Storytelling, Speaking, Sales - Using Mime as a Metaphor

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Looking for new ways to incorporate stories into your next presentation? 

Consider adding mime and movement to animate your message. 

Your audience will love you for it.

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How much do you reveal about your level of education when you open your mouth? A lot.

It's not only what you say, but of course, it's how you say it.

Like proper manners, proper English speaks volumes -- far more than you can imagine. 

When you blow a simple phrase, you risk losing the respect of the person or people listening to you; you scratch your status ever so slightly; and if the person you're speaking to cares a whit about the English language, you may have damaged the relationship more than you know.

Nobody likes to talk about this because these days, it's so incredibly un-PC. We like to pretend that we're all just fine with however someone speaks...but the fact is, that's just not the case.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Power of Analogies

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One common mistake most presenters make is not clearly explaining complex concepts or ideas.

Here are 4 great examples of how to use analogies to take your presentation skills to another level.

The Gumball Machine Analogy

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I often tell my clients that performing and presenting is a bit like turning the crank on a gumball machine. You never quite know which colors will emerge.

And that is just as it should be.

Victoria_Labalme_Keynote_Speaker_Presentation_Skills_Creativity.jpgYour presentation will rarely go exactly as you envision; there are just too many unknown variables. As Steve Martin says in his brilliant book, Born Standing Up, someone in the audience might just cough right on your punch line.

But...if you've done your homework, if you've truly prepared, and if you're on your toes, you'll take advantage of priceless unexpected opportunities.

A great director I worked with used to say in the weeks leading up to the play, "Do your homework."  But on the day of the first performance he would look at us and smile: "Now don't think about it. Just let yourself fly."

(c) MMXIV Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Power of Brevity

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The power of brevity cannot be underestimated. Avoid droning on and on.

Be succinct.

Be clear.

Make your point. And then stop.

The video below says it all.

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A great lesson for life (and a great lesson for great presentations) is that yes, we can plan a bit - structure allows for freedom -  but you must always
present from the present.

It's worth letting go the reigns just a bit and seeing where things lead. Goal setting is overrated. When it comes to speaking (and I've venture to say life as well), find your form organically. THEN set down your markers and your goals.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
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How can you make your audience feel special? How can you make your presentation come alive?

There are many ways....

One superb technique is what I call "Site Specific" comments and experiences.

If you've ever seen the video of the one-man show Robin Williams did at the The Metropolitan Opera House in NYC ("Live at the Met"), you will know just what I'm talking about. 

Robin did his show in 1986 and at the time, Imelda Marcos was all over the news.

As the famous Met chandeliers retracted up into the ceiling on their extraordinary cables -- a jaw dropping vision that happens before every show (and a show in and of itself) -- RVictoria_Labalme_Presentation_Skills_Expert_Training_Keynote_Speaker_Met_Chandeliers.jpgobin pointed up to the glorious lights and called out, "Look! Imelda Marcos's earrings!"

He got a huge laugh.

So what can you do in your next speech?

1) Get to the venue early
2) Look around

3) See if you can connect your content and comments in some way to the environment
Your creativity doesn't have to be Broadway-level. Even a small reference will add a sense of immediacy.

Victoria_Labalme_Keynote_Speaker_CUNA_Presentation_Skills_Expert.jpgAt a keynote I gave in New Orleans in for CUNA (Credit Union National Association), the event planners had decorated the stage with beautiful colored panels articulating the convention's core themes.

The panels were turquoise, indigo, rose and purple. And so as I talked about colors, The Prism Effect and recognizing opportunity, I referred to the different hues here.

It's these small touches that let your audience recognize that you are mindful of where you are -- that you are present, in the moment, attune.

So whether you're meeting with prospects in a small office or speaking on a stage before thousands, look around.

  • Be creative.
  • Connect your comments to the specific site in which you are presenting
...and remember
  • Audiences appreciate customization, inventiveness and originality.

(c) Victoria Labalme Communications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Communicating & Connecting - The Reaction Shot

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In the film world, The Reaction Shot is just this: the camera angle/shot that reveals the reaction of a given character to what was said.

This is critical because as an audience, we're not just interested in what one person says; we're interested to see how it affects another.

In life, in sales, in presentations and in communication settings of all kinds, people often forget to check "The Reaction Shot" -- meaning, they are so busy talking that they neglect the critical component of observing how someone responds...and then adjusting accordingly.

Believe it or not, this concept can be applied to yourself. How? Here's one example...

Every New Year's Eve, many people (maybe even you) will write out, share or silently review their goals for the time ahead.

The challenge, though, is that
we sometimes put down goals that are hollow, goals we think we should have but which don't really light us up.

We forget to check in with ourselves. We forget to notice our own Reaction Shot to a given plan.

Look at your list from last year. How do each item feel? Do you really WANT that goal? (Whose goal is that anyway?)  As you plan the year(s) ahead, notice your "Reaction Shot".

It's a short life. Plan the one that lights you up.

(c) Victoria Labalme Commmunications, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The Importance of Authenticity

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So often people and presenters feel they have to be something other than who they are. But there's nothing the audience wants more than the authentic you.

Think back on a great speech you've heard. Did you notice if the speaker stumbled on a word or said "um" a few times? I'll bet you'd rather have someone who messed up but had a heartfelt & believable message than a phony speaker who had every word perfect.

Matching Your Tone to Your Intention

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Many speaking coaches will tell presenters to "vary their tone". The problem with this kind of coaching is that it leads to "outside in" behavior. The presenter starts to raise and lower his/her voice and gesture "creatively" simply for the purpose of variety. The result: an inauthentic delivery style and self consciousness on the platform.

The fact is, variation will arrive organically when you are truly connected to your material and you are -- as we say in the acting world -- in the moment.

Just think of how a kid tells a story when they're excited or in a state of wonder.

I had an Alexander Technique teacher years ago who used to say "let, allow, permit" when it came to how we moved on stage.

The same is true for speaking. Rather than force a tone, let it happen organically.  On top of this, it's critical that you are connected to what you are saying so that you never are out of sync with your content. Quiet moments should elicit a quiet tone. Excited moments should bring an excited tone.

But all this will come if you structure your presentation so that you have a full spectrum of experiences within it and then you reconnect with those experiences. If you do, you will have more variety than you can possibly imagine because inside of you is a full prism of colored light just waiting to shine.