3Qs with Mandi Stanley

Mandi Stanley grew up in Amory and entered the public speaking profession when she moved to Kansas City. She has been a professional speaker for 13 years and has more than 3,000 platform hours under her belt.
In 2003, she was the first Mississippian to become a certified speaking professional, a designation held by less than 10 percent of public speakers. Her client list includes the NFL, McDonald’s Corp., FedEx, Campbell’s Soup, Time Warner and Kimberly-Clark’s world headquarters.
Stanley, who now lives in Madison, spoke in Tupelo last week at Cellular South Networking at Noon. She talked with business writer Carlie Kollath about ways to give a successful presentation.
Q:What are common things people do during a presentation that detract from their message?
A: In the jungle of public speaking and business presentations, it’s not the lion or the tiger that will get you, it’s the mosquito. Mosquitoes include fidgeting, adjusting your tie, playing with jewelry, stuttering, rambling, talking too fast, raising the pitch of your voice, avoiding eye contact and using lots of “umms” and “uhhhs.”

Q:Why do you talk about handshaking techniques in a public speaking seminar?
A:Presentation of yourself begins with the handshake. Business etiquette classes will teach you something called the equality handshake. That is when the webbed fleshy part of your hand between the thumb and the forefinger connects with the other person’s webbed part. Have a nice firm grip, one to two pumps and then exit the handshake.
People sometimes linger in a handshake and it becomes uncomfortable. A very unnoticeable way to release your hand is to slightly tap the back of their hand and they will release.

Q:You say in your presentation that people will believe body language over what you are saying. How can people improve their body language?
A:They need to apply nonverbal know-how. First, make natural eye contact. Don’t pick a point on the back of the wall just above peoples’ heads. Break the room into quadrants and talk to one person in each quadrant for three to five seconds.
Second, get an equality handshake.
Third, smile.
Fourth, pay attention to your hands. Use your hands for meaningful gestures that complement what you are saying.

NEMS Daily Journal