August 12, 2011

5 public speaking tips from Nemo

While I'm moving over the next week, I've invited some of my favorite public speaking and communications bloggers to guest post here on Speak Schmeak. Please enjoy this post by Marion Chapsal from her blog, Geronimo Coaching Now. Follow her on Twitter: @MarionChapsal.

Remember Finding Nemo, Pixar's animated movie? It is the story of a little clown-fish named Nemo and his big Call to Adventure in the Big Ocean.When he disobeys his over-protective and stressed father Marlin, by swimming into open water and Crossing the threshold. He is of course caught and placed, far far away from home, in a Sidney Dentist Fish Tank...(The Inmost Cave??)

Fortunately, Nemo's father, on his way to save his son, meets a very brave and joyful creature, a female fish named Dory, who soon becomes his Mentor, in spite of her crazyness and very poor memory. It's a story of trust, of empowerment, of Father and Son, of friendship and tolerance, (remember the gang of sharks), of personal development and leadership. It's a typical hero's journey.

But it's also a lesson in public speaking, thanks to hilarious Dory.

If you believe you can speak whale and if you are fearless and bold enough to speak out and speak up, whales will actually speak back!

Relax. Take a big breath. Just start. Once you start speaking, it's much easier to keep speaking. "Just keep swimming, keep swimming!" Relaxing your body before a presentation will make a big difference to your stage fright. Practise and keep breathing during the presentation too!

Enunciate clearly and Speak Up. You don't need to open such a big mouth as Dory, but most of us don't articulate. It's necessary , especially if you are to speak to an International audience. Watch your pacing too. Slow down your delivery and pause. Make sure you are heard and speak with a good volume, adapted to the distance between you and your audience...

Believe in Yourself. Dare to be different. Be bold and ask the questions nobody dares to ask. Is this the stereotype about men not asking for directions? Well, women on board meetings can also fall into that trap and would rather remain silent than ask for what they want. Do it even if others tell you you can't, if they think you're ridiculous, like sceptical Marlin ("You can't speak whale!"). Your heart may beat faster, people will start focusing on you, but do it! Listen to this little voice inside which says Go for It!

Enjoy your talk. Play! Find a reason to be excited about your presentation. Here Dory has fun doing something completely new and exploring different sounds...She's playing! Think about why you're so passionate about what you want to say. Think about the impact your speech could have on others, the reason why they came to listen to you and what added value you can bring.

Be totally present, here and now. Because Dory suffers from short-term-memory losses (and that makes her hilarious), she's always in the here and now. She's 100% present. I'm not suggesting you develop amnesia, but rather live the moment. To do so, be centered and grounded. Open wide your eyes and your ears. Observe, absorb, calibrate with all of senses. Use your 6th sense too, your intuition and plug yourself in your audience.

Little fellow can speak to big fellow. If you speak from the heart, you will be heard. Your confidence and passion will engage others. Big fellows were little fellows, once. Public speaking is a skill you can learn by practice. Be bold, fearless and ambitious. You too, small fish, little fellow, you can speak to "big fellows".

What about you, do you speak whale? Come on, little fellow!

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