Getting Over Yourself

September 30, 2009

When you’re at a loss for words

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 12:43 pm

I saw this interesting approach to being at a loss for words. Does this seem odd to anyone else?

In a gardening catalog was this description: “After tasting Sugar Pearls we were at a loss for words to describe the full-bodied sweet golden-honey flavor of this incredible white apricot.”

Imagine how much more delicious it would have sounded if only they could have found the right words. (Okay, that probably should be identified as an attempt at irony on my part.)

Try to avoid confusing your audience with such contradictions–unless you can grin while you’re saying it so they can get the joke.

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September 29, 2009

Never worry about a presentation

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:55 am
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Worrying is counterproductive and makes you more nervous, so don’t waste any time worrying. Either work on your presentation (focusing only on your presentation), or work on whatever is the most important thing on your list (focusing only on that thing).

If you aren’t actually going to work on the presentation, you’re just distracting yourself from whatever you should be doing and making yourself more nervous.

Worrying won’t improve your presentation, so don’t allow it. Know what you want to accomplish and ideas will come to you in the meantime. You’ll be less nervous and give a better presentation if you won’t let yourelf worry. You can do it because you can choose what to think.

September 20, 2009

Myth #10 If you wear the wrong clothes, you’ve lost before you start

Filed under: Myths — Barbara Rocha @ 12:17 pm
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Indeed, it’s good to wear the right clothes–the ones that make you most invisible. (Invisible: the audience is focused on what you’re saying and not focusing on you. It’s a good thing.)

Wear clothes that fit in with what everyone else is wearing and then, just a tad spiffier.

But what if you get it wrong? I’d hate to think you’d have to leave without presenting your point to your audience or miss an opportunity to help your audience just because you were given the wrong information or you’d slipped up somehow.

A marketing manager at The Anchorage Daily News showed up at work on casual Friday dressed, well, casually, in a moose sweatshirt, jeans and tennies. Turns out she had a community meeting to attend that she’d forgotten. No time to go home and change, so, knowing she had no part in the program thought she’d just try to blend in to the crowd.

BUT. A committee member asked her if, as president of the organization, she’d say a few words about the importance of this new facility to the community. As she scanned the room full of dignitaries (mayor, state senator, chief of police)–all in suits, and a TV camera, she decided if you’re going to give a speech wearing a moose sweat shirt it better be darned good.

She thought about what we’d covered in class, came up with 3 main points and a conclusion, focused on sharing her message and sat down. And it worked. (Please note that she spent no time chastising herself or worrying about what people were going to think. Both of which would have kept her from focusing on how to solve the problem.)

Sure, she might have looked at the meeting announcement more closely, but wearing the wrong clothes didn’t keep her from sharing her message. Make sure you don’t let it stop you, either. It’s your message that’s important.

September 13, 2009

Commercials can help you organize your speech

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:40 am
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You can learn a lot about speaking from watching commercials. For instance, a General Motors commercial featuring chairman Edward Whittaker Jr. uses a timeless method for getting naysayers to listen to another point of view.

This is my version of what he said (having only seen it once). “I’m Ed Whitacre, the new chairman of GM and I admit I had some doubts probably a lot like you.” Then he goes on to say that after looking into it he changed his mind. He got specific about what changed his mind and why as he walked through an auto factory –illustrating the points he was making.

It’s a classic technique and it can work for you, too. If it’s the truth, it’s easy to identify with your audience’s disbelief or disagreement with your point of view by telling them what you originally believed. Connect it to them and let them know what changed your mind. And eventually you get to the point where you’re asking them for the sale, asking for them to agree with you, or to do something you’re asking.

Commercials can be a great source of education in your speaking career if you can quit skipping them and pay attention to their lessons.

September 11, 2009

Learn from President Obama’s speeches

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 8:55 am
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While Congressional Representative Joe Wilson’s interruption of the President’s speech to a joint session of Congress made big news, there really were other things to think about.

I’m going to skip the political aspects and focus on something he did that you can use.

Before his speech, many were saying that the Democrats would find many things to applaud and that the Republicans would sit on their hands. You may know something similar about your audience. And just as the President recognized that this would be the case, you can recognize your audience’s resistance–and work with it.

He did get some Republican applause by favorably mentioning John McCain and President Bush. And he didn’t just mention them, he describe what they had done and said it was good. And he said it sincerely.

If you have a reluctant audience, find something you and they can agree on. It can help you connect with them and possibly move to a point of agreement.

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