Getting Over Yourself

March 5, 2015

“Thank you” isn’t all that polite when you’re speaking

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:56 am
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Skip “thank you” when you close.

Most of the time when people finish their talk by saying “thank you” it’s comes from nervousness. They don’t know how else to get out of there.

Or it might be because they realized the closing was so weak that they want to be sure the audience knows they’re finished. Or maybe they’re trying to distance themselves from the closing.

If you really feel there’s a reason to thank the audience at the end, then it needs to be genuine and not “knee jerk.” And it needs to come after you’ve given the audience enough time to absorb you’re final point. Because if you don’t, they’ll have a hard time remembering what your point was because you’ve siphoned off their focus into the “thank you.”

If you want to focus the audience on your message, postpone “thank you” or skip it all together.

 

For more tips on speaking visit http://www.GettingOverYourself.com

January 20, 2015

Don’t despair if your audience looks blank

Speaking is just a series of problems to be solved: what to say, how to connect it to your audience, how to make it interesting–and more. So, if your audience is looking at you blankly, looking confused, annoyed, or any other reaction you weren’t hoping for, it‘s another problem to be solved, not a personal failure.

If you weren’t the speaker, you’d probably feel right on top of a solution. So, back away and look at it from the audience’s perspective. Audience’s will forgive you almost anything if you are genuine and treat them with respect.

You might say, “You’re not looking at me like I hoped. Help me out, here.” Or, “Hmmm. I was hoping for a different response. What do you need to hear from me?” Don’t be afraid of getting it wrong. Focus on how to work together for an effective outcome.

December 18, 2014

“Are there any questions?” isn’t a close for your presentation

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 12:38 pm
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Your last words can make or break your presentation. If there’s any hope they’ll remember (and act on) anything you’ve said, those last few words are the key.

So, your last words should wrap up your message by summarizing what you’ve said and pointing them in the direction of the action, or change of thought you’re trying to effect. If you’re taking questions after your talk, you need to do that wrap up, let it sink in to the audience and then ask for questions.

Then after the Q and A session, close again–with the main point you want them to take with them. Some of the questions may have been interesting, but not quite to your point. Keep control of your message by having it be the last thing they hear. A brief bumper sticker message.

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.)

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.

October 18, 2013

Start by not boring yourself

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 9:53 am
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I hate to be bored. And what could be sadder than boring myself when I’m speaking? At least I have control over that one and most presentations would be considerably better if the presenter refused to be bored.

One place to start is to see how you can avoid doing it “the way it’s always been done” – and still be appropriate.

Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Identify an aspect of the subject that you find interesting.
  • Look for a link to a current hot topic.
  • Don’t think of it as a report you have to give. Instead see it in context of the big picture and the connections it has to the interests of your audience–how they can use it to save them time, money, or aggravation.

Whether you’re in the audience, or in front of the audience, you’re the one who decides whether or not you’re bored. You have the power to make the right choice by thinking about the subject in a different way.

October 4, 2013

Really! You’re going to open your presentation with that?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 9:36 am
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It’s so tempting to start with what you’re going to cover. Yet, it’s almost impossible to say that in a way that will stop them from texting.

Regardless of the audience, there’s something you can say that will let people know they need to listen up. Someone in a class this last week started with, “We have a problem.” He said it with authority and stopped to let it sink in. And everyone paid close attention.

Awhile ago someone started with, “First I’m going to give you a headache and then I’m going to give you an aspirin.”

So, for those of you who think your audience would be turned off if you did an opening, rather than start with what you’re going to cover, you can see those two examples didn’t take enough time for the audience to object.

For other audiences, you might start with a story or an example that illustrates your point, or some statistics that highlight the problem, or a current news story that’s relevant.

It’s hard to break the habit of announcing “this is what I’m going to talk about” as the first thing you say. But more people will listen if you do. Give them a reason to listen first, and then tell them what you’re talking about.

It’s more interesting and it should be easier for you, too.

August 22, 2013

Watch out about “informing people”

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:24 am
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“I’d like to inform you . . . .” “She informed me that . . . .” There’s something off-putting about the word inform. It sounds official and scary. Consider alternates such as: “She told me . . . .” “He let me know . . . .” “I’d like to give you some ideas . . . .”  “Inform” is usually not a friendly connecting word to be using when you’re talking or writing something where you’d like people to relax and consider what you’re saying.

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