Getting Over Yourself

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.

August 10, 2016

Does Donald Trump WANT to be President?

Donald Trump reminds me of my son when he was 14: he’d get caught for stuff that was so ridiculous that I could only conclude that someone as smart as he wanted to get caught.

This feels a lot like that in that Trump says things that seem designed to keep him from getting elected. And, since he’s apparently a smart guy, it looks as though it’s his way of being sure he isn’t elected.

Perhaps this is his way of avoiding the actual tedious nature of BEING President. And just have the fun of being the HUGE center of attention for a year or so.

Perhaps once his numbers were terrific and it looked like being President was a real possibility for him, he just removed any boundaries..

Who knows how the election will turn out. He’s broken all the rules and has had great numbers. But please, don’t use him as a role model for your speaking–except for the part where you hone in on being perfectly clear who your audience is and tailoring your message to them.

November 9, 2015

How can an interview not be about you?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 1:33 pm
Tags: , , ,

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

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.

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.

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.

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!”

June 23, 2014

3 things to focus on in a job interview

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:19 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

One thing definitely not to focus on is yourself. Or on trying to get the job. Because maybe it’s not the right place for you and you (and they) would be miserable if you did get it.

A job interview is a two-way street–you’re interviewing each other to see if it’s a good fit.

So, Number 1, focus on listening to what they’re saying rather than on how you’re going to answer. It makes a huge difference in how you come across and what you actually say.

Number 2, go into the interview expecting to do your best. Worrying about how well you’re going to “perform” will keep them from seeing what you have to offer and make you look timid, uncertain, or inept. Focus on how you might be of help to this organization.

Number 3 be clear that you don’t need this job. You can then focus on if this is a good fit. You’ll ask better questions, give better answers, and be your best self.

Imagine for a moment having a job that you really like and don’t want to leave, but that you’d like to see what else is going on in your field. With that in mind, you make an appointment for a job interview. How well do you think you’ll do in that interview? Will you be easy? Comfortable? Responsive?

Contrast that with your attitude and demeanor in a job interview if you’ve been out of work for a couple of years.

You need to take your attitude from that first scenario into every job interview so they can see you at your best.

Get some support for your interview with this YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJHsSxUSEpE

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