Getting Over Yourself

March 24, 2010

Myth #16 “Look at their foreheads”

Filed under: Myths — Barbara Rocha @ 2:57 pm
Tags: ,

This unfortunate piece of advice is offered in the hope of allaying nervousness while also making the audience think you’re looking at them.

I’ve also heard it suggested to find one friendly face and talk to that person.

Both of these have serious downsides and avoid the actual solution.

Looking at people’s foreheads may fool the people you’re looking at, but you’ll miss the calming effect of looking in their eyes. You’ll also miss the real connection that tells you whether or not they’re with you. In addition, you’ll lose the immediacy of conversation; your voice will become less energetic and your gestures and body language will fade.

Choosing one person in the audience to look at, instead of including everyone, will also rob you of visual feedback and dilute your connection with the audience. Along with making everyone else feel unneccessary, you’ll make that person you’re looking at uncomfortable.

So, for real connection and real comfort, look at (and see) each person long enough to connect. And take your time having a conversation with the entire audience — one person at a time.


March 22, 2010

“Is there a good way to give clients bad news in a presentation?”

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:28 am
Tags: ,

Set the stage for the bad news by briefly giving the background. “You asked us to . . . . You wanted . . . . Here is what we found.”

Don’t be coy. Be direct about the bad news remembering that decision makers are usually thinking, “Don’t bring me a problem. Bring me a solution.”

So, after presenting the bad news, focus the presentation on addressing possible solutions and their benefits.

“Do not let what you can’t do interfere with what you can do.”  John Wooden

March 18, 2010

What are some Power Words you can use to get your audience to listen and take notice?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 1:35 pm
Tags: , , ,

Trying to choose so-called Power Words can focus you more on the words and less on the substance. So, the audience may be impressed with your word power and miss your message. You’re also more likely to be less genuine because of your effort to use impressive words.

The most powerful words you an use are specific, vibrant nouns and adjectives and active verbs. (Plus the word “you.”) These paint word pictures that energize you and your audience.

The better you’ve gotten to know your audience before you start the speaking process, the easier it is to choose those words, examples, etc., that will make them listen, take notice–and act.

“Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.” Aesop

March 12, 2010

Apolo Anton Ohno: a poster boy for focus

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 12:00 pm
Tags: ,

I can’t get the image out of my head of Apolo Ohno staying focused and on track in 2 separate pile ups in his races. He was prepared, alert, and aware. And he didn’t get distracted from his race by other skaters’ issues.

He was a great role model for anything that requires focus–and speaking surely does. You have to determine if the disaster or distraction that happens in the vicinity of your presentation needs your attention or your presence and, if it doesn’t, get on with what you’re doing/saying. Otherwise, you’re not all there and you won’t be happy with the result.

Myth #14 Preparation is the key to not being nervous

Filed under: Myths,Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:51 am
Tags: , , ,

Preparation is good. I don’t deny that. And if you had time to prepare and you didn’t, you ought to be nervous. However, I’ve seen many who were prepared and still nervous. So there must be something else.

Can you relate to the concept of not focusing as you prepare? You can prepare for weeks and never focus. It’s pretty much busy work when you do it this way. Without the focus, what you have is a lot of material but no grasp of your message.

Tips: You can help yourself by doing the following: 1. Allow yourself to spend no time worrying about your presentation; think about it only when you’re actually going to work on it. 2. Before you start preparing, be clear on why you’re speaking and what you want to accomplish. 3. While you’re preparing, focus on nothing else.

Preparation is good, but focus is the key to an effective and less stressful preparation. And the result is you’re engaged with your material and clear on your message. And now you’re on the track to not being nervous.

March 4, 2010

Can you stand still? Please.

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 9:31 am
Tags: , , ,

While moving around a stage can add to a presentation, it can also subtract from it. The difference is if the movement is with purpose. If standing in one place makes you uncomfortable then speaking itself probably makes you uncomfortable with the result that you’re not in charge of your body or your presentation.

You’d be more powerful standing still and speaking with focus and energy than you’d be if you’re charging around the stage, rocking, pacing, shifting because you’re anxious, unsure, unfocused and not in your right mind.

The goal is to be in your right mind, know what you’re thinking, saying, doing. Then, if you move, it will be with purpose. Communication anxiety is not your friend. And neither is unintended movement. Learn to speak standing still so you can be in charge.

March 2, 2010

Olympic gold can come down to focus

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 10:16 am

As we saw in Vancouver, the variables can be endless–not enough snow, too much snow, the wrong density, an unavoidable injury, not enough updraft, a chewed up track, and so much more. Yet, when all those things are perfect, it can come down to not being distracted by your thoughts or by anyone elses. If you focus on the pressure of expectations you’re not in the moment and more likely to make mistakes. Which could be why a practice could be perfect and the performance not. So, on any given day, of two athletes who are equally gifted and prepared, the one who stays completely in the rhythm of the idea with no distracting side thoughts, will win.

And, it’s true when you’re speaking. Any number of things may be going on in your life, your job, the audience. If you can stay in the rhythm of the idea, the moment of communication and connection with sharing with your audience, you’ll feel as though you’ve won the gold.

Blog at