Getting Over Yourself

October 24, 2009

They’re more interesed in themselves than in you

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:27 am
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What we look and sound like isn’t particularly important to others–even when we’re giving a speech. They’re more interested in themselves than they are in us. We become of interest when we get in the way.

You can get in the way by worrying what they’re thinking about you, or about your ability to remember what you want to say. You can get in the way by trying to impress them. Pretty much if you’re thinking about yourself, you’re getting in the way. And then they’re forced to think about you.

Stay focused on your purpose in speaking to them and on the benefits to them of the material. That goes a long way toward keeping your audience focused where they need to be focused–on your subject.

October 17, 2009

Myth #11 Speaking to a crowd is different from speaking one-on-one

Filed under: Myths — Barbara Rocha @ 12:25 pm
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I’ll grant you there are more people in the audience, but let’s focus on how they’re alike. (It’s more efficient to talk to a group than to talk too them one at a time.)

Talking to just one may be easy because you aren’t worried what you’re going to say next, or because you’re actually having a conversation which involves looking at them, noticing their reactions, and feeling that it’s interactive. That gives you an idea of how they’re responding to what you say.

So, let’s apply those same things to speaking to an audience. Start with the idea that you’re having a conversation with a lot of people at once; just sharing an idea with them. You’ll sound genuine and be more effective.

1) Not worrying about what you’re going to say next: Organize your material in a logical flow and develop a story line about it that’s easy for you to follow. You’ll just be sharing your ideas (even technical ones) and not just verbalizing your notes.

2) Having a conversation that involves seeing their responses: Instead of seeing the audience as a mass of people, see them as individuals. Talk to each person seeing them as clearly as in a one-on-one conversation) and you’ll feel connected with your material and with the audience.

3) Feeling like you’re ina 2-way communication: Whenever possible, know who you’re talking to before you decide what to say (that is, analyze your audience). That’s where you’re developing their part of the communication–you’re answering their (unspoken) questions.

And, if it’s not possible to find out who they are ahead of time, find out who they are on-the-spot: “I’d like to know something abou tyou so I can make my sure my remarks are relevant. By a show of hands, how many of you. . . ?” Ask the questions you need to know abut them so you can tweak your remarks to fint.

Perception really is reality. Expect it to be a conversation, expect to connect with them naturally; then do everything you can to make it easy for you to deliver it in just that way. It can be as easy as having a one-on-one conversation.

“Nothing you say is gonna bring me down”

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 9:46 am
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At the gym they were playing, “Shut up, shut up, shut up, . . . nothing you say . . . is gonna bring me down.”

That’s a good message to yourself when you’re going to give a speech–or whenever you’re in a situation that has the potential for making you uncomfortable or self-conscious. Almost always, it’s what we’re saying to ourselves that causes the problem.

What will they think about me? What if I don’t look or sound good? What if I say the wrong thing?

This is the one place your mother won’t mind if you say, “shut up.” Because you’re saying it to the noise that gets in the way and keeps you from being your best self. Be firm: “Nothing you say is gonna bring me down.”

October 16, 2009

What’s the difference between $250,000 and a quarter of a million dollars?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 9:19 am
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A news report outlining the financial tangle of Congressional Representative Charles Rangel, spoke as though these were two different numbers. The first problem was described as being for $250,000. And when the second one was listed, the reporter delivered the message with heightened drama indicating that this one was even worse! This was one was a quarter of a million dollars!!!

Two lessons occurred to me as I listened. One was that you can sometimes get yourself in trouble by changing up the way you say two things that mean the same thing–repeating it the same way would make it easier to track.

And the other lesson was that your voice needs to help the listener follow your message. In this case, since they both meant the same thing, the voice should have made it clear that was the case. So, if you’re in the moment and processing your message, that should happen automatically.

Stay focused, stay thinking, and don’t try to be clever.

October 9, 2009

A quiet audience may still be a receptive audience

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 9:27 am
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Last month I had the quietest class I’ve ever had (and that’s a lot of classes over the last 30 years). They were quiet and they were attentive, responsive, and participative. They loved the class and the loved what they learned–eager to get back to the world so they could apply everything.

It was just another reminder that each audience has its own personality and that your attention needs to be totally focused on your audience rather than on yourself. (This assumes that the ideas you’re expressing are your purpose for all this focus.)

Don’t be spooked by an audience that is responding differently, just take it as a reminder than they are individuals seeking information for their own needs in their own way. And let that lead you to change up what you’re saying, or say it differently in an effort to meet those needs.

You’re looking to convey information and get action, not just trying to deliver a script.

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