Getting Over Yourself

January 23, 2017

Don’t try to be a perfect speaker

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

August 11, 2016

“Good listeners make better leaders

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 10:00 am
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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.

 

March 24, 2016

“Love means never having to say you’re sorry”–Donald? are you there?

Although I’ve never subscribed to that concept (saying you’re sorry to a loved one can make a huge difference), apparently Donald Trump does. Clearly his supporters love him regardless of what he says or does–they may even love him, in part, because he doesn’t apologize. And, it’s obvious that he is committed to standing by what he says and never apologizing. We’ll know after the election if that was a good overall strategy.

However it works out for him, I don’t recommend that you emulate this model.

There are, of course, people who apologize for everything all the time and it’s annoying. Apologizing inappropriately just draws attention and not admiration. Definitely not a leadership quality.

Yet, there is a time when apologizing gets you more credibility–with your family, your co-workers, your boss, your employees. If when you are wrong, you acknowledge it, own it, and move on–with no sense of shame or loss of credibility, you’ll get more credit and more cooperation.

 

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.

April 27, 2015

How to make speaking part of your DNA

It’s a waste of time to wish you’d just shown up in the world ready to speak to anyone any time. It’s much easier to learn how to get yourself out of the way so you can be the speaker you want to be than it is fret over what you weren’t born with.

Rather than needing a different persona or worrying about lacking a particular skill, what you really need is just a difference in perspective. As humans, we naturally tend to think the audience is judging us. So you’re not alone. But it’s not only not true, it’s counterproductive. (And for those of you who aren’t convinced, even if you’re judging the speaker you don’t care about the speaker–you’re more concerned about yourself.)

The audience doesn’t’ want to think about the speaker, they want to be informed, entertained, enlightened, but not uncomfortable. And when you worry about what the audience is thinking about you, you make them uncomfortable. They’re far less uncomfortable when you make a mistake and it doesn’t worry you, than they are when you stay focused on not making a mistake.

There’s a logic to this. Accept it and you can make great strides in your life as a successful speaker. You’re in charge of your speaking DNA.

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

February 12, 2015

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

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

September 3, 2014

Don’t wreck your speech by trying to be smooth

Being a smooth speaker can do you in. Here are 3 reasons not to be smooth when you’re speaking:
1. Most people see smooth as untrustworthy, manipulative, insincere, or some other undesirable quality. And they see it as something they need to protect themselves from.

2. When you’re smooth, you’re probably focusing more on maintaining your image than on helping the audience. They can tell and it doesn’t work in your favor.

3. People striving for smooth tend to blow right through the pauses and miss great opportunities for highlighting big points.

It’s far better to be genuine, conversational, believable. If you have to stop and think, the audience sees that as a plus: “Look! The speaker is thinking!”

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