Getting Over Yourself

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 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

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.

March 3, 2015

What if you’re the last speaker of the day?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:15 am
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How do you engage them when they’re tired and would just as soon leave as to listen to another speaker?

Whatever time has been allotted you, cut it by at least one-fourth. Finishing early makes you a hero. It also is more likely you’ll be more concise and focused which will make it snappier.

Start with a story that has a point and will resonate with them. Don’t put in anything that is “nice to know” info, only “your house will burn down if you don’t know this” info.

See what you can do to make it interactive. Have them tell you what part of your subject affects them or their work. No matter the size of the audience, there will be people who will respond.

If you can give them a brief stretch break without losing control, do so. Have them raise their hands over their heads and count to 10, or something more creative that relates to your subject.

Connect every piece of info you give them to their specific needs. Try to stay with stories and examples. And be totally engaged yourself. And don’t run one minute over (unless for some reason you get their agreement to stay past the ending time).

 

For more tips go to http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

January 14, 2015

Your audience isn’t actually staring at you

I hear it from participants all the time: “They’re all staring at me.”

It does seem that way — that they’re all staring at you. After all, their eyes are pointed in your direction and you’re standing up there all by yourself.

The truth is, their eyes are pointed in your direction because they’re facing the stage. But they’re actually focused on themselves. They’ve got way too much on their minds to give you the kind of attention you’re imagining. It’s a great moment for remembering that “it’s not about you.” You’re in their sights only insofar as you connect your material to them. And then they’re really focused on themselves–applying the info to their own situations.

Knowing that their focus is on what you can do for them, rather than how you look and sound, keeps your focus where it belongs — on helping them better understand a problem they may or may not know they have.

November 11, 2014

Should I start my speech with a joke?

Filed under: Myths,Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:59 am
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The point of a telling a joke would be to connect with your audience rather than just plunging in to your subject not caring if they’re with you.

Unfortunately, while connecting is a good goal, telling jokes doesn’t do the job all that often.

It fails because the speaker forgets the punchline, or acts like nobody has heard it before (which is often not the case–social media being what it is), or just tells a joke that has nothing to do with the audience, the occasion, or the subject.

Feel free to start with a joke if it passes the following tests: Do you know it so well that you won’t forget the punch line? Will the audience eventually see the relevance to your topic? And will it bother if nobody laughs?

Something else to consider is that the longer the joke the funnier it better be.

Indeed, you must connect with your audience if your presentation can be considered successful. But there are many ways to do that which don’t involve jokes. Be resourceful.

August 6, 2014

3 Things you never want to do in a presentation

Here are 3 things that consistently top the list of things that annoy the audience. (Avoid them if you don’t want to be annoy your audience.)

1. Create bad slides. When you design the slides for your notes, and use them to deliver content, they’ll probably be boring and unreadable. Slides should help the audience get an “aha.”

Make your slides as simple as possible (avoid full sentences); and ask yourself these 3 questions:

·    Would I want to look at this slide? If they don’t want to look at it, you’re swimming upstream.

·    What’s the point of this slide? State the point in 5 or 6 words and you’ll find things you don’t need. Take them out. See how you can visually (without words) make that point. This helps you and the audience.
·    Do I even need this slide? Make every slide justify how using it will help you get the outcome you want. Check out this site for tips from the book Slide:ology. http://www.duarte.com/book/slideology/.

2. Deliver boring content. Audiences hate to be stuck in a chair listening to things they consider irrelevant.

No subject is boring when the speaker digs into why it’s important. So, be clear on why they need this information and how it relates to them. Structure your talk around this. Let them know throughout the talk why it matters to them, as well as telling them before you get to the meat of your talk. Do it right after you’ve opened with something that gets them to start listening and stop texting.

Use stories, examples, real life applications to help you make your message compelling. People are visual. Visuals on your slides and visual words will help you make your case. For ideas on how to use visual words to create a picture and tell a story, check out the site for Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins by Annette Simmons.  http://www.annettesimmons.com/books/whoever-tells-the-best-story-wins-2/

3. Fail to connect. The most important part of any presentation is you connecting with the audience. You connect by talking their language. You connect by sharing information rather than being afraid to be wrong. You connect by paying attention to them and their needs, as well as the next 4 points.

·    Be clear on who they are and what they want and gear you talk to those.

·    Respect them regardless of whether you agree with them or not.

·    Stay conversational and never take anything personally.

·    And don’t make fun of any groups of people.

For more ideas on connecting see my book: Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking and More on my website http://www.GettingOverYourself.com and on Amazon.
As a general rule, there’s one thing you can do to make a huge change in all three of those: If you care more about helping the audience than you do about impressing them, you’ll automatically be less annoying overall. And you’ll be less nervous.

February 13, 2014

How to get your audience to listen to you

We tend to think of ourselves first and then include others. And that doesn’t change when we’re in the audience. So, if you want people to listen, talk
about them. It’s not that hard when you shift your perspective from you to them.

You can usually get to know them ahead of time so you can fit your subject to their interests. And, if you can’t specifically find out who they are, it’s usually fairly easy to determine the area of their interests based on the venue or the occasion of your talk. Then you can think of examples, anecdotes, stories, that make your facts come alive to that group.

If your points can’t be fitted to their interests, you probably shouldn’t be talking to them or change your subject.

If you know everything you’re saying strikes a chord within the audience, you can be sure they’re listening. (And that gives a big boost to your comfort level as well as your energy level.)

February 11, 2014

Jamie Anderson says she stays in the “now” and it got her a Gold Medal

Yes, watching the Olympics can help your speaking. There are always examples during the games of those who are completely focused and “in the now,” and those who aren’t.  Being in the now means to me being able to see and know what’s going on and respond to it in real time with whatever is appropriate.

While watching the women’s biathlon, it was pretty easy to see when they were shooting at the target whether they stayed with it the whole time or whether they lost their focus. The announcer made it clear, several times, that the shots they were most likely to miss were the first and the last. It’s the same with speaking. Sometimes you don’t let go of what you were just doing in order to focus on the first words of your speech, or in this case on your first shot. And, when speaking, it’s easy at the end to think something like, “I’m almost finished” instead of focusing on your closing message. On one of the shooters, it was obvious that she hadn’t stayed focused on her last shot because the rifle barrel lifted just as she pulled the trigger.

You may not win a Olympic medal for your speech, but you’ll feel pretty darn good if you’ll stay focused on connecting your message to your audience rather than what just happened or what’s about to happen. And your audience will get your point.

November 20, 2013

Two hours at Gettysburg vs. 2 minutes from Lincoln

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 10:27 am
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And here’s yet another example of “less is more.” Edward Everett spoke for 2 hours at Gettysburg and I’ve never heard a word about his message — and you probably haven’t either. Yet, the 2 minutes of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address lives on.

So, when you have a presentation or speech to give, go for brevity and making your point rather than impressing them with your oratory or how hard you worked on your speech. Just think of the best way to move this audience to action. And shorter is usually a better bet.

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