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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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.

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.

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.

January 16, 2014

How to keep your mind from going on vacation during a speech

Filed under: Tips — Barbara Rocha @ 11:58 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

Blanking out, forgetting what you want to say, feeling like you’re losing it come from the noise in your head. And that noise is all about being self-conscious. Shut down the noise and you’ve conquered the problem–you’ll be your normal intelligent self.

The solution to being self-conscious is to practice being “other-conscious,” not in the “I wonder what they’re thinking of me” sense, but rather, “What can I do to help them?” while paying attention to whether or not they look like they’re being helped.

Stop the noise and focus on helping your audience and you won’t take those little vacations.

August 16, 2013

Stop feeling embarrassed

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 11:11 am
Tags: , , , ,

Almost always giving in to embarrassment is a waste of everyone’s time. And you can be embarrassed about making a mistake, or embarrassed because people are praising you. I repeat, being embarrassed just prolongs the discomfort. Everyone’s.

When you make a mistake, focus on fixing it, rather than on your feeling that you do this way too often. It’s not about you, it’s about turning things around and getting back to the point–whether it’s in a meeting, at a party, or during a presentation.

And when you’ve done a fine job on your speech, your baking, or your performance, it’s still not about you. It’s about the clarity, the joy, or the freedom that you brought to the audience. So, when you graciously say “thank you,” and are grateful they enjoyed it as much as you did, you’ll all be happier.

When you feel embarrassed, you’re making it about you and drawing unneeded attention to yourself and away from the idea you were expressing.

June 19, 2013

Refuse to be nervous

Filed under: Observations — Barbara Rocha @ 11:14 am
Tags: , , , ,

I just read yet another article that says EVERYBODY is nervous so don’t worry about it. And it goes on to make the same old points about it giving energy and life to your presentation.

I don’t disagree that that can be the case. But, if you can get the same result without being nervous, why wouldn’t you want to do that?
When you’re nervous, you’re pretty much thinking about yourself in one way or another. On the other hand, when you think about sharing your subject with your audience thinking about how it can help them, you’re not thinking about yourself. And there goes the nervousness.

The energy and life come from your caring about your subject and your audience. No need to be nervous.

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