At one of my recent networking events, I had the privilege of being joined by Leo Novsky, CEO of Golden Wellness and Chair of a local Toastmasters Chapter.  Leo was kind enough to speak on a subject he’s immensely passionate about, public speaking, and he passed along a number of tips on how people could improve their presentation skills — and by extension, their interviewing skills, as well!

While I certainly can’t do justice to the full scope of what Leo shared, here’s a quick breakdown of some of his main suggestions:

•  Leverage the use of silence; instead of trying to fill every second of a conversation with noise, pause occasionally to let certain important points sink in and to keep the listener engaged and interested
•  Ask clarifying questions that engage the listener, create dialogue, and ensure you’re staying closely in tune with their needs/interests
•  Know where your hands are at all times and keep them still, unless you’re purposely using them for emphasis; don’t let them talk behind your back!
•  Use the company’s own vocabulary (based on their website, job description, etc.) when talking with them, since this language will resonate the most, emotionally
•  Avoid the destructive influence of filler words (e.g. umm, ah, like, you know…) since these will weaken your message
•  Don’t shy away from practicing your presentation skills, using a video camera or tape recorder, since this will be the fastest to improve your skill sets in this area; better yet, if you feel you’re really behind the curve, consider joining a Toastmasters group where you can practice your speaking skills and get constructive feedback on a regular basis!

Last but not least — and perhaps most importantly of all — Leo stressed the importance of trying to connect not just with an audience’s mind, but with their heart, as well.  He summed up this point beautifully by sharing this quote from renowned communications consultant Tony Pearce: “While the mind looks for proof, the heart looks for engagement. While the mind looks for information, the heart looks for passion. While the mind looks for answers, the heart looks for experience. The mind makes a decision, and it’s the heart that makes a commitment.”

Great pointers, Leo.  Thanks again!