Getting Over Yourself

August 30, 2017

What to do when people get snarky when you make your point

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 9:47 am
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My mother used to tell me, “It’s your tone of voice” when I complained about how my brother was treating me. So first it’s important to be aware of your tone of voice, making sure you’re not sounding superior or condescending. You’ll get a lot less push back if you present the idea as something to be considered rather than something fixed in concrete. Even when there is no other possible way to look at the situation, someone will, and they just won’t hear someone who is telling them they are wrong.

It’s true, though, that sometimes the listener is so sensitive to the subject at hand, that they’ll get snarky anyway, regardless of how reasonable you sound. And then you have to continue to not get in the way–to not take anything they say personally. They may feel the need to rant. You need to feel the need to stay focused on ideas, not on personalities, and never let yourself feel like a target. They’re ranting because the issue threatens them in some way and they just lash out.

Listen and nod. But don’t take the bait. And perhaps say something calm about their obviously having thought about this a lot. “And yet, for the moment, I stand by my remarks.”

http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

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December 16, 2016

How to be comfortable with strangers

It doesn’t matter if it’s a speech, networking, or meeting new people at a party, the solution starts in the same place.

I’ve talked about changing your thinking when you’re speaking from “what if I mess up?” to “how can I help these people?” And it’s the same in any group situation where you feel uncomfortable.

There’s someone else in a networking or party situation that feels just the way you do. And probably several “someones.” But when we’re focused on trying not to look stupid we don’t notice the others who are in the same boat.

When you attend an event where you don’t know anybody (and maybe you don’t even want to know anybody) you’ll make the whole thing a lot more fun for you and for others if you look for someone who looks uncomfortable and start a conversation. Ask a question that has some relevance to the occasion. “Are you a new friend or an old friend of the host?” “I thought I might miss the whole party because of the traffic. Was there much traffic for you?” “Have you tried the cookies? Which of them would you recommend?”

You’ll have something relevant to ask as soon as you start looking outside yourself and think about how to make them comfortable.

It’s very much like giving a speech where you’re considering the interests of your audience and ways to incorporate those interests into the message.

October 11, 2016

What does Trump’s hair matter? There’s something to be learned.

In a class last week I was making the point that no one really cares what you look like (if they think your hair is weird they may notice but they won’t care), a woman said she thought Trump’s hair was so odd that she couldn’t hear anything he said.

And that just makes another important point. The most important part about speaking is connecting with your audience. Trump has connected with millions of people and they don’t care about his hair or about what he says. A woman interviewed on the news this morning about the Trump video that was released this week, said, “We don’t care about any of that.”
He apparently knows who his audience is and has solidly connected with them. So, the woman in my class who can’t listen to him because of his hair doesn’t feel connected.

It’s really not about your hair, or so many of the things we worry about when we’re presenting. It’s all about the connection.

Connecting happens with your attitude: I want to be here, I’m glad you’re here, and I want to share this with you. And connecting happens with your content: Choose facts, data, examples, stories that will make your point and resonate with this audience.

Be clear on who your audience is and what your approach will be to connecting and they won’t be distracted by those side issues. That makes it more likely that they’ll respond well to your point.

http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

September 26, 2016

If I were you, I’d record the debates

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:28 am
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I’m thinking we’ll be watching for substance and every useful thing we can get out of the debates tonight. And I don’t think we should be distracted by observing speaking strengths and quirks as we do that. BUT. If we record them, it will give us the chance to do some serious observing to see what works as a speaker and what gets in the way.

The more objectively this an be done (as in not being swayed by your personal view of the candidate) the more you learn. So, when you watch the recording, select a few minutes that seem interesting (or confusing) and do 3 things. First, watch it one time without any sound. Second, listen to it once without watching. And third, watch it once in fast forward. By separating the “channels” of your intake, you’ll pick up quite different messages that can help you see what kinds of things affect how your audience listens to you.

And if you have a video of a presentation of yours, try the same thing. It helps you be clear which things are working and which you could tweak a bit.

http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

November 9, 2015

How can an interview not be about you?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 1:33 pm
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You can make anything about you, but when you do you’re not all that happy about the results.

So, in a job interview, have some compassion for the person doing the interviewing–they have more to lose than you do if they hire the wrong person.

Keep in mind that you don’t want the job if it’s not a good fit. That means you need to pay attention to the questions while thinking about your answer in terms of what would be most useful to the interviewer. If you think about impressing them, or using those answers you memorized, you won’t look like someone they’d like to have working with them.

If you were doing the interviewing, what would you most want in someone you hired? I think that answer might include someone with a good attitude, who is curious and interested in making things run effectively. Not someone who had learned a lot of answers designed to make them look good.

October 16, 2015

3 ways to get yourself out of the way when you’re speaking

As far as I can tell, whenever you’re nervous you’re thinking about yourself. It stands to reason, then, that if you can stop thinking about yourself–get out of your own way–that you and the audience are going to be happier. So, here are some tips on how to do that.

1. Don’t wait until you’re in front of an audience to practice noticing where other people are focused. It’s not on you, because they’re way too busy thinking about themselves. Where they’re going; what they need to know; how far behind they are in their schedules. When you’re not in front of a group it’s easier to observe that they’re not focusing on you. And you’ll find it fairly easy to begin putting it into practice when you’re up in front.

2. When you organize your talk, build everything around outcomes and information that is relevant to those specific people you’re talking to. Why they would care, how they can incorporate it into their work or lives. It’s much easier to get out of the way when you realize everything you’re saying matters to them. So, take the time to be sure it does.

3. When you’re delivering your message, look at individuals–one by one–as you have a conversation with them. Stay focused on how this is helping them and watch their faces to see that they’re tracking with you. Most people like helping others. That’s what you’re doing. Keep that uppermost in your mind and there won’t be room for you to fuss about yourself.

Happy you. Happy audience.

September 2, 2015

Is it okay to look at foreheads when you speak?

If you look at their foreheads, you will look like you’re looking them in the eye. However, you won’t be able to read what their faces are telling you, and you won’t experience the energy you can get from the conversation you might otherwise be having with them.

Every talk you give should feel like a conversation. And for that, you need to be engaging with the audience. Plus, looking at them (and seeing them) will make you more comfortable. You can see that they’re not nearly as scary as you imagined they might be.

Move your eyes around the room so you’re having conversations with various people and everyone feels included. And stay with each person long enough that you and they both know the connection has taken place. Then you can move on.

You’ll get much better results.

For more info: gettingoveryourself.com

July 3, 2015

A jazzier alternate to PowerPoint

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 7:02 am
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You’ve seen enough presentations to know that PowerPoint interferes with the speaker’s credibility more often than it helps. PowerPoint has its place, but few people know what that is and how to use it to good advantage.

What’s on the screen works better if it’s actually visual. Here’s another approach you might want to consider: Prezi. It has an interactive feel and tends to encourage more visual visuals.

If you’re not familiar with Prezi, you can go to this link to see examples of how others have used it. https://prezi.com/explore/staff-picks/

And, if you want a free 1-hour online training you can sign up here: https://prezi.com/support/training/ . They’re doing a training today, July 3 and on July 17.

You can join Prezi free to try it out. I did and had fun designing a presentation on this large space that allows you to move around the screen, zoom in and out, and use more creativity. It’s a lot like the moving around the screen on your smart phone.

It’s worth a look to get some ideas on how to jazz up your visuals.

June 16, 2015

HOW DO YOU DELIVER BAD NEWS ?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:47 am
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Nobody wants to deliver bad news. But, once again, it’s not about you–it’s about what’s going to happen to these people as a result of the bad news. Don’t try to protect yourself because you’ll surely make a mess of it, if you do. You have to focus on them, how they feel, and what can be done to help them move forward.
Once you get the focus off yourself, you’ll find it much easier to look at it from your audience’s point of view.

Perhaps they know it’s coming and are braced for it–which is often the case–even as they hope it’s not true. So, I’d surely get to it as quickly as possible. Sort of like yanking off the band-aid rather than dragging it out with irrelevancies. You may use a story that helps illustrate the situation, but don’t tap dance. “I know you’ve all heard the rumors, and I’m sorry to tell you they’re true.” And if you’re actually sorry, and they can sense that, you can pull off the rest of it as you explore solutions.

Usually people need to know the bad news in order to get on with their lives, to figure out what to do next as a result of the bad news. Keeping it from them would surely result in some inappropriate decisions.

If they don’t know it’s coming, you still can’t focus on yourself, and you can’t pretend everything is okay. In this case, you will probably need to give a brief review of the situation in such a way that they begin to see where things are headed.

In every case, it’s vital to think about the effect on the audience of the news and possible ways to deal with it, rather than worrying that they’ll shoot the messenger. Because if you worry about that, your blinders will make it more likely that they will take it out on you.

June 12, 2015

3 things to do for better gestures

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 8:53 am
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Gestures are often more helpful to your audience than PowerPoint slides because they are visual and help the audience see your point. Slides should do that, but usually aren’t designed for that purpose–more’s the pity.

You’re missing the boat when you don’t use any, or when they’re self-conscious, or when they don’t match what you’re saying. Sometimes what feels odd to you, or overdone, is the very thing that keeps the audience focused and helps them get your point.

So here are 3 things you can do to help make your gestures relevant and to make them happen more naturally:

1. Become more aware of what your hands are doing when you’re involved in a conversation. Some people who tell me they never use their hands are surprised to find that when engrossed in a conversation, they do tend to illustrate points with gestures. So, what you’re doing unconsciously you need to become conscious of. Not all of them may be useful, but you can be aware of that, too.

2. Actively include stories, examples, and analogies that resonate with you, as you put together your talk. Those things will automatically bring focused, appropriate expressions to your face, and make it more likely that you’ll use your hands to describe them.
3. Practice your speech silently at least one time. Usually, the ideas run pretty smoothly in our heads. It’s when we try to say them aloud that we may get tangled up. So, practice silently while focusing on how you might use your hands to illustrate the points in a conversational way. It’s okay to exaggerate them for the purpose of helping your body remember. So, that when you’re actually in front of the audience, you won’t try to copy them, they’ll just happen naturally. You’re kind of giving your body permission, plus a little support.

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