This blog post is part of the 2015 Next Top Credit Union Executive competition originally posted October 31, 2013.
The Next Top Credit Union Executive presentations are around the corner. I look forward to meeting all of you and hearing about your experiences, as well as what you have learned about yourself throughout this process. I can only imagine what has shifted between nominations to being onstage next Monday.
Moving into the weekend, the following ideas might be helpful. I know you are well prepared and ready to go, and that several of you are meeting with your DDJ Myers coach on site. So, you are good to go and, perhaps, there is one good thought below for you to carry into the weekend and onstage.
YOUR MOST VALUED ASSET: YOUR BREATH
Our bodies know how to breathe; it is an automatic function of our bodies and we often forget the value of our breath in managing our commitments, stress, and pace throughout our busy days. Your voice is the channel to deliver your ideas and a good thing to remember is your mouth is not the source behind your voice – it is your abdomen! Practice a speaking posture two to three times a day: stand in a comfortable position, not rigid or slumped. Place your hand on your abdomen, inhale, exhale. Inhale on a count to five, and then exhale on a count to five. Start to feel your abdomen relaxing. Now, inhale and exhale on a count to 10; slow breathing will relax your diaphragm.
Physically, here is what is going on. You have muscles between your ribs that contract with each breath and your ribs swing up and out in the process. The diaphragm contracts and then descends and flattens, which causes a slight displacement of internal organs. Meanwhile, your chest cavity increases size to accommodate the incoming air. During exhalation, your muscles relax and return to their resting position and the lungs force out the air. So, imagine what is going on with short and rapid breaths versus longer, more relaxed breathing patterns. As you practice this breathing pattern over the next few days, notice what is different in your belly, chest, and voice. The breath is a valued asset that creates the sound of your voice!
A normal conversation typically uses rapid bursts of sound. Public speaking requires a deliberate pace that may seem too slow for you, and yet is just right for the listeners. Articulate each word with individual sounds rather than a blur of indistinct sounds.
JARGON AND GENERATIONAL LANGUAGE
The audience is comprised of varying generations; be sure to explain generational terms that may not make sense to everyone and avoid jargon.
PRACTICE AND REACH
Record and play back your speech. Listen to your own voice, content, and pacing, and adjust as necessary. Expand your voice so that the last person in the furthest corner feels they are in the front row. Don’t yell – just broaden the reach of your voice and message throughout the entire room.
MAP THE CONTENT
Audiences want to know why they are listening to you from the very first moment you walk onstage. So, map it out!
- Outline the content and where you are going
- Give directional signals, such as “Next, I’ll show…
- Connect the dots and tie back concepts to earlier statements
- Count for the audience: “There are three important concepts…
- Acknowledge credit, “Our team,” or “They did,” or “I believe”
- If you have a vision, share it, ”My vision is…”
- If it is important, repeat it three times throughout the presentation
BELIEVE IN YOURSELF
You are onstage for a reason – you make a difference and will continue to do so in the future. Remember your purpose and remember what you believe in, and be clear to yourself: what your vision and message are, and what is important to you. Embodiment of your vision and message will be what makes a difference!
CHECK IN WITH THE DDJ MYERS TEAM
Susan Geear, Peter Myers, and I are on site. Reach out to us and bounce off ideas or questions. Our purpose is to support you.
See you soon!