Getting Over Yourself

September 27, 2012

Speaking tips on YouTube

If you’re not comfortable speaking, you’ll get some good ideas about how to deal with that in this 4 minute video. They are excerpts from some of my classes. There’s none of the usual humor that goes on in a class, but some good solid things to think about.


September 24, 2012

Watch these techies emote as Curiousity lands on Mars

How to Get to Mars. Very Cool!

This really is cool. And if you watch it all the way through observe how much emotion those techies exhibit as they wait to see if the landing is successful and after it lands. It isn’t that people don’t have it in them, it’s that it shows up when they’re completely in the moment on something they care about–and when they don’t feel like the focus is on them.

So, anyone of them (and of you) can bring that level of interest and commitment to your speaking when you stay focused on the meaning of the moment rather than on yourself. It takes practice and you can do it. Practice on small things like thinking people are looking at you when you make some minor mistake in your life–and then work up to the bigger things.

September 6, 2012

A really good speaker vs. a great speaker

San Antonio, Mayor, Julian Castro made his city and his family proud with his speech at the Democratic Convention. He did all the things you would be taught to do to be a good speaker and he did them well.
Michelle Obama and President Clinton just upped the ante.
Abraham Mazlow names 4 stages of learning: unconscious incompetency (ignorance is bliss); conscious incompetency (I can’t do that); conscious competency (if I focus on it I’ll get it right); and unconscious competency (what was the big deal?).
And there you have it. Castro is still aware of getting it right–Michelle and Bill can give themselves over entirely to the message.
You’ll be sought after as a speaker if you can do anywhere near as well as Castro. And then, why not aspire for unconscious competency where you have the possibility of molding and shaping an audience with your message?

Ann vs. Michelle

Okay, really they both were good, so “vs.” probably isn’t accurate.
They both spoke from the heart with good pauses, good eye contact, genuine appreciation for the subject of their talks.

One thin they (and all the “regular” folks who talked) illustrated is that it’s easier to stay focused on your message if  you know you’re not the reason that you’re speaking. It’s harder for candidates (would you really want to run for President and take all guff?) to divorce themselves because they’re going to take flak no matter what they say.
But if you want to improve your speaking, I recommend that you watch whichever speakers you find dynamic (lots to choose from these Convention weeks) several times. It will help you with your rhythms. Don’t try to copy, just absorb the rhythm of a speaker who is completely with the idea and not focused on technique or adulation.

Again, I think it’s quite instructive to watch how they handle the crowds chanting and applauding when they’re introduced as well how how they handle the interruptions.

Michelle Obama has such poise that she could acknowledge that the interruptive applause was taking place, but not let it control her being in charge of the occasion. It was masterful. As was the rest of her speech.

If you can forget the politics and appreciate the speakers, there’s  a ton you can learn from these speakers.

And, since everything is streamed online, you can watch anything you’ve missed and take time to analyze what’s working and not working.

Don’t you love the free lessons?

Will Mitt Romney’s Eyes Decide the Election?

According to polls, Mitt Romney has a problem with “likeability.” And the Republican Convention presented a lot of evidence to the contrary. Plenty of people spoke to how likeable he is.

Yet, when he speaks, he doesn’t lift himself much in the likeability arena. He’s one of those that sounds stronger when you’re listening and not watching.

I think everyone has identified that he tucks his chin–which doesn’t help. He adds two more elements that work against him. He tucks his chin, tilts his head and then rolls his eyes to another part of the audience without moving his head. It looks coy. Not the image you’re looking for when you want credibility. (Try it, you can see that it doesn’t even feel good.)

There can be a number of reasons he does that–habit, his not wanting to look pushy, discomfort with his message. But even with the best of reasons the audience gets a message that he’s not wanting to send.

Audiences may interpret this as insincerity, ineffectiveness, uncertainty, dishonesty. And none of those may be true.

But, if 55% of whether or not an audience buys your message is visual, then you have to retrain yourself to make sure your visual component (everything the audience can see) isn’t giving off the wrong message.

Learn from the candidates so you’re making sure you’re sending the right message–the one you intended.

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