Getting Over Yourself

July 11, 2011

Metaphors and analogies are good until . . . .

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 1:19 pm
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They can be a quick way to get a point across allowing you to use fewer words and paint better pictures. But “kick the can down the road” is a current example of overkill. Many politicians are using it regarding pending legislation. In an interview on a news show yesterday, a White House spokesman used it twice while explaining why the decision on cutting spending for the country needs to be made now. The third time it began to get old. And after that, it was counterproductive. Use it a couple of times maybe and then perhaps use “put it off” or some other way of saying it. That many times begins to sound like a mantra, a memorized way of making your point. Really. You should be looking to connect with your audience, not just go on autopilot.

In this morning’s press conference on the same subject, President Obama used a couple of good word pictures. When talking about not making the changes piecemeal he used the phrase, “rip off the band-aid,” which by itself worked well, something everyone was familiar with, and immediately followed it with “eat your peas” which was even more homey and drew a chuckle from listeners.

Use them when you’re wanting to explain something quickly and vividly, and if you find yourself using one more than once in the same conversation, be sure you’re focused enough to not sound phony.

July 7, 2011

Don’t copy other speakers

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 10:25 am
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Watch other speakers. Learn from them. But don’t imitate. It’s better to be yourself with some lumps and bumps than to try to copy someone else.

There’s lots to learn if you can look at others objectively. Do you feel connected to the speaker or not? Either way, figure out what’s making you feel that way. Does it feel as though they’re talking  right to you or entertaining themselves? Or do they seem mostly occupied with trying to get it right thereby focusing on themselves?

Does their movement mesh with the message–feet, arms, body? Natural, effortless, appropriate–or not.

Do they speak conversationally or sound scripted? Do they use examples that you can relate to or do they just give you the facts and make you connect all the dots?

Usually, speakers who are more interested in making sure you get the message than in how they come across, voice, movement, examples, will be pretty good and you’ll feel connected.

So, analyze. Don’t copy. Connection is king.

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