Getting Over Yourself

January 23, 2017

Don’t try to be a perfect speaker

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 1:07 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

We tend to focus on getting everything right when we speak because we don’t want to look stupid. So we focus on trying not to make any mistakes rather than focusing on helping the audience get the message.

It’s the wrong focus. You’ll end up being stiff and mechanical making it almost impossible to connect with your audience.

Speaking is about connecting, not about perfection.

Rather than be perfect, be human.

You get more trust and credibility by being genuine than you do by being perfect. Better to make a mistake and be real, than to be perfect and unreachable.

So, comb your hair, organize a great message, and then get the heck out of the way and let ‘‘er rip.

Fie on perfection! It’s highly overrated.

 

http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

Advertisements

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
Tags: , , , , ,

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

August 11, 2016

“Good listeners make better leaders

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 10:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

Tim Grierson

has written a thoughtful article exploring two approaches to speaking: “take no prisoners” vs. the ability to listen and incorporate what you hear. He and I spent some time talking about my views on the subject which are also part of the article.

I’ve printed the first couple of paragraphs and included the link where you can read the whole thing. You might find it helpful as you examine your own style and how it’s being perceived.

By Tim Grierson

In a culture that considers speaking a sign of status and leadership, don’t underestimate the power of being a good listener

Last week, Hillary Clinton became the first woman to accept a presidential nomination from a major American political party. She’s done a lot to make it to this point, but commentators spent their time talking about the way she speaks.

“She’s not really at ease speaking in public, and it shows,” Andrew Sullivan wrote for New York magazine about her speech at Thursday’s Democratic National Convention. “I get that this is actually her appeal to some: that she’s a detail-oriented pol who works best off the public stage. But a president does need to connect, to inspire and to rally.” Vox’s Emily Crockett compiled a series of tweets from male pundits who dissected Clinton’s voice, pointing out an inherent double standard: “[Female leaders] have to walk a difficult line of being assertive but not too aggressive, likable but not too much of a pushover.”

http://tinyurl.com/BeAGoodListener

And for more info on speaking you can go to my website at GettingOverYourself.com.

 

February 4, 2016

Trump vs. Cruz as speakers

Let’s remove the politics–if you can–and observe some points about speaking that can help you with your speaking.

Everyone seems to agree that

  • it’s Trump’s entertainment value that has caused the debate ratings to be so high
  • it’s general anger at our current “state of the union” that has attracted so much enthusiasm for Trump, Cruz, and Sanders, and that
  • misstatements, incorrect facts, or showy rhetoric haven’t caused their supporters to defect.

So, I’m only going to look at speaking style and attitude as you hone your skills in assessing why you like or don’t like any particular speaker.

Donald Trump is blustery in a childlike (sometimes childish) way. Sometimes he’s kind of like that inappropriate 4-year-old that everyone finds endearing while also recognizing the inappropriateness. Sometimes he’s like a teenager who just keeps getting louder to cover up mistakes, or who attacks by attributing his own behavior to someone else.

He makes those who he considers his audience feel included “it’s you and me.” [I would suggest that you avoid the phrase you uses so often, some version of “let me be honest with you.”]

On the other hand, Ted Cruz manages to feel like the parent to Trumps child. His words say that we’re all in this together, but his demeanor is more disapproving–of most things–even when he’s speaking positively. Where Trump seems to be spontaneous and enjoying the process and himself, Cruz seems rehearsed and careful.

Perhaps he is harking back to his debate training, but his jokes feel planned and barbed. (Ben Carson has had a few planned jokes, but his consistently flat delivery and delight in his point seem to make them actually feel funny.) You have many times heard me hold forth on the importance of pauses. But even here the his voice inflection and attitude make those pauses border on scary rather than encouraging.

One thing they have in common: they both make it sound like “it’s my way or the highway.” I can’t counsel you on how that will turn out for them, only that I don’t recommend that as a strategy in your speaking.

In contrast, Bernie Sanders and Marco Rubio are both more welcoming in their demeanor. They’re more in the mode of inviting others to listen to the voice of reason without so much of the “I’ve got an axe to grind” tone in their voices. There’s more of a feeling that “this is what I believe and you get to make up your own mind.” And there’s no question, they do believe it.

Who knows how it will end? But I encourage to use all these political presentations as part of your speaking education. I would not encourage you to try to emulate anyone. But you can look for the principles that are or aren’t working in terms of speaking and work to incorporate the principles. If you can separate yourself from your own political views in the process.

For more: 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

February 12, 2015

“Good morning, you guys” isn’t an opening

Filed under: Observations,Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 12:51 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Your opening is almost the most important part of your talk. It’s where they decide whether it’s worth the effort to listen. Recently I heard someone who was speaking to the World Affairs Council in Washington, D.C. start with “Hello you guys. Hopefully I won’t bore you too much.”

It’s hard to justify that as your opening unless she was really nervous and hadn’t quite gotten focused yet. Her speech was fine and it was clear she knew what she was talking about. But with an opening like that it’s harder to seem credible.

For your learning pleasure, I believe you can see that you wouldn’t want to address your audience as “you guys” and certainly it wasn’t appropriate in that audience. Nor do you want to draw everyone’s attention to yourself and apologize that you might be boring.

In your opening you want to immediately embrace your audience in your thought, and be focused on why they’re there and how your talk will be useful to them.

Perhaps that wasn’t how she meant to open and she just started before she was ready. Or, perhaps she hadn’t given any thought to how she was going to open.

So you can avoid both those problems by a. thinking about an opening that engage your audience’s thinking (see my YouTube video for hints on avoiding problems with questions if that’s the direction you’re thinking of going), and b. Take a moment to get centered and focused before you start speaking – so you can start strongly.

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

January 30, 2015

Looking at your audience while you’re talking makes speaking easier

It may seem counterintuitive, but seeing individuals as you speak to a group is actually calming. Everything we imagine about them is quite different from the reality. They’re generally supportive and want you to do well, and you’ll recognize that you’re talking to human beings, people. You’ll see some of them respond to what you’re saying and get encouragement from that.

It should feel like a one-on-one conversation with each person you look at. They’ll remind you of people you know and that will almost always make it easier to speak.

So, before you’re up in front, take time to check them out. Look at them and get used to seeing them as individuals. And, when you do stand in front of them, take another moment to breathe and get used to looking at them–one at a time. That way you’ll all ready have gotten some of the benefits of eye contact before you even start talking.

It really is better.

http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

November 11, 2014

Should I start my speech with a joke?

Filed under: Myths,Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:59 am
Tags: , , , , ,

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.

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.