Confident Communication – speak up and get your message across with clarity, confidence and influence

26 March 2010

kathleen sullivanI was fortunate enough to sit in on this workshop yesterday morning and got a lot of useful ideas from it.

The trainer Kathleen Sullivan from KSCoaching was excellent. Especially when you consider that we were all much more conscious of her presentation approach given the nature of the workshop. I was immediately impressed by the way she coped with an initial technical hitch, because I have seen this throw many experienced presenters in the past.
The topic of First Impressions was well-known to most of the audience, but given its importance, was worth spending time on.

According to research you have up to seven seconds (and often much less) to make an initial impression. And if this is ‘wrong’, it can be very hard to recover from. ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’.
There are six key elements that go to make up that first impression:

1.    Handshake – Ideally, you don’t want your handshake to be memorable. We all have strong memories of handshakes that are too weak and limp, or too strong and bone crushing. Even more important it is to make eye contact at the same time.
2.    Appearance – Again, we all know of the importance of being clean and tidy, but sometimes you can be over-dressed for your audience. ‘If you stand out from the crowd, ask yourself it it’s for the right reasons.’
3.    Eye contact – Establish good eye contact, but don’t stare or blink unnaturally.
4.    Posture – You posture will have an impact on your audience and yourself. An open relaxed posture makes you feel more confident and will inspire confidence in those you are talking to. Your shoulders should be dropped, not hunched, your back should be upright, but not ramrod straight, your feet should be firmly planted on the ground, no crossing of legs or leaning on tables or walls for support. Your hands can rest on the table, in your lap or by your side, not hidden from view (indicates hiding something from your audience).
5.    Facial expressions – A gentle smile with both your mouth and eyes is good. A fixed grin (à la Miss World competitions of old) is false, and pursing or biting of lips is worse.
6.    Body language – To indicate fear, insecurity and defensiveness do the following; clutch your thumbs, sit on your hands, fold your arms and lock your fingers together. ‘A confident speaker has open, relaxed hands that move in line with what they are saying and have nothing to hide.’

The tricky bit is getting all of these right when you are in a stressful situation, such as a job interview or presenting to a potential hostile audience.

The key objective is to build rapport as quickly as possible.
Here are some additional suggestions taken from my notes:
1.    Shake hands with everyone you can, and when you do, say something positive and upbeat like, ‘lovely to meet you’.
2.    Aim to create positive energy in the relationship, not negativity. Don’t be an ‘energy vampire’.
3.    Be authentic, open and positive. Speak with passion and say what you mean. Your audience will smell out fakery every time.
4.    Be interesting without being overly controversial or opinionated.
5.    Listen twice as much as you speak. Practice being silent. It makes you seem more intelligent too.
6.    Acknowledge and validate their thoughts, ideas and feelings. Repeat their language back to them (mirroring).
7.    Using matching and mirroring of body positions to aid rapport. A 30 to 50 second delay is ‘natural’.
8.    Manage interruptions when you are presenting by acknowledging the speaker and repeating their comment to the rest of the audience. Once validated the interrupter is likely to feel satisfied and be quiet. Finally, sweep away the interruption with a wave of your arm and move on.
9.    Shake hands to signify the end the meeting.
10.    Leave a room with your face. In other words, make sure as you walk out of a meeting you turn and say your final goodbye so they see your face last, rather than the back of your head.


Anthony Lau and his Cyclehoop success story

26 March 2010

Cyclehoop October 2009It was great to read about Anthony Lau in this weeks Evening Standard, with the news that Camden Council are about to install his invention.

Anthony is one of the growing number of Business & IP Centre Success Stories, although we are always looking out for more.

A Revolution in Bicycle Parking

Cycling has an important role to play in making our cities more sustainable. As more and more people take up cycling, cities struggle to provide sufficient cycle parking.

The Cyclehoop is an award-winning design that converts existing street furniture into secure bicycle parking. This innovative product won the Reinventing the Bike Shed international design competition and has been installed by local authorities across the United Kingdom.

It is a quick and cost effective solution helping local councils solve the problems of bicycle theft and the lack of on-street cycle parking.

Cycling has an important role to play in making our cities more sustainable. As more and more people take up cycling, cities struggle to provide sufficient cycle parking.

The Cyclehoop is an award-winning design that converts existing street furniture into secure bicycle parking. This innovative product won the Reinventing the Bike Shed international design competition and has been installed by local authorities across the United Kingdom.

It is a quick and cost effective solution helping local councils solve the problems of bicycle theft and the lack of on-street cycle parking.


Are you ready to publish your book?

26 March 2010

They say everyone has at least one book inside of them, although I have yet to find mine. However, I have now seen quite a few clients who are ready and waiting to find a publisher for their manuscript or idea. Now we have a course tailored just for them, and you, if you are burning to get yours out into the wide world (and of course a copy for the British Library under legal deposit).

*  Have you thought about writing a book but didn’t know where to start?
* Have you got lots of ideas and don’t know which one to choose?
* Are you concerned about writing something that may not get published?

Get Published Today!
Get these and many more questions answered at an information packed half-day course on Wednesday 14th April from 10:00am –  13:00 with registration from 9:30 at the Business and IP Centre, British Library.

Veteran book coach Mindy Gibbins-Klein (best known as founder of The Book Midwife®) will be guiding you through every step of the process of planning, writing and publishing a successful book. Her clients have written and published over 300 books and most of them have completed the writing in just 90 days!

* Learn how to choose the best topic, title, publishing solution and market for your book
* Understand what your true message is
* Avoid the mistakes most first-time authors make
* End up with the best possible book in the shortest possible time
* Engage with your target market so they respond to you
* Know when the editing is finished and the book is ready
* Understand how the publishing industry works and use that to your advantage
* Get help from unlikely sources to promote your book
* Make your book ‘work’ for you and earn you income and higher fees
* Get the media attention you want and deserve
* Catapult your book to the top of the bestseller lists…and much more

How to write & publish your book in 5 easy steps