My job has recently been transferred from the UK to an Asian country. With the move from my established position to a new challenging role in a new environment, I suddenly found myself lacking my usual level of confidence...

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Are You a Woman Working in a MAN'S WORLD ?

Posted on Saturday, July 02, 2016 by Positivevoice

This concept of working in, what is conceived to be, a ‘man’s world’ seems to be on the minds of many of my clients at the moment. I have coached women on voice, communication style and mindset. Yet, again and again, the one thing that changes everything is confidence. This doesn’t mean that inequality is all in your mind, but it does mean that changing the way that you think and feel about it can completely transform your situation.

 

There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”

William Shakespeare

Are Your Beliefs a Reflection of YOUR reality?

The best way to change your mind about something is to confront your current beliefs. You can either make a mental list or take out a pen and paper (whichever works best for you) and then follow these steps:

1.       Think of something that is holding you back in your work life: For example: ‘I don’t feel confident at work’, ‘I feel inadequate’, ‘I’m not good at my job’

2.       Make a list of your beliefs around your current, undesirable situation- include positive and negative beliefs

3.       Next to each belief (positive and negative), give some solid evidence that this is true

4.       Next to each negative belief, highlight something that disproves it- perhaps you recently won a new project or received good feedback at work.

5.       Finally, remember why you were hired in the first place; someone believed in you. Who was this?

What do these answers say about you right now? (Remember that you are not your behaviour, these answers are just a reflection of your current strategies)

Now

1.       Look at the people around you at work. Do you respect them? Would you like to be like them? Are they good people?

2.       Do you respect yourself? Are you happy being you? Are you a good person?

This blog isn’t about them, it’s about YOU.

If you respect them, but not yourself or feel any unhappiness around being YOU; ask yourself this; who am I when I’m at my best? (What am I doing? Who am I with? How do people see me?) How can you be this person more of the time?

For a moment, see this person who challenges you as your greatest teacher. They may be showing you not just how to behave, but how NOT to behave. Anyone or anything that challenges you, can only serve to make you stronger.

You always have a choice, you can become the victim of your situation or you can take responsibility for your life. You will know when you are acting the role of victim because you will feel a sense of weakness and loss of control. When you rise to challenges and take positive actions to improve your situation, you will feel a sense of inner strength and empowerment.

You always have a choice; either stay in your current situation and change the way you think and feel about it, so that you can find happiness and empowerment there, or move on to greener pastures. Whatever you decide, make the more empowering of the two choices.

Remember that you can't change others, but you always have the power to change yourself. Something amazing will happen when you change the way you look at, and feel about, your situation. Some people call this 'confidence', others call it 'being positive', 'strong minded' or 'thick skinned'; it doesn't matter what you call it, only that you do it NOW.

      



7 Phenomenal Secrets to becoming an Extraordinary Communicator

Posted on Thursday, February 26, 2015 by Positivevoice


Have you ever assessed your own ability to communicate?

If yes, how did you rate yourself?

If no, it is never to late; read on!

Recently, I worked with the loveliest little boy to improve his speech. Essentially, his mother brought him to me saying that he needed to improve his speaking skills and confidence. When asked, he said that he believed that once his speech was clearer, he would feel more confident- he had difficulty pronouncing certain words and sounds, which made him hard to understand at times. Initially, he was not motivated to work directly on his confidence or his manner of communicating; just his pronunciation.

Fast forward 6-8 weeks and I notice that he has something emotional going on, which is impeding his progress when it comes to correcting those speech problems. Every lesson, I calmly asked him how he was feeling in terms of confidence at school and each lesson I was met with the same one word response: good. I wasn’t convinced. One lesson, it became apparent that he was blinking back tears.

Finally, he agreed to open up to me and have a coaching session. A big reminder that you can’t help someone until they WANT to be helped.  It transpired that all the children in his class at school were ignoring him. He tried to speak to them, but they didn’t listen; it was almost as if he wasn’t there. As is often the case, as time went on this had an impact on his grades at school and gave him yet another thing to be upset about. All of a sudden nothing was fun anymore. All he could think about was the misery at school; even when he was at home! He talked to no one but me about this.

So, we had some coaching which had a huge impact on how he felt and of course how you feel has a big impact on how people behave around you, so come the next day at school and that little problem whereby all the other kids were ignoring him had just disappeared!

Another interesting thing about all of this is that in the weeks that followed, his speech improved inordinately.

However, as is often the case, he needed more than just one session focused entirely on this little issue of confidence. As, I can’t force people to do a follow up, he had only had one session. Unfortunately, this breakthrough was followed by a little breakdown just a month later. So, we looked at his situation again. One of the things that jumped out at me was this:

How he communicated did not fill me with the greatest sense of self importance and worth; I was never quite sure how much he was listening to me or taking in. I just kept getting those one or two word responses. So, here is the lesson I taught him next:

How you communicate with others has a HUGE impact on how they communicate with you. When I talk about communication here, I am not just referring to TALKING, but LISTENING! If you are an excellent listener, others will be encouraged to talk to you and furthermore, they will feel amazing around you.

So, here is how to become a great listener (this is a great challenge for all you TALKERS out there).

Before I begin, take a moment to think back to all the greatest conversations you have had. Consider not just the words, but the extent to which you were listened to or encouraged to listen.

After all, what is the point in speaking if no one listens!

7 Secrets to becoming a GREAT listener:

  1. Eye contact: without this, no one will know that you are listening
  2. Undivided attention: put away your phone/tablet!
  3. Facial expressions: smiling, nodding and generally showing keen interest
  4. Avoid the temptation to focus on what you are about to say next: If your thoughts are elsewhere you are not listening. You may be able to repeat back what has just been said in the manner of a parrot, but have you really taken in the deeper levels of meaning?
  5. Little words and noises of agreement or understanding: yes (accompanied by a nod), really, how interesting, oh ok, are you sure? Hmmmm (or similar noises of agreement)
  6. Avoid interrupting: if number 5 (above) involves more than 2-3 words, this is considered as an interruption- some sensitive speakers can’t cope with more than one word, so be a sensitive listener. Always be willing to adapt your listening techniques to fit in with the person speaking- notice what they respond well too
  7. Last but not least: the number one secret: Behave as you would like others to behave around you. Consider those around you as your mirrors. If they are not listening to you, perhaps you are not REALLY listening to them either!

These are just 7 secrets; in reality the list could go on forever. For instance, you could do all the above and go away with nothing after the conversation. Real listening is not just with the eyes or the ears; it is with ALL the senses and only occurs when we really feel what is being said.

During the very best conversations I have ever had; I have lost all awareness of space and time and become totally engrossed in what is being said. This is LISTENING.

In my next post: How to Become More Convincing and Influential, I show how to apply this same little rule to public speaking.



5 Beliefs that Will Make You Feel Happier and More Confident

Posted on Monday, February 09, 2015 by Positivevoice

 

Your beliefs shape your reality. They can affect your levels of happiness and confidence. If you believe that life is hard and that everyone is out to get you, then your behaviour is likely to invite in negative experiences. However, if you believe that we live in a friendly world full of abundance, your behaviour will reflect that and it is likely that your experiences will be different too. That is not to say that you will never encounter challenges or obstacles, but you will find that they are less prevalent in your life when your beliefs are more positive.

 

I choose my beliefs very carefully because I know that they have a big impact on how I live my life and how others respond to me.

 

My Top Beliefs!

 

  1. A positive outlook invites positive experiences

 

  1. Just because I believe one thing and you believe another, doesn’t mean we can’t both be right. There is a great saying in NLP: ‘It’s true if it’s true for you’

 

  1. ‘Being right’ will not necessarily make you happy

 

  1. Those who challenge you can be seen as your greatest teachers- they can be a wonderful catalyst for personal development if you choose to see them in this more positive light.

 

  1. If you feel challenged, it simply means there is room for you to grow. If you embrace the challenge, you will feel stronger

My Beliefs Explained:

 

I believe that the things you are passionate about, combined with your beliefs, will lead you to your life purpose. If you really believe something and are passionate about it, then follow that path.

 

However, expecting everyone to agree with you will set you up for a fall. Just because not everyone agrees, it doesn’t make you any less right or them any more wrong. This is just the nature of beliefs. The challenge here is to feel comfortable enough with your beliefs that you don’t need others to believe them too. Often, people feel the need to convert all those around them in order to really believe that they are right. Perhaps, this is because they are experiencing a tiny element of doubt regarding their beliefs that can only be quashed by converting everyone around them. The irony here is that no belief is necessarily ‘right’- it is only through believing something that you can make it true for you.

 

So, you see, it is important not to confuse beliefs with knowledge. Our beliefs 200 years ago were very different from the beliefs we hold today because we now have more knowledge. For instance, it is just 139 years since the invention of the telephone (Alexander Graham Bell 1876) and 106 years since the invention of television (1909 George Rignoux and A Fournier, Paris). Since these times, we have gone on to develop mobile phones (the first handheld device was created in1973; just 42 years ago) and the internet. I’m sure that many of these incredible inventors were seen as insane in their time because people just couldn’t ‘believe’ what they were hearing. It was too far beyond their limited understanding of the world, and who is to say that our current understanding is really that much greater? You see, we don’t know what we don’t know, do we?

 

Additionally, it has been shown that our beliefs can actually limit us. A great example of this is the ‘four minute mile’. Before 1954, no one believed it was possible to run a mile in less than 4 minutes. Until, that is, Roger Bannister broke the record by running a mile in:  3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Interestingly, as soon as he achieved this, lots of other people followed suit. In this case, it was a change in belief that improved ability. This is a great example of the power of the mind and how an empowering belief can improve our performance.

 

This is why being open minded is so important. Perhaps, anything is possible.

 

 

How to Hold on to Your Beliefs Whilst Respecting Those of Others:

 

  1. Listen with an open mind and remember that just because you are passionate about your beliefs, it does not make them 100% water tight. Do not let fear cause you to become a ‘preacher’. You will help many more people by leading by example (if that is your goal).
  1. Practice Compassion:

People are often fearful when others don’t share their beliefs. Not everyone understands the concept: ‘Being right won’t necessarily make you happy’. In fact, their desire to be right is often so great that they lose friends, sleep and peace of mind in order to prove themselves ‘right’. This is often done through confrontation, which of course breeds more confrontation.

How can you respond to this? 

Forgive them if they get upset or angry. Their emotions relate to fear. They are not their behaviour; their behaviour is just a reflection of their fear.

Practice compassion and forgiveness by seeing their vulnerability.

  1. Flexibility:

Just because I want one thing doesn’t mean that you have to go in that direction too. We are both individuals. It is impossible to change others, you can only change yourself- this doesn’t mean you have to do what they are doing (unless you want to), it purely means that you can choose to change the way you feel about their actions. 

How can you do this?

Again, it comes down to flexibility and forgiveness. You can practice this by changing your thoughts and you can change your thoughts more easily than you would ever believe. One way to do this is to repeat mantras (a mantra, in essence, is just a repeated thought).

Try repeating, “I am feeling more and more confident about my beliefs”.

I choose to believe all these things because they make me feel better.

 

What do you choose to believe?

 

Do your beliefs make you feel better?

 

Do they improve your relationships with others?

As always, please leave your comments in the box, below!



How to Create More Peace in Your Life: My 2 Top Tips

Posted on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 by Positivevoice

“Be the Change You Wish To See In the World”

 

I used to feel that it was impossible for a person like me to incite lasting change in the world. That is until Mahatma Gandhi’s quote really hit home. I have learned that the most lasting change comes when we lead by example, when we inspire others to do as we do. How we behave as individuals is reflected in the behaviour of wider society.

 

The example that you set now and in the future, will set the tone for the next generation. This concept is particularly poignant for me right now, as I am pregnant with my second child. You don’t need to be a parent to lead by example, though. We are all teachers to someone; family, friends, neighbours or colleagues.

 

How can you make a difference?

 

My Top Tips

 

  1. Don’t take things personally:

 

Initially, this is often one of the most difficult things to do, but with practice, it will get easier and easier. All you need to do is remind yourself that when someone gets angry or upset, it is their fear that is talking and not them! (All negative emotions can be interpreted as fear) They are fearful and by responding with anger you only exacerbate the situation until one of you ‘makes peace’ or until you go your separate ways. What if I told you that by changing the way you feel about this person, the whole energy dynamic will improve?

 

When you remind yourself that all negative behaviour is just fear in disguise, you will feel so much better and will realise that there is nothing to take personally. It is all about ‘them’ and nothing to do with you at all. Eventually, all negative emotions will drop away and you will feel only compassion.

 

EXERCISE

 

Think of someone who you have had conflict with; either recently or in the past, (a small argument will do for this exercise) ask yourself:

 

‘Was this about me or them?’

 

If it is about them: Perhaps you remind them of someone or even of themselves: often the behaviour we tolerate least is the behaviour that mirrors our own weaknesses. For instance, if, in the past you had a problem with listening or your attention span was very short, you might find the same behaviour in someone else absolutely intolerable. So, often the behaviour of others is a reflection of your own behaviour (past or present).

 

If it is about you: ask yourself what you were afraid of? What action could you have taken to dissipate this fear? All emotions can be interpreted as a call to action- after all, when you’re tummy rumbles; you easily interpret that as a call to eat. What do you do when you feel sad? Do you continue to feel sad or do you interpret the emotion and find a solution?

 

What could you have done to remedy your fear?

 

  1. Change yourself first!

 

It is impossible to change others through force. In fact, the harder you try, the more they will resist. It is, therefore, much better to focus on developing yourself, as then you can shine with love and humour * and inspire others to follow your lead. Also, the more you work on yourself, the less other people’s behaviour will disrupt your peace and the less inclined you will feel to try to change them, so you see, it is an upward cycle.

 

Humour is a great tool: react with it and respond with it whenever you can. Humour can lighten the saddest and heaviest of moods. As always, practice makes perfect.

 

Final thought: All war; whether it is on the battlefield, in the boardroom or in the classroom, relates to fear. The best way to heal fear is through love, kindness and understanding.



How to stop feeling STUCK & Start feeling MOTIVATED: One simple technique

Posted on Tuesday, August 19, 2014 by Positivevoice


I have a great remedy for anyone who has ever felt de-motivated and lack lustre. If you have ‘been there’, you will know that sinking, low, frustrated feeling I am talking about. For some people it leads to tears and for others it manifests itself in anger. Like a rabbit caught in headlamps, there is too much fear to move in any one direction.

From time to time, I feel like this too. I have a great tool that not only helps me overcome this, but makes my life better in every way as a result of its implementation. As you can imagine, I no longer fear these moments, as I know that it is simply a way of letting go of the old and bringing in the new. I believe that emotions are not meant to be ‘FELT’, but are rather intended to point us in new directions. I often use ‘thirst and hunger’ as examples because these needs are, for most people, easily satisfied. We feel them, interpret them and overcome them- usually in moments. Do other ‘feelings’ need to be any different?

For me, this month is holiday season. I have little trips away and long weekends all month (lucky me). Work wise things are quiet and Paris (where I am based) is calm. What a perfect time to relax, you may think. Initially, I couldn’t seem to take myself out of work mode and I found myself feeling this ‘stuckness’ I mentioned. So, what did I do? I took some time to really listen to myself. I asked myself how I was feeling and what was important to me right now and I very quickly felt much better.

I set myself a schedule for this year and never factored in holidays and weeks off (whoops) and that feeling was simply my motivated self feeling frustrated, so you see, I was never really de-motivated, just motivated and frustrated at the same time!

How about you?

Take an afternoon or an evening off (or as much time as you can spare) to ask yourself the following questions. Listen to yourself and find out what you really want and then ask yourself how you can achieve it? Dream big dreams and set realistic and satisfying goals.

  1. How do I feel?
  2. What do I really want?
  3. What goals have a set and not yet achieved?
  4. How can I achieve my goals?
  5. How can I change my reality?
  6. What have I been worrying about that doesn’t really matter?
  7. What is really important to me?

Maybe there are other questions that you feel the need to ask yourself. Go ahead and ask them!

Give it a try and see if it works for you too. Do leave your comments in the box, below. 



How to Find Your Passion

Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2014 by Positivevoice


I am one of the few lucky ones who found passion at a very young age. I was 8 years old when i started speech and drama lessons. At this very young age I discovered so many things about the power of the voice and all that could be achieved through subtle changes in pitch, pace and tone. This passion developed in many different directions and continues to do so today.

This post is a little longer than most, as I would like to take you through a particularly incredible process.

Many of my clients come to me in search of peace of mind, confidence or happiness. As chance would have it, we frequently end the session with the realisation that the secret to their happiness lies in a change of career. Over the years, I have developed a great process, designed to help people to find their ideal career. I have never put this into writing and have no idea whether it is a strategy that will work for everyone- all I can say is that it has worked wonders for those I have coached in the past. Give it a whirl and see what comes up for you.

  1. Take out three pieces of paper
  2. On the first piece, write ‘What am I passionate about?’ (by this I mean, what do you feel really strongly about: it could be anything from animal rights, shopping, sport or health’). Write a list of all the things that come to mind and then think again. Often the last things you think of are the very best, so take your time.
  3. On the second piece of paper, write ‘What am I good at?’ Write a list of all the things you are ‘good’ at. This does not need to be anyone else’s opinion, just yours. If you think you are good at ‘writing’, ‘dancing’ or ‘arguing’, then write it down. Keep asking yourself ‘what else?’
  4. Now, for the third list. Your heading is: ‘What acknowledgements, qualifications, experience or rewards have I received?’ (this could be media interest, a degree, a medal or a job). Look back a few years if you want too. Remember, my experience started at the age of 8 and snowballed until I found myself coaching confidence, communication and positive mindset.
  5. Once you have three lists, put an asterisk against the top 3/ 4 on each piece of paper.
  6. Create links between the three pages. We’re looking for a common thread between something in each of those categories.

The first time I did this, it was for myself. I was a graduate working in a PR agency wondering what I wanted to do with my life. Amongst other things, i wrote down three words:

  1. Communication
  2. speaking
  3. LAMDA gold medal in acting
Notice the common theme here, a link between my passion. what i am good at and what i have received recognition for. This is the ideal scenario. 

Please share your results with me in the comments, below, or via email if you prefer: fran@positivevoice.co.uk.



7 Secrets to a Successful Presentation

Posted on Friday, June 15, 2012 by Positivevoice



Make More of an Impact!

Posted on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 by Positivevoice

So, you’ve overcome your fear of public speaking and all you need to do now is engage your audience. What can you do to make your delivery more captivating?

The first thing to do is to make sure you are passionate about your subject matter. If it is dry and boring to you, it will be dry and boring to your audience. I was teaching a little boy last week and i was explaining how there is not a market for 'good speakers'... You have to be more than just a good speaker. There is a market for passionate people who have done amazing things and are willng to talk about it. One such person is Jeremy Gilly, of Peace One Day, who established World Peace Day in 2002. Like most British professional speakers, he is very natural and real. He doesn't appear to have been trained and this is his greatest asset.

Once you have established what the topic and angle are, there are plenty of very simple tricks that you can implement. I do a lot of them without thinking, so please do not fear that you will appear less natural. 

Here are just a few:

 

  1. Make your audience feel important by asking questions whenever you can:

-          ‘Rhetorical’ questions

-          ‘Raise your hand if…’ questions

-          Question tags

 

  1. Repetition: Yes, it is normally very boring to repeat yourself, but you can highlight that something is important by emphasising the second time:

‘It’s important. I'll say that again; it’s VERY important’

 

  1. Metaphors and similes: these bring your speech alive

‘He ran as fast as lightning’ 

‘She stood still like a rabbit caught in head lamps’.

 

4. Connect emotionally with the words. Really mean what you say and your audience will believe in you.

 

5. Pause, pause, pause: This is VERY important. When you pause, you give your audience the opportunity to digest all that you have said. Pause after questions, pause after emphasising something, pause after a big, important statement. Pause creates intrigue.

These are just a few things that you can do to leave a lasting impression with your audience. I will bring you many more tips in the coming months.

 



How to ALWAYS be on time

Posted on Wednesday, April 18, 2012 by Positivevoice

The interesting thing about language is that it reveals a lot about the speaker. As you may know, some people move 'away from' pain whilst others 'move towards' pleasure. This may sound like the same thing to you, but I can assure you that it is not. As the unconscious mind cannot tell the difference between a positive and a negative, moving away from pain can be translated as moving ‘towards pain’. This was a revelation for me and something I spent many hours considering. You may wish to bookmark this page and come back to it.

To use the example of punctuality: A ‘towards’ person, would move towards that great feeling of being on time, perhaps even with the excitement of the meeting in question, in mind. They would say things like 'I must be on time'. Whereas, an ‘away from’ person would worry about being late and move away from being late, whilst thinking about all the things that would happen if they were late and how their whole day would be messed up. They may spend moments or hours contemplating this. Such a person would say things like 'I must not be late'. As you now know, they are not actually moving away from being late, as that is impossible. Due to the fact that the unconscious mind cannot process negatives, they are in fact preparing to fail just by thinking about being late!

So, it is much better to think about all the great things that can be achieved by arriving on time. Perhaps you can sit down somewhere and listen to music on your ipod or phone or get a tea or coffee in a café. I shall leave it up to you to think of some compelling reasons to be on time. Remember to put them in the positive.

Exercise:

Make a list of all the things you move ‘away from’.

Draw a line through the words ‘away from’ and write 'towards' because there is no such thing as moving away from anything. It is an impossible function of the brain.

Make a new list of all the new thought processes you have to ‘move towards’. Underneath each one, write a detailed list of all the wonderful things you will have to look forward to now.

Public Speaking and Confidence Boosting Workshop - 26th and 27th May 2012 

 



Confidence is Easier When you Trust Yourself

Posted on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 by Positivevoice

 

Public Speaking and Confidence Boosting Workshop - 26th and 27th May 2012






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