"I have incorporated the public speaking techniques Barbara taught me and discovered the most amazing feeling - COMFORT combined with ENERGY while speaking." - Patty Breton, Breton Consulting Services

Imagine: A ROOM FULL of people captivated by your thoughts and ideas. Your message getting out into the world in an INTERESTING way. Connecting with PEOPLE who can help advance your career.

In other words -- Your ability to communicate TRANSFORMED!

It's VERY possible -- Read on to learn more!

Just talking won't cut it anymore.

If you want to succeed in business today, you need to know how to communicate with confidence and authority from the break room to the board room. And that in a nutshell, is what Barbara May's public speaking training and coaching is all about.



Have you ever wondered why some business leaders are so successful?

It's because they not only know how to communicate effectively, but more importantly, they make becoming an engaging presenter a top priority.

And that's where Barbara May comes in.

She'll help you achieve incredible career success by teaching you how to speak in public with entertaining confidence and effortless style.

Better yet, at the same time she'll help you put together a winning presentation—one that engages your audience, delivers your message, and helps you achieve your aims.


"An interview with a camera in your face can be intimidating and make you feel self-conscious, which I definitely was at first. But that changed after a couple ground-breaking sessions with Barbara May." - Kathryn Kohut, 2nd Runner Up at the Miss Universe Canada Competition

Here's what you'll learn:

• Making an Impact: First impressions are everything. Barbara will show you the conversation and networking skills you need to communicate effectively.

• Managing Fear and Nervousness: Simple relaxation and breathing techniques that keep you relaxed and in control throughout your presentation.

• Presentation Techniques: How to use your voice and body for maximum impact.

• Storytelling: Proven techniques to help you become a more animated, engaging storyteller.

• Audience Interaction: Fun and easy ways to involve the audience in your presentation.

• Answering Questions: Sure-fire ways to handle difficult questions and unexpected queries even if you don’t have the answers.

• Humor Basics: How to think on your feet and get more laughs.

• Rehearsal Techniques: Sure-fire ways to practice that build confidence and guarantee a smooth delivery.


What's the first step?

Call Barbara May. Discuss your public speaking stumbling block(s) with her. Then set up a time for a coaching or training session.

In the News

Talk coach kills jitters. Business folk trust May to make them make sense.

The Edmonton Sun, Monday, September 22, 1997

 

Talk coach kills jitters

 

By Kim Bradley

Business Watch

 

Business folk trust May to make them make sense

 

She's got more - a lot more - than just the gift of gab. Barbara May, of Barbara May Productions of St. Albert, has developed a way of teaching even the shyest of speakers to talk in public with entertaining confidence and effortless style.

 

And she honed that skill while raising two young daughters on her own - Amanda, 8 and Deanna, 5 - and performing an amateur stand-up comedy routine Thursdays at Yuk Yuks.

 

"One of the main reasons I went into business for myself was to have time for my daughters," she said of her company that she has been slowly developing over the last 2 1/2 years. "I think that's why a lot of women are starting up their own businesses. I can design my schedule around my daughters." May, 32, says she uses a combination of 15 years of gymnastics coaching experience, a natural ability to connect with people and an imaginary "Rolodex" of funny stories and jokes to mould business personnel, politicians, coaches and even teachers into stutterless speakers.

 

No nudes, please

 

And the lessons don't involve imaginary naked audiences, she joked. "Politicians have a problem. It's hard for them to let their true personalities come through when they're speaking," she said. "Except for (Premier Ralph Klein). He's all natural and some people won't like him for that, but most will," said May, who has not had the pleasure of coaching the premier.

 

"With business groups, quite often the issues are more complex and involved. I try to work with the meeting planners in those situations to customize my presentation to their needs."

 

Her clients include the Royal Bank, West Edmonton Business Association, the Canadian Cancer Society and the Edmonton Sun, to name a few. She has also coached a number of high-profile politicians but she wouldn't say who.

 

May can be hired by almost anyone or any company for motivational workshops, one-on-one training sessions and, her personal favorite, keynote speeches. She says she uses bold body language, creative theories and entertaining anecdotes to pass on the arts of communicating and problem solving.

 

Handshake tips handed out

 

May can even teach the secrets of a good handshake. But how the sessions and presentations are designed depends on how May feels her pupils learn best. For example, she says her coaching experience taught her how to distinguish between those who learn from sight, sound or touch.

 

That skill is what sets this one-woman-show apart from the rest, she says. "Most of it's trial and error. I offer as much feedback as possible and if I feel, in a workshop, that someone needs more work, I'll make them stand up and do it over." But her skill and talent don't come cheap. "I usually won't leave the house for less than $300.00," she said, adding that her company doesn't make her "gobs" of money, "just a living." Those who want to learn how to chat up a storm without shelling out a fortune may want to check out May's video entitled May We Talk? available at Audreys Books for $19.99.

 

It contains several short, but hilarious, clips on public speaking which are also aired every day on Access television. May is currently creating a CD-ROM of her lessons which will be available early next year. Scott Clements, president and CEO of the Edmonton Regional Airports Authority, knows the importance of being a good public speaker.

 

The retired air force lieutenant-general knows what it's like to gets butterflies in his stomach and knots in his tongue before addressing an audience - something he's done hundreds of times in his years with the military. "It's not guaranteed that you will have a stellar performance and that can lead to some nervousness," he said. "But if you know your subject well and you introduce as much of your own personality as you can, the audience will sense that." Although he isn't familiar with May's course, Clements recommends taking some kind of instruction before addressing an audience because winging in can lead to embarrassing slip-ups.

 

Grant MacEwan Community College offers a one-day course on presentations and public speaking. For $129, students can learn how to prepare for, organize and present ideas in front of large groups without fear of failure. The next course runs Oct. 21. May's next public workshops run Oct. 27 and Nov. 24 for $89 plus GST per person.

Barbara May, a local communications coach, recently completed shooting a series of vignettes on interpersonal communication for ACCESS television.

St. Albert & Sturgeon Gazette, Wednesday, September 11, 1996

 

Say what you mean!

By Richard Cairney

 

It is so very rare we manage to say what we mean. Those of us capable of accomplishing the feat are quoted in those snappy answer books.

 

But one St. Albert resident believes just a little practice can turn a tongue-tied person into a well-spoken individual.

 

Barbara May, a local communications coach, sounds as though she's reciting the plot line from Educating Rita. Give her people who consistently trip over their tongues of talk in circles for a half-hour before getting to the point and she'll whip them into pretty decent orators. These days, May said, people just don't have time to listen to someone drone on and on. "In the past, people may have been able to put up with rambling.

 

People were so much in touch with the spoke word. But today we're just too swamped with images. We only see the 30 second clip." May said. "So people need to communicate their ideas very quickly." That doesn't mean we should all be reduced to jabbering fools who spout off fashionable buzzwords to cover for meaningful conversation.

 

A Changing art

 

May said the art of conversation hasn't died, it's just changed. She cites the classroom as a good laboratory to show how messages are sent and received. "If teachers want their students to listen to them, they have to realize they are not only educating students but also entertaining them," she said. "They may not like that but they are competing with the likes of Nintendo and the video world."

 

Children learn to parrot phrases they hear on television before they learn to read. Teachers and anyone making a presentation to a group of people need to be aware of this fact. "A lot of people who are making a presentation of a sales pitch or who are going to emcee a wedding write down their ideas. It all sounds very canned and staged and unnatural," she said.

 

In too many cases, people don't get to the point quickly enough. If you're talking about coffee, for example, May advises against talking about sugar, creamers and stir sticks. Getting your point across starts with the organization of thoughts.

 

May uses the example of someone who has a lot of complaints about their job. Rather than storming into the boss's office and ranting about a dozen different things, May suggests taking some time to map out what you intend to say. Get organized "If you write down the main problem and then list all of the other issues, you can start to organize them with common threads.

 

Now, instead of going into the boss's office with 50 million things that are bugging you, you can see the problem and you can break it down into some orderly fashion." This is where things can get complicated. Just because you're organized doesn't mean people agree with you. May said it's important to remember communication involves more than one person.

 

If the boss looks at you as though you're nuts, you can't simply carry on with you well-organized beef. "If you go into the office and present the boss with A,B,C and D and the boss is thinking I still don't agree with A, when you get to D he hasn't heard the rest of what you've said. As you present your ideas, you need to look for feedback and respond to it," she said. Most of the time, we say things pretty straightforwardly.

 

But when stress comes into play, we end up sounding foolish. Job interviews are notorious settings for foot-in-mouth disease. May said preparation helps us because we can get our messages across in entertaining ways. May suggest we all become good storytellers. "In a job interview, you can let people know you strengths by telling them stories that show off your skills," May said. "People remember stories." But many people make the mistake of including irrelevant facts in their stories, May said.

 

That problem can be remedied by telling a story over and over again, dropping more excess elements from it each time it is retold, rather than adding elaborate embellishments. "If someone is going in for a job interview, that's the way to prepare.

 

Think of your successes from the past and tell the stories of them to anyone who will listen. You need to work and rework and rework those stories; you tell them over and over and each time, you can weed out something that's irrelevant." It's important to be colorful too, May observes. "The monotone drone will kill you. You have to have some vocal variation.

 

If you've ever listened to a conversation, not the words, but the sounds of the people talking, you can tell a good conversation from a bad one." May claims 55 percent of information remembered by people comes from what they see; 38 percent is from vocal variations, and listeners recall a scant seven percent of information from the words themselves.

 

The pitfalls of poor communication, of course, are you don't get your message across or you have a credibility problem. If a person stiffens up and is overly nervous, an audience becomes distracted and tunes out. The same is true when the opposite happens, when you have someone is a super presenter. Salesmen sometimes make this mistake, They are all talk and no content and what do people think of them then? That they are fakes," she said. May knows what she's talking about.

 

The motivational speaker recently completed shooting a series of vignettes on interpersonal communication for ACCESS television. Made in the style of the Body Break commercials seen on CTV, May's spots - entitled May We Talk - give important tips on communication.

 

The series brings viewers through different topics in different settings, dealing with everything from gestures and visual aids to distracting habits. Through her company called Barbara May Productions, she coached politicians and business leaders to help them learn to organize their thoughts and present their ideas.

 

And in conjunction with her ACCESS spots, May will host two workshops on communications: Speak Up and Get Ahead on Oct. 2 and Controversy without Conflict on September 17. People sometimes ask May about the necessity of her courses, if she isn't trying to teach long-distance runners how to walk. Her answer is, typically, brief and to the point. Is this rocket science? No. It's all very simple. But people think that just because they've been speaking since they were two that they can communicate. In fact, like so many other skills, it's one you need someone to teach you."

What are you looking for?
Inspiring opening and closing keynote speeches for your upcoming meeting, conference or special event. Learn More
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Customized skill building workshops on new ways of solving problems in the workplace such as dealing and communicating with co-workers and bouncing back from mistakes. Learn More
"Watching my brother go from bumbling and fumbling to a clear, concise, structured presentation made it clear how effective Barbara May's teachings are. It was a true transformation." - Mike Kuby, Playworks.ca