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What Makes A Good Speech, GREAT? (And Why Steve Jobs Is Still Inspiring People on YouTube)

When we first thought of deconstructing a good speech, it seemed like such a great and obvious idea to showcase our public speaking programme.

After exhausting a month’s worth of data on YouTube, we realised it’s not easy to pick just one. When it comes to great, world-changing orators, there are so many to choose from!

After much thought and discussion, we finally picked Steve Jobs’ commencement speech at the Stanford university's 114th Commencement on June 12, 200529 million views and counting!

Wow! Right?

For us, two things immediately stand out –

  1. The power of storytelling
  2. He is reading it out from his notes!

But seriously, one of the reasons we chose this talk – apart from the fact that this is a great example of a memorable speech - is to debunk the myth that a good speech has to be memorised!

Now to be honest when it comes to the delivery style, this speech doesn’t hold a candle to Martin Luther King’s famous civil rights speech or Winston Churchill’s radio address or Hitler’s power-packed performances.

There are no quotable quotes, no deep voices, no arm throwing - yet it is memorable; you will remember his life stories, and you will remember the last few words (Stay hungry, stay foolish) forever!

Let’s find out why this is a good speech -

Humans are wired to listen to stories, and when those stories are about love and loss and overcoming difficult life situations, we empathise! We root for the underdog, and we revel in his victories. In the end, we come out feeling good!

The speech follows the arc of his life – mapping three crucial milestones and each reinforces the same core message – Do what you love, believe in yourself, and everything will work out!

Let’s look at the first story – we start with a baby boy left in limbo while his birth mother holds out for the right parents. He builds up the importance of education and then destroys it in favour of individuality, and he does this in one of the best and most expensive educational institutions in the world; in front of hundreds of graduates – how’s that for a beginning!

And before it all gets too heavy and sentimental, he times it just perfectly to give the story a happy ending with a little bit of fun in the form of a humorous swipe at his biggest competitor -

 “If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them.”

Moreover, he returns and employs this storytelling structure in the other two stories as well – starts with an idea or a hint to what the core message could be; talks about a terrible period of his life and finally presents a uplifting success story – the audience is literally living the highs and lows of his life with him.

From -

“My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.”

To -

I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery, and I’m fine now.”

And then there is the message at the end of each story! He leaves the audience with these uplifting, life-changing mantra that inspires and transforms them. The 3 stories define a full circle – the speech is not just a collection of unrelated anecdotes from his life – they trace the pattern of birth, life, and death itself! And each episode come back to the core message – Find your calling, don’t settle for less.

We deconstructed this speech to find out some specific takeaways. We wanted to list some of the reasons that made this speech so memorable – it is certainly not the delivery style; there are no theatrics or even a slide.

After much discussion, we listed these features that we can replicate to make other speeches memorable -

  • Grab attention right at the start with a shocking or out of the box fact, story or an idea.
  • Use humour to gently bring down the audience from an emotional high.
  • Use the classic dramatical structure to build tension and give a resolution.
  • Work with one core message that you can reiterate again and again during the speech.
  • In the end, leave the audience with an inspiring thought or a vision that they can connect to personally. A universal idea that they can unite behind.
  • Finally, keep it short – Steve Jobs’ speech was barely 15 minutes!

This is just the tip of the iceberg! For those of you who might want to apply these learnings to your presentations and public speaking engagements, we have put together some more recommendations (all those hours on YouTube threw up some gems). So, if you have some time – take a look and be inspired!

A deconstruction of one of the most popular TED Talk given by Simon Sinek.

And certainly, take a look at this landmark talk on The Secret Structure of Great Talks by the guru of Presentations, Nancy Duarte

If you are feeling a tad overwhelmed before your big talk or presentation, then why do it alone. Reach out to us and we will be able to help you structure your content for maximum impact. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Communication

Getting Ready For An Upcoming Big Presentation? Then These Top 6 Tips Will Help You to Present Like A Pro!

All of us – from senior management to a fresher – have sat through at least one (if you are lucky) excruciatingly boring PowerPoint presentation! I remember my worst experience - it was this lady from a digital marketing agency who read out every single word of a 40-page PPT! Talk about zero presentation skills!

I distinctly remember thinking that I don’t care how good their offer is, there is no way I am giving my marketing budget to someone who is doing such a bad job of marketing themselves!

This little anecdote underscores a point we all already know – communicating well is the key to success. And not just in the corporate arena; being able to present your idea and vision clearly and with confidence, is critical to success in all professional spheres. Whether you are a small business owner, a blogger or a politician, if you cannot put across your ideas convincingly you will not grow professionally.

But presentations can be spruced up, and speaking skills can be polished. Sometimes you might need some professional guidance, but with a little bit of time and effort, it can be done. If you are looking for some quick tips to improve your presentation skills, then dive right in -

First off, know this - it is entirely possible to upgrade your presentation skills in very little time. While getting comfortable with public speaking might need some practice and experience; there is a lot you can do in a couple of days to improve your presentation skills.

Presentation Tips

A killer presentation is a combination of two things -

  1. Content structure
  2. The skill of the presenter

Take a look at your content and decide on a core message

Before you write down even one word or make your first slide, evaluate your entire content, and find the core message you want to leave with the audience. You could also jot down key points you want to reiterate or emphasize.

Tell a story

We all love a good tale, and nothing keeps people’s attention more effectively than a good narrative structure. Start with a bang, present problems, take them on your journey of finding a solution, and leave them on an uplifting note.

If you are presenting dry facts, then try not to do so directly; weave a story around them to make them more exciting and memorable. An excellent way to do this is to explain them through your own personal situation, through a case study or through an imaginary experience.

With every passing decade, attention spans are getting shorter, so you must structure your content to inject some excitement every 5 mins. This could be a quiz, a question, a multimedia component, a game, props or a joke – anything that breaks the content flow.

Humour always helps

Nothing breaks the ice and gets the audience behind the speaker more quickly than humour. A funny picture or a cartoon, an amusing anecdote, a quirky quote or a self-deprecating pun can lighten the atmosphere and put people in a more receptive mood.

Design visually appealing presentations

If you are using decks, then make sure that you keep these basics in mind -

  • Don’t put too much text on the each slide
  • Present one idea per slide
  • Make it visually appealing – there are so many templates available out there that the audience’s design expectations have gone up - simple bullet points no longer suffice
  • Use multimedia intelligently
  • Use fonts and font sizes that are readable
  • Keep a consistent colour or design format throughout the presentation

Body posture and expressions

Many people tend to shift from one foot to another and sway back and forth or continuously touch and adjust their clothing or hair – all this comes across as nervous, distracting behaviour. If you are not seated or don’t feel comfortable striding around on stage, then it's best to just stand still and use hand gestures.

During a presentation, maintaining eye contact is also quite important; its best to select a bunch of people distributed evenly across the room whom you can look at directly. Along with eye contact, its also a good idea to smile -  not only does it help you keep your nervousness in check it will also project a positive attitude to your audience.

Prepare and practice your presentation

Nothing beats practice! There are very few natural speakers who can go extempore; for most people, it is advisable to memorize and practice the presentation several times. If you don’t want to bank on your memory alone, then carrying cue cards is highly recommended.

Naturally, if you are presenting along with a deck, you can always turn around casually and refer to the slide. But coming back to where we started - no matter what you do, don’t start reading off the slide! It is there to create a visual reference point to what you are talking about and cannot replace your energy and your passion.

I am sure you are reading this because you have an idea or vision bubbling inside you that is just waiting to come out and I hope reading these tips can help give it the attention it deserves.

Nancy Duarte, the guru of presentation skills, puts it so well -

“..an idea is powerless if it stays inside of you. If you never pull that idea out for others to contend with, it will die with you. Now, maybe some of you guys have tried to convey your idea, and it wasn't adopted, it was rejected, and some other mediocre or average idea was adopted. And the only difference between those two is in the way it was communicated. Because if you communicate an idea in a way that resonates, change will happen, and you can change the world.”

For working professionals and business owners, a presentation is an essential part of their work. If you feel you need to upgrade your skills in this arena, click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Communication

Why Do We Fear Public Speaking? And What You Can Do Immediately To Vanquish This Fear Once And For All

Have you ever come across someone who tends to freeze in front of an audience, even a couple of people? They find that their mouth dries up, their voice goes weak and their body starts shaking. They may even start sweating profusely, go red in the face and feel their heart thumping rapidly.

Has this happened to you sometime? Do you often shy away from any opportunity to speak in public? Does the thought of speaking in public leave you frozen with fear?

Glossophobia - fear of public speaking

Yes, there is a cool Greek-inspired name for fear of public speaking as well! And as much as 75% of all people are affected by it. Not surprising really, we have all felt butterflies in our stomachs before going up on stage, and most of us have an anecdote or two about public speaking disasters.

But why does something as straightforward as speaking in front of a bunch of people, cause so much dread for so many people?

Studies across the globe have identified four main reasons -

An Anxious Nature

For some people predisposed to anxiety, public speaking can trigger a threat perception hyperarousal – basically your body senses and experiences it as a threat and reacts accordingly – making it even more difficult to perform well.

Your Thoughts

You build it up to be more important than it is, you don’t think you are good enough, you think everyone will judge you and so on – basically your thoughts take over and inflate the importance of the situation to such an extent that natural nervousness snowballs into full-blown fear of public speaking.

Past Experiences

Did you have a bad public speaking experience in the past? Do you speak in public regularly? Your skill and past success or failure play a big role in how you approach public speaking situations.

New or Unfamiliar Situations

It is natural to feel more anxious if you are encountering a new audience or trying out an untested idea or are in an unknown setting. Even something like speaking in your second language or on an unprepared topic can trigger anxiety.

If you are trying to grow your business or climb the corporate ladder or have a fantastic idea that you need to communicate – you need to look your fear in the face and vanquish it.

How? Well keep reading – we have put together some simple tips to help you become a better and more confident speaker.

Know your Content

With anxiety comes the loss of concentration and memory -- the first thing to go out of the window is the speech or the presentation you memorised. To avoid a black-out its best to understand your content thoroughly. Don’t just learn the lines; you should know the content well enough to be able to convey the idea in entirely different words.

Practice

For nervous speakers, practice makes perfect! Practice the speech, the pauses, the stance, the gestures and practice in front of a mirror and front of friends. Rehearsing your speech or presentation bakes it in your mind and when anxiety strikes, being over prepared will come in handy.

Relax

Relaxation techniques like breathing exercises, meditation or even some physical activity can help you tamp down the anxiety. The goal is to start the speech with a calm frame of mind, a lower heartbeat, and controlled breathing. If you start off nervous, chances are it will keep getting worse.

But relaxation techniques don’t just work overnight – you will need to make them a habit and practice them constantly to see the benefits.

Know your Limitations

Like everything else, public speaking also requires practice and time to perfect. Don’t try to just jump into a big gathering straight away – know your capabilities, start small. If you are having trouble memorising your content, carry bullet points; don’t force a joke or an anecdote if you don’t want to; don’t speak in front of hundreds of people if you can’t handle ten.

Becoming a good orator requires time and experience. Understand which stage you are at and take your time.

Lastly, ask for Help

You don’t have to go at it alone; if a big presentation or an important speech is coming up, then bring in the professionals.

Counsellors can help you structure your content, help you practice, give you useful and actionable tips to improve and also provide the much needed emotional support.

Don’t let the fear of public speaking close opportunities and stunt your professional or personal growth.

Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it so well,

"All the great speakers were bad speakers at first."

If you want to become a confident and engaging speaker, then don’t hesitate to get in touch!

You might not end up loving the stage, but we promise you will learn not to hate it.

To know more, click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Insight

5 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Going Back After A Career Break – Career Coaching Advice for Returning Professionals

Career breaks happen! Whether you took out time to raise your children, took a break to deal with health problems, pursued higher studies or took a much-needed sabbatical to travel the world – there are times when personal needs demand your full attention and work takes a back seat. Getting back to work after a few years might seem a bit daunting at first, but with professional career coaching, you can find a job that values your experience and education!

I guess you are reading this article because you are now ready to head back to work. Right? For most people, taking a career break is equated with loss of money or rank – people expect to get paid less or be demoted!

A study by PWC conducted in the UK found that 3 in 5 women get lower-paid or less skilled jobs when they return after a break! The numbers, if reported, will probably be even more depressing in India.

This is exactly why returnees have such a stressful time starting again. They settle for either less money or less meaningful work, and when you know you deserve better and can do more, the chances are you will end up deeply frustrated and unhappy.

To avoid falling into this career rut, we have put together some helpful career coaching tips to get you started right -

1. Assess and Research

Don’t just jump in and start firing off your CV to all and sundry. Take time to focus on what you want to do and assess your strengths and positives. You can find a career coaching service near you or online and get some professional help to you decide what you actually want to do.

You also need to research the various options that are available in your industry. For this, you can browse through job portals and well-known job communities on Facebook or LinkedIn. If you have kept in touch with industry publications, you could also make a list of any significant policy, strategic or technological changes that you might be expected to know.

2. Network, Network, Network

Break out that contact list, open LinkedIn, call old colleagues and bosses – get the word out that you are ready and looking for work.

Most people hesitate to call or reach out – trust us only the first few calls will feel awkward. Your friends, old colleagues, acquaintances are all nice people – they might not be able to help, but no one will be rude to you.

Spend some time drafting an email or practising your call and just get started. Dropping a personal message on LinkedIn or Facebook is the easiest thing to do!

3. Upgrade your Skills

If you are in a technical profession and have been away for more than a year then polishing up your credentials with a specialised course might be helpful.

With so much high-quality education available online, its possible to find a course that fits your interests and budget. You can also work with a career coach to find out relevant options – this is especially helpful if you have decided to change your profile significantly.

4. Aim Small

You might have left a job at an MNC, but maybe a small start-up is more suitable to restart your career.

Bigger and more established companies tend to have stricter policies and more competition, whereas a small firm would be happy to use your experience and might offer you the same profile and salary as well as more flexibility. So, don’t just consider the big-name companies, explore small or medium-sized concerns as well.

5. Focus on the Job Profile

If it comes down to money vs. job profile, pick the work.

Re-entering the job market could entail some sacrifices, and sometimes you just need a little bit of time to acquaint your employer with the skills and experience you bring to the table.

Look for an environment, a work profile or a team that allows you to grow and learn. A more challenging work profile might not get you the paycheck you are looking for – but it will certainly speed up your learning and help you fill in the time you lost while you were away.

Once you are back up to speed, there is always room to negotiate for a better salary or a higher designation.

In this situation does Career Coaching help?

Well, yes!

If your initial research has not thrown up any clear ideas on how you can start your job search or if you are thinking of changing your professional path altogether, then a coach can be very helpful to point you in the right direction.

Our advice - just start! It’s the first and the most daunting step. Stay focused on your life goals and give it time.

Are you looking for some help getting back in the saddle? If yes, then our coaching program for returning professionals is the perfect starting point for kickstarting your new professional life. Click on the Request Consultation button above.

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Articles | Insight

5 Career Counselling Factors That Give You Clear and Actionable Advice

How many of you out there – finishing school or graduate courses - know exactly what you want to do?

It would be fair to presume that most of you have an inkling of where your interests lie – after all, we are living in the digital age!

When it comes to the great big decision of choosing a career path or a college course, there are two types of people. There are the lucky few who have a passion or a creative gift that defines their life choices from an early age and then there is the vast majority, made up of teenagers and young adults who need some career guidance to find the right paths.

As things stand in India, most children tend to enrol in a course first and figure out career options later. The post class XII scramble for admissions mixed with peer pressure doesn’t give most students a lot of time or opportunity to think deeply about their long-term careers.

For most, the goal is to somehow just get into a good college! And the cycle repeats itself after graduation when choices become even more limited, the competition becomes tougher, and the cost of education goes up.

For the last two decades, career counsellors and career guidance services have been trying to help students make the right decision. Over time a lot has changed - what started with aptitude tests and informal chats with counsellors has now turned into a nuanced and detailed process that focuses on the mindset of the student.

We at SoaringEagles, have developed a career counselling process that takes into account five crucial factors which give students and adults clarity about their career choices. Our one-on-one sessions include a mix of various assessments, self-reflection activities, and in-depth discussions which focus on the following aspects -

Life Values

We start with taking stock of where you stand in terms of certain areas of your life such as achievement, belonging, financial prosperity and spirituality. The goal is to make you aware of who you are and what you value most in life.

This assessment is then aligned with your career activities to give you an idea of what could work best in the long run. E.g., If you put creative freedom over money, then a freelance artistic career could be more in line with your interests.

Workplace Values

Most students starting out are not thinking as far ahead as actually working in an office. But the career path you choose will determine how you spend a large part of your day.

Our workplace value assessment is designed to make sure you understand what is more important for you - is it loyalty or stability; do you want to lead teams or prefer to use your hands to create something new; do you prefer money over status or do you want to both – these are some questions that a workplace value assessment will force you to consider and pay attention to.

Skill Set

Most students have some basic career aspirations; as part of our career counselling sessions, we use a broad-based skill assessment to give them an insight on how their current skills or abilities can help them achieve their goals. Another important outcome of skill analysis is to provide them with a roadmap for improving or acquiring skills they might need for their dream job.

Multiple Intelligence Assessment

There are many factors which can determine what type of work and environment would best suit your temperament. We have a special multiple intelligence test that evaluates your thoughts measured against daily activities, and the results are a great way to figure out your latent strengths.

We all are a mix of different abilities – such as musical, logical, visual, verbal and so on. This type of evaluation helps us - and you – understand where your strengths lie (for example you might lean more towards verbal and visual intelligence rather than physical) and which types of career could best suit your abilities.

Occupational Interests

Lastly, we focus on assessing your core vocational interests. This is an advanced career guidance test that identifies suitable educational streams aligned to your occupational dimension.

For example – do you have an artistic temperament or a realistic one; are you more comfortable following rather than organising and leading. The test matches your occupational abilities to groups of industries and job clusters to suggest the ones you are best suited for.

Conclusion

We understand that choosing your educational stream or your graduate or postgraduate course can be daunting. After all, this all-important decision could define how you spend the rest of your life.

We want you to start your professional journey on a sound and steady note. The whole point of our new-age career counselling services is to make you (and us) understand your mindset, values, and strengths.

With this understanding, we will be able to recommend what we think are the right options and you will be able to choose your path with complete confidence and clarity.

If you are feeling a little overwhelmed and need some help. then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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Articles | Training

Top 10 Pathbreaking Learning And Development Solution Provider – SoaringEagles

SoaringEagles, an innovative talent development company, announced that it has been named amongst one of the Top 10 Pathbreaking Learning and Development Solution Providers in 2018 by Insights Success magazine.

Recognizing the best-in-class educative learning solution providers of the industry, Insights Success published 'The 10 Pathbreaking Learning & Development Solution Providers 2018' report. SoaringEagles is honoured to be featured in this prestigious list.

What differentiates SoaringEagles from its competition is their strong learner-centric approach based on cognitive behaviour techniques and motivational counselling. The programmes arouse an intrinsic motivation to learn so that the participants are able to absorb more from the programmes and become lifelong learners.

Unlike most other training organizations who depend on a panel of freelance trainers for meeting their delivery requirements, SoaringEagles works only with full-time in-house learning facilitators who have a psychology background. Their training content is developed in-house through in-depth research in positive psychology, cognitive behaviour techniques, motivational interviewing, and the science of learning which enables them to provide world-class training, consistently.

Follow the link to read the complete write-up: https://www.insightssuccess.in/soaringeagles-new-age-nimble-footed-organization-making-businesses-future-ready/

About us

SoaringEagles focuses on building skills that are relevant and critical for the 21st century. Given the increasingly rapid pace of changes in the business world, individuals need to be equipped with skills like emotional resilience, social intelligence, learning agility, novel & adaptive thinking and persuasive communication using new media. Developing these skills will make employees change ready, strategic and agile.

SoaringEagles has a unique approach to delivering desired behaviour change. This is premised on cognitive behaviour techniques, motivational counselling and experiential learning. They validate development of knowledge, skills and behavioural change through assessments and surveys so that the results are quantifiable.

SoaringEagles designs customised training programs as per the specific requirements of companies. SoaringEagles was recognized as one of the Top 25 Most Promising Learning & Development companies in India in 2017 by Consultants Review magazine for having a positive impact on the learning environment.