Tag Archives: Baltimore

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER…

27 Oct

NEVER, NEVER, NEVER videotape yourself  doing a presentation because it will kill your communication skills.  Shocked that a speech coach would give that advise?

Never Tape Yourself

Never be a copy!

Many of my clients ask – should I tape myself giving a presentation or do you ever tape clients giving a presentation? I think that taping yourself is one of the worst things you can do for your communication skills!  Why?  When you tape yourself you are creating a visual script for your presentation and we know that scripts can be deadly boring and lack emotion/passion.  When you watch yourself you automatically start scripting your body language and voice so that your final presentation is basically you working to remember what you did on tape.  That kills the spirit of the speech and is a major disservice to your audience.    There is nothing as refreshing as a presentation that has the flavor of an original.

Be original

“This guy loves Jesus and I love this guy” New Feature – Sunday Night You Tube Speech Star

8 Sep

 

Listen for it “take a chill pill”  –  this Pastor is my pick for the Sunday Night You Tube Speech Star!  He has the guts to tell his congregation that I am going to lose some of you (members) and tells his audience that maybe you have some issues.  Telling them we love to judge other peoples faults because it keeps it off us.  He has moved past judgement – it does not affect his voice or tone because he is in the “zone” of authenticity.  Listen to his rhythm  and how it’s weaved with humor, in a way that isn’t offensive but catches the audience off guard.  He is using his words to expose hypocrisy in teachings – that is why he is using dramatic body language – because it reduces the tension in the room by using his body as the grounding agent.  He uses his eyes as lasers to direct his message to key members  and his pauses let the message peculate in a highly effective way!

“Don’t fake it ’til you make it, fake it ’til you become it.”

6 Sep

Body Poses

Fake it till you become it

 

There has been a great deal of discussion in the media lately regarding power poses related to self-esteem and confidence.  As you know by now I am a firm believer that in communication we focus too much on the verbal aspect.  Body language is 65-75% of our daily communication.  You are always communicating even if no one is around.  Your body language is communicating to your brain your mood and temperament.

 

Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy has documented how positive and negative body language shapes your self-perception and your hormone levels.

In Cuddy’s experiment, done in collaboration with Dana Carney at Berkeley, one group spent two minutes doing low-power poses — head down, shoulders sunk, eyes averted, looking small. The other group did high-power poses – hands on hips, chest lifted, staring boldly out at the horizon a la Wonder Woman.

Then they took a saliva sample. The high-power posers showed a nearly 20 percent increase in testosterone (the dominance hormone) and a 25 percent decrease in cortisol (the stress hormone). The low-power posers saw a 10 percent decline in testosterone and a 17 percent increase in cortisol.

Cuddy says, “These two-minute changes (in body stance) lead to hormonal changes that can configure your brain to be either assertive, confident and comfortable, or really stress reactive and feeling shut down.”

In her moving backstory Cuddy (watch her TED talk) describes how as a young student her identity was wrapped up in “being smart.” But a serious car accident at 19 damaged her brain and her IQ dropped by two standard deviations.

Afterward, she struggled in school feeling like a powerless imposter until, on the verge of quitting, an angel advisor told her, “You are not quitting. You are going to fake it. You are going to do it and do it and do it, until you have this moment where you say I am really doing it.”

Cuddy faked it well enough to wind up teaching at Harvard, where years later she encountered a struggling student who confessed, “I feel like I don’t belong here.”

In that moment Cuddy realized she actually had forgotten about faking it, she belonged.

Her advice to the student: “Don’t fake it ’til you make it, fake it ’til you become it.”

“You know she is making me angry”!

3 Sep

"She is making me angry"!

“She is making me angry”!

“You know she is going to make me angry” ” I mean she doesn’t mean too but she is making me upset”  -overheard from a cell phone conversation this afternoon while walking to lunch.    Playing  that line in my mind “she is making me angry” over and over to discover it’s woven  with communication and public speaking.    Permission – yes that is what this woman was doing in her mind – she was giving her mind permission to be angry.     She has said “I can no longer hold up the walls while the flood of anger seeps”.

Do you let anxiety and fear from the eyes of the audience seep past your walls?  You are in control of your reactions and your responses to outside stimuli.   If you were in the middle of a desert  giving your presentation you would likely be comfortable and calm with your material.  Yet, when you are in a room full of eyes do you let them pierce your confidence and cause you to breath heavy, sweat, and stumble over words?  If so, you have let them win, you have let them enter your mind.   Do you want to learn how to fight back?

What is your comfort level? Leave a comment for me!

29 Aug

What is your comfort level?

What is your comfort level?

  • Level 1: Pressured and Petrified: People in this category display the greatest signs of nervousness—visible blushing, perspiration, quivering voice, or shaking hands. They are extremely uncomfortable and can barely get their words out. These individuals generally have little experience speaking to groups, but because of a recent promotion or increased job responsibilities, they are now expected to speak. They have little desire to speak in public, but are now required to do so. Their capacity for comfort is generally quite low. As such, they have a great opportunity for personal and professional growth!
  • Level 2: Hurried and Harried: These people deal with their fear and discomfort by racing through their material for one specific purpose—to get through it! They are usually familiar with their subject matter but rarely practice. They like to wing it. Many even believe that their “practice” happens while they are giving their presentation. As a result of their lack of preparation, they “hurry” through their presentation, talking too fast, shifting their weight, avoiding eye contact, and showing other physical signs of discomfort.  The good news for this group is that with a few simple changes they can quickly improve and become more comfortable and competent.
  • Level 3: Surprised and Startled: These people have situational nervousness. They are fine in their regular day-to-day presentations, but if asked to perform out of their routine, they experience anxiety and discomfort. However, they typically don’t show their nervousness. In fact, their audience barely picks up on it, but the speaker still carries the burden of anxiety. These speakers take the time to practice and are generally more prepared than most, but unusual situations cause them to revisit earlier bouts of nerves and agitation. They are often the managers who comfortably lead staff or division meetings, but when asked to speak at an all-hands meeting or at a conference, they become anxious. The good news for these speakers is that they already know how to be comfortable in front of one type of audience, so it’s just a matter of learning how to apply their skills to a new venue to be comfortable in every new situation they encounter.
  • Level 4: Eager and Enthusiastic: These are the people who love to speak and do so with ease, taking every opportunity and stepping up at a moment’s notice. They enjoy the adrenalin rush that speaking provides and ride it to peak performance. They may be executives, product evangelists, salespeople, senior leaders, marketing directors, and corporate trainers. They have already built a substantial capacity for comfort—and there is still room to grow.

“Every time I go on a sales call the guys interrupt me”!

27 Aug

Caveman

“Every time I go on a sales call and bring team members they keep interrupting my presentation”    

“I start out with an introduction and as soon as I stumble over a word or have a long pause they jump in and I end up sitting there looking stupid”

“It’s so frustrating that I dread going on sales appointments and even get anxious the night before”

This is a story familiar to many people especially woman who are working in  male – dominated fields such as engineering or contracting.  The women are typically in sales/relationship roles within the company and the men are in the technical area.   The men who are called upon as so called “Subject Experts”  have social skills that resemble neanderthal society.

The fact is you can’t not be the spark of evolution – meaning your not going to change them.  They lack social skills and understanding of common civics in a social setting.   If they have not learned these basic kindergarten skills then your complaining to them will be wasted breath.

So what do you do?

First you have to know that you are the communication expert in the room because you know the secret sauce of a sales relationship.  Use this to your advantage in being the moderator of the discussion not just the starter.  Similar to an anchor reporter talking with 4-5 people during a table discussion.    You must assert control and in many incidents you must cut off  a person.

You may be concerned how this looks to the client who is deciding  if they want to actually do business with you? That client wants you to be confident!   They are going to do business if they trust you to get required results.  If your team takes advantage of you in the sales meeting – what does that say to the future buyer?  It makes you look weak and ineffective.

Interested in learning how to take control – let’s talk further.

They told me their stories……homeless/prostitute

26 Aug

Waiting for the Purple line – she walks up “I just got our of jail”  I ask for how long – she said “just for a night and damn I need a shower”  I ask what got her in trouble in the first place – drugs and prostitution.    There is not hesitation in telling me about her life – not a bit of fear or concern.

Riding the light rail home I sit across from a woman with a McDonald’s shirt, she is signing and vocalizing how tired she is already at 3 pm in the afternoon.  I ask if she is just getting off work and she sighs ” I am just heading to work in Timonium”  I asked where she was coming from and she said “the women’s shelter in White Marsh”  I found out that she has to take a bus from White Marsh to downtown (Convention Center) and then take the light rail north.  She told me how she had been homeless for around 6 months after getting kicked out of her aunts house because she was addicted to pain killers.  She has 3 children from 3 different dads but can’t collect child support for various reasons.  She dreams of getting a car by December but first she has to get past a suspension.

In both of these cases these individuals felt totally comfortable telling me their story no matter how painful.   I have been wrestling with why they are so open about their condition to tell a complete stranger.  There are several reasons, maybe I look like a good listener?   It could be because I continued to ask them questions?  I think the answer is simpler – they had no fear or reservation because they had nothing to lose, they have been judged all their lives for their actions and truly don’t care what others think.  They have moved into a mental place of freedom from judgement and that is why there voice is strong in explaining their lives.

What can be learned from these interactions – our voice can rise above judgement and fear when we feel the freedom that there is nothing to lose but only to gain.  We can all find that voice without living a life of pain and misery – it is in each on of us and we must power through to find it and use it!

This Weeks – TALLspeaking Communication Star – Mike Shelah

21 Aug

This Weeks TALLspeaking Communication Star

This Weeks TALLspeaking Communication Star

I spotted this weeks TALLspeaking Communication Star at Toastmasters at the Baltimore County Chamber of Commerce.
Meet Mike Shelah who  is a Senior Account Executive with Earthlink Business.
Now on to our Q&A….
What do you enjoy about Public Speaking?
It’s entertainment. I have fun sharing my experiences and knowledge with others
Do you get nervous?
Sure. The first time I had to present to a group I thought I was going to pass out. Once I begin the nervousness quickly disappears.
Do you use notes or memorize or go off the cuff?
Depending on the situation, I have applied all three. In sales it is important to speak concisely without knowing what you will need to say in advance. There are times when ceremony dictates a specific script to be memorized and incorporated or presented verbatim. Notes allow you to convey a message freely while assuring you touch all the key topics
What do you tell the person who is fearful of Public Speaking?
It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let that stop you from being great. You are speaking publicly because someone values what you have to say and wants to hear it.
How do you know that you are connecting with the audience?
Engagement is about reaction (laughter, applause, affirmations) and body language

3 WAYS TO STOP EXCESSIVE SWEATING

6 Aug

Sweat

Even me Mr. TALLspeaking must admit when I give a presentation and I take off my jacket I do it in the privacy of my own office.   I am coming out of the closet – I sweat big time!  I have learned to control my nerves in public but my shirt takes the punishment.

I have listed some key tips (below) to help my fellow sweating friends.  What do I do to control this situation, first always have  a change of clothing in your car or office and utilize the amazing drying power of a hairdryer.  How do you deal with nerves and sweating?

Avoid Spicy Foods and Caffeine

A strong coffee or a burrito doused in hot sauce might make your taste buds happy—but they could also stimulate your sweat glands in a not-so-comfortable way.

“Caffeine and spices can activate neurotransmitters, called acetylcholine, which are located in your brain,” says Kelley Redbord, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist in private practice in Vienna, VA and Associate Professor, George Washington University, “Anything that stimulates these neurotransmitters can sometimes affect the glands that cause sweating.

Go for Prescription-Level Help

Besides hot outdoor temperatures or a killer workout, emotions (such as feeling stressed during a job interview) can also make you sweat. “Anything you can do to decrease your anxiety, such as deep breathing or other relaxation techniques, will decrease the potential stimulation of neurotransmitters that can then stimulate your sweat glands,” says Dr. Redbord. “If you often sweat a lot when you’re in a stressful situation, such as with public speaking, you can consider seeing a doctor (find one near you at sweathelp.org ) who may decide to prescribe oral medications that can help decrease your sweating in these types of situations, or suggest other treatment options.”

Think Outside the Pits

The average person has two to four million sweat glands working as the body’s coolant system to protect it from overheating. “Your hands, feet, face, back, chest, and even groin have high concentrations of sweat glands,” says Dr. Glaser. Gliding or spraying antiperspirants on these areas can help keep you dry, but skip sensitive areas such as your face or private parts.

Working With People You Don’t Like

5 Aug

No matter who you are or where you work, there will be a time when you have to work with, or do business with, someone you don’t like. This person may be a client, a consultant, a colleague, or your boss.

Start by thinking about why you don’t like this person. What does he or she do, specifically, that irritates you?

It’s possible that the negative or annoying behavior reminds you of a specific trait that you have yourself and that you don’t like.

This person might have several character traits that you dislike. But, chances are, he or she also has many positive attributes. What are they? What behaviors or personality traits do you like or relate to?

You can reduce these feelings by changing the way that you react to tense situations. Learn how to manage your emotions  so that you can respond with assertiveness and dignity in tough situations.

If you have a negative interaction with someone, take immediate steps to calm down: walk away or practice deep breathing exercises  Also, make sure that you don’t let your negative mood affect how you treat others.

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