Did you know that speaking to a group of people means taking up a leadership role?
I recently shared this at a conference for German language teachers.
Leading with words:
When I speak, I determine what occupies the mind of my audience. Hence, I am in a leadership role at that moment.
I do not want to merely inform my listeners, often I also want to influence, motivate or enthuse them.
The expectations of my audience
The listeners expect me to lead them - they want to know where I am "taking" them through my talk.
I communicate more through my body language than through words
How do I communicate how I feel towards my topic?  It is communicated through my body language. My attitude towards my listeners is communicated as well. The audience is keenly aware of this and whether I respect and value them. 

Stage presence:

Lastly, he extent to which I believe in what I say and have a clear standpoint determines my stage presence.

Most of us experience stress during some time or another. However, too much stress can impact our health negatively. - You can do a Stress Level Test here https://psychcentral.com/quizzes/stress-test#take-the-quiz
Thomas Härry, Swiss author on self-leadership writes that our busy work and personal lifestyles tap more physical and psychological resources than is good for us. I investigated solutions that may replenish those resources and prevent an extremescenario such as depression or burnout.

Here are some surprisingly simple, yet effective solutions:

We learn from nature that there is rhythm in life; i.e. we have day and night, winter and summer, autumn, and spring. Even our heart has a rhythm of contracting and releasing. Wouldn't it be wise if we conducted our lives according to a rhythm? 

I have found Bible a source of wisdom in this regard – it encourages us to take a break from being productive for one day a week.

Surprisingly, a day of rest does not impact our productivity negatively – quite the opposite is true - even though we interrupt our busy schedule Härry asserts that, when we are rested, we are able to be more productive and tend to have better ideas.

 Could it also have an impact on our relationships? I am, and perhaps, so are you – more patient and kind with my loved ones when I start a new week on a Monday – rested.   

 Another form of rest is the conscious outer and inner winding down of activity after a day of work

In German we call this “Feierabend”, a combination of the words “feiern”, which is to  celebrate and “Abend” , the evening. Might it be a good idea to consciously “celebrate” what we were able to accomplish during the day? Or be thankful for what we had?

 Thomas Härry argues that two things happen if this neglected over a time period: It affects our sleep pattern negatively. Also, we risk of losing out on replenishing substantial resources we need to cope in life, such as resilience, calmness and mental and emotional strength.

 Lastly, sleep is a resource to manage stress. It is an essential break for our body and the soul, especially when our lifestyle taps us mentally and physically. We risk forfeiting essential vitality and performance. It is only later in life that the body reclaims what we denied it for years – often accompanied by painful health impairments and limitations 

I had the privilege of presenting two workshops at the annual conference of the Association for German teachers recently. In one of them I outlined the characteristics of a likable speaker.

Here are some the pointers worth considering in your next speech or presentation:

1. Speaking clearly - listening should be effortless, therefore speaking loudly and pronouncing words clearly is an essential basic requirement.

 2. Communicating with a clear purpose and outline helps your listeners to follow your line of thought.    

 3. Making pauses where appropriate - as speakers we need pauses to breathe, focus and to connect with the audience. The listeners need pauses to reflect and absorb what they are hearing.

 4. Make it easy for your listeners to follow what you are saying by using short sentences - rather than longwinded ones. 

 5. Using short words - they are are easy to understand. Remember, if the audience does not catch something you say, they cannot re-read.

Starting a new position is often an opportunity to develop new skills. These might include delivering presentations or speeches. This is the situation that Tulonga Erastus found herself in last year. She invested in her personal development by engaging in one-on-one speech coaching with me.

Speech coaching is possible online - I am so proud of Tulonga of the Jose Eduardo Dos Santos Campus in Ongwediva for completing her coaching program and now delivering stunning speeches in her role as Campus Administrator.