Getting Over Yourself

May 20, 2013

One reason they listened to Churchill

The odds were impossible for this little island nation (England) with limited planes and preparation to defend itself against Nazi Germany in World War II. Winston Churchill’s words were the glue that held the nation together and gave people hope that they might survive.

One of the hallmarks of every speech he gave the nation was that he didn’t dance around the problem. He spelled it out so it was clear that he understood what was happening. If he had tried to gloss it over, no one would have believed anything else he had to say or would have been willing to follow him.

Every time, he described the current problem in a straightforward manner, and then he shored up his audience with what could be done, with who they were as a nation, and why they would win. It was this combination that was so effective in knitting the nation together.

Business and government leaders would do well to study his approach and look at the outcome, the uptick in public approval after every speech. Dancing around the problem and pretending it doesn’t exist is reminiscent of  the children’s story of “The Emperor Wore No Clothes.” No credibility, and no good outcome.

May 9, 2013

Maybe “stupid” is just a lack of focus

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 11:43 am
Tags: , , , ,

So, I’ve been in that, “boy was that a stupid thing to do” mode. I used to beat myself up regularly for doing or saying something stupid. One day, when I reached for a suit in my closet and then saw that the one I laid on the bed was not the one I was after, instead of getting all out of whack at myself, I realized I had quit focusing. I thought about the suit I wanted and then started thinking about some other thing. Like when you phone somebody and by the time the answer you forget who you called.

It is so much easier for me to deal with “I should have stayed focused” rather than “What an idiot I am.” Huge difference and it’s helped me a lot. In everything. Which certainly includes when I’m speaking to a group.

And as you continue to work on staying focused–being in the moment– you keep getting better at it. You’ll find your speaking–and a lot of other parts of your life–getting a lot better.

May 6, 2013

Feeling like the stupidest person in the world won’t help

It’s interesting how we can know we’re smart and still feel stupid. Maybe it’s because we know we’re smart that anything that doesn’t measure up to our standards triggers that latent fear of doing or saying something stupid. Nobody likes to be laughed at (when they didn’t mean to be funny) and it can be convenient to make fun of our stupidity before someone else can. (A little aside here: you’re not unique in this. A lot of people in your audience suffer from the same fear.)

It’s a recipe for disaster. Since I tend to focus on speaking as my topic, think of what that does to you as a speaker. You’re never seeing the situation clearly because you’re filtering what’s going on rather than focusing on getting the job done. Anticipating how your stupid side might kick in and ruin everything tarnishes your brilliance and is a stumbling block to reaching your goal in that presentation.

Logically you know you’re not stupid (unless you keep repeating the same mistakes without learning anything), yet you may be allowing this fiction to color situations you could be acing. Get out of the way. Get out of the way. Get out of the way. When you do, you’ll reach your audience successfully.

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