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public speaking

IS ONLINE COMMUNICATION GETTING HARDER?

Last month I wrote about online communication and the skills we need to be able to hold an audience’s attention. Here it is again – https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/respect-connect-key-excellent-online-communication-jayne-constantinis/ Four weeks on, dozens of Zoom/Skype/Teams calls later, why does it seem that this form of communication is getting harder and more tiring? Surely we should be getting better at it. I think it’s down to two issues: Problem one – sound quality According to Trevor Cox, an acoustics expert at the University of Salford, the quality of sound coming through our computers is inferior to broadcast audio. It’s been compressed which gives it…

Respect and Connect – the key to excellent online communication

I came across Franklin D Roosevelt’s advice on public speaking the other day:  “Be sincere, be brief, be seated”. Well said, Mr President, and especially well said in these corona months when most of us are working remotely, and when we need to finesse our communication style, to hold people’s attention. Just as tennis players adapt their game for each surface, so we need to adjust our usual face to face communication for the virtual world. It requires a particular set of techniques and a unique tone of voice. Normal rules don’t apply. Essentially, the fundamental pillars of good communication…

Coping and communicating through the Corona months

Joy, sadness, fear, hope, despondency, hilarity – that’s been the morning’s gamut of emotions. No doubt you’re experiencing similar mood swings on what’s now called the Coronacoaster. Five weeks into lockdown and I’m getting used to the ‘new normal’ but I’ve struggled along the way. I’m usually annoyingly upbeat and positive but this knocked me sideways, as demonstrated by a recurring dream in which the brakes fail on a car I’m driving fast downhill!!!! Then I came across an article by David Kessler (a world expert on grief) suggesting that….. “we are collectively in mourning for the loss of our…

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Singing, lipstick and your favourite pants – managing our outer and inner persona at this testing time

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Polonius tells his son Laertes to dress well because “apparel oft proclaims the man“. No doubt that’s what drove Boris Johnson to don a jacket and tie for his ‘I’ve got Corona’ isolation broadcast a few days ago. Margaret Thatcher’s newly released private papers reveal how aware she was of the power of clothes. She kept a ‘clothing diary’ in which she detailed outfits called ‘Wogan Burgundy’, ‘Pink Chanel Gorbachev’. Apparently, glamour was part of her approach to ending the cold war. Who knew! Last Friday, I wore a ‘Virtual Blue’ outfit for my first online training session. It was…

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Go on, pop the question – it’s 29 February!

Happy Leap Day. It’s the one day every four years when, according to ancient tradition, women can propose marriage. It’s got me thinking in general about questions and their value in and out of the workplace. We’re living in an era with more channels than ever before to ‘broadcast’ our thoughts and ideas. I wonder if that’s influencing the way we communicate. Are we getting out of the habit of soliciting others’ opinions and properly listening to each other (you’ll remember I banged on about this in my TEDx talk recently – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C7_UI9gNg_o). So, on this special day, here are…

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New skills for a new ‘post-EU’ era. How to be heard, how to be confident, how to listen

In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, one of the factors for success (in life generally) is knowing “what to say to whom, when to say it and how to say it for maximum effect”. That’s communication – my passion and, I believe, our most fundamental life skill. As we embark on a new era in our country, let’s take the opportunity to sharpen up our own skills and ensure that we’re “getting what we want from the world”.  Whatever role and sector we’re in, we need to be able to negotiate, persuade, charm, and impress as never before. Let’s firstly remember that…

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The twelve gifts of Christmas communication

On the first day of Christmas I realised that preparation is the key to success On the second day of Christmas I started to eliminate those JENGA (filler) words On the third day of Christmas I recognised the power of stillness to demonstrate gravitas On the fourth day of Christmas I reminded myself not to be put off by audience members who look bored or even hostile. It’s more than likely just their concentrating demeanour On the fifth day of Christmas I learned the importance of brevity On the sixth day of Christmas it was obvious how tough and how…

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A tale of two talks – what the Prince might have learned from TED

Not long after I had vacated the TED red dot, I watched the Prince Andrew interview. It occurred to me that he could have achieved a better outcome if he’d followed the most fundamental tenet of communication: the first mantra we adopt in my training room. No interview or presentation is ‘about’ the speaker (even when the questions are centred on your judgment/sexual conduct). It’s about and for the audience. This became crystal clear to me during the preparation for my TEDx talk. Taking time at the outset to understand the audience enables you to resonate and empathise with them;…

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A toxic culture in the House of Commons and beyond – three things we can all do

I’m delighted that there’s so much discussion at the moment about communication. It’s my passion and my trade, and I’ve long been worried about the tone of public and private debate. We seem to have forgotten how to ‘disagree agreeably’, as John Bercow put it after that shameful evening in the House of Commons. He talked of a toxic culture, and beseeched members to treat each other as opponents not enemies. Wise words. Let me also, with a little help from some even wiser friends, offer three simple tools we can all use to achieve more measured and civilised interactions….

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George Ezra, Johnson and Trump – authenticity or manipulation?

I’ve just been accepted as a speaker at the Open University’s TEDx event in November. Exciting news. The theme is ‘Imagine what’s next’. No doubt many will be looking at technological innovation and the amazing opportunities which lie ahead. The angle of my talk is fear – a concern that while our heads are turned by technology, we are forgetting how to talk to each other and how to listen. At the heart of good communication is authenticity. In my training room we agree that we’re not learning to ‘act’ or to copy someone else’s style. To be effective and…

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