Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Part 3: 5 Things Fundraisers Can Do to Enhance Public Speaking Skills

Here's our final segment of a 3-part series of guest blogs written by Communications Coach Kealah Parkinson. Kealah has almost 20 years experience in the communications industry and is the founder of Kiki Productions, Inc., a communications coaching practice.
Kealah's got 5 things that you can do to enhance your public speaking skills. Last month, we shared the first 4 things: #1, Know your audience #2, Target your message, #3, Polish your ask, and #4 Practice, practice, practice! In this blog, we'll share the last public speaking tip from Kealah.

5. Boost your confidence! How you talk to yourself about your presentation, even subconsciously, typically sets the stage for how well you deliver your speech. If you downplay the importance of your speaking part at your fundraising event, you’re liable to come across as insincere or unimportant. And that means the attendees won’t be as moved to take action. Placing too much importance on the speech means you’re liable to psych yourself out of conveying a clear, confident message—ultimately with the same unwanted outcome. Since how the audience receives your speech has everything to do with how much they give, why would you ever risk coming across as anything but magnetically?

You don’t have to be an Oprah Winfrey-level speaker to be magnetic. By simply employing a little self-awareness, empathy, and accountability, you can exude the necessary charisma to charm your audience into giving (and wanting to come back for more). Here’s a technique I teach to all of my coaching clients that allows you to check in with your self-talk, practice a little empathy for yourself and hold yourself accountable to changing it. I call it the BMT Index™, and it has 3 simple steps:

1. When you think about your upcoming presentation, what does your body (B) feel? Be sure to write this down, noting physical sensations only. So, rather than saying, “nervous,” jot down what that feels like to you, such as a sour stomach or rapid heart rate. 

2. When you think about your upcoming presentation, what are your moods (M)? Now is the time to write, “nervous,” if that applies. If you have a hard time naming your emotion, just break it down to the major 4—mad, glad, sad or scared—and include any or all that you feel.

3. And finally, when you think about the talk, what are your thoughts (T)? Record as many as you can. Then go back and put them into statements (for any questions), being as specific as possible. If you can, summarize the most triggering thoughts into one statement. Example: “I resent having to give this presentation, because I really think it’s someone else’s job.” Repeat this out loud 3 times. Then use the BMT Index™ again. Whatever you’re feeling, positive or negative, is likely what you’re going to convey to your audience, whether you want to or not. To flip any negatives into the positive, simply use this bonus step that follows.

BONUS: If your overall thoughts are negative and your body and moods tend to be negative also, tease apart your negative thought summary. Where did you first encounter this negative belief? Does it still really apply to your current situation or is it an outdated belief system? When have you encountered positive experiences in this same vein? If you resent being asked to talk, as in the example above, what are some reasons you might want to talk anyway? Try to find a positive way to word your thoughts (something you already believe), then say that statement out loud 3 times. If you get a positive, good feeling in your body, you can choose to adopt this new statement as your Key Motto™—a type of affirmation that you already believe in and that shifts your fight-or-flight to its cycle ending. Using your Key Motto™ prior to your presentation and even during rehearsals can help hardwire your brain to feel good about your speech and to do it well.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Charming your audience.

Follow these steps to taking your fundraising presentation seriously (but not too seriously!) and you, too, can be a compelling speaker who grabs listeners’ attention and charms your audience into giving. When you see the direct correlation between preparing your speech, matching your message to the attendees, rehearsing adequately and then receiving more of your organization’s desired donations, you’ll get that feel-good boost that will soon have you raising your hand for more public speaking opportunities.

Kealah (KEY-la) Parkinson is a Communications Coach who teaches clients how to stop the fight-or-flight cycle early and intentionally using Key Mottos™ and other proprietary tools, as well as techniques for speaking with confidence in their businesses and personal lives. She is currently working on her third book, 365 Days of Mood Tools. Learn more at www.FindYourMotto.com.

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