Author Archives: Phil Stella

Phil’s Feb. Faves

Another of my favorite … and often-repeated … concepts from my training and coaching engagements:

Perception is Reality’ with audiences. All they know is what they see and hear. If you look and sound like you’re comfortable, credible and competent, you are!’

Use with my compliments and stay tuned for more ‘Phil’s Faves’ next month.

And … true to my rant about always identifying the people you quote:

Phil Stella, 21st century entrepreneur, communication consultant & executive coach

The Big 5 ‘Start Up’ Questions

A reporter recently asked what entrepreneurs should ask themselves before beginning a start-up. I suggested they answer these ‘Big 5’ questions:

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Why I Hate ‘Small Talk’

 I recently facilitated a workshop on Networking Best Practices. A participant asked about using small talk. After getting input from the rest of the group, I offered my view – just say ‘NO’ to small talk. It doesn’t help you that much. Go for ‘Big Talk’ instead. The rest of my rant …  Read More »

Resistance is Futile

(A reader favorite from my archive of the COSE ‘Mind Your Business’ eLetter.)

In his still frightening classic dystopian novel, ‘1984’, George Orwell invented ‘NewSpeak’, the official language of Oceania, used to control communication and thought. Read More »

Make Your Pace Sizzle!

(This month, we continue with another deep dive into the physical and vocal delivery skills that can make your presentations sizzle and project an image of confidence, credibility ad competence. So, let’s add reducing your delivery rate to your workplace presenter tool kits.) Read More »

Make Meetings Work … Even Better

Last month, we discussed how to make meetings work better by thorough planning. Assuming that you now do that, the next two steps are to meet as planned and then follow up thoroughly. Read More »

Avoid Self-Intros

 I regularly encourage my executive presentation clients to avoid self-introductions whenever they can. The audience is influenced most by what they hear first and if that is the speakers talking about themselves, it can establish the wrong tone. 

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Phil’s Faves – Worst Case Scenario

In my workshops and presentations, I often encourage people to be bold, take risks and try something new or different to improve their overall results.  Read More »

Why I Love Proper Quotes

I love using quotes in my writing and presentations – I really do.They can add sizzle, credibility or perspective to the message. However, I’m adamant about including author details. 
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Speak Up – Make Your Voice Sizzle!

(We spent all last year answering the question, ‘Does Your Presentation Suck?’ Each month provided details on a specific aspect of your presentations content to help you decide how much it sucked and what to do about it.)

Reader reaction was quite positive and appreciative. We heard from people who routinely deliver presentations at work, support in-house training, speak at professional group meetings or help pitch business.

This year, we’ll discuss simple and effective strategies to help make your vocal and physical delivery Sizzle! To launch this series, let’s focus on harnessing the power of your Voice.  

The easiest way to make your voice sizzle is simply to speak louder. Really. That’s all it takes to become a more engaging presenter. Speaking up can significantly impact your audience’s attention, interest in your message … and positive impression of you, the messenger.

Loud is Good

In our culture, we tend to interpret a soft-spoken voice as coming from a person lacking confidence or credibility. Not good reactions for your audience to have about you. Even on a microphone, the soft-spoken voice delivers that weak impression loud and clear. It doesn’t matter if these reactions are valid – remember that Perception is Reality. If you sound weak to the audience – you are.

We’re conditioned from birth to be quiet. How many bazillion times did someone tell you to be quiet, keep it down or use your ‘inside voice’. As adults, this conditioning creates an automatic volume control monitor in your head. When you exceed that level, the little red light goes on and tells you to get quieter.

The problem for presenters is that monitor is preset for one-on-one volume level. Even in a small meeting room, you’re much farther away from the closest listener than in normal conversation. So, overcome your programming, ignore the little red light and speak up.

 Volume Has Impact!

Increasing your volume has positive effects on your audience:

  • You’re easier to hear, especially over room noise, side conversations, outside distractions and the hum of the projector. The easier it is to hear you, the easier it is to listen to what you say.
  • As your volume increases, so does your inflection or change in pitch. You don’t have any inflection when you whisper. When you speak up, you naturally add more vocal color and emphasis to your message delivery. That emphasis makes it easier for the audience to understand important points. And you’ll avoid speaking in a monotone – a major audience turn-off.
  • Since audiences equate volume and vocal energy with credibility, speaking up is especially important for speakers who are smaller in stature, younger or female. So, harness the power of the ‘Mom Voice’ or ‘Soccer Coach Voice’ so your audience is confident in your message.
  • Increasing volume also channels that nervous energy your body is generating more productively. You burn off those extra calories with vocal energy instead of nervous physical mannerisms. By breathing deeper, the extra oxygen helps relax you. Your audience sees and hears a more confident and credible speaker – they like that.

So, when you’re practicing your presentations out loud, consciously increase your volume. See for yourself that it will increase your vocal energy and natural inflection when you Speak Up.

(As always, if you have questions or need input on specific presentation issues, do continue to call or email and I’ll respond accordingly.)