Getting Over Yourself

July 30, 2010

Getting more comfortable with unexpected questions

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:04 am
Tags: ,

The purpose of answering questions is to help the audience find out something they want to know rather than to test your knowledge.  (Even if that’s the questioner’s agenda, don’t let it be yours.) You’ll be more at ease when you remember that it’s about helping. Instead of worrying about knowing the answer,  consider  how best to get it for them

Before heading to a meeting, prepare answers for all the questions you expect to get, as well as all those you hope not to get. You’ve done your best to be ready–it’s not because you haven’t acted responsibly.

No one knows everything, and your best defense is to not feel like a loser or feel guilty if you can’t answer a question.

Getting the answer from the audience, or “I don’t know but I’ll find out and get back to you,” is perfectly acceptable.  Maintain your poise, and move on.


Thad Allen as spokesperson

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 9:51 am
Tags: , , , ,

Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen (retired), isn’t flashy, but flashy would be totally out of place in talking about the state of the oil spill and what’s being done to make it right.

His balanced demeanor is an excellent example of being invisible. He keeps you focused on the steps being taken, the work, and the outcome. He doesn’t incite riots and he gets respectful questions which he thoughtfully and succinctly answers. And if a question has  a barb in it, he doesn’t take the bait.

Disasters such as the oil spill always whip up emotions that can take things way off course. When the spokesperson avoids the emotional traps, there’s hope of effective communication and the possibility of turning things around.

July 12, 2010

Is it okay to use notes?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:04 am
Tags: , ,

It depends on why you’re using them. Are they a crutch or a safety net?  Whether they’re on paper, the screen or your laptop.

If they’re a crutch, you’re always wondering if you’re saying the right thing and what you’re supposed to cover next–which means you’re not in the moment.

Considering them a safety net allows you to have them in a convenient place, available for reference should you need them. In which case, you can quietly walk to where they are, look at them and then look back at the audience and resume talking. It leaves you free to explore ideas with the audience.

It’s helpful to remember that in the silence (the pause) the audience is thinking about what you just said and not wondering what’s the matter with you nor being critical. That only happens if you act flustered or panicked.

Learn to feel comfortable without notes so you can experience the freedom that comes from exchanging ideas in real time. Then you will be able to use them appropriately when the occasion calls for them.

Create a free website or blog at