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.

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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.

March 5, 2015

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

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 10:56 am
Tags: , , ,

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 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

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.

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

May 6, 2014

Never worry about your speech

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 12:28 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

If you’re worrying, you’re not doing anything productive–you’re not working on your speech and you’re not working on your job. You’re giving yourself ulcers and you’re not getting any Brownie points. Either work on it or don’t. But thinking, “I need to do something about that speech,” is useless.

It takes some discipline to do this, but you’ll feel better and your speech will be better. When you agree with yourself to focus and work on it, you’ll get it done. Really you will. And without the suffering.

Worrying about your speech (to repeat myself) is counterproductive. And it fries some of your brain cells. Either work on it or don’t. Don’t worry about it.

April 11, 2014

3 Tips for feeling good when you start speaking

Nobody wants to have to recover from a bad start. So, here are 3
things that will help you get off to a good start in your
presentation. Which makes it likely you’ll do a better job all the
way through.

Whistle a happy tune

Have something happy going on in your head. An upbeat song
can affect your posture and your face. There’s a woman I see
when I’m walking in the morning and I can tell from her body
language what kind of song is playing on her iPod. Make sure
yours is a happy one.

Don’t start until your brain is in gear

If you start because you think the audience expects it, they’re in
control . Not you. That’s scary for both you and the audience.
Who knows what will come out of your mouth? And it probably
won’t make you look good.

Take a breath. Focus. Make sure you know who you are and
where you are. And then start.

Start with something easy

It’ll be easy to remember and you’re on a roll. There’s an
example or story or fact that connects to your point that resonates
with you. Use it and all you have to do is visualize it and tell it.

Forcing it to be what you think you”should” say, means you’ll
probably use words and phrases that have no “pictures” attached
to them. “Businesslike” rather than conversational. Hard to
remember. Hard to say. So, you’re stiff and uncomfortable.

Start with something easy. It’ll make it easy to engage with your
subject and your audience.

March 11, 2014

Do you sometimes feel as awkward as you did in high school?

When I was in high school, I was sure everyone was judging me, so I didn’t say “hello” to people in the hall that I didn’t know because I thought they would think, “Who is she and why is she saying ‘hello’ to me?” Ah, yes. Consequently, of course, that makes people think you’re stuck up. When it’s just feeling self-conscious–more concerned with what they think about you than with making somebody else feel good by saying “Hi.”

I blanked out once in front of the student body because I was supposed to announce the name of the song we were going to sing and it just went right out of my head. And it was terrible. The name of the song was “America, the beautiful.” Not that difficult. And I probably remembered it right away, but it sure added to that feeling of hating to be in front of an audience.

So, it’s hard to explain to myself why I voluntarily put myself in an awkward situation. Our Girl Scout had gone to Hawaii (we spent a full year earning the money to do this) and while we were there we learned to do the hula. When Senior Banquet time came around and they asked for volunteers to provide entertainment, I said I’d do the hula! Really! I can’t imagine what possessed me to do that. I could do the hula pretty well. But I forgot the part about I was really uncomfortable about being up in front.

Well, there we were at the banquet. I had on my costume and was feeling pretty shaky. My name was announced and I went to the front–that was okay. But I stood behind the floor mike (rather a restrictive position for dancing in the hopes that they couldn’t really see me behind that microphone. I’m pretty they could. And, I’m pretty sure that I didn’t dance nearly as well as I had in my living room.

It was quite a number of years before I learned how to stop being self-conscious and really got the hang of getting myself out of the way–or getting over myself. That was such a big deal that that’s the name of one of my books as well as my website: “Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking and More.”

It changed my life, and now I do raps for my 30 second introduction at meetings where I’m networking. You can watch a couple of those on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=039–PHhjbk http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_fVfrdn9TI&feature=youtu.be

No more hoping the microphone will protect me.

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