The phone conversation went something like this...
"Simon, I need to improve my delivery skills."
"I sound too monotone. I'm concerned it'll affect my chances at interview."
"What are you applying for?"
"A job in investment banking."
"What do you do currently?"
"I'm a professional poker player."
My new client was absolutely right - he did sound monotonous...
No prizes for guessing why!
Can you imagine the effect of thousands of hours of focused poker practice...where it's so important to conceal your emotions, to appear expressionless?
This particular individual is not alone.
Over the years, I've spoken to countless professionals who come to me with what you might describe as a 'delivery problem'. They simply don't come across as impactfully as they would like.
What they assume is that they need a 'Delivery Skills Solution'.
What they need is a different Mindset.
You see, it's very easy to overcomplicate...
The ability to handle complexity when thinking - the data, the concepts, the rational arguments, the nuances and more - tempts your brain to replicate that complexity when speaking, too.
It doesn't work. Why?
Partly because the complexity makes it very hard work for the listener... and listening is hard enough work already, irrespective of how intelligent your audience is.
What's also true is that your own brain has to work hard as well - to process the complexity.
The result? As a speaker, you 'over-think'. Energy pours into keeping on top of the complexity and as a result, the delivery sounds flat.
Here are two tips for you...
1 Simplify your points.
2 Give yourself permission to 'care' about what you're saying.
With the poker player, I asked him what he enjoyed doing outside of poker and numbers.
Turns out, he loves working out. He seriously loves working out.
So we got chatting... which gym was he a member of, what kind of routine did he have, what does it feel like after a work-out...?
Would it surprise you to learn that his whole energy changed?
The volume increased, natural emphases came in as he recalled his experiences, his phrasing became conversational - more human! - rather than robotic. Dare I say it, he even cracked a smile.
In short, he spoke with greater emotion, conviction and impactfulness... automatically.
Crucially, we hadn't discussed 'delivery skills' per se, at all.
Consider for a moment...
Have you given yourself permission to 'care' about your communications?
How simple is your messaging? Simple enough for your brain to be able to relax?
Apply these simple changes and you will find your delivery skills will improve... automatically.
And the good news is, you won't need to apply Code Book of Theatrics to achieve it...