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Learning from the Olympics presenters


The performances of Olympic athletes were an inspiration to us all, but what about the presenters? ART SOBCZAK looks at how your delivery can make a difference to how you’re perceived.


I’m always inspired by these athletes who have put in hours and hours to reach that level of excellence. Since I have a short attention span, I often drift from the TV screen when there are headshots of the announcers talking, or interview segments. Sometimes when I do watch the screen


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I am further distracted from the message by the appearance or delivery of the people. It's natural. Come on, you've probably done it. “What’s up with that guy’s hair?” “There’s no way he was an Olympic


athlete.” “Why does one eyebrow move up and


not the other?” “She looks like she was at the pub all


night.” “Didn’t he look in the mirror after he put


THAT on?” My take on this, and the sales message


for us, is that the person behind the words – their delivery and appearance – makes a huge difference to how the message is interpreted. I’m probably not going out on too much


of a limb here by stating that you probably sell a pretty good product or service. But unless it sells itself, you play a major role in how it is perceived when you're on the phone talking about it. The better you are, the more you sell. Some people believe that communicat- ing on the phone is a disadvantage because listeners can’t see us. I believe that actually is an advantage... you don’t need to worry about physical appearance. On the phone, it all relies on what they hear. That’s why to be your best you need to work on it. Here are some ideas.


id you watch the Olympics? There were some very compelling story lines and great competitions.


Get rid of the non-words I find some people have this nasty habit to a very severe degree. When a listener counts how many times they hear “uh” instead of focusing on the message, you know there’s a problem. The persuasive speakers, on the other hand, don't use these filler sounds, or at least their use is minimal. Action: Susan Berkley, author of


Voice Shaping, suggests that the first step to the cure is identifying the enemy. Record yourself and count how many fillers you use. Once you're aware of your most common non-words, consciously replace them with pauses. You can also control the non-word habit


by getting your partner or friend to say “bingo” or some other code word every time you use a non-word. By the way, this also applies to habits such as “you know,” “like,” “I mean,” and anything else you use way too often.


Enunciate!


A talk show guest mumbled so much I had to turn up the volume and watch his lips so I could try to make out what he said. If I didn’t care about what he was saying, I wouldn’t have worked so hard. And your listeners might not work that hard for you. Action 1: Read this several times:


“If, I, place, an, invisible, comma, after, each, word, and, an, invisible, semi-colon; after, some, words, my, speech, has, presence.” This forces you to enunciate. Action 2: Practise tongue twisters


to articulate clearly. Recite this one now, several times, picking up speed each time:


On the phone, it all relies on what they hear


Better Business No 189 www.better-business.co.uk


“Frank phoned four pharmaceutical factories feeling fresh and fulfilled.”


Get up to speed


The more persuasive of the talking heads participating in interviews make their talking points quickly and don't mince words. We can all learn from that. After all, why use 100 words when 50 could make the same point? Action: Practise getting to your point


more quickly. Ask yourself a question you get during calls. Use a stopwatch and give yourself 45 seconds to answer. Then cut it to 30, then 20. Tape your response and refine the content and delivery of your answer.


Finish with strength


Professional speaker and presentation coach and trainer Marjorie Brody (www.marjoriebrody.com) cautions against letting your voice rise at the end of a sentence.


In her book, Speaking your Way to the


Top, she suggests recording yourself. If you notice your voice rising at the end of a sentence it sounds as though you are asking a question, are tentative, or are a young girl. If you tend to swallow your last few words, it reduces the impact of what you're saying. Action: Practise finishing sentences


completely and drop your pitch slightly while keeping the volume strong. The interest that others have in your message is largely controlled by you and your delivery. Strive to reach Olympic-level performance. ❖


Art Sobczak Business By Phone Inc


arts@businessbyphone.com www.smartcallingonline.com


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