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Vocal Dynamics for Leaders. Enhance Your Voice

Vocal Dynamics for Leaders. Enhance Your Voice

Vocal Dynamics for Enhanced Executive Presence

Speaking in a professional tone in a way that others are drawn to listening, is more than a clear voice.

In the fast-paced realm of executive communication, the way you articulate your message is as crucial as the content itself. In this post I will share some effective vocal techniques to help you elevate your speaking delivery and share a message that resonates with your audience.

Understanding the Power of Vocal Dynamics

 

Pitch Variation: Don’t let your voice flatline. Varying your pitch infuses your speech with emotion and interest. Practise moving between high and low tones to maintain your listener’s engagement.

Pacing: Your speaking speed can significantly impact how your message is received. Slowing down can underscore crucial points, while a quicker pace can inject excitement and urgency. Mix it up where relevant, for a more interesting sound.

Volume Control: Strategic volume changes can express enthusiasm or draw listeners in closer for a serious point. Mastering this can make your message resonate more powerfully.

Balancing Emotion and Professionalism

 

Expressive Intonation: Your pitch and tone should match the emotional content of your words. Rising intonations for curiosity, and falling for conclusions are the basics to start.

Articulation and Clarity: Clearly articulate your words. Even when emotions run high, and you are feeling rushed, sound out your words. Pause to take a breath as needed. 

Strategic Pauses: Use pauses to let key points sink in. They add weight to your message and give listeners time to absorb the emotional and intellectual content. 

Tonal Range: A wide tonal range lets you express a spectrum of emotions while still maintaining a clear and professional sound.

Modulation in Volume: Controlled volume variations can enhance the emotional impact of your speech and is more memorable and engaging for the listeners. 

Emphasising Keywords: Highlight the emotional core of your message by emphasising certain words or phrases, subtly altering pitch, tone, or volume for effect.

 

Practical Exercises for Vocal Richness

 

1. Emotion Mapping Exercise: Select a text and identify the key emotions. Choose a short piece of text, such as a paragraph from a speech or a news article (I have suggested a piece of text below*). Identify key emotions within the text, such as excitement, concern, determination, and curiosity. Read the text multiple times, emphasising different emotions each time. Pay attention to pitch, pace, and tone changes to convey each emotion. Record the readings and listen back to evaluate the effectiveness of conveying the message.

2. Scripted Role Play: Create short scenarios that require expressing a range of emotions while delivering a message. Examples could include: delivering exciting news such as an award or promotion in the team, expressing empathy when someone is doing it tough, or conveying urgency (looming or moving deadlines). Practice the script in front of a mirror or record yourself.  Focus on modulating your voice to match the intended emotion.

3. Emotion Dial Exercise: Imagine an “emotion dial” with a range from 1 to 10, where 1 is neutral, and 10 is highly emotional. Select a piece of text and read it at a low emotion level (around 3 on the dial). Gradually increase the emotion dial, rereading the text at different levels. Pay attention to how changes in pitch, pace, and emphasis contribute to how you convey emotions.

I suggest you begin with practising these exercises regularly by yourself and then gradually incorporate the techniques into everyday conversations and presentations.

Suggested Text for Practice*

 

“The sunset cast a warm glow over the serene lake. Birds chirped in the distance, creating a harmonious melody. Suddenly, a gust of wind swept through the trees, rustling the leaves. The atmosphere shifted, and a sense of anticipation filled the air. In that moment, a lone figure emerged from the shadows, carrying a tale of adventure and mystery. Their words echoed in the stillness, capturing the attention of all who listened.”

This text contains elements that can be infused with different emotions, try and experiment with expressing three key emotions – tranquillity, anticipation, and mystery.

Tranquility and Serenity: “The sunset cast a warm glow over the serene lake.” “Birds chirped in the distance, creating a harmonious melody.”

Anticipation and Change: “Suddenly, a gust of wind swept through the trees, rustling the leaves.” “The atmosphere shifted, and a sense of anticipation filled the air.”

Adventure and Mystery: “In that moment, a lone figure emerged from the shadows, carrying a tale of adventure and mystery.” “Their words echoed in the stillness, capturing the attention of all who listened.”

 

Additional Text for Practice

Engage with an extended story passage to further develop your skills. if you would like a copy of the additional text and expended story passage for your practice, then contact me and I will send to you. 

 

Continuous Improvement

Record and Reflect

Regularly recording and critically reflecting on your vocal sessions can dramatically improve your vocal delivery. Identify what works well and areas for growth.

Enhancing your vocal delivery is about much more than speaking clearly; it’s about transforming your entire communicative approach. With regular practice, self-reflection, and a willingness to experiment, you’ll not only ensure your messages are heard, but also felt and remembered. Your voice is a key instrument; it’s your personal signature, a means to forge deeper connections and drive your messages home with impact and grace.

Recommended Video’s to Watch

These videos provides valuable perspectives on developing an engaging vocal presence.

Dr Wendy LeBorgne’s insights on vocal image.
Dr Laura Sicola’s tips on sounding like a leader.
Simon Lancaster’s strategies for speaking like a leader.

 In this previous post, I discuss the impact of vocal variety in your speaking voice. 

 

Lisa Evans is a Certified Professional Speaker and Accredited Coach, TEDx speaker coach, NLP practitioner, Neuro Leadership Institute Brain-Based Results Coach, Genos© Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, author, graphic recorder, broadcaster and podcaster. Unlock your speaking potential and establish a stand-out brand with a complimentary session. Book now to become an exceptional and successful speaker.  Let Lisa Evans be your trusted partner on your path to captivating storytelling and speaking success. Start your transformational journey today! If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my e-book – How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.
Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker

Mastering Leadership Influence: The Power of Your Voice in Communication

Mastering Leadership Influence: The Power of Your Voice in Communication

Vocal Variety Will Enhance the Way You Sound 

Do you want to increase the power of your voice?
Let’s start with why.

 

 

Why is is important to work on having vocal variety in your speaking voice?

Vocal variety is like the spice in your communication recipe. It adds flavour and captures your audience’s attention. Think of your voice as an instrument, and different notes and tones create a beautiful melody.

A flat and monotone voice can make your message sound dull and less persuasive.
As the saying goes. You only get one chance to make a good impression! You need to include vocal variety so that your voice is easy to listen to.

Do you sound as smart as you are?

Vocal variety helps in conveying emotions, intent, and meaning. Different tones and inflections can influence how your message is received. For instance, during a sales pitch, using enthusiasm and a varied tone can make your product sound more appealing. If you sound dull and disinterested when you speak, why would others want to listen to what you have to say? Ready to harness the power of your voice?

Why does my voice sound flat?

A flat voice might result from anxiety, tiredness, habit, or lack of awareness. Recording yourself speaking can help identify the causes.

Remember, mastering vocal variety takes time and practice. Be patient with yourself and celebrate small wins along the way. Your voice can become a powerful tool in influencing and engaging others. Keep working on it, and you’ll see remarkable improvements.

Incorporating Body Posture and Facial Expressions

If you have ever done any sales training, you may be familiar with this advice – Stand when you are making a sales call, and smile before you dial (pick up the phone).

Your body language and facial expressions complement your voice. Maintain an open posture and use gestures to emphasise your message.

If you would like to work with a Certified Speaker Coach to help you with improving the sound of your voice then let’s see if I am the right coach for you.

 

Voice Mastery – Transform Your Speaking with 6 Dynamic Voice Exercises

 

  1. Diaphragmatic Breathing:
    • Sit or stand up straight.
    • Place one hand on your chest and the other on your abdomen.
    • Inhale slowly through your nose, expanding your belly, while keeping your chest relatively still.
    • Exhale through your mouth. Feel your abdomen fall as you release the air.
    • Repeat for a few minutes daily to strengthen your diaphragm and enhance vocal control.
  2. Pitch Variation Practice:
    • Pick a simple sentence or phrase and say it in different emotional tones such as happy, sad, excited, serious.
    • Record yourself and listen to the variations. Adjust your pitch accordingly.
  3. Emotional Recall Exercise:
    • Think of a personal experience that triggers a strong emotion.
    • Describe that experience out loud while trying to convey the emotions in your voice.
    • This exercise helps you inject genuine emotion into your speaking.
  4. Pause and Pacing Practice:
    • When practicing a speech or presentation, consciously insert pauses before and after key points.
    • Adjust the pacing of your speech: slow down during important moments and speed up during transitions. Play around with different speeds and pausing and record your voice.
  5. Vocal Warm-Up with Lip Trills:
    • Start by relaxing your face and jaw.
    • Create a gentle “brrr” sound while fluttering your lips.
    • Continue for a few minutes to relax your vocal cords and prepare your voice for speaking. Any good speaker coach will talk you through various vocal warm ups.
  6. Record and Self-Assess:
    • Record yourself while practicing different speaking scenarios.
    • Listen to the recordings and assess your tone, pacing, and overall vocal variety.
    • Identify areas for improvement and continue practicing.
    • Consider working with an experienced speaker coach who is trained in helping you sound the best.

“Empower your voice, and you’ll transform not just how you speak, but how you’re heard. Through intentional practice and dedication, you can cultivate a voice that resonates, captivates, and leads with influence.”

How I can help you

As a professional storytelling coach, I offer 1:1 confidential coaching to help you unlock the full potential of your speaking and storytelling abilities.

With flexible delivery options that suit your schedule, we embark on a transformative journey together. We begin by harvesting your stories, uncovering the hidden gems that will resonate with your audience.

Through personalised guidance, I empower you to boost your executive presence and speak with impact when you share your story. Whether you’re preparing for a crucial presentation, honing your leadership skills, or seeking to engage and inspire others, I am here to support you every step of the way. Let’s work together to unleash the power of storytelling and elevate your communication to new heights.

Attend an event and I’ll plant a tree for you! 🌳 Together, let’s grow a greener future. Your attendance nurtures not just your skills but the planet too! 🌍 Thank you for helping me make a lasting impact on our planet. 🌱 #OneTreeAtATime #GrowWithMe”

 

 

 

Book a time to chat with me about hosting a Storytelling for Leaders workshop

Lisa Evans is a Certified Professional Speaker and Accredited Coach, TEDx speaker coach, NLP practitioner, Neuro Leadership Institute Brain-Based Results Coach, Genos© Emotional Intelligence Practitioner, author, graphic recorder, broadcaster and podcaster. Unlock your speaking potential and establish a stand-out brand with a complimentary session. Book now to become an exceptional and successful speaker.  Let Lisa Evans be your trusted partner on your path to captivating storytelling and speaking success. Start your transformational journey today! If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my e-book – How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.
Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker

Working With a Speaker Coach To  Boost Your Public Speaking Skills

Working With a Speaker Coach To Boost Your Public Speaking Skills

Do you break into a sweat at the mere thought of speaking in front of others? Do your hands shake, your heart race and your mind go blank when you’re called upon to deliver a presentation? If so, you’re not alone! Public speaking is one of the most common fears among people. However, it doesn’t have to be that way.

Working with a speaker coach can help you overcome your fear of public speaking and improve your skills in this area. Whether you’re a seasoned communicator who wants to excel at presenting, or you need to deliver a once off presentation for work, a coach can guide you through the process of becoming more confident and effective on stage, in front of others in the boardroom, in virtual meetings, and even on camera. 

The Fear of Public Speaking

 

The fear of public speaking is one of the most common fears among individuals. It can be a paralysing experience that prevents people from sharing their insights, ideas, and expertise with others. Like many people, you may have reached a stage in your life when you are thinking ‘Enough is enough, it’s time to step up and take control of this fear’.

Firstly, I’d like to remind you to acknowledge that feeling nervous before public speaking is entirely normal. Many great speakers have admitted to feeling nervous before stepping on stage. Next, take steps to prepare and practice your speech and any supporting material such as your slides. This will help you feel more in control of the situation and reduce anxiety levels significantly.

Remember that the audience wants you to succeed; they are there to hear what you have to say! Engage with them by making eye contact, using gestures and interactive elements like polls or Q&A sessions.

Finally, focus on your breathing when you feel anxious – deep breaths can help calm down nerves quickly.

How Working with a Speaker Coach Can Help You

If you are one of the many people who experience a nervous feeling in the pit of your stomach when you have to speak in public then you’re not alone. Fear of public speaking is very common, affecting millions of people worldwide. But what if I told you that you don’t have to settle for feeling this way? You can overcome this fear and become a confident speaker by working with a speaker coach.

Working with a speaker coach can provide numerous benefits for those struggling with a fear of public speaking, as well as those wanting to finesse their presentations skills, even for those who want to get paid to speak. An experienced speaker coach will be able to assist people of all levels and walks of life. The role of a speaker coach can be expansive depending on their experience.

As well as providing you with practical strategies to manage your nervousness, a speaker coach can also teach you valuable skills such as how to engage an audience, how to structure a speech, how to use body language effectively, and how to sound as smart as you are with effective vocal techniques.

One significant benefit of working with a certified coach is that they’ll help build your confidence over time.

There are numerous benefits to working with a speaker coach when it comes to public speaking. Firstly, they can provide personalized guidance tailored specifically to your needs and goals. They’ll work alongside you every step of the way as you build up your skills and tackle any areas where you may be struggling. Coaching sessions are also an excellent opportunity for feedback on your performance and insights into how to improve further.

Tailored Techniques and Strategies

As a certified speaker coach with over a decade of experience, I know firsthand the benefits of working with an accredited coach. Speaking in front of an audience can be nerve-wracking, but it doesn’t have to be. With my guidance and expertise, you can become a confident speaker that commands attention, exudes presence, and makes an impact.

My tailored approach to coaching ensures that each individual I work with receives personalized attention and techniques specific to their needs. No two individuals are alike when it comes to public speaking, which is why I believe in creating customized plans for each person. This way, they receive the tools necessary to succeed and feel confident in themselves as speakers.

When looking for a trusted coach, accreditation is key. As someone who has been accredited through years of training and experience, I guarantee that you will receive top-notch coaching from me.

 

Accountability and Feedback

Working with a speaker coach can be a game changer when it comes to boosting your confidence and improving your speaking skills. The benefits of having a trusted coach by your side are endless, from providing accountability and constructive feedback to tailoring their approach to fit your individual needs.

One of the biggest advantages of working with a speaker coach is the accountability they provide. Your coach will hold you accountable for developing and implementing strategies that ultimately lead to growth in your public speaking abilities. They will also challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and take risks that push you towards becoming a more confident speaker.

Another key benefit is receiving tailored coaching that meets your unique needs. A reputable speaker coach will work closely with you to understand what areas require the most attention, whether it’s perfecting delivery techniques or honing in on content development.

Confidence in Your Skills

Confidence in public speaking skills is essential for success in both personal and professional life. Anyone can develop their presentation skills with a little guidance, practice, and perseverance. Working with a coach who is experienced provides benefits that extend beyond improving communication abilities. A tailored approach to coaching offers a solution that is unique to your needs to help you overcome any challenges and level up your skills fast, moving from feeling fearful to competence and confidence.

An experienced speaker coach not only helps you navigate through any difficulties but also provides encouraging and specific feedback, so that you know which areas to work on, and this approach boosts self-confidence. Targeted feedback is crucial for identifying areas of improvement while reinforcing strengths. With 1:1 public speaking coaching sessions, you can track your progress while working on any negative self-talk or nervousness that may be hindering your performance.

If you choose to work me me as your speaker coach, together we will work on both skill set and mindset. As well as being a certified professional speaker, a certified public speaking and storytelling coach, I am also accredited with the International Coaching Federation at ACC Level. I have studied the neuroscience of results and performance, and use tools and techniques that are grounded in reseated and based on a brain friendly approach.

Working with a Coach Pays Off

Working with a certified speaker coach can help you speak with confidence and transform how you feel about presenting in front of others. As a Certified Professional Speaker and Certified Speaker Coach and Accredited Coach with the International Coaching Federation, I can help take your career to the next level. With my years of experience and hundreds of corporate training sessions and 1:1 clients, my approach focuses on helping individuals identify their strengths and weaknesses so they can reach their potential and achieve their goals faster than they ever thought possible.

In conclusion, working with an accredited public speaking coach is one of the best investments you can make in yourself and your career. You will gain the skills and confidence needed to speak with impact, make a good impression on colleagues and clients, fast track results, and achieve your goals.

Whether you prefer 1:1 coaching or a workshop setting, personalised support is available to help you reach your full potential as a speaker. Don’t let fear hold you back any longer – take the first step towards unlocking your true potential today! 

 

 

 

Book a time to chat with me about hosting a Storytelling for Leaders workshop

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, improvisational actor, and host of the Business Chat Podcast

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my e-book – How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.

Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker

21 of the Best Books on Public Speaking

21 of the Best Books on Public Speaking

As a lover of books, people often ask me for recommendations on what books to read that will help improve public speaking and communication.

I have hundreds of books, and it is hard to choose the best ones. These are the books that I refer to often.

Best books on public speaking
Confidence and Mindset

Presence By Amy Cuddy 
Amy Cuddy teaches us that if we act powerfully, we will begin to think powerfully. This book is for you if you want to show up as your boldest self and perform better in stressful situations.

The Confidence Gap by Dr Russ Harris
This book is a practical guide with plenty of exercises. I often refer to the Cycle of Confidence concept that Dr Russ Harris introduces. Ideal for people who want to reduce nervousness.

Speak! Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking by Dale Carnegie & Associates
This book focuses on ways to unleash what we already have inside us: the ability to communicate our message through powerful, and even world-changing, presentations.

Presenting Magically by Tad James & James Shepphard
Presenting Magically offers expert tips and techniques to transform your presenting skills using NLP techniques that many top presenters use.

Presenting and public speaking

Speak Like Churchill by James C. Humes 
The author has a list of credible speeches he wrote for past US presidents. In this book, he shares practical ways to persuade using the power of words, phrases, props, and voice. This is a fantastic book if you want to write more formal speeches.

Talk Like Ted Carmine Gallo 
The author explores what makes a great presentation by examining the widely acclaimed TED Talks. If your dream is to share an idea on the red dot of a TED or TEDx stage, then read this book.

Brief By Joseph McCormack 
Many presentations are too long. What I enjoy about this author’s approach is that he shares ways to distil your message into a short presentation.

Conversations at work

No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work by Liz Foslien & Mollie West Duffy 
This book is a complete guide on bringing our best selves to work and understanding how our emotions play out in the workplace. Fun, quirky and with plenty of illustrations, an excellent book for navigating emotions in the workplace.

Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser 
This is one of the most valuable books in my collection. Effective, powerful conversational rituals that prime the brain for trust, partnership, and mutual success. Includes a wealth of insights from neuroscience and offers the science in an easy-to-understand way.

Crucial Conversations by Kerry Paterson and Joseph Grenney 
When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation poorly and suffer the consequences, or apply the lessons and strategies of Crucial Conversations and improve relationships and results—a worthwhile read.

Slides and data storytelling

Slideology Nancy Duarte 
The author shares excellent tips in visual thinking to help you create powerful slides to accompany the message. Any book by Nancy Duarte is a must-add to any collection about presenting information.

Storytelling with Data Cole Nussbaumer Knaffic 
The book provides the fundamentals of data visualisation and how to communicate effectively with data. You’ll discover the power of storytelling and how to make data a pivotal point in your story.

DataStory by Nancy Duarte 
A masterful book on presentations tailored for those who are number geeks. You will love this book if you are looking for exciting and persuasive ways to present data.

Storytelling

The Leaders Guide to Storytelling by Stephen Denning 
This book will help you unpack finding the right story for the right time. It’s a classic storytelling book and a must-have for any collection.

The Story Factor By Annette Simmons 
There are so many practical examples in the book. Over one hundred stories drawn from the front lines of business, as well as myths, fables, and parables from around the world to inspire you to create your stories.

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller 
If you have ever struggled to talk about your business to others, then you will find this book helpful.

Stories That Stick by Kendra Hall 
Stories That Stick offers specific, actionable steps readers can take to find, craft, and leverage the stories they already have and aren’t telling.

The Tao of Storytelling By Clarie Taylor 
I met Claire many years ago and was spellbound by her lovely Irish voice and storytelling ability. She shares 30 tales in the book; each carries a powerful message and practical exercises to help you find your treasure and transform your life.

Influence and Persuasion

Power Cues Nick Morgan 
This book on body language is a great addition to any speaker’s bookshelf.

Influence Robert B. Cialdini 
A classic book on how you can persuade others. A powerful skill in leadership.

Pre-suasion by Robert B. Cialdini 
This book tells how to persuade by influencing a person before they decide. It tells not just what to say but when to say it. It’s educational and entertaining.

I will update this list each quarter and add any new or interesting books I have discovered. You can find these books in most bookstores and online stores. These links go to Amazon, and in some cases, if you purchase using these links, I will receive a small payment.

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my new E-book How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.

Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker

Storytelling for Leaders Who Want to Make a Difference

Storytelling for Leaders Who Want to Make a Difference

The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of an entire generation that is to come.” Steve Jobs 

Are you a leader who wants to inspire change and hold the room’s attention with your storytelling? Maybe you know the benefits of storytelling for leaders, but you don’t know how or where to start? 

You may have questions such as; What stories can leaders share? How to find the right story for a presentation? My industry is technical, so how can I tell a story and remain credible? 

Storytelling for leaders who want to communicate more effectively

If you are eager to become a better storyteller, read on. If you want to discover some practical tips to enhance your storytelling, let’s chat

The good news about storytelling for leaders is that no special skills are required. As a leader, you need to engage, inspire and motivate people to action. Storytelling will enable you to be more persuasive. 

Boring PowerPoint presentations, reading from notes, a lack of interaction and dull monotones will not move any room to action. Leaders who have incorporated storytelling into their spoken word communication are ahead of the rest. 

When you add a story to your data, you can simplify your material to offer greater meaning, interpretation, and insight.

Humans are hardwired to tell stories, and in the distant past, it was natural to us. Think back to when you were younger. You developed the ability to tell stories (often a tall tale) by the time you were around four years old. Then, like many skills, you became more self-conscious and less carefree and confident about sharing. 

Storytelling is how we make sense and meaning; we can create order out of chaos and turn random ideas into something coherent. 

We begin to weave our stories from the rich tapestry of our lives. 

You may remember Aristotle’s Triangle of Rhetoric from high school or tertiary studies.

  

 

Aristotle believed that a speaker’s ability to persuade an audience depends on how well they apeal to that audience in logos, ethos, and pathos

Our ethos is clear cut as leaders and includes your position, title, experience, skills, and qualification. In other words, do you have the credibility to be leading the room?

Logos is the area that many leaders, particularly technically trained, feel comfortable about. Logos is an appeal to logic and is a way of persuading an audience with reason, using facts and figures. 

You are probably comfortable with this one. But before you deliver another data-rich PowerPoint deck with charts and figures, give a thought to the power of pathos. 

Pathos is emotion and imagination, as well as beliefs and values. And is a way of convincing an audience by creating an emotional response to an argument or story.  When considering pathos, we can use vivid examples, details and images to engage the listeners’ emotions and imagination and appeal to the values and beliefs they relate to or care about.

Storytelling for leaders 6 story types

There are different types of stories that make up an overall narrative strategy. Here are the six indispensable stories that sit well in any leader’s communication toolkit. 

1 The Signature Story 

2 The Founding Story

3 The Client Journey

4 The Aspiration Story

5 The Values Story

6 The Change Story 

There are plenty of ways you can engage with a story and there are a few basic storytelling guidelines to consider 

You may end up with multiple stories, and storytelling consultant Paul Smith recommends ten stories every leader can tell. A good starting point that I suggest is to draft your signature story.

What is a Signature Story?

According to Aaker and Aaker, researchers at  Stanford University, “A signature story is an intriguing, authentic narrative with a strategic message that clarifies the brand, and the business strategy.”

Creating your Signature Story 

The first step is to mine your life for stories. Story Mining is the discovery stage, finding those stand out moments from your life and turning them into a story structure. 

There are four phases in creating your stories.

  • Mining
  • Refining
  • Polishing
  • Presenting

When we are story mining, we dig for those natural resources to uncover what we have and then refine the more significant pieces until we have that golden nugget.

6 Story mining questions to get you started

1 Write down 50 things that have led you to today. Include the wins, the losses, the ups and downs, and the defining moments. In doing this exercise, you will capture significant moments in your life that hold your uniqueness’s valuable lessons. 

2 What has been the most significant point in your life leading to your career or business? What was the catalyst for that change if you had had a career switch? Was it by design or default? Did life throw a curveball at you?

3 Why does what you do matter so much? This can be answered from a personal or a career perspective. This is the opportunity to articulate your passion for what you do. Your values and what you hold dear to you may be added to this part. 

4 Why should others care? This question reframes your story to address the WIIFM – what’s in it for me? This is where you make your story relatable.

5 How does this make you different? What is unique about your journey, your leadership and your story? 

6 How do you help others? Be clear about what you stand for and how you are of service to others. 

Remember….

No one cares about your story until they care how your story helps them – Lisa Evans

When we can balance logic and emotion, we give our listeners a reason to care.  If they dont care, they dont listen. It’s simple. 

Want to know about storytelling for leaders? 

If you are based in Australia, you may be interested in hosting a facilitated storytelling for leader’s workshop. I have delivered these workshops to groups worldwide, both in-person and online. There is a format to suit every group, from two hours to two days. Click the button below, to find out how you can get ahead in your communication using the power of storytelling. 

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, improvisational actor, and host of the Business Chat Podcast

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my e-book – How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.

Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker

11 Better Ways To Practise Public Speaking

11 Better Ways To Practise Public Speaking

If you don’t practice, you don’t deserve to win.Andre Agassi.

You may not aspire to be the Andre Agassi equivalent of the speaking world, but this quote rings true with anything we want to succeed at, remembering that we must strive for progress and not perfection. 

Practise is a necessary part of preparing to speak in public, and when you put the time and effort into it, the rewards will be there for you 

Not enough time. I thought I could wing it. I’ll rely on reading from slides. What excuses have you come up with to justify your lack your public speaking practise?

As a Speaker Coach, I have heard plenty of reasons people don’t put in the practise. Often someone will seek help after they have delivered a presentation that they were not happy with (ideally if you are want to improve, get the help before your talk).

Perhaps someone gave them honest feedback that their talk missed the mark, lacked engagement, or the flow was out of kilter. Or maybe upon self-reflection, they know that they want to do better next time.

Progress happens with more practise but not all practise is equal. Here are 11 tips to help you get the most out of your time.
Practise public speaking Lisa Evans

Why is it essential to practise public speaking?

In a study of over 2,000 employees:
12% said they would step aside to let someone else speak Yet of those who did present, almost 70% agreed that public speaking was critical to their success at work.

So you know that it is essential for you to get comfortable with speaking up as part of your career, and if you are ready to commit to learning to improve, then the discipline of practise will be pivotal to your progress and success.

When you allocate time to become familiar with your content, and how you want to deliver it using your style, voice and body language, you are setting yourself up for success.

Malcolm Gladwell, author of Outliers, says,

“Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good.” 

It is natural to feel some nervous energy, or maybe you experience a level of anxiety as you are about to speak, but if you have put in the effort beforehand you can take a deep breath and trust that it will help you get through.

To be an engaging and compelling speaker, focus your attention on the members of your audience. A prepared speaker projects credibility and authority and will create a solid first impression.

Aim to start strong. Practise until you feel so comfortable with your material that it becomes internalised. 

I don’t enjoy the practise part of public speaking either! I’d much rather be doing something else. Despite the lack of motivation at times, I commit to rehearsing as I want to bring my best to what I do, and there are no shortcuts.

Practise doesn’t mean much unless it is meaningful practise. Click To Tweet

Here are 11 tips to help you get the most out of your public speaking practise  

Public Speaking Practise Tips

1 Allow the time for practise

If you want to reach mastery, then dedicating practise time is key. As a public speaking coach, I often find that people spend most time developing the talk’s content any accompanying slides, and leave insufficient time for practise.  Whilst there is no general rule about how much time, factor it in and the more practise the more comfortable you will feel.

According to Carmine Gallo when a complex keynote appears effortless, hundreds of hours of planning, designing and rehearsing made it look good. He goes on to recommend a 20 for 20 formula. For every 20 minutes of your talk, practice it 20 times

2 Record your talk

A straightforward tool available at your fingertips to give you real- time feedback is your smartphone. As part of your preparation to present, record yourself speaking. Initially, I suggest that you talk in a neutral tone as at this stage, you are listening to how the content sounds. Does your content make sense? How does it flow from one point to another? Are there clear transitions? Are there any clunky parts that need editing or removing? 

Once you are satisfied that the talk flows well, the next step is to record the talk again adding vocal inflection, pitch, pace, and pausing to bring the talk to life with your voice.  When you work with a speaker coach, learning to get the most out of your voice will be part of your improvement.

3 Practise with a buddy and seek feedback with care

Run through your talk with a trusted friend or peer, someone who will give you helpful and encouraging feedback. So that you don’t get overwhelmed by feedback, or get bland and unhelpful tips, be specific about the feedback that you are seeking. 

One area that I like to focus on is the emotional impact of the talk. Gauge the person’s reaction and find out what they felt when you started, as you spoke, and at the end of the talk. Was that the emotion you intended to elicit? 

There are times when you may not be actively seeking feedback, such as an hour before your talk!! But you want someone to be present and listen, there are plenty of times I have practised in front of my dog, but a human is best. 

Look into their eyes and speak from your heart to theirs. Click To Tweet  

Remember criticism is not helpful, and you may prefer to steer away from feedback for those who have never been in the arena. I recommend watching Brené Brown’s talk that mentions the famous  Roosevelt quote.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt, the Man in the Arena. Delivered at the Sorbonne (Paris) on April 23rd, 1910.

Ask for specific observations rather than general. Remember to be kind to yourself when reviewing your performance.

4 Don’t always start from the beginning

The beginning of your talk gets over-rehearsed. You begin to practise when you have a spare thirty minutes, then the phone buzzes or you get distracted. So you stop. Next time, you start from the beginning. It’s great to have the beginning of your talk nailed but not at the expense of neglecting the other parts.

Try starting from the middle or the end, for a challenge, even work backwards; know it inside out without memorising. This is also a key component of step 6. 

5 You can practise in different places

Mixing up the location where you practice is an excellent  way to keep it fresh. Some of the places that I find work well include the car, especially on long drives and sitting in heavy traffic, the bathroom and even the shower under hot water as the acoustics are great, and finally, practise as you are walking or taking exercise. There is something powerful about walking and talking. If you want to develop a strong memory technique, try the Memory Palace technique to anchor your talk to a physical location. 

6 Practise reducing filler words

You can improve a lot by honing in on a particular aspect of speaking in public. Filler words are a common pesky habit that is worth reducing or eliminating. Begin by identifying which filler work is your habitual go-to. When are you likely to slip in these unnecessary words? Can you include a pause instead? Awareness is key.

7 Practise the timings 

Keeping to the allocated time is critical for anyone embarking on public speaking. You won’t be highly regarded if you take up more time than you have been given. Honour your audience’s time. Run through your talk from end to end so that you know what the time is. Then consider whether you allowed for questions, what about pausing for reflection, laughter or activities. Best to come in short than go over. Consider what parts you can trim if it is tight fit. Don’t hope for the best. Where can you cut if need be?

8 Practise for the unexpected or unscripted parts 

How will you deal with unexpected distractions? It could be catering staff, questions from the audience or even heckling. Don’t let it throw you off track; consider how you will deal with this situation as part of your practise routine. Consider what questions may come up. This is also a good time to work with a buddy so you can formulate your answers 

9 Practise correct breathing 

Breathe fully and with intention. The power of your voice depends on the quality of your breathing. Try to breathe into the belly and as you take a breath in, allow your belly to gently rise. Then as you exhale, you belly sinks back. If you are new to diaphragmatic breathing, the best way to get used to how it feels is to lay on the floor with your hands resting on your belly. 

10 Practise visualisation

Visualise yourself giving a successful presentation as if it is happening now. Notice how you look, feel, and sound. What clothes are you wearing? How are you standing? And how are the audience reacting? Many public speaking coaches are trained in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and can share with you some powerful anchoring techniques. 

11 Practise in the space where you will be presenting

If possible, arrive early and use the actual space to work out steep up and stand down. 

If you feel ready to say yes to more opportunities to speak and you want to get help, then finding a public speaking class near you is the first step. 

How do you practise public speaking? Do you plan ahead? Or are you one of those who cram it all in at the last minute? 

In a previous article, I suggested what to look for when searching for a public speaking coach and whether a workshop or training session is the best way to make progress.

I have a range of courses, programs and workshops on offer in 2022.

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, improvisational actor, and host of the Business Chat Podcast

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat. Download my e-book – How to Build Confidence and Overcome Nervousness.

Lisa Evans

Professional Speaker