Feb 09 2017

You Are Not Your Slide Deck

Published by under Executive Presence

dreamstime_m_143850When I was first introduced to presentations in the business world I was appalled. I realized that people thought that their slide deck was their presentation. As a musician, that would be like assuming the piece of music you’re playing is the only thing that matters, when in reality, how you stand, your body language and of course, your talent and the way you play your instrument are hugely important. That’s why we pay big money to go see performers on stage. Even why you walk on the stage is important, as Stanislovski pointed out.

I apply the same approach to executive coaching. You want to be seen as a leader? You have to act and talk like a leader, and be clear about why you are there. Through my work, I’ve developed a simple formula to use to make sure you show up that way…simple, but requiring a shift from “content is king.” It is so powerful that 80% of my clients get promoted or move on to a preferred position.

The powerful secret sauce: For greatest vocal impact (my term for finding your voice in a noisy world), align your intention, content, and delivery.

Slide1

That’s it.

Here is how it works. Intention is the why, content is the what, and delivery is the how. You have to get them all to agree with each other; the result is authenticity, trustworthiness, and executive presence.

Here’s an example of how it works: Let’s say you need to introduce a new project to your team and you want them to believe it’s a great opportunity. In fact you are excited about it. You can tell them that but if you say that you’re excited with a flat, lifeless delivery, they won’t believe you! You must authentically feel excited and sound excited. And I will remind you that intention can be heard and felt even without words– If your intention isn’t clear or you have ulterior motives, people can sense it.

Most business people think more about getting their content right than anything else. On the other hand, the effect of the alignment of intention, content, and delivery can be seen in the successful performing artists that we admire, such as Lady Gaga, YoYo Ma, Beyonce or (insert your favorite here.) What’s more, they take it straight to the bank.
© Andres Rodriguez | Dreamstime.com – business man appearing on laptop

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Dec 31 2016

5 ways to improve your voice in 2017

Published by under Miscellaneous,Vocal Health

dreamstime_s_77890673Many of us start the New Year with goals and promises to improve our lives. Of course, old habits die hard, and new ones may not stick.  It takes anywhere from 21-254 days to form a new behavior, depending on the complexity of the behavior and the amount of time spent working on the change. If you want to get rid of “ums,” or up-speak, or learn to move with purpose on stage, you have to give it focus, practice, and, of course, time.  However, you can make the change sticky by applying the practice and focus in multiple ways. Below is a list of five ways to improve your voice and improve your health, even your life!

Drink more water: Hydration is key to making the body work better and keeping the voice lubricated. Signs of dehydration will begin to show with as little as a 2% deficit of fluids in the body. It’s a great idea to keep water on hand and sip it throughout the day, particularly if you are presenting, singing, or simply speaking a lot during the day.

Walk: Your voice is housed in your body. Whatever is good for the rest of you is good for your voice.  Walking, riding a bike, running and swimming are all recommended. Professor Bruce Schoonmaker at Furman University has created a webpage with data and suggestions for the best exercise to benefit your voice.  Check it out!

Breathe: The next time you give a talk, take time to inhale and exhale deeply just before you get up to speak.  Then, as you start to speak, breathe into your first words.  Do this every time you give a presentation. You’ll be more relaxed, thus improving your voice and your credibility.

Join a choir.  Recent studies have shown many benefits to choir singing, including a happier life; singers are more fit, happier, and more productive  If you guessed it’s because of the oxytocin produced in the brain by singing, you would be correct. But the good health of singers is also due to the increased levels of immunoglobulin A, that is stimulated by singing and is a key factor in respiratory health.

Practice intentional communication:  Intention is what one has in mind to do or bring about, and I mean literally “in mind,” as was shown by two studies of intention.  In the first, it was revealed by New York researchers that infants as young as six months old can understand our intentions, and respond to them.  Another study used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to show that the mirror neuron system tracks not only the actions, but also the intentions, of others.  This mirror neuron system has been identified as being very important in guiding our social interactions, especially in survival and keeping us safe. Therefore, intention is a component of “trustworthiness” in social interaction and it is definitely picked up by others, which is why you need to be clear about your intention as a speaker.

For more help in doing what you say you’re going to do, check out this interesting organization:  Because I Said I Would. 

And for help making a new behavior stick, please see How to form a new habit on this blog.

© Tom Wang | Dreamstime.com

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