The Colin James Method http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au Enhance Your Communication Skills Fri, 15 Dec 2017 02:15:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 How brevity can help you communicate as a leader in meetings http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/leadership-brevity-for-impact-and-efficiency/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/leadership-brevity-for-impact-and-efficiency/#respond Mon, 11 Dec 2017 22:00:05 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=15403 The post How brevity can help you communicate as a leader in meetings appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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We’ve all seen this happen in meetings: “Can I just make a point here? I just think that … Now how should I put this … Erm, I reckon that maybe if we could just, uh, go back to what Sarah said, I think that raises an interesting point about, um …”

Rather than properly formulating their thoughts, people think aloud, or “think in their mouths”. Meanwhile, all they’ve actually contributed to the meeting is meaningless gibberish, and the other participants in the meeting have lost precious minutes they can never get back. Even if the eventual thought is one worth sharing, the message has become diluted, because they’ve lost authority and impact by wasting everyone’s time. This is definitely not how one communicates as a leader.

That’s why I’m a great believer in the beauty of brevity. By being concise and to the point, you not only ensure that what you’re contributing is of value, and delivered with maximum impact, but you also demonstrate to those around you that you respect them and their time. And, believe me, this will make them sit up and take notice of what you have to say.

Using brevity in meetings

Now, imagine a utopia in which everyone in a meeting strives for brevity. Meetings would take half the time, and be twice as impactful.

It’s not just a pipe dream – it’s entirely possible.

In this video, I talk about why making brevity a condition of your meetings is so powerful and how it helps you communicate as a leader.

In summary, making brevity a condition of meetings:

  • Forces people to participate with greater consciousness, ensuring their contributions are more valuable
  • Elevates the meeting to a higher standard by sending a clear message that low-value participation won’t be tolerated.

How to encourage brevity in meetings

So how do you go about making this utopia a reality? In the video, I touch on some ways to encourage brevity in meetings, which I’d like to go into in a little more detail here.

Here are my top 3 tips for using brevity to make meetings more impactful and efficient.

1. Success is 99% preparation, 1% perspiration

Be sure that all participants have received the agenda well ahead of time, and ask everyone to be prepared to discuss the topics at hand. This means also being prepared psychologically to hit the ground running once you get into the meeting.

2. Set the standard at the start of the meeting

Before the meeting gets underway, remind the participants that you’re striving for brevity, and ask people to think carefully about what they are going to say before making a contribution. The simple act of taking some time to properly formulate your thoughts is absolutely key when it comes to brevity. It might sound easy, but it is actually a skill that can take some time and practice to master, so be patient in the beginning.

3. Have the courage to intervene when the standard is not being followed

When you notice that someone is “thinking in their mouths”, politely interrupt and ask them to take some time to construct what they want to say. Move on, and then bring them back into the conversation once they’ve had some time to think. It may be a little awkward at first, but it sends a clear message that this is the standard to which everyone needs to adhere, and prevents this kind of unwanted behaviour creeping back into your meetings.

By exercising brevity, and making it a condition of all your meetings, you can communicate with impact and authority, while having meetings that are highly valuable and efficient. Why not try it at your next meeting?

If you want to communicate like a leader, you need to also have the confidence to do so. Download our cheat sheet on 4 steps to owning your confidence and get on the best path to leadership success today.

The Colin James Method® coaches executives to improve their leadership skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Colin James

Colin James is a well-respected Educator, Keynote Speaker, Facilitator and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. Creating memorable, impactful world-class events that deeply influence the way people feel, think and behave is Colin James’ forte

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Body language in communication: Be heard and block the interrupters http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/body_language_in_communication/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/body_language_in_communication/#respond Wed, 06 Dec 2017 22:00:11 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=15571 The post Body language in communication: Be heard and block the interrupters appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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According to body language expert Allan Pease, 60 to 80 per cent of a message during a face-to-face meeting is conveyed through body language, not words. Which is quite surprising when you think about how much preparation goes into the words used in a successful speech, pitch or conversation; body language appears to be a mere afterthought.  

When it comes to words, females have been mocked for talking more than their male counterparts for hundreds of years and you don’t have to dig very deep to find a wealth of statistical and anecdotal information that can actually back this up.

Some even pay tribute to a bygone era where the women of the tribe gathered around the camp, weaving, prepping, cooking and tending to the kids – all the while talking, singing and socialising with each other – while the men hunted. You see, hunting required stealth-like movement which was often conducted in silence. Even the slightest chatter would be enough to alarm game and frighten off a potential feast. So the men hunted in groups, communicating only through basic whistles, whispers and a range of hand signals with minimal talk.

Is this Darwinism at play and could these behaviours be attributed to the difference in daily word quotas achieved by men and women? Potentially. And this seems to be transcending to the modern social scene and workplace where the debate about men interrupting women is alive and well and living in every corner of the globe.  

‘Manterruptions’ as they are colloquially coined, may just come down to personality types more than gender, according to some, though. While women are allegedly subjected to more interruptions during conversation, it’s not always just by men.

In a study published by the Journal of Language and Social Psychology, forty participants (20 male) had three-minute conversations with specialised communication partners in a repeated-measures design. The study found that when speaking with a female, participants interrupted more and used more dependent clauses than when speaking with a male.

So how did we get to a point where women are interrupted more and just how exactly does one avoid being interrupted or talked over the top of by someone else in the room? There are some clever body blocking techniques that can help a female speaker stop chronic interrupters in their tracks when communicating face-to-face.

“So how did we get to a point where women are interrupted more and just how exactly does one avoid being interrupted or talked over the top of by someone else in the room?”

Powerful body poses

When it comes to honing your body language in communication, a power pose can often exude a perceived confidence that might just give your spoken word more conviction and therefore deter interrupters. According to  Social Psychologist Amy Cuddy, standing in a posture of confidence, even when we’re not feeling confident,  can boost feelings of confidence and potentially impact on chances of success. This can include using your whole body from your feet to your head, all facing the front and towards who it is you’re speaking with. Leaning in for emphasis can also work a treat.

Using your hands in body language

Hand gestures can play a big role in body language and communication and can be a great way to block those who want to stop or talk over a conversation. If interrupted while speaking, simply use an open palm in their direction to acknowledge them, followed by a polite quip (“I’ll just be one moment I’m almost finished”). Keep fingers openly spread to avoid confrontation (like the old ‘talk to the hand’ gesture) and don’t underestimate the value of a firm handshake at the start of any meeting to establish confidence.

“Hand gestures can play a big role in body language and communication and can be a great way to block those who want to stop or talk over a conversation.”

Use your teeth and smile

Surprisingly, the ol’ toothy pegs can help when it comes to gaining confidence with others in the room. An open-lipped smile is the safest option when greeting others and can tell a person a lot about your intentions and your confidence. With that smile and confidence comes the reduced likeliness of someone cutting you off mid-sentence.

Continue to communicate

Be bold, be brave and make a commitment to continuing on with your conversation if you get an interruption. This strategy takes a bit of gusto and if you’re a little introverted in your communication techniques you’ll need to step outside your comfort zone to achieve this. Use timing to your advantage and be gracious but, at the same time, continue on with what you were saying if someone tries to steal your thunder midway through your delivery.

Set the scene first

Bring all of these tips together and execute them at the very start to set the ideal scene. If you’re prone to getting pesky interruptions, be clever and bring it up before you speak. Announce that what you’re about to say might be a half-baked idea but that you’d be open to discussing it further once you’ve finished what you have to say. This lets everyone in the room know what’s about to proceed before you start and is a great way of shutting down any serial interrupters before they hijack your thoughts, words and confidence.

Using body language can be a great way to convey a message but it can also tell you a lot about a person’s confidence, or lack of! Download our free Skyrocket Your Confidence 4-step cheat sheet now for handy tips on how to combat anxiety and nerves while promoting confidence and reaching your full potential.

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The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives and corporates to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Alison Carter

Alison Carter is a facilitator and coach at The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd, a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has spent over 15 years in senior financial and communication roles. She now loves to share her passion for the design and delivery of effective and engaging communications.

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An introvert’s guide to being a more strategic and inspiring leader http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/introverts-guide-strategic-inspiring-leader/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/introverts-guide-strategic-inspiring-leader/#respond Tue, 28 Nov 2017 02:08:29 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=15389 The post An introvert’s guide to being a more strategic and inspiring leader appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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“There are times when a leader must move out ahead of the flock, go off in a new direction, confident that he is leading his people in the right way” – Nelson Mandela

 

As a world leader and revolutionary, Nelson Mandela had the ability to influence, inspire and lead people through his use of impactful words and his actions, making him one of the most inspirational leaders of all time. But in a modern world full of data, information and influencers, how does one engage strategic leadership and up their game to become a more motivational, more impactful and more inspiring leader?

Some leaders take pride in their ability to motivate and wow a crowd, while others have all the technical know-how it takes to succeed in their industry, but lack the ability to truly motivate and inspire a team without it feeling contrived and forced.

Whether it’s anxiety and nervousness about speaking in front of people, or just a lack of experience in doing so, there are tips and tricks that can be easily implemented to make an impact when speaking to team members, clients, board members or large audiences.

In this video, I break down two easy-to-implement adjustments any leader can make that will help hone their strategic leaderships skills and make them a more inspirational speaker.

Turn on your inner ‘Motivational Speaker’ self

This might come easy to some, but others struggle to come across as enthusiastic because it’s just not who they are as a person or leader. I’m a self confessed introvert, so believe me, this isn’t something that has come naturally to me either. Looking enthusiastic is a skill that can be learned and there are some techniques that can be taught to help create a sense of energy and passion around how you communicate.

Speak to your audience

People are tired of hyperbolic language and outlandish statements that often come with some leaders’ theatrics. In the context of leadership there are many situations that warrant varying degrees of inspirational communications.

It might be a presentation to the board, a face-to-face pitch to CEOs, a coveted keynote speaking engagement on stage in front of thousands or a regular leadership meetings with the team you manage; despite the setting, you should avoid over-inflated descriptors that sensationalise everything (the types that would have exclamation points after them).

You know the ones – the big statements that use lots of descriptive adverbs like utterly, totally and absolutely – these aren’t necessary when trying to effectively communicate or convey a key message.

Here’s a link to a short video that goes into a little more detail and gives practical examples of what you can do to become a more motivational and inspiring speaker and leader.

I really hope this post can help shift some perceptions around what it takes to be a great leader and effective communicator; and above all I hope it helps leaders channel their enthusiasm and curb their language to become more motivational, inspiring and impactful.

Now that your strategic leadership skills are being honed, why not get some tips on how to manage anxiety, nerves and your confidence with our Four-Step Cheatsheet to Skyrocket Your Confidence? You’ll learn four practical strategies for becoming more confident in business and life.

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The Colin James Method® coaches executives to improve their leadership skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Colin James

Colin James is a well-respected Educator, Keynote Speaker, Facilitator and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. Creating memorable, impactful world-class events that deeply influence the way people feel, think and behave is Colin James’ forte

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The inspirational examples of what investing in leadership communication skills will do for your career http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/mastering-communications-career-advancement/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/mastering-communications-career-advancement/#respond Mon, 20 Nov 2017 22:00:49 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=15344 The post The inspirational examples of what investing in leadership communication skills will do for your career appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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When Anita Metcalf, ANZ’s Private Capability Manager, was asked to present to a group in Western Australia, her excitement turned to serious nerves as she attempted to pull her content together. With so much to say, and so little time to say it, she watched, appalled, as her content spiralled out of control. What she had imagined to be an inspirational delivery had spiralled into a verbal diatribe that even she couldn’t memorise, and she knew she was in trouble.

When Mastering Communication was recommended to her by a colleague who had been through the program, Anita was curious. Having done a communications program in a previous role, she wondered how comprehensive a two-day immersion workshop could be. Could one program help her overcome her content issues as well as the nerves to present with confidence? Would it teach her all the communications skills that she would need as a leader?

“The Colin James Method’s® Mastering Communication Program was amazing. I now know how to structure my comms, which makes such a huge impact in the way each presentation – or even informal conversation lands.“

It was the framework that helped her structure her content for impact that Anita claims helped the most.

“The structure that The Colin James Method® teaches, helps you think about the audience and the comms journey they need to be taken on, instead of what YOU want to deliver to them.”

Anita now knows how to create a clear concept, underlying principles and add the detail, where and how to use storytelling. And, how to effectively plan all types of communication, so that the audience listen and remembers the most important elements.

“I wish I’d done it YEARS ago. With the CPD hierarchy, your words can be more confidently conveyed. But Mastering Communication taught us so much more than that – the program also taught us about voice and how to project it across the room with confidence.”

Anita commented that being given the tools to present with confidence, putting nerves aside, was the icing on the cake for her.

“I now am not afraid to speak in public, and I can prepare quickly and efficiently. I’d estimate at least a 75% improvement in my written and spoken communication since doing Mastering Communication – it was the best two-day investment I could have made. Now, when I send my comms for internal review, there are only a few tweaks here and there, rather than a complete rewrite. I think it is a relief for everyone!”

Michelle Newman has a similar story to tell. A Home Support Reform Manager in Aged Care, Michelle’s ability to influence people during her presentations had the potential to impel people to act and drive huge change. And yet, she knew she was guilty of Death by PowerPoint.

“The issue for me was confidence. I know my stuff, but I would rather people looked at the slides, than at me.“

Michelle felt the weight of responsibility on her shoulders – she worked in an important area and knew it was time to seek out help. When she found The Colin James Method®, the Mastering Communication Program looked comprehensive. But before she committed to the two-day program, she decided to team up with a colleague and attend a bite-sized Masterclass – for a test run.

“I was really impressed with the Masterclass, and knew then that they delivered what they promised. I asked my colleague to send me on the very next Mastering Communication program, and it was agreed. I was off!”

Now, when asked to present to audiences of 20 to 80 people, Michelle can plan and produce her presentations effectively.

“I know how critical it is to nail the opening. Getting the audience to sit up and listen is the hardest part. Once you show you have something important to say in an interesting way, the audience is yours.”

Michelle also talks about how much easier planning her talks are now that she has the structural framework.

“I decide which three concepts I want the audience to grasp in a short timeframe, and build out my presentation from there. The Colin James Method® shows you just how to support your points with compelling stories and evidence that helps the audience remember and value your information.”

Michelle believes the program has not only improved her confidence and abilities, but also her impact on her audience. She noticed specifically how she was more successful in influencing decisions among her internal stakeholders.

“I think the Mastering Communication program improved my abilities by a solid 25% in just the two days of the program. But after the program, I’ve seen continued improvement – these techniques are those that you continue to practice and refine in everyday situations. That’s the difference with The Colin James Method®. It doesn’t teach you the traditional methods of PowerPoint presenting. It teaches you what you need in today’s world to influence and engage people – and that takes an ongoing commitment.”

Michelle talks of the importance of refreshing your skills in this area at least once every few years, explaining that both our practice and learnings become outdated, and we all have the propensity to improve.

“I can see the change happening. Now, when I leave a presentation, I get LinkedIn requests or requests from people who want to be involved in my initiatives. It is a really exciting shift.”

Now you’ve got the stats you need to be convinced, why not try us out. Sign up for our Mastering Communication Program and get the skills you need to stand out and succeed, just like Anita and Michelle. Don’t delay, register today.

Take your presentations to the next level

The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives and corporates to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Erica Bagshaw

Erica Bagshaw is an entrepreneur, Executive Coach and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She has spent the majority of her career growing and developing close client partnerships. She loves sharing her expertise on the perfect pitch.

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Does leadership communication really impact results? You bet http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/leadership-communication-really-impact-results/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/leadership-communication-really-impact-results/#respond Wed, 15 Nov 2017 22:00:24 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=15364 The post Does leadership communication really impact results? You bet appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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Much of the talk about impact of leadership communication on company performance is anecdotal. Yet there are some powerful and surprising ROI stats that leave very little room for doubt.

The Ultimate Stats Pack: Your ROI Case for Strong Leadership Communication is your complete kit for convincing your organisation that leadership communication must be addressed – and addressed now.

leadership communication

Now you’ve got the stats you need to be convinced, it’s time to try our methods for yourself. Join us for our upcoming Mastering Communication Training Program where you will learn effective communication skills to improve your results, build your influence, and get that promotion.

communication_skills

The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives and corporates to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

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We dare you to ditch your slides. Take our no-slide presentation challenge today http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/how-to-communicate-effectively-without-powerpoint/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/how-to-communicate-effectively-without-powerpoint/#respond Tue, 31 Oct 2017 22:00:40 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=15059 The post We dare you to ditch your slides. Take our no-slide presentation challenge today appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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Have you ever sat through a boring presentation? I’m going to guess your answer is “yes”. Invariably, when we ask this question to our program participants, all hands go up.

Think back to those presentations. I’m willing to bet there was a common element: a deck of densely packed PowerPoint slides behind the speaker.

Now, I don’t know about you, but as soon as I see slides like this in a presentation, my attention immediately starts to wane. But it’s not the software itself that’s the problem – it’s how it’s being used.

So how can we communicate more effectively – without relying heavily on PowerPoint?

In part one of our two-part video series Presenting Without Slides, I talk about why PowerPoint is such a presentation killer, and how to reframe your approach to using slide deck software in a way that is more engaging to your audience.

In part two, I discuss the power (and freedom!) of being able to walk in front of any group, free of notes, clickers or props, and nail your presentation; what this conveys to an audience; and why you should always aim to be able to deliver your presentations without any slides. (Yep, you read that right: no slides whatsoever!)

Being able to deliver a presentation confidently and authoritatively, without the use of slides, is a surefire way to engage your audience, enrich their experience, and make them highly receptive to your message. Don’t believe me? Well, why not try it for yourself?

I invite you to ditch your slides and take our no-slide presentation challenge. If you don’t feel quite up to it yet, don’t worry – we’ve got just the thing to help. Our free ebook 6 Keys to Building a Memorable Presentation will give you all the tips and tools you need to have your audience completely enthralled. Download the guide, take the challenge, and leave a comment below to tell us how it went.

No more hiding behind PowerPoint slides – remember, it’s your message (and how you deliver it) that will make you a star!

The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives to improve their professional development with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Colin James

Colin James is a well-respected Educator, Keynote Speaker, Facilitator and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. Creating memorable, impactful world-class events that deeply influence the way people feel, think and behave is Colin James’ forte

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The life changing magic of speaking up http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/magic-of-speaking-up/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/magic-of-speaking-up/#respond Sun, 29 Oct 2017 22:00:56 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=15001 The post The life changing magic of speaking up appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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Do you switch personality, changing your style or voice to engage colleagues and managers or your friends and family? Do you struggle to connect with some people? Do you get nervous and shaky before an important meeting? Do you want to seem stronger and  achieve consistency and act authentically in all of your communications ?

The Complexity of Confidence

While it’s not appropriate to voice every thought and drop all social barriers, communicating with integrity is invaluable. A lack of confidence can cause us to project a false image of ourselves, a picture we might see as a more successful version. This tendency may be beneficial in some contexts, but it could also cause you to lose touch with yourself and ultimately undermine your self-confidence. Wearing a social mask is exhausting and alienating. How can we truly connect with others without expressing our ideas?

The key to confident communication is understanding your own authority, yes you do have some! When you understand the strength of your convictions and what you base your communication on your voice can become stronger. It will  stem from a solid basis of certainty, you will come across as more assured in your ideas and decisions. In a modern workforce finding such authority is challenging because we are expected to step into a variety of tasks and manage peers without subject matter expertise. What’s more, middle and senior management roles have been stripped and are based on less formal titles. These changes can gradually undermine confidence; that nagging voice of self-doubt can steadily grow, envelop and overwhelm. Imposter syndrome can creep up and take over.

When we lack confidence, it doesn’t matter how capable we are. Low self-esteem undermines capacity and creativity because we aren’t secure enough to take risks. Consistently taking the safe option blends you in, you no longer stand out, which can d impairs your professional progress. You don’t need to be louder to be heard. By tapping into and expressing your authentic self, you can increase your presence.

Many of us don’t fit into the stereotype of a ‘confident’ personality, someone that walks into the room boisterous and demanding attention. This sort of confidence can sometimes appear cocky and arrogant. There is a middle ground between wallflower and loudspeaker – it’s quiet confidence. Follow these tips and build your confidence and authenticity.

Conquer it

1. Be present

When engaging in negative self-talk, we are tuning out of the world and being too into our head. It is up to us to be conscious of our experiences. Rather than getting caught up in the stream of bubbling thought, focus on your breath. Gently note when that internal bully is undermining your confidence. Take a moment to return to concrete reality, notice the environment, extend your concentration into your body and count the inhales and exhales. With fresh eyes then return to your task, your conversation or presentation. You don’t need to be a meditation master to be more present, self awareness and the ability to catch yourself before you spiral into negativity and lack of confidence helps enormously. The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

2. Speak Up

Now you’re more present and you’re ready to assess the situation you can decide when to ‘blow your own trumpet’ or voice a strong opinion. Adam Galinsky carefully examined the difficulty of knowing when to speak up. He argues that each person has an acceptable range of behaviours which changes according to context. When we lack power, our range of behaviour narrows and we get punished if we speak up.

Power is a contested concept that comes in multiple forms. One way to understand power is through our alternatives. When we are more powerful, we can decide how to behave and what to say.

Power can be divided into how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us. By increasing confidence, we also expand our range of acceptable behaviours because we gain power in how we see ourselves. When we feel powerful, our range of options increase and when others see us as powerful, they increase our range.

Have a listen to Galinsky’s other useful tips for speaking up in his Ted talk:

3. Be a Product of your Brand

Presenting a coherent personal brand to underpin your actions and communication can help build confidence. When we are faithful to our intuitions, we can think less and save energy for more important things. Authenticity requires self-awareness, take time to note your strengths and weaknesses. Kevin Kruse ) also recommends that you show your emotions when you communicate to connect with your employees and colleagues. Connecting your values to your topic will allow you to lead with passion and be more consistent.

This can be a lot to remember and adopt, especially in a work environment where we’re under pressure to perform. The Colin James Method® specialises in improving your communication skills and developing your career. Our one-day-workshop, The Confident Communicator, delves into the methodology for self-improvement, breaking down the steps to communicate better 1:1 and in meetings. The course is delivered in an interactive and friendly environment. It provides personalised feedback that identifies your strengths to form that solid base of confidence and authority.

Alison Carter

Alison Carter is a facilitator and coach at The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd, a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She is a qualified Chartered Accountant who has spent over 15 years in senior financial and communication roles. She now loves to share her passion for the design and delivery of effective and engaging communications.

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Make em laugh: Why humour is one of the key communication skills of a leader http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/humour-communication-skills-of-a-leader/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/humour-communication-skills-of-a-leader/#respond Mon, 23 Oct 2017 03:10:35 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=14993 The post Make em laugh: Why humour is one of the key communication skills of a leader appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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In the corporate world, many people are reluctant to use humour in presentations. “It just seems unprofessional,” they think. “This is a serious matter!” But, paradoxically, this is exactly why humour is so powerful in these settings – it’s precisely because it’s unconventional and unexpected that it has the effect of immediately injecting energy into a room, lifting people out of their stupor, and making them sit up and pay attention. This is why we think humour is one of the key communication skills of a leader.

Of course, you must exercise some caution as humour can also be a dangerous thing. If used incorrectly, you run the risk of offending people and putting them offside, which will harm your ability to influence them with your presentation.

In part one of our two-part video series Delight Your Audience Using Humour, I talk about the archetype of the joker or court jester, and how this archetype can help us understand what I like to call “benign violation” – that area that lies between being safe, but dull and ineffective, and being dishonest, offensive or cruel.

Understanding benign violation is key in helping us use humour as a means of telling the truth – even hard truths – in a way that is entertaining and engaging.

In part two, I discuss how benign violation can be used to talk about our competitors, and why it can be so effective in terms of elevating your organisation above others in the eyes of your audience.

When used properly humour is one of the key communication skills of a leader. It can be a great way to connect with your audience, raise the energy of the room, and tell the truth in a way that persuades as well as delights.

Humour is just one aspect of delivering a truly memorable presentation. If you really want an audience eating out of your hands, download our free guide 6 Keys to Building a Memorable Presentation. Make your next presentation a winner!

The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives and corporates to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Colin James

Colin James is a well-respected Educator, Keynote Speaker, Facilitator and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. Creating memorable, impactful world-class events that deeply influence the way people feel, think and behave is Colin James’ forte

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3 top tips to curb your public speaking anxiety http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/3-top-tips-curb-public-speaking-anxiety/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/3-top-tips-curb-public-speaking-anxiety/#respond Tue, 17 Oct 2017 22:00:11 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=14863 The post 3 top tips to curb your public speaking anxiety appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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“The nation believes that when I speak, I speak for them.
Well, I can’t speak.”

-The King’s Speech, 2010.

 

The King’s Speech is a powerful, inspirational story of the impromptu and unexpected rise of Prince Albert to the throne of King George VI. The story unfolds as an extraordinary speech therapist helps a stammering, unconfident man with severe public speaking anxiety (and general life anxiety) to become worthy of the throne, by focusing not on the physical aspects of his speech, but on the emotional and psychological aspects that underpin his condition.

The film evokes enormous empathy from the audience, for the man who finds himself unexpectedly, and unwillingly thrown into public life. Because we’ve all been there – we’ve all felt the dry-mouthed, heart-thumping public speaking anxiety prior to presenting any important message. It is the most memorable fight or flight feeling that any human can experience.

But how do the best speakers overcome such anxiety to deliver with confidence and grace?

We’ve produced two useful videos about just this topic. In the first of our videos, I talk about misplaced attention – or, how to remove the attention from yourself and onto your audience to calm your nerves. I also give some tips on how to reframe your thoughts to be more productive and less nerve-wrenching. Here’s the gist.

It’s not about you, silly!

Anxiety is the enemy of service, because it narrows your perspective. Have you ever noticed when you’re over-anxious about something, your whole world becomes about that one thing, shrinking everything else into the background? What if this doesn’t go well? What if I forget what I am trying to say? What will everyone think of me?

Fun fact: presentations are, in fact, not about you. They are about your audience. When you divert your attention to thinking about what your audience needs most, and what you can give them, you can more easily turn nervous to service and position yourself mentally as a facilitator of their well being, rather than the person with the target on your back.

Here are some tips to help you divert attention away from your nervous and into audience service instead:

  • Do some audience research. Find out what they are hoping to gain from your talk. This kind of outcome-focused approach helps to calm your anxiety and shift your perception of what your presentation is about.
  • Arrive early and have a chat to a few audience members – get some allies in the audience to help you feel connected. You could even use some of their stories in your talk to frame your points. Either way, the point here is to understand the audience truth – that they are on your side.

The second tip I give away in this video is about labelling your thoughts more productively – or changing your overall perspective.

Manage your thinking more productively

Again, the public speaking anxiety we feel prior to a presentation narrows our perspective. You can actually use some visualising techniques to broaden your perspective and calm those nerves. Here are a few neat tricks.

  • Imagine a view from the balcony. Take a bird’s eye view of the audience – to get literally, a different perspective. See yourself on the stage or in front of the audience. This helps to bring you out from your internal perspective, to see the whole picture, and can have an extraordinary impact on your nerves.
  • Think of your talk as a chat, or a conversation – a sit at a table with a few people where you’re imparting some useful information. This can take you away from the pressure of delivering to a large group, and again just focus your perspective on service, rather than performance.

Here’s the video that describes the techniques.

In part 2 of this video series, I give some clues about confidence building postures that help you calm your anxiety in presentation environments.

Stand tall

There is a physiological aspect behind confidence. Not only does your posture send a message to your audience about your confidence level, it also sends a message to your own brain about your confidence! Social psychologist Amy Cuddy struck a chord in the business world at TEDGlobal 2012 when she gave a talk about the scientific evidence behind ‘power posting’.

This primal approach can be seen in the animal kingdom as we see puffed out chests and limbs signalling dominance and power. It is about making yourself feel big, not shrinking yourself down into a nervous ball.

Check it out here:

Try it next time you’re feeling low in confidence or security. Make your body big, stretch out, put your hands on your hips or lean your hands on a desk in wide formation. Notice how it makes you actually feel less inhibited, and brings on the confidence you’re ‘faking’.

We shouldn’t let nerves let us down when people need to hear something important from us. I hope this post has helped you shift your perspective, your mind and your body to convey and feel more confidence when presenting.

Now you’ve got your nerves under control, why not sign up for our new Online Masterclass: How to structure your presentation for high impact. You’ll learn a winning formula for structuring your message so it lands every time.

3 top tips to curb your public speaking anxiety

The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives and corporates to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in

Colin James

Colin James is a well-respected Educator, Keynote Speaker, Facilitator and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. Creating memorable, impactful world-class events that deeply influence the way people feel, think and behave is Colin James’ forte

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Communicate as a leader: a Colin James Method pocket guide to leadership success http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/how-to-communicate-as-a-leader-pocket-guide/ http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/how-to-communicate-as-a-leader-pocket-guide/#respond Mon, 09 Oct 2017 22:00:13 +0000 http://www.colinjamesmethod.com.au/?p=14659 The post Communicate as a leader: a Colin James Method pocket guide to leadership success appeared first on The Colin James Method.

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These days, technology is developing at such a pace, that things like automation, AI and machine learning are threatening our jobs. In order to succeed in this world, we have to develop our human skills, such as intuition, judgement, emotional intelligence, creativity and critical analysis. In short, we have to demonstrate our capacity to be good leaders.

The key word here is “demonstrate”. You might have excellent judgement, sound intuition and a Rain Man-like gift for critical reasoning – but for that to mean anything, you have to be able to prove these qualities through your words and your actions.

So what specifically can we do to gain leadership success? This post aims to be a ‘pocket guide’, distilling our vast knowledge developed from our world-renowned leadership development program into key points that you can take away today, to help you tomorrow.

Valuable leadership qualities

Clients are always asking us, “What makes a good leader?”. After years of running our courses with all sorts of different leaders attending, we have unique insights into the key leadership traits which make good leaders and make people sit up and take notice.

In this video, Colin James reveals precisely what these attributes are:

To sum up, successful leaders:

  • Pay attention: Good leaders are not thinking about that meeting in an hour or that report they have to write; they’re focused on who they’re with and what’s going on in the present moment.
  • Make time: When you give people time, they are more relaxed and comfortable, and, paradoxically, they will need less of your time than if you were to rush them and make them feel they’re not worth a few minutes.
  • Are consistent: People don’t respond well to leaders who are capricious and unpredictable; they want a steady hand on the helm.
  • Are good with names: This may seem simple, but it is actually a skill that takes concerted effort and practice to master. It’s worth it, though – you’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes to how you are perceived.
  • Are decisive: Decisiveness is a quality people look for and expect in a good leader, so be strong in your convictions.

Communicating as leaders

How do we then translate these qualities of a good leader into our everyday lives?

With effective communication.

At The Colin James Method®, we firmly believe good leadership begins and ends with strong communication skills. Good communication is how you engage, persuade and inspire others – without this ability, you’re severely limiting yourself and your career options.

Communication is not simply what we say – it’s how we say it. All sorts of nuances play into effective communication, including things you might not even be conscious of, like your body language or the tone of your voice. But by harnessing these subtleties, you’ll be able to engage, persuade and inspire those around you.

Our P.A.V.E.R.S® methodology is a way of getting you to perfect all the different elements that go into communicating as a leader. By working with P.A.V.E.R.S®, you can break through self-consciousness and communicate with intention and flair. We teach the P.A.V.E.R.S® methodology in our Mastering Communication Program, which we only deliver three times a year.

Physiology

Your posture, facial expressions and gestures speak volumes. This means that, while your words may be on point, the message you’re delivering with your body language may be telling an entirely different story.

Harness your physiology in ways that support your message. For example, simply sitting or standing tall can immediately project confidence, and using expressive gestures can add an animation and richness to your delivery that can help engage your audience.

Physiology is especially powerful as body language can be used to not just affect how you are perceived externally, but also how you feel internally.

Auditory

When we talk about using our voice, we’re not talking just about the words that are being said (although that is of course important too). We’re also talk about the way in which those words are being said. As with body language, people are able to pick up on subtle shifts in tone and pitch, and these can either enhance or hinder your message.

When you want to command respect, think “low and slow”. Making sure your voice is low and slow will convey clarity and calm, which will engender trust.

Visual aids

PowerPoint is meant to help get you message across, but most of the time we find it is a hindrance. In the end, your slides simply become a distraction, detracting from what should be the main event – you.

At The Colin James Method®, we like to use the ‘chalk and talk’ method, using a simple flipchart or chalkboard when we want to illustrate something. Or, if you want to really stand out from the crowd, why not try presenting without any visual aids at all? (Our free ebook will show you how.)

Energy

Energy can be a tricky thing. We talk about people having ‘good’ or ‘bad’ energy, but it can be difficult to put a finger on why we think that. It’s just something we know how to read instinctively.

Likewise with ‘defeatist’ energy, or ‘nervous’ energy –  the fact is, how we feel on the inside can have a marked effect on how we appear to others.

So what can we do about this? We can shift our perspective. So, instead of focusing on feeling anxious, or thinking up worst-case scenarios, think instead of your audience – what do you want them to get out of it? This new focus will help take you out of a negative mindset and help you project a more happy and positive energy.

Relationship

There are three fundamental qualities to any good relationship: respect, rapport and trust. It might seem like an impossible task to foster these three things with an entire audience in a space of a single meeting or presentation, but this is exactly what good leaders are able to do. Simple things like being on time, cracking a joke and demonstrating that you’re actively listening can go a long way towards establishing a good relationship with your audience.

Storytelling

Everyone loves a good story. Stories are engaging and meaningful; they move and inspire us; they connect us on a human level. Stories, therefore, are a very powerful weapon in your arsenal, and learning how to use them to prove a point, provide clarity or inspire action can go a long way towards helping you gain influence.

Putting communication skills into practice

Of course, while gaining knowledge through reading is great, that knowledge is not doing much good just sitting in your brain. Just like with any other skill, if you want to learn how to communicate as a leader, you have to learn by doing.

If you’re serious about investing in yourself and climbing that corporate ladder, our Mastering Communication program is designed to equip you with all the communication skills you need for the long term. With intensive workshops, guided learning, group coaching, access to online videos and training support, you’ll be able to communicate with confidence no matter what the situation. So sure are we about the effectiveness of our program that we offer a money-back guarantee.

Why not start today?

Some people think strong leadership is an innate quality; we believe that it is a skill that can be cultivated, and that developing good communication skills can go a long way towards becoming a strong leader. Why not start putting some of these tactics into practice today.

The next best step to take toward leadership success is to learn how to tell stories. Download our ebook What’s the story? to get years practical experience condensed down in an easy to read format. Get the ebook today!

business storytelling

The Colin James Method® coaches and trains executives and corporates to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Erica Bagshaw

Erica Bagshaw is an entrepreneur, Executive Coach and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. She has spent the majority of her career growing and developing close client partnerships. She loves sharing her expertise on the perfect pitch.

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