Communication Skills on the Election Campaign Trail

Well it’s official!!!

It was just announced that Canada is going to the polls on October 14th, 2008 in order to elect a new government.

Now with election campaigns running full steam ahead on both sides of the border (Canada and United States of America) we have an amazing opportunity to experience more leadership speeches and debates than ever before.

Whether it is Stephen Harper or Stephane Dion,  John McCain or Barrack Obama, in order to be able to lead effectively, you need to be able to clearly communicate and sell your agenda.

This experience will allow us to experience just what a difference communication skills will make.

Stay tuned as we wait for the results.

How to calm your pre-presentation jitters – Part 2

In my last post, I counted down the first 5 ways to train your butterflies to fly in formation. Here are the remaining 5 tips.


5. Turn nervousness into enthusiasm:

Athletes do this all the time. They turn that negative nervousness (which is really an adrenaline rush) into positive enthusiasm which drives them during first part of the game. And as presenters we can do the same, by thinking about it that way.


4. Realize that you are not alone:

Tell me honestly, when was the last time you went to hear a presentation and you said to yourself, gee, I hope they really suck. It is important to remember that your audience is pulling for your to be successful, so they can justify their own investment of time, money and energy.


3. Act as if:

I’m sure you have heard the old saying, “Fake it, until you make it.” Well here is a secret about speaking in public. If you fake being confident, your audience will not know. Their perception is that you are confident. Or in other words,

“If you are going after Moby Dick… take the tarter sauce.”


2. Visit the washroom:

I’m not kidding! The last thing you want while you are presenting is competing priorities or giving an effective message and having to go to pee. I do this everytime I deliver one of my keynote presentations, facilitate sales training or even attend a speech and I am glad I do.


1. Just do it!!!

The god of running shoes had this right. The presentation you give tomorrow will be that much better, because of the speech you delivered today. The more you present the more comfortable you will be on presenting. Or as Darren LaCroix the 2001 World Champion of Public Speaking says, “The key to success in speaking is three things. Stagetime, Stagetime and Stagetime.”

Use these tips and I wish you success in your future presentations. If you need any help (or coaching), you can contact me at:


How to calm your pre-presentation jitters

Imagine,  you start to get that sinking, no queezy (technical term) feeling in the pit of your stomach, your heart is racing and your mind is telling you to run away just as fast as you can.


No, you are not under attack and no one is shooting at you. Instead you are just getting ready to do a presentation. And yes those are butterflies, not helicopters inside your stomach.

This is a feeling that most people feel before giving a speech, or presentation, and the following ten tips will help you train those butterflies to fly in formation.


10. Take a deep breath:

When we get nervous our breathing can become shallow, which limits the oxygen that we take it. Oxygen that our brain needs to think clearly. Several deep breaths will help calm you down and allow you to get the oxygen you need.


9. Realize that they want you to succeed:

A good friend of mine Renata Radek once told me that every audience you speak in front of will have 2 types of people in it. The first type have never done public speaking before and they are dealthly afraid of it, so they respect you for being up there. And the second type have done public speaking before and they know how difficult it can be, so they also respect you for being up there. So either way you can’t lose.


8. Speak about what you know:

Knowing your subject matter well will help your confidence level.


7. Prepare thoroughly:

According to David Peoples, author of an excellent book titled: Presentations Plus, 95% of how well your presentation is going to go will be determined before you even start. This will also help you with tip #8, by allowing you to speak about what you know about.


6. Focus on the message, not the medium:

The time to focus on how you deliver your message is before you go on stage, not while you are on stage. In my journey into becoming a professional speaker, my nervousness was greatly reduced, when I took the focus off me and put the focus on my audience.

If you want to read Pre-presentation Tips 1-5 check out my next blog post.