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Creating Successful Leaders

A talk I gave a few months back was video taped, and I looked forward to getting a chance to critique myself. While I was speaking, I felt that I was doing a fine job connecting with my audience and delivering my message in a composed, articulate manner. I’m afraid to say I still don’t know how true this is, because when I watched the video, I was horrified to discover that my high heels upstaged me.

I like to walk around and use the room when I give talks. It helps me connect with individual members of the audience and keeps me focused, since I tend to be a high-energy person. The room I was in had a hardwood floor and a high ceiling–the recipe for cavernous acoustics. I wasn’t exactly sure going in what kind of room I’d be speaking in, so I never took the time to factor this in to what I would be wearing that day. And that turned out to be a big mistake.

As I walked around on that floor, every step I took was transformed from normal, forgettable clicks high heels make, to echoing, thundering gallops. If I was distracted, watching myself on videotape, I can’t imagine how distracting my heels were to the poor audience.

This experience was a bit discouraging and embarrassing, but I’m grateful for that videotape, because now I know that there are other variables to consider before giving a talk.

1. Video Tape Yourself. The way you speak sounds different to you than it does to everyone else. This has been proven time and time again. Watching yourself on video lets reveals the things about your mannerisms that you overlook. And, as it was true for me, a video can highlight little oddities you’d never predict on your own.

2. When Possible, Become Familiar With The Room. Walk around the space before your speech. Get a feel for the acoustics, the size, and make a mental game plan for how you’ll use the room to your advantage.

3. Your Attire Isn’t Always Just Visual! Avoid clunky boots and noisy heels if you know you’ll be in a space that echoes.


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