Thursday Buzz: Presenting Tips From a TED Speaking Coach

How good pacing, breath control, and, uh, newspapers can make you a better speaker, according to a person who helps train some of the world's best presenters. Also: Maybe you shouldn't email your team after hours.

Not a natural speaker? It’s OK—there are ways to build up your speaking skills.

And who better to learn from than a speaker coach known for working with TED presenters? Speaking coach Gina Barnett, who will soon release a book filled with her speaking advice, has a lot of good suggestions for improving your dry mouth, controlling your nerves, nailing your tone, and even ensuring that you’re not awkwardly moving around during your presentation.

Breath is another matter altogether.

“Weʼre often not aware of how shallow our breath becomes when weʼre nervous or stressed,” Barnett explains in a TED blog post. “Take three or four conscious, evenly paced, smooth inhalations and exhalations. Let the belly go and let the breath go all the way down into your abdomen. This can center your energy and focus your thoughts.”

Perhaps the most interesting tip she offers is to rehearse on a floor covered with newspapers. The idea? Hearing the paper crinkle makes you more conscious of your movements, ensuring that you move “with intention and purpose.”

Did she just blow your mind with that tip? Because it sure blew ours.

Work-Life Balance Matters

Just because you can email your team around the clock doesn’t mean you should. In fact, productivity expert Maura Thomas suggests that habit may do more harm than good.

“Being ‘always on’ hurts results,” Thomas writes in a blog post for Harvard Business Review. “When employees are constantly monitoring their email after work hours—whether this is due to a fear of missing something from you, or because they are addicted to their devices—they are missing out on essential down time that brains need.”

It’s OK to wait on that email until the morning. (ht @eventsense)

Other Links of Note

The most pressing issue for business leaders, according to a new study? As Jamie Notter notes, it’s not leadership—it’s culture.

Fascinating idea of the day: The new startup lets you set up an email address for yourself that puts a paywall on “cold call” emails. If the cold-callers pay a price of your choosing, the email goes through.

“‘Engagement’ is defined by the customer, not by the association. And if the customer defines engagement as paying their dues every year, and that’s it, that’s okay.”Wes Trochlil’s member-focused take on member engagement.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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