Want to Be Regarded As A Brilliant Conversationalist?

You can be a brilliant conversationalist if you ask good questions and then listen, really listen.

You can be a brilliant conversationalist if you ask good questions and then listen, really listen.

What makes someone a brilliant conversationalist? Brilliant conversationalists engage others by asking excellent questions. You can improve the quality of all of your conversations, professional and personal, when you ask good questions and then listen, really listen, to the responses. This is also one of the best ways to get smarter.

Maybe you know of my brother Robert Fripp, the legendary guitarist? He’s one of Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time. You might not know that he’s also a thoughtful and erudite writer and speaker. In truth, Robert is one of the most brilliant people I know and he listens well. He’s said: (more…)

Do Your Presentations Bore The Boardroom?

At every stage of your career, when you open your mouth you sell yourself, your ideas, your value, and your ability. Fortunately, even if you’re not a born communicator, the ability to deliver a powerful presentation can be learned. I share this story about one intelligent and ambitious MBA:

Mary might have been the smartest in her class, but public speaking wasn’t part of her MBA program. Even with extensive planning and preparation she made some very common mistakes. These mistakes bored, and ultimately lost, her audience. When you learn the right way to prepare a presentation you will actually save yourself time. You will deliver your presentation knowing that your words will not bore your audience, but will hold their attention and get your message heard.

When you improve your public speaking and presentation skills, you increase your confidence and gain a valuable tool in furthering your career goals. If you avoid public speaking at the high cost of your success, why not get the training you need to speak confidently in public? (more…)

How to Report to Senior Management without Being Nervous

Conference Room Report to Senior Management

You can report to senior management without being nervous, whether it’s a formal presentation or a boardroom conversation.

As a Presentation Skills Expert, I’m often asked, “Patricia, how do I report to my senior management without being nervous?” The secret is to be prepared, clear, concise, and to act confident. Now, how do you appear confident when you’re nervous?

First, prepare. Script out exactly what you are going to say, at least the opening of your presentation or conversation. It could be as simple as, “Thank you for the opportunity to update you on our project” or “The purpose of our meeting is to . . . ” or “As you will remember, at our last meeting you challenged us to . . .” (more…)

How Can You Grab Your Audience? Expert Advice

Vivien Leigh grabs the audience from her first moment onscreen in Gone with The Wind. Wikimedia Commons image.

If you don’t grab your audience in the first 30 seconds and hint at more to come, you lose them. This is true in film and in public speaking.

Do you know how to grab your audience? The first thirty seconds of your presentation are critical, like the first page of a book or first seconds of a TV show or film. If you don’t make an impact and hint at more to come, you lose your audience.

Good movies, TV shows, and books, like good speeches, often open with a flavor scene, grabbing attention and positioning the audience for what is to come. Take a classic movie that has been a favorite for eight decades, Gone with the Wind. Neither the book nor the film opens with a discussion of the causes of the Civil War. Both start with Scarlett O’Hara sulking because the impending war might interrupt her social life. (more…)