Whether we like it or not, the worst can happen when giving a speech or important presentation, our body can behave in ways we really don’t want it to, and other people can also. As was the experience of our prime minister on her recent Tory Conference party speech when she was interrupted by not only her own coughing fit but also a heckler. So what do we do when the stars misalign, and coughs and heckles make an appearance? Here are some top tips to help you find the silver linings or at least, lessen the disruption.
BEFORE THE SPEECH
BE PREPARED: Make sure you have lozenges, tissues, water and cough syrup to hand, so if the cough appears, you have what you need to nip it in the bud.
DRINK PLENTY: Before the speech you should be lubricating your vocal chords by drinking plenty of room temperature water. This will moisten the vocal folds and prevent the throat from drying. Cough syrups and hot drinks are also good. Lemon and honey is a particularly effective cough combatant. The lemon will cut through the congestion and the anti-septic properties of honey will soothe your throat.
What colour are you?
Fiery red personalities are extroverts and thinking types. These people are primarily interested in results. You never need to work out what a fiery red person thinks; they’ll let you know. They tell it like it is and don’t dress it up with lots of arcane rhetorical formulations. If they want to talk they simply say, “We need to talk, ring me in five minutes!”
Earth green personality types are introverted and feeling. They are the direct opposite of red types. Their primary goal is harmony and with the confrontational reds they can feel virtually impossible. If you want to know what a green thinks, don’t expect them to tell you spontaneously. Ask them instead. This person doesn’t demand space but is quite happy to be one of the crowd.
Sunshine yellow personalities are extroverted and feeling. Their primary goal is attention. They are the direct opposite of the blues referred to below, but they have some things in common with the greens and reds. They are extroverted like the reds and feeling like greens. They are sociable colleague who always want to talk, not just to tell you something but sometimes purely to hear their own voice. They don’t laugh because it’s funny, but also so that people will hear their laugh, and they can laugh that little bit extra when everybody else has finished laughing.
Cool blue personalities are introverted and thinking. They are the direct opposite of yellows but are introverted like the greens and thinking like the reds. The primary goal for the blues is to understand. They can ask lots of questions to achieve that goal and because of that they are seen as being critical. That is the eternal misfortune of the blues.
Getting people to listen to you if they are different colours
First and foremost it is a good idea to make use of this colour filter when you look at the people around you and their style of communication. If you don’t click with a person, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you or they are communicating badly, but just differently. But remember that to some degree you have access to all the colours inside you. If you as a yellow meet a blue, then you should think about toning down the yellow, and turning up blue instead. I usually do that when I’m talking to my husband and take longer pauses when he asks me something. He doesn’t want to hear my three different variants of an answer that I revise while I’m talking, he just wants to hear the final version. It doesn’t matter that it takes a little time before I get there, even though that delay would drive me crazy if I was a listener. But, essentially, you shouldn’t speak to people in the way you want to be spoken to. That is the basic rule. You who read this book and feel that you are blue or green, in other words the introverted personality types, remember that a large part of the world’s population are like you and actually think that your communication is appealing.