You go right ahead and breathe all you like. You don’t need anyone’s permission. But a singer turned public speaking coach says:
How often should you breathe? At the very least, at the end of every sentence! If you are prone to rushing through your speech or presentation, then practice breathing at every punctuation mark — it will force you to slow down.
As a former opera singer, I know how much breathing affects how a voice sounds. Singers must use deep breathing in order to project a strong voice across a crowded auditorium to reach every single person in the audience. I never thought that this skill would help me once I left the field of opera — until I had to give my first speech. Then, I realized how much my operatic training made me a powerful public speaker.
Now, having taught public speaking and presentation skills for over a decade, I can say with confidence that the ability to harness your breath is one of the most important and least taught areas within public speaking. It’s critical when you’re speaking up in a meeting and it’s crucial when you’re giving a speech or presentation. It’s one of the key elements of executive presence.
Breathing Is the Key to Persuasive Public Speaking – Allison Shapira, Harvard Business Review (30 June 2015)
One of my problems is racing on to the next sentence and the next. It sometimes comes across as enthusiasm and that does get transmitted, but more often it’s just hard to hear what I said. Read the full piece.
Earlier this week I was advising some schoolkids on their pitch to a TV company. Last weekend I was directing a group of kids for a show. And in both places, I had the same advice for them:
You are on until it is done
In the case of the show I directed, the group of kids had to act as if they were on stage from the moment the first of their parents arrived. Perfect behaviour, everybody with a job to do, the show has already started. They did it and they were ace.
With the pitching, each group had up to six people all contributing and it’s so hard: once you’ve said your bit and the next person has taken over, you automatically feel relieved that it’s all done. But it isn’t. It is on from the moment you step onto the stage and it is on until the moment you reach the bar. (An age-appropriate bar, obviously.)
I treat interviews the same way. And this week learn the following that makes me glad I do:
When David Cancel interviews potential candidates for engineering jobs at HubSpot, he brings a cup of water into the interview with him. At the end of the meeting, the chief product officer leaves the cup on the table and waits to see what the interviewee does with the garbage. If the person picks up the trash, he is probably a good fit for the job. If he doesn’t, that signals he probably wouldn’t work well on the team.
It might sound like an unfair trick or gimmick, but Cancel insists that it works. “I’ve tested it over 100 times at this point, and it has always turned out to be pretty accurate for me,” Cancel told Fast Company. “The people who didn’t go and reach to take the cup were always the people who weren’t a great cultural fit.” Since starting at HubSpot in 2011 when HubSpot acquired his startup Performable, he has hired more than 100 of the company’s almost 700 employees.
HubSpot Reveals the Mind Tricks It Uses to See if You’re Right for a Job – Rebecca Greenfield, Fast Company (15 May 2014)
That is the only trick this fella reveals but others in this company-I’ve-never-heard-of-before use and you will quickly glance at the ceiling at some of them. But you’ll also readily understand why they do it and what benefit it gives them. Read the whole piece.