Getting Over Yourself

March 3, 2015

What if you’re the last speaker of the day?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:15 am
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How do you engage them when they’re tired and would just as soon leave as to listen to another speaker?

Whatever time has been allotted you, cut it by at least one-fourth. Finishing early makes you a hero. It also is more likely you’ll be more concise and focused which will make it snappier.

Start with a story that has a point and will resonate with them. Don’t put in anything that is “nice to know” info, only “your house will burn down if you don’t know this” info.

See what you can do to make it interactive. Have them tell you what part of your subject affects them or their work. No matter the size of the audience, there will be people who will respond.

If you can give them a brief stretch break without losing control, do so. Have them raise their hands over their heads and count to 10, or something more creative that relates to your subject.

Connect every piece of info you give them to their specific needs. Try to stay with stories and examples. And be totally engaged yourself. And don’t run one minute over (unless for some reason you get their agreement to stay past the ending time).

 

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

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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

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.

October 6, 2014

3 Ways to annoy your audience right at the start of your presentation

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 8:50 am
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The most important part of any presentation is connecting with your audience (because they’re more likely to listen to you if you do), so it’s very sad to see people annoying the audience with their first words. So you want to avoid these:

1. Starting with a question that doesn’t actually engage the audience. Make sure if you ask a question that they feel as though they’re helping you by answering or that makes them think. See my short YouTube video for examples of good questions: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkezB6tElQc
2. Starting before your brain is in gear. It causes you to say meaningless things that you had no intention of saying. You’re not focused, not making the audience feel important, and not encouraging them to listen. You and your audience will be much happier if you wait until you’re focused. You can watch to get some tips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJHsSxUSEpE

3.Opening with an abstract, generic statement. It’s not likely to get them to stop texting because it doesn’t actively engage them. Even if they’re eager to hear your subject, they won’t start listening until you say something that’s meaningful to them. Something that’s said in a little different way. Pull them in by describing the problem. Or giving an example. Or telling a story that illustrates why they should listen.

Work on that opening so you’re not annoying them with your first words.

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.

May 6, 2014

Never worry about your speech

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 12:28 pm
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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.

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 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.

February 26, 2013

What’s more powerful a visual than PowerPoint?

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 12:19 pm
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If you’ve never snoozed through someone’s bullet-pointed PowerPoint presentation, then maybe you’ve never been to a PowerPoint presentation. Few people seem to have the hang of the concept of “visuals”– mistakenly thinking that having something on the screen constitutes visual aids. And I love to get on my soapbox about that subject. But this time I’m going to concentrate on a vibrant alternative.

Some of the strongest “visuals” I’ve ever “seen” in a presentation have been the words coming from the speaker. Your life (and the happiness and satisfaction of your audience) will be much easier when you look at your topic from the standpoint of using stories and examples as much as possible to make your points. Those make for visual words that the audience will focus on and remember. It doesn’t matter who your audience is or what your topic, drawing verbal pictures for your audience will make your presentation more successful. And it will be way easier for you to deliver.

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