Getting Over Yourself

July 16, 2013

Malala shows us how it’s done

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 12:05 pm
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We have been inspired and awed by this young woman’s example of standing up for education regardless of the danger to herself. Here she demonstrates the courage to speak to a huge audience and the power of passion for your subject.

English is not her native language and few 16-year-olds would face a crowd of this size with such poise. Her pauses are inspiring. Observe her poise as she stands at the end during a standing ovation by the audience. Her focus was obviously not on herself — which allowed us to absorb her message without worrying about her.


July 8, 2013

Are you going to focus on heart or on techniques?

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 10:26 am
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It isn’t that you can’t have both, but I’ve noticed that those who focus first on heart–on being genuine, caring about helping the audience–do a better job of incorporating any techniques that need to be considered to accomplish that purpose.

Those who start with the goal of “being a speaker,” or making a lot of money, or getting attention, tend to start by focusing on honing their technique. On copying what successful speakers do. And they tend to note all things in terms of the method rather than they heart. To me, that’s kind of putting the cart before the horse. They may accomplish all those goals but I don’t find watching and listening to them as satisfying or as powerful as those who start from a quieter place and are then able to adapt their message, and the power with which they deliver it to each audience’s needs.

My advice if you really want to be powerful is to start from a place of helping and then figuring out the best way to do it, regardless of technique. Then you’ll arrive at “techniques” that serve you well as you help your audience connect to your message.

July 2, 2013

Don’t let them see you sweat!

Actually, it’s okay, and better than putting all your energy into trying to cover up your mistakes. We don’t want to look bad–to ourselves or to others. So, when things don’t feel like they’re going well, it’s tempting to pretend there’s no problem and just plow ahead.

It’s easy to feel like we’ll lose credibility if we acknowledge some blip in the presentation (or most of the rest of the time, as well).

Pretending can separate you from your audience because it takes so much effort that you’re no longer connecting with them.

On the other hand, I’ve heard people throw themselves on the mercy of the audience (“I’m really nervous.”) which may or may not work. You may win them to your side but you better have something to say. That alone isn’t enough. They’ll give you the benefit of the doubt as long as you deliver the goods.

Be human, (it’s okay to let them see it), and stay on point. Wandering off mentally to try to fool the audience will do more harm than accepting the problem and getting back on track.


July 1, 2013

When your words make no sense

There’s a commercial on TV right now that essentially says, “If you don’t like our product, we’ll give you more, free.” REALLY?!!! Why would I want more if I didn’t like it to begin with? I think the words actually are something like, “If you don’t fall in love with our product, we’ll buy your next box free.”

I know we don’t pay a huge amount of attention to commercials, but I can tell you that the little attention I was paying lulled me into not noticing how silly the concept was by the terrific voice and the pleasant visuals. It was about the third time I heard it that I actually listened to the words.

It’s true that your voice and your visual presence trump the words your saying. While I encourage you to work on making your visual presence and your voice to be friendly, conversational, and genuine they should also match your words. It’s probably your best bet for long term credibility with your audience.


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