Getting Over Yourself

November 30, 2009

Myth #13: Making mistakes can destroy your credibility

Filed under: Myths — Barbara Rocha @ 12:47 pm
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If that’s what you believe, you’re more likely to make a mistake because you’re trying so hard not to.

You’ve heard: “Keep your eye on the prize,” and that’s what it takes. Mistakes aren’t the prize and not worthy of your focus. And not making mistakes isn’t the prize either.

Your goal is not to let anything interfere with delivering your message. (These people need to hear that message.) And nothing will get in the way of that — if you don’t let it.

Wrong word? Can’t think of the word? Don’t know the right word? Substitute something else that conveys the concept.

Malfunctioning equipment? Wrong slides? Difficult room setup? Focus on how to accomplish your task, use as few words as possible to deal with the problem, and move on.

The audience only wants to now, “What have you done for me lately?” Your problems or your self image aren’t their center of attention unless you make it so.

Prepare well; focus on helping your audience; and deal comfortably with any mistakes. Bring yourself and your audience back to the point and they’ll forget the mistakes.

You’ll keep your reputation and accomplish your goal.


November 16, 2009

Walk for inspiration, focus, and to quiet your nervousness

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 2:03 pm
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Instead of sitting down at the computer trying to force your presentation into being, go out and take a walk. And while you’re walking, examine your presentation aloud. The talking, the movement, work together to bring latent ideas to the front of your mind and begin to sort them–without stress and strain on your part.

At any point in the process (organizing, practicing, shortly before your presentation, or any time you feel stuck or overwhelmed), be kind to yourself, go take a walk and talk your ideas out loud. It’s the fastest way to come up with the ideas and the strongest way to make them yours.

People who participate in my seminars report this really works. So why not give it a try?


November 8, 2009

Solving 110% of the crimes?

Filed under: Observations,Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:47 am
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It’s vital to be “in the moment” when you’re speaking–to be aware of what you’re saying and to be focused.

In a press conference a law enforcement official was assuring the press that their department took the “Balloon Boy” incident seriously. He stated that in the length of time that he’d been associated with the department they had solved 110% of the crimes committed.

I have no idea if he realized what he’d said just after he said it, or if he didn’t realize it until later, or until someone pointed it out to him, or ever. He was clearly trying to make the point that they were an efficient dedicated department and chose a phrase that is often used to indicate how motivated a person or team is. But it’s a phrase that really doesn’t work for this subject.

To save yourself from embarrassment and misstatements, stay focused and in the moment. Process what you’re saying as you say it, rather than thinking ahead or allowing yourself to be distracted in any way. You’ll be a happier, more effective speaker.

Myth #12 “There’s a big difference between an after dinner speech, a technical presentation and a sales presentation.”

Filed under: Myths,Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:32 am
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It’s true, there is a difference, but the difference is because your audience is different, not because of a difference in the process you go through. You ask yourself the same questions before starting to organize your thoughts, and the difference will be in your answers–not in the process.

You’re still going to ask yourself: Who am I talking to? What am I talking about? And, why? (That is, what is the outcome I’m looking for? What do I want to accomplish?)

Those questions don’t change regardless of whether it’s a presentation to the board of directors, a presentation to a client, or a relaxed evening with your organization.

The answers change, and that makes the difference. Is it data they’ll use in their project, or information that will guide them through the choice of HMOs? Are you selling to a client, or covering your department’s quarterly progress? Lightening the mood of the evening, or conveying appreciation for a job well done?

Those answers will be your guide as you decide how much or little detail to include, what types of examples and backup data to use, and an appropriate way to get your audience to listen (your opening) and to respond appropriately to your message (your close).

The end product may vary widely, but it’s still the same process: what am I talking about, who am I talking to and what do I want to accomplish?

November 1, 2009

Speaking can be your gift to your audience

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 12:20 pm
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Instead of thinking of speaking as a chore, or as being about you, think of it as a gift to your audience. You’re giving them information, saving them from doing research, helping them make a decision, or any one of a number of things.

Figure out how this is a help to your audience and it’s easy to adjust your thinking from focusing on yourself to focusing on helping the audience. A small change in focus that makes a big difference in how you feel, how you perform, and how your audience perceives you and your message.

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