades. Loved the 'Palm up networking' idea, putting energy into people, not asking but offering. Also the 'Rolodex dip', dipping into your address book once a week and connecting with someone, for no other reason than  a simple how are you, and mean it!

PS tip-No matter what business you are in, its all about the people!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Professionally Speaking: Interviewing Global Speakers

If you want to increase your emcee skills and boost your professional speaking ability one of the key techniques I would encourage you try is to always have a list of five (5) questions you can ask any person you meet.

PS Tip 1: Remember to keep these questions highly professional, contextual and relevant.

PS Tip 2: Ensure these questions are not going to date your interview content later. For example you wouldn't ask someone - 'how do people survive this current recession?'. You would reword this and ask 'How can people get ahead during tough financial times?' - this simple change of language ensures you can use this interview content for years to come.

I am off to attend the National Speakers Association International Conference in New York City today and I am excited about watching other emcees 'do their thing' on the platform - until next time,

Keep professionally speaking,

Friday, May 9, 2008

Professionally Speaking-Are you easy to work with?

I recently was the emcee for a two day conference with 14 speakers on the programme. The majority were professional, arriving with plenty of time to meet the delegates, do a room and AV check and allow me, the MC, to check their timing and bring them up to date on any changes.

The closing keynote speaker however, was a different case. Arriving less than 30 minutes prior to her presentation, she proceeded to order the event organiser around, demanding items (like 17 felt tip markers), and complaining about the dwindling numbers. ( This does sometimes happen  at the end of the day). 
When she was ready to go on, she had the AV in a whirlwind as she demanded this music for this powerpoint slide, this song for this exercise, etc. He was in a head spin and not able to keep up with her demands, which meant her presentation was far from effective.

PS Tip: If you call yourself a 'professional speaker' then act like one! How do you expect to get rebooked when the word on the street and within the industry, is that you are high maintenance and difficult to work with?  Event and conference organisers agree that the AV people often know who the better speakers are on the circuit-they have to work and listen to them day in and day out.
Respect the opportunity you have been given to share your expertise, not your ego.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Professionally Speaking-Are you nervous?

As a speaker or emcee, one of the biggest challenges is combating nervousness. While nerves are a good thing in that they help to keep you focussed, they can also trip you up which can create a snowball effect.
 High protocol events, such as the Sydney Institute's annual dinner, reported by Peter Hartcher of the SMH,  where the emcee " mangled the Prime Minister's name", can be particularly daunting.
PS Tip: Get the correct pronunciation of any names, even if it means contacting the speaker directly. If necessary write it phonetically or in code for yourself. (A miniature drawing of a martini once ensured I said Gin Jhin not Ghin).
Practice, Practice, Practice! Talk to the milk in the fridge so it rolls off your tongue, then take a few deep breaths and pause before you speak.