Getting Over Yourself

January 23, 2017

Don’t try to be a perfect speaker

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 1:07 pm
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We tend to focus on getting everything right when we speak because we don’t want to look stupid. So we focus on trying not to make any mistakes rather than focusing on helping the audience get the message.

It’s the wrong focus. You’ll end up being stiff and mechanical making it almost impossible to connect with your audience.

Speaking is about connecting, not about perfection.

Rather than be perfect, be human.

You get more trust and credibility by being genuine than you do by being perfect. Better to make a mistake and be real, than to be perfect and unreachable.

So, comb your hair, organize a great message, and then get the heck out of the way and let ‘‘er rip.

Fie on perfection! It’s highly overrated.

 

http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

December 16, 2016

How to be comfortable with strangers

It doesn’t matter if it’s a speech, networking, or meeting new people at a party, the solution starts in the same place.

I’ve talked about changing your thinking when you’re speaking from “what if I mess up?” to “how can I help these people?” And it’s the same in any group situation where you feel uncomfortable.

There’s someone else in a networking or party situation that feels just the way you do. And probably several “someones.” But when we’re focused on trying not to look stupid we don’t notice the others who are in the same boat.

When you attend an event where you don’t know anybody (and maybe you don’t even want to know anybody) you’ll make the whole thing a lot more fun for you and for others if you look for someone who looks uncomfortable and start a conversation. Ask a question that has some relevance to the occasion. “Are you a new friend or an old friend of the host?” “I thought I might miss the whole party because of the traffic. Was there much traffic for you?” “Have you tried the cookies? Which of them would you recommend?”

You’ll have something relevant to ask as soon as you start looking outside yourself and think about how to make them comfortable.

It’s very much like giving a speech where you’re considering the interests of your audience and ways to incorporate those interests into the message.

October 11, 2016

What does Trump’s hair matter? There’s something to be learned.

In a class last week I was making the point that no one really cares what you look like (if they think your hair is weird they may notice but they won’t care), a woman said she thought Trump’s hair was so odd that she couldn’t hear anything he said.

And that just makes another important point. The most important part about speaking is connecting with your audience. Trump has connected with millions of people and they don’t care about his hair or about what he says. A woman interviewed on the news this morning about the Trump video that was released this week, said, “We don’t care about any of that.”
He apparently knows who his audience is and has solidly connected with them. So, the woman in my class who can’t listen to him because of his hair doesn’t feel connected.

It’s really not about your hair, or so many of the things we worry about when we’re presenting. It’s all about the connection.

Connecting happens with your attitude: I want to be here, I’m glad you’re here, and I want to share this with you. And connecting happens with your content: Choose facts, data, examples, stories that will make your point and resonate with this audience.

Be clear on who your audience is and what your approach will be to connecting and they won’t be distracted by those side issues. That makes it more likely that they’ll respond well to your point.

http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

September 26, 2016

If I were you, I’d record the debates

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:28 am
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I’m thinking we’ll be watching for substance and every useful thing we can get out of the debates tonight. And I don’t think we should be distracted by observing speaking strengths and quirks as we do that. BUT. If we record them, it will give us the chance to do some serious observing to see what works as a speaker and what gets in the way.

The more objectively this an be done (as in not being swayed by your personal view of the candidate) the more you learn. So, when you watch the recording, select a few minutes that seem interesting (or confusing) and do 3 things. First, watch it one time without any sound. Second, listen to it once without watching. And third, watch it once in fast forward. By separating the “channels” of your intake, you’ll pick up quite different messages that can help you see what kinds of things affect how your audience listens to you.

And if you have a video of a presentation of yours, try the same thing. It helps you be clear which things are working and which you could tweak a bit.

http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

September 23, 2016

If I were Hillary, I’d practice with the Saturday Night Live cast

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 11:59 am
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With the debates coming up in a couple of days, there’s a lot of speculation on how the candidates are preparing. The reports are that Trump is just going to let it fly as that’s how he’s most comfortable.

Have you given any thought to what it would be like to debate Donald Trump? My conclusion was that I’d hire someone from Saturday Night Live to practice with. They’re good at changing things up, being off the wall, being bigger than life. Because his method of communicating is to stir things up as much as possible and to throw people off balance. So, I don’t believe I’d take the usual road to preparing. Because Trump isn’t a usual candidate.

August 11, 2016

“Good listeners make better leaders

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 10:00 am
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Tim Grierson

has written a thoughtful article exploring two approaches to speaking: “take no prisoners” vs. the ability to listen and incorporate what you hear. He and I spent some time talking about my views on the subject which are also part of the article.

I’ve printed the first couple of paragraphs and included the link where you can read the whole thing. You might find it helpful as you examine your own style and how it’s being perceived.

By Tim Grierson

In a culture that considers speaking a sign of status and leadership, don’t underestimate the power of being a good listener

Last week, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to accept a presidential nomination from a major American political party. She’s done a lot to make it to this point, but commentators spent their time talking about the way she speaks.

“She’s not really at ease speaking in public, and it shows,” Andrew Sullivan wrote for New York magazine about her speech at Thursday’s Democratic National Convention. “I get that this is actually her appeal to some: that she’s a detail-oriented pol who works best off the public stage. But a president does need to connect, to inspire and to rally.” Vox’s Emily Crockett compiled a series of tweets from male pundits who dissected Clinton’s voice, pointing out an inherent double standard: “[Female leaders] have to walk a difficult line of being assertive but not too aggressive, likable but not too much of a pushover.”

http://tinyurl.com/BeAGoodListener

And for more info on speaking you can go to my website at GettingOverYourself.com.

 

August 10, 2016

Does Donald Trump WANT to be President?

Donald Trump reminds me of my son when he was 14: he’d get caught for stuff that was so ridiculous that I could only conclude that someone as smart as he wanted to get caught.

This feels a lot like that in that Trump says things that seem designed to keep him from getting elected. And, since he’s apparently a smart guy, it looks as though it’s his way of being sure he isn’t elected.

Perhaps this is his way of avoiding the actual tedious nature of BEING President. And just have the fun of being the HUGE center of attention for a year or so.

Perhaps once his numbers were terrific and it looked like being President was a real possibility for him, he just removed any boundaries..

Who knows how the election will turn out. He’s broken all the rules and has had great numbers. But please, don’t use him as a role model for your speaking–except for the part where you hone in on being perfectly clear who your audience is and tailoring your message to them.

June 14, 2016

Muhammad Ali vs. Donald Trump

In listening to recent video clips played after Muhammad Ali’s passing, it struck me that while he and Donald Trump both speak with total conviction, there’s a difference in attitude.

Ali always had a touch of playfulness as he said, “I’m the Greatest!” It always felt to me like we were enjoying it with him. Trump is obviously having a good time, but it feels much more heavy-handed and more about him.

What does that mean for our speaking? We can see how important it is to speak with conviction and not let doubts about our value enter into our speaking. And also that you can be passionate with sounding personal or angry.

There are speaking lessons all around us if we’ll take a moment to look at speakers objectively to see just what about their speaking works or doesn’t work.

Saves a lot of trial and error and moves us forward faster.

March 24, 2016

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry”–Donald? are you there?

Although I’ve never subscribed to that concept (saying you’re sorry to a loved one can make a huge difference), apparently Donald Trump does. Clearly his supporters love him regardless of what he says or does–they may even love him, in part, because he doesn’t apologize. And, it’s obvious that he is committed to standing by what he says and never apologizing. We’ll know after the election if that was a good overall strategy.

However it works out for him, I don’t recommend that you emulate this model.

There are, of course, people who apologize for everything all the time and it’s annoying. Apologizing inappropriately just draws attention and not admiration. Definitely not a leadership quality.

Yet, there is a time when apologizing gets you more credibility–with your family, your co-workers, your boss, your employees. If when you are wrong, you acknowledge it, own it, and move on–with no sense of shame or loss of credibility, you’ll get more credit and more cooperation.

 

March 2, 2016

Can anyone trump, Trump?

This whole election cycle is so interesting I hardly know where to start. They’re always interesting in terms of learning things about your own speaking–what works and what doesn’t. But this time has certainly bumped up the stakes.

The question seems to be: Can anyone trump, Trump?

One lesson to learn from for your own speaking skills is that you can’t really copy anybody else. Marco Rubio is suddenly sounding like Donald Trump in his choice of words, but his delivery falls short.

I think there are very few people in the world who could successfully carry off what Trump is doing. Listen to his voice and watch his body language–which are a huge part of his message. His voice completely condemns someone either with it’s total conviction as fact, or as completely dismissive of an idea he wants to trash.

Marco Rubio can’t quite commit because it’s not an ingrained part of his persona. So his words are matching Trumps in snideness but his voice comes short of conviction so it tends to sound more whiny or defensive.

I once heard someone say, “Never wrestle with a pig in mud. You just get dirty and the pig likes it.” Perhaps there’s something in that that can be applied here.
Part of the problem with going after Trump and trying to straighten everyone out with the facts about him, is that when his supporters are interviewed some have made it clear it’s not about the facts. They’re “mad as hell, and not going to take it anymore.”

Aristotle said something like, “People make up their minds based on emotion and justify it with the facts.” My mother always joked about people who wouldn’t listen, “My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts.”

Something in one of those applies here. So trying to share facts may just make Trump’s supporters mad at you for suggesting they’re stupid.

At the least, what you may get is that you’re better off to be authentic. And that no matter how much you admire someone else’s style, or no matter how much you want to come out on top, copying probably isn’t the answer.

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