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Resources for the Book

Here are the Resources mentioned in my book, SPEAK SO YOUR AUDIENCE WILL LISTEN:

 

      1. ‘PACE’ section for you to build a PowerPoint on

2. Example of poor use of PowerPoint

3. Example of better use of PowerPoint

4. Voice

5. Wedding Speeches

6. Reading at a Service

7. Recommended Books

8. All the Exercises at the end of each chapter (this is especially helpful for audio book listeners!)

 

    1. ‘PACE’ SECTION IN THE BOOK – for you to use to build a PowerPoint deck:

 

“Audience’s attention spans have shortened over time. The average political sound bite has changed in length – from 43 seconds in 1968 to around 9 seconds today.

Ideally, as we talk, we’ll vary our pace to keep the audience alert. But what is the ideal speed when giving a talk or a presentation?

When reading a book on our own, we generally read between 250 and 300 words a minute.

Copy typists can type over 150 words a minute, while two-finger typists (like me) usually key in at about 40 words a minute.

When using our best handwriting, we write at about 35 words a minute.

And people tend to dictate to computers at about 100 words a minute.

The formula used for speech in radio production is around three words a second, which is a comfortable and understandable pace for most people. It might slow down to two words a second if they are dealing with longer or more complicated words.

As an experiment, try saying this sentence out loud:

‘Pizza tastes good with pepperoni and sausage.’

Now time yourself as you read those seven words again.

The fastest I can say it in clearly is two seconds. And in around three seconds for a more comfortable read.

That would work out at either 210 words or 140 words a minute. And once I’ve added in pauses for emphasis it would drop down to 180 or 120 words a minute – which is the formula used in radio production.

When Steve Jobs launched a new Apple product he pre-rehearsed those perfectly constructed sentences and delivered them brilliantly, with real drama. He typically spoke at 158 words a minute.

Pace will always depend on the type of talk we are giving, the audience and the speaker’s ability to articulate clearly but I think it’s usually best to aim for around 150 words a minute when presenting or giving a talk.

150 words is just under half an A4 page of double spaced type at 12 font. So a full page of A4 should take you around 2 minutes to deliver.”

 

 

 

2.  PACE – Here is an example of POOR PRACTICE of PowerPoint . The images and words almost fight the telling of the story.

 

 

 

3.  PACE –Here is an example of BETTER PRACTICE of PowerPoint
The images and words help with the telling of the story.

 

 

 

4.  VOICE –

Click  here to download my ARTICULATION EXERCISES.

If you would like to take your voice work to the next level, you might like to try working with a Bone Prop. One of the best devices we have found is the Morrison Bone PropThere are some useful Tutorials on how to use it.

 

 

5.  WEDDING SPEECHES –

Being asked to speak at a wedding can feel daunting – whether you’re the Bride, the Father of the Bride, The Groom or the Best Man. Click here for more …

 

 

6.  READING AT A SERVICE –

Being asked to read at a Wedding or a Christmas Carol Service is a great honour, but what tone should you take? How fast should you go? And how can you make a well- known passage sound new and relevant today?  Click here for more …

 

 

7.  BOOKS –

I’m often asked to recommend books on how to deal with nerves, how to design good Powerpoint slides etc; these are a few that we think are really helpful: click here

 

8.  EXERCISES FROM THE BOOK (by chapter).

 

CHAPTER 1 – NERVES

EXERCISE 1

Push a wall

Stand normally and say this nursery rhyme out loud:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King’s horses,

And all the King’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again!

Now stand and face a wall. Place both hands on the wall about shoulder height and push really hard for a few seconds, as if you’re trying to push the wall a couple of meters in the direction you’re pushing. (Make sure this is not a cavity wall for obvious reasons!)

This is a great exercise for releasing tension in the upper chest. It frees your voice and helps relax any nervous tension.

Now, after pushing the wall, stand normally and try saying Humpty Dumpty out loud again. See how physically relaxed you feel and how open your voice sounds.

 

EXERCISE 2

Push your hands together

Sit upright in a chair.

Put your hands together as in a prayer position. Make sure your forearms are parallel to the ground. Breathe in through your nose and hold for a couple of seconds.

Now push your hands together as hard as you can and squeeze the air out from your lungs through your mouth.

This releases tension in the upper chest and also engages the diaphragm ‘triangle’ as you push your air out.

 

EXERCISE 3

Slowing down your heart rate

If you find your heart racing and have a sense of rising panic before you’re about to speak, try this exercise.

You can do this even when people are watching you. So if you have to sit on a stage knowing that you’re the next one to speak and you feel rising panic, then this is one for you.

Breathe in through your nose slowly for a count of three.

Then breathe out though your nose for a count of three.

Repeat this three times.

That should take you a total of 18 seconds.

In that time you will have significantly lowered your heart rate.

You can also do this in a meeting before you speak. It’s a great way to slow down if you feel yourself getting nervous – and no-one can see you doing it!

Try it even if your heart is not racing. It will centre you – rather like you’ve had a short meditation. You will speak more slowly, your voice will be more relaxed and your mind will be calmer.

 

EXERCISE 4

Calming rising panic

If you really want to slow yourself – and your mind – down, try this exercise.

This is a slightly stronger and deeper version of Exercise 3. But you can’t do this one in front of other people.

As before, breathe in through your nose slowly for a count of three. Then breathe out though your nose for a count of three.

Repeat this two more times.

Then take one more long breath in – but this time, hold the air in your lungs. Remember, you’re trying to keep calm so don’t push yourself too hard here.

Most people can comfortably hold their breath for at least 15 seconds – some will be able to hold for longer.

When you are ready, slowly let the air out of your mouth.

Because we’re focusing on holding our breath we tend to stop thinking so much about our nerves.

Breathing in this way really can help us calm the mind and stop it from racing.

 

CHAPTER 2 – CONFIDENCE

EXERCISE 1

Stand facing a wall and focus on particularspot – such as a picture or a light switch. Imagine you’re standing there about to give a talk.

Start by saying:

‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is …, and I have some exciting news for you.’

Say it directly to the picture or the light switch.

Now say it again – but this time I want you to lower your centre of gravity as you speak.

You’ll remember from Chapter One that clenching your buttocks or your thighs stops you shaking. Well, it has another benefit too – it lowers your centre of gravity!

So now say the sentence again, but this time clench your buttocks or your thighs as you speak.

Does it feel any different? Does it change the way you speak?

Try saying the sentence again without clenching.

And once more with clenching.

By clenching those big muscle groups, you are lowering your centre of gravity. And if you lower your centre of gravity, you will feel and appear more centred and confident.

 

EXERCISE 2

Obviously you can’t clench your buttocks or your thighs as you’re walking around! Instead try to become aware of where your centre of gravity is as you walk about.

First, try walking along a street as if your centre of gravity was in your upper chest? Imagine you are being pulled along by a piece of string attached to your upper chest.

How do you feel when you walk like this? Do you feel lighter? Do you walk faster? Do you feel more or less confident? Just observe.

Now try walking as if your centre of gravity was in your lower stomach. Imagine you are being pulled along by a piece of rope attached to your lower stomach. To help with this you can ‘engage your core’ by tightening your lower stomach muscles.

How do you feel when you do this? Do you feel lighter or stronger? Do you change your pace?

How do you feel when your centre of gravity is in your upper chest and when it’s in your lower stomach?

At this stage just observe how you feel.

 

EXERCISE 3

Over the next 24 hours, try to lower your centre of gravity by clenching your buttocks or your thighs when you’re standing still.

You can try this in almost any social situation. Standing in the supermarket queue, at work or at a drinks party. Other people will be unaware that you’re clenching away!

Observe how you feel when you’re doing this.

Does it make you feel more confident? Does it change the way you speak? Or the way you listen?

Do other people treat you differently?

Try clenching when giving a presentation at work.

As we know, people will judge us in the first few seconds so you only need to clench at the start of a presentation. You don’t have to keep the muscles tight all the way through it.

But it can help to centre us and make us feel more confident at the start, when we’re probably at our most nervous.

If you can keep your centre of gravity low, you’ll not only appear more confident, you’ll begin to feel more confident too.

 

 

CHAPTER 3 – CONNECTION

EXERCISE 1

Observe which Zones other people are in

Observe at least three people you meet today. Try to work out which Communication Zone they are in. You can try this with your family, work colleagues or strangers.

If we know which Zones other people are in, then we can then learn to adapt our behaviour and encourage them to move into their Zone Two.

But initially, just observe which Zone they are in. See how quickly you can spot their Zones. Learning to spot which Zone other people are in will become automatic after a while.

Once you’ve learned to spot which Zones other people are in, observe how you feel when you are talking to someone who is in their Zone One, Two or Three.

Their choice of Zone will directly affect the way you feel towards them.

 

EXERCISE 2

Observe which Zones you are in

Now take a look at yourself. Which Zone are you in right now? Most people tend to have a favourite Zone, or at least a favourite Zone for certain situations.

So which Zones have you been in today? One, Two or Three? Observe yourself. Have you changed in and out of different Zones during the day?

Do you find yourself being drawn to particular people today? Or to particular people in particular Zones?

If you are in Zone One, you are unlikely to want to spend time with people in Zone Three. They’ll probably be too loud and controlling and possibly make you feel you’re under attack.

If you are in Zone Three, you may be irritated by the lack of energy of people in Zone One.

But if you are in Zone Two, you will probably connect with most people quite easily.

 

EXERCISE 3

Actively choose your Zones

Do you find yourself wanting to change your Zone depending on which Zone other people are in?

Start by being in Zone One. This will be fairly easy and non-threatening to people you meet. (Of course, if you woke up with your Zone Three grumpy head on today, you might find this a little harder!) Try to stay in Zone One when you’re with other people for a while. Notice how you feel? Notice what reactions you get.

Then try having a conversation with someone while you’re in your Zone Two. You’ll be more open and welcoming, you’ll take time to listen and make other people feel you’re genuinely interested in them. You can still have your opinions, of course, but you’ll probably listen more carefully and consciously try not to talk over them.

And now experiment with a conversation when you’re in Zone Three. Choose someone neutral, someone to whom the outcome of the conversation doesn’t matter so much. Try asking for help in a shop you don’t normally go into or asking for directions from a stranger whilst being in your Zone Three. (Close friends and colleagues might take offence if they aren’t used to seeing you in Zone Three, so it’s best not to try this out on people close to you.)

How did it make you feel when you were in different Zones? How did others react to you when you were in different Zones? Did they change their behaviour towards you depending on which Zone you were in?

Recognising which Zone we are currently in, and which Zone our audience is in, helps us move to that perfect space where both our Zone Twos overlap. In that place, when you speak, your audience will listen.

 

CHAPTER 4 – VOICE

EXERCISE 1

The best tongue exercise in the world

One of the best ways to be vocally clear – and to be emotionally connected – is to have an open throat when speaking. But when we get nervous, or when we are tired, the back of the throat can tighten up. The tongue can even feel as if it’s being pulled backwards.

This exercise will help you open your throat.

I want you to stick your tongue out as far as you can and try to say the whole of Humpty Dumpty. (You might think this is an unusual request but, I promise you, it does work.)

When I say I want you to stick your tongue out, I mean really stick it out and try to speak clearly. This will not work if you half stick it out, or if you don’t really try to articulate.

Of course, it’s hard to articulate with your tongue sticking out but by trying to speak as clearly as you can you are getting the back of the tongue to work harder. And by stretching the back of the tongue you will open the back of your throat.

So stick out your tongue out as far as you can and try to say clearly:

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,                              

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.

All the King’s horses,

And all the King’s men

Couldn’t put Humpty together again!

Once you have done that, try saying the whole of Humpty Dumpty again – but this time speaking normally.

You should notice that you produce a more open sound. You may have also gained more depth, resonance and volume. Most people are amazed at how different their voice sounds immediately after doing this exercise.

I often ‘voice’ TV ads and documentaries and I would never record one of these without first doing this exercise.

How long do the effects of this exercise last?

Generally around five minutes. But the more you open the back of your throat by doing this exercise, the more the default position of your throat will become ‘open’. If you did this exercise five or six times a day for a week, you would really begin to notice a difference. And if it became a daily exercise over time, you could transform your voice.

Counting from one to twenty has the same effect as saying Humpty Dumpty but as there’s something faintly ridiculous about this exercise anyway, I think it helps to be saying something faintly ridiculous too.

Try this exercise before making a telephone call. The person you are calling won’t have seen you sticking your tongue out. Notice how your voice feels stronger and more emotionally connected as you speak.

It is, without question, the simplest and the best single voice exercise in the world. And the quickest, and easiest, way to add gravitas and authenticity.


EXERCISE 2

Opening your throat

The Humpy Dumpty tongue exercise is great for opening your throat.

Here is another one. It’s the ‘half yawn’.

Stand facing a spot on the wall – a picture or a light switch works well. Breathe in, and on the outbreath say:

‘‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.’

Now try to imagine you are about to yawn. Take in a wide ‘yawny’ breath and then say again:

‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen.’

Try this a few more times. It should begin to feel as though your throat is more open and release any tension there.

Observe how your voice sounds and feels when you speak on a ‘yawny breath’.


EXERCISE 3

Centre your breath

Sit forward on a chair with your eyes gently closed. Put your hand on your lower stomach and, as you breathe in, try to breathe ‘into’ your hand. Try not to breathe into your upper chest but into your hand, almost as if you are making your stomach larger. So breathe into your hand and then breathe out.

Do this 3 times.

Now breathe in and, as you breathe out, make a gentle humming sound. Keep your jaw relaxed, with your lips closed so they tingle with the humming.

Also, do this 3 times.

Now breathe into your lower stomach again, and as you breathe out start making a humming sound for a couple of seconds, then open your lips and turn the humming sound into an ‘Ahhh’ sound. Don’t be tempted to get loud.

Again, do this 3 times.

You should begin to feel that your breath and the sounds you make, which start in your lower stomach, flow freely out through your open throat.

The power of the breath comes from the lower stomach, while the throat remains open and relaxed.


EXERCISE 4

Centre your voice

Imagine you’re an actor and a film script has just arrived in the post. You open it up and see that your first line of dialogue is:

‘I love you. I hate you. I want to marry you. I want to kill you.’

Try speaking those sentences out loud now. As you say them, look directly at a fixed spot on a wall in front of you.

Try not to ‘act’ these sentences. If you act them, chances are they will sound false.

Now say them again, deliberately breathing gently into your lower stomach, and as you speak try to make each inflection the same so ‘I love you’ and ‘I hate you’ may sound the same to you but the audience will get the difference because of the different meaning of the words. If you say the words clearly, as you connect to your emotional centre, the audience will feel the emotion.

Now try another exercise. Still talking to the same spot on the wall, say these famous lines from Hamlet quietly and gently:

‘To be or not to be? That is the question.’

Don’t try to ‘act’ the words. Just breathe into your lower stomach and let the words flow out. It’s as if the sound pours out from your open throat. Your voice shouldn’t feel forced or pushed, it should simply flow from your emotional centre in a believable way.


EXERCISE 5

Smiling changes your voice

Smiling really does change the sound of your voice. If you don’t believe me, try recording yourself.

First, with a completely straight face record yourself saying this sentence:

‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen, I’m glad you’ve all turned up as I’d be feeling pretty stupid if I was standing here talking to myself.’

Now try recording the same sentence with a smile on your face as you speak.

As you listen back, you should find that the one with a smile in the voice is more engaging and has more energy and variation of tone.

I’m not suggesting the cheesy smile of a TV game show host. I mean a slight smile – a twinkle in the eyes. I regularly ask clients to try their speech again with a slight twinkle. There are occasions when smiling is not appropriate, of course, but in most cases it will add energy and vocal range.

Try it, it really does change the way you sound and the way that an audience will react.

 

EXERCISE 6

Observe your voice

Try observing yourself today. Listen to your voice as you go about your daily activities. Notice when it’s relaxed and when it’s a little tighter. Does it depend on who you’re talking to? The importance of the situation? The level of other noises around? Is it clearer or less clearer on the telephone?

For now just observe. Observe how it feels. In which situations do you feel your voice tighten? When are you able to feel more relaxed?

Once you’ve observed yourself in a few settings and scenarios, see if you can alter where your voice is coming from.

If you feel your voice is restricted and that you’re speaking on your throat, see if you can mentally shift your voice to your lower stomach. Use all the tools and exercises we’ve learned so far.

If you’re about to make a phone call and you have some privacy, try the Humpty Dumpty tongue exercise or the half yawn to open your throat just before you dial.

Try dropping the back of the tongue for a second – this will help release tension in the throat.

Check that you’re not speaking too loudly. Generally, when we speak on our throat, we get louder. Try speaking a little more quietly.

Observe your voice today.


EXERCISE 7

Speaking from a low centre of gravityStand and clench your buttocks or your thighs to lower your centre of gravity. Now try speaking from your centre, breathe in low and say gently and effortlessly:‘This is the best chair in the world.’You are not trying to sell, justify or prove.

Just let the words flow gently out. You should find that you have more gravitas and will sound more confident and believable.

Try standing when making a phone call and clench your buttocks or your thighs – to lower your centre of gravity.

Remember, just let the words flow gently. You’re not trying to sell. You’re not trying to prove anything. You’re not trying to sound impressive.

Speaking from a low centre of gravity will help to make you sound more confident and authentic.

 

EXERCISE 8

Articulation exercises

Having done your Humpty Dumpty tongue exercise, you can continue to ‘take your tongue to the gym’ with these articulation exercises.

Start slowly and very clearly. Don’t try to make them sound conversational. Try to hit every sound, every consonant. Almost over-articulate them. You are taking your tongue to the gym.

Then, when you’ve got your tongue around them, you can start to speed up. But beware of speeding up before you can get your tongue around the words. And avoid the temptation to get louder as you get faster. You don’t want to strain your throat, you’re just trying to get your tongue moving. These exercises aren’t about volume.

You can try them below or download the Exercises in PDF here:

 

Round the ragged rock

The ragged rascal ran.

 

 

Red leather, yellow leather.

Red leather, yellow leather.

 

 

Betty bought a bit of butter

But she found the butter bitter,

So she bought a bit of better butter

To make the bitter butter better.

 

 

How much wood could a woodchuck chuck,

If a wood-chuck could chuck wood?

 

Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.

A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.

If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,

Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

 

 

I saw Susie sitting in a shoe shine shop.

 

 

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice-cream!

 

 

The thirty-three thieves

Thought they thrilled

The throne throughout Thursday.

 

 

The World Wide Web

 

 

All I want is a proper cup of coffee

made in a proper copper coffee pot.

I may be off my dot, but I want a cup of coffee

in a proper coffee pot.

Tin coffee pots and iron coffee pots,

they’re no use to me.

If I can’t have a proper cup of coffee

in a proper copper coffee pot,

I’ll have a cup of tea.


EXERCISE 9

To develop your voice further

If you would like to work further on your voice and take your tongue to the Advanced Class, you could try using a bone prop.

Try putting two fingers between your top and bottom teeth and try speaking. It’s hard to articulate with your fingers in your mouth but it makes your tongue work much harder.

A bone prop does a similar job. It’s a small piece of plastic that fits in between your top and bottom teeth. It holds the mouth slightly open, helping to strengthen the tongue and bring the voice forward.

I recommend this to clients who really want to develop their voice more fully. It helps with vocal agility. It can slow down your speech rate, increase the space in the oral cavity, encourage resonance, help to bring the sound to the front of the mouth and it builds muscularity in the tongue and the lips.

If you’re working with a bone prop, you could try using the articulation exercises from Exercise 8.

Be careful not to over-use a bone prop in the early stages to avoid jaw tension, but all the instructions come with it.

 

EXERCISE 10

Sore or damaged throat

If your voice is sore through over-use or from a cold try making up this miraculous mixture:

Add a table spoon of cider vinegar to a glass of water (room temperature).

You want the mixture to ‘sit’ on your throat for a bit, so sip small amounts slowly over a few hours.

If you’re out for the day, you can add the cider vinegar to a small bottle of water and take it around with you.

Your voice should start to recover after a few hours.

Personally, this is my favourite voice remedy in the world.

 

 

CHAPTER 5 – BODY LANGUAGE

EXERCISE 1

Sitting down

Imagine you are going to present at a seated meeting.

Try leaning right back in a chair with your legs crossed out in front of you and say:

‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for coming.’

Now sit forward, with your bottom near the front of the chair, your feet firmly on the floor, back straight, leaning slightly forward and say again:

‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for coming.’

You should notice that your voice is stronger. This is a good position to present in at a seated meeting. You should feel centred and you’ll look confident.

There are times, of course, when you might choose a more relaxed stance.

Experiment with different ways of sitting and observe how they each make you sound and feel.

Think how your audience might react to you if you spoke from these different positions.

 

EXERCISE 2

Standing up

Stand up and go through the four point check list for standing that we just looked at on page 106:

Feet. Thighs. Hands. Smile.

So now you should be standing with your feet firmly on the floor, your weight evenly distributed and your buttocks or thigh muscles clenched. This will make you look and feel centred. Lastly your hands are held gently together in front of your lower stomach.

Smile and say:

‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for coming.’

Now try having your hands hanging by your side and say:

‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for coming.’

How does that feel? Your emotional centre is exposed in this position. Try speaking again but with your hands gently back together in front of your lower stomach:

‘Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you for coming.’

Your emotional centre is now covered. Do you feel more relaxed and comfortable in this position?

 

EXERCISE 3

Hand gestures

Stand with your weight evenly distributed.

Try moving one hand in an open gesture as you say this sentence:

‘This is a fantastic idea.’

Hand gestures, of course, can reinforce our message.

Try saying it again, but this time gesturing with both hands, as if you’re suggesting an amazing idea:

‘This is an absolutely incredible idea.’ 

When you have finished speaking, bring your hands together again in front of your lower stomach, almost as if a magnet was pulling them back.

Now try saying it again but this time only move your hands from your wrists:

‘This is an absolutely incredible idea.’

This will feel odd. Did it change the sound of your voice? Perhaps it sounded tighter and more restricted?

Try saying it again both ways, with open relaxed gestures using your whole arms and then again with small tight gestures with your wrists. By experimenting in this way you can learn which gestures work best for you.

Always return your hands to their neutral position in front of your lower stomach. If you get used to having your hands here, you will never have to think about what to do with your hands again when speaking in public.

 

CHAPTER 6 – STRUCTURE

EXERCISE 1

Think about your audience

Before you start to structure any talk or a presentation, ask yourself these ten questions:

  • What is my relationship with the audience?
  • How much do they know about me?
  • Are they my peers, superiors or subordinates?
  • What do they think of me? How much credibility do I have with them?
  • What is my goal? To inform, sell, motivate, persuade or create controversy?
  • What do they want from me?
  • What do I want from them?
  • What other factors may influence how they see me?
  • Why should they care about what I have to say?
  • What’s in it for them?


EXERCISE 2

Use a Mind Map to write a speech

Try constructing a talk about one of your favourite holidays using a Mind Map. It could be a holiday you had as a child or more recently.

In the centre circle write your holiday location.

Then, in a series of circles coming from that, write in the things that made it so special. Who you went with. What you did. Would you go back there? Was it long enough? Would you recommend it?

You get the idea.

The point of Mind Maps is that we aren’t trying to write a speech in long hand or type it out fully on our computer. We’re trying to get to the bare bones of the subject.

At this stage write everything down. We’re brainstorming here, don’t over edit, just put it all down. You can easily edit later.

Using Mind Maps makes structuring a talk really easy.

Hopefully you’ll end up with a several logical strands of information and ideas.

We always start delivering the talk from the centre, with our Headline. All we then have to do is to decide which of the various strands we will follow first.

Chose the order of the strands in a logical sequence to keep you and your audience on track.

Don’t be tempted to write it all out – try just using the Mind Map as your notes.

See if it becomes easier to speak using your own words spontaneously rather than reading out from a complete script.

Here’s an example of what a Mind Map for a talk about a holiday might look like. I’ve numbered each strand to help keep the flow logical.

Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 18.09.02

EXERCISE 3The 50 Word Story

The Irish writer James Joyce said that one of his greatest regrets in life was that he hadn’t written Ulysses in 50 words. In fact, it ended up at over a quarter of a million words. And he used an impressive lexicon of over 30,000 different words.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask you to condense Ulysses into 50 words!

I’d like you to write your holiday story in exactly 50 words. Not 48 or 49, not 51 or 52, but exactly 50 words. It’s a really good exercise and it sharpens your thoughts. There’s no space for waffle in 50 words. Every word must count.

When you’ve written your 50 words, read them out loud.

It’s extraordinary how much sharper our writing becomes when we have chosen each and every word really carefully.
EXERCISE 4

The Fairy Tale Template

Think of a subject for a talk or a presentation and then try slotting it into the Fairy Tale template:

  1. Once upon a time there was a …
  2. They used to do this …
  3. Then one day something changed …
  4. So they …
  5. And as a result they …

See how this structure changes your speech as you tell your story.

 


EXERCISE 5

Build a PowerPoint presentation

Try putting the information from the section on ‘Pace’ in the next chapter (pages 195-196) into a PowerPoint presentation.

After reading the section, first decide which bits of information you want to include in your presentation.

How do you want to start off?

Start by roughly sketching out your slides on paper. I find this is much better than going straight to the computer, where we can easily get distracted by trying to make the slides look good with cool fonts and interesting graphics.

Have a think about what you want your audience to do, feel or remember at the end?

Once you’re happy with your paper slides, start to design your PowerPoint presentation.

Remember to link each slide to the next to keep the flow.

The design of PowerPoint slides is a whole subject in itself and there are many helpful books available.

By way of illustration, I have designed two PowerPoint presentations of the ‘Pace’ section to demonstrate ‘poor’ and ‘better’ PowerPoint practices.

You can view both presentations at the top of this page.

You’ll recognise ‘poor’ and ‘better’ practice quite easily!

 


EXERCISE 6

Try different openings

Using your speech idea from the last exercise, try out each the Five Classic Starts we looked at earlier (page 129) using the Headline Sandwich Method.

Write down five different openings you could start your talk with using:

The Benefit

The Tease

The Quiz

The Shock

The Three Way Opening

 

Now read each one out loud.

How do they sound?

How might an audience feel hearing them?

Which do you think would be most appropriate in different scenarios?

Did you remember to put in a memorable ‘hook’?

 


EXERCISE 7

The five heartbeats

Now try to adapt your opening Headline into five heartbeats – iambic pentameter.

Using our Mind Map holiday example, the initial sentence in iambic pentameter, might become:

‘In Rome I fell in love and changed my life.’

Try saying this out loud hitting the five heartbeat rhythms.

It might not always be appropriate, or even necessary, to use iambic pentameter but it’s a good fun exercise and sometimes the results are worth it.

 

 

CHAPTER 7 -DELIVERY

EXERCISE 1

Pace

Let’s see what pace of delivery works best for you.

Turn to pages 197-198 and find the section on ‘Pace’.

This has a total of 350 words.

Time yourself as you speak this section out loud.

If you spoke for two minutes you would have been speaking at 175 words a minute.

Two and a half minutes would have been at 140 words a minute.

Three minutes would have been at 116 words a minute.

Now try this exercise again but this time, record yourself as you speak.

Just record your voice, don’t be tempted to use video. It will be easier to listen to your pace if you are not visually distracted.

As you listen back, do you feel you were speaking at a comfortable rate where an audience would be able to process your words clearly?

Or were you speaking too fast or too slow?

Experiment by trying this exercise several times. I usually aim for around 150 words a minute.

 


EXERCISE 2

Varying the pace

We want to avoid an even, flat speed of delivery – so using the ‘Pace’ section from the last exercise let’s now try to vary your pace.

Remembering what we learned in the sections on ‘Emphasising key words’ (pages 191-194), I want you to underline one or two key words in each sentence of the ‘Pace’ section (pages 197-198).

Once you’ve underlined your chosen words, record yourself reading the whole section out loud.

As you speak, you can either emphasise underlined key words by putting a pause around them, by slowing them down or by varying your vocal energy on them.

Play the recording back and imagine you’re in the audience listening.

Did this exercise change your overall speed of delivery?

Did it vary your pace?

Did some ways of emphasising these words work better than others?

Was it more engaging if you did or didn’t emphasise key words?

Try this exercise several different ways.

 

EXERCISE 3

Deliver a PowerPoint presentation

Now let’s have a go at delivering the PowerPoint presentation on the ‘Pace’ section that you put together from Exercise 5 in the last chapter (page 165).

Use the Top 10 Tips for delivering with PowerPoint (pages 178-187).

Remember that you are the star of the presentation, not the PowerPoint. The slide deck is only there to help reinforce your message where necessary.

Imagine you have your audience in front of you and away you go.

 

EXERCISE 4

Record yourself

Let’s have a go at recording yourself giving a whole talk or a presentation. I would opt for sound recording first. This will help you to be able to judge your content as you listen back. It’s easy to get visually distracted when watching yourself on video.

You can use your PowerPoint deck from the last exercise or use a talk that is relevant to you, with or without using slides.

Once you’re ready to go, quickly run through the 15 second Warm Up exercise routine (p 204) to get you in the mood and then press the audio record button.

Stand with your weight evenly balanced between both feet, clench your buttocks or your thighs, wait two seconds …

And away you go!

As you play the recording back, imagine an audience listening to this talk for the first time and ask yourself:

Could they follow my arguments?

Were my ideas always logical?

Did I make the changes of sections crystal clear? Or were there some places where the changes seemed ‘clunky’.

Did I add a memorable ‘hook’?

Did I have enough vocal energy?


EXERCISE 5

Video yourself

Now let’s have a go at videoing yourself giving a talk or a presentation. This exercise is less about judging the content and more about your delivery.

Clients often say that when they first watch themselves back on video all they can see is the one physical bit of themselves that they hate – so be kind to yourself and try to be as objective as you can. Remember, audiences haven’t come to judge you. They’ve come be informed and entertained.

As you watch yourself back, ask yourself these questions:

Did I look like I really wanted to be there?

Was I physically relaxed or was I doing something that might have distracted them?

Was I speaking from my emotional centre?

Was my voice relaxed?

Were my eyes smiling?

Was I in my Zone Two?

Would my delivery have encouraged my audience to join me in their Zone Twos?

Ultimately, do I think that when I spoke, my audience would want to listen?

© Zone 2 - The Art of Communication 2017