Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Speaking Lesson from Hollywood

In the recent New Yorker profile of Ben Stiller, Tad Friend describes what a movie needs to have in order to be successful. He writes:

 "Then you need a whiz-bang ending, one that sends audiences out of the theaters, texting in rapture."

How often do you leave a speech "texting in rapture?" We often spend so much time on the body of the speech, that we forget to take the time to craft a powerful close.

Friend continues: "This requirement explains why many studio films fall apart in the last half hour, are reshot, and still don't work."

Yes, endings are hard.

From the Green Room: Even the most powerful speech falls apart with a bad ending. Save your best for last, and take the time to figure out how to end strong. While this is difficult, it is well worth the effort.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Beware the Swivel Chair!

Watch this Fortune 50 interview with Pam Nicholson, president and COO of Enterprise Holdings:

Great lessons in effective communication here. Nicholson is personable, poised, and clear. But unfortunately, she undermines herself by swiveling in her chair.  The back and forth movement is not only distracting, but also sadly lowers her status.

From the Green Room: When possible, try to avoid speaking in a swivel chair. If you have no choice, whatever you do - don't swivel!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Body Language:

I just listened to this terrific interview with Mark Bowden on the power of body language:

Bowden gives simple tips for ways to build audience trust. For example, he explains that if you tilt your head slightly towards the the audience while you speak,  the audience will be able to see your ear and thus feel that you are listening to them - even if you never stop talking!

From the Green Room: Don't assume that your words are sufficient to gain the trust of your audience. If your body language doesn't communicate your trustworthiness, even the most sincere speech will raise the suspicions of your audience.