Tag Archives: body language

trauma response-public speaking anxiety

17 Nov

Did something early in live create your fear of public speaking?

Did something early in life create your fear of public speaking?

Public speaking anxiety is usually something that originates in early childhood. Perhaps a child was shouted at by a stressed parent when they tried to speak up, or had an early traumatic experience speaking out at school. This causes a trauma response to be attached to the idea of public speaking, and so every time that person is required to speak in public, the trauma is “triggered”. Experts explain that the way to deal with a public speaking anxiety is to remove the emotional tag from the experience – so speaking in front of others no longer triggers the old trauma. This is entirely possible, but is unlikely to happen of its own accord. Most people with this fear need outside help.

People hate it when they get talked at, so don’t do it.

29 Oct

TALLspeaking tips before, during, and after your presentation!

  1. Don’t abuse your visuals – Usually your visuals are posters, charts, but never use PowerPoint .  Whatever your visuals may be, keep them simple and don’t put too many words on them. The audience isn’t there to read your slides, they are there to listen to you present.
  2. Look at the audience – If you ever wondered where you should be looking when presenting, the answer is right in front of you. Don’t just single out one person, but instead try to make eye contact with numerous people throughout the room. If you don’t do this then you aren’t engaging the audience, you are just talking to yourself. This can result in an utter lack of attention from your audience.
  3. Show your personality – It doesn’t matter if you are presenting to a corporate crowd or to senior citizens, you need to show some character when presenting. If you don’t do this you’ll probably sound like Agent Smith from the Matrix. Nobody wants to hear him present
  4. Make them laugh – Although you want to educate your audience, you need to make them laugh as well. I learned this from Guy Kawasaki and if you ever hear any of his speeches you’ll understand why. In essence, it keeps the audience alert and they’ll learn more from you than someone who just educates.
Always believe a guy in a bow tie!

Always believe a guy in a bow tie!

  1. Talk to your audience, not at them – People hate it when they get talked at, so don’t do it. You need to interact with your audience and create a conversation. An easy way to do this is to ask them questions as well as letting them ask you questions.
  2. Be honest – A lot of people present to the audience what they want to hear, instead of what they need to hear. Make sure you tell the truth even if they don’t want to hear it because they will respect you for that and it will make you more human and authentic.
  3. Don’t over prepare – If you rehearse your presentation too much it will sound like it in a bad way.  Never tape your presentation because you will start to look rehearsed.   Granted, you need to be prepared enough to know what you are going to talk about but make sure your presentation flows naturally instead of sounding memorized. Usually if you ask experienced speakers what you shouldn’t do, they’ll tell you not to rehearse your presentation too much because then it won’t sound natural.
  4. Show some movement – You probably know that you need to show some movement when speaking, but naturally you may forget to do so. Make sure you show some gestures or pace around a bit (not too much) on the stage when speaking. Remember, no one likes watching a stiff. People are more engaged with an animated speaker.
  5. Watch what you say – You usually don’t notice when you say “uhm”, “ah”, or any other useless word frequently, but the audience does. It gets quite irritating; so much that some members of the audience will probably count how many times you say these useless words.  Learn how to eliminate weak language from your everyday use.
  6. Differentiate yourself – If you don’t do something unique compared to all the other presenters the audience has heard, they won’t remember you. You are branding yourself when you speak, so make sure you do something unique and memorable.

Show me your inner freak!!

15 Oct

Getting older has one silver lining – you can quickly discern and remove those fake people from your life.  To me it’s all about authenticity – truly being your chemical make-up.   So many people lose authenticity and become robotic copies of people they think are successful.  Morrissey has a song called “People are the same everywhere”  and he is desperate not to be part of a herd mentality.  The herd has no passion, no innovation, no richness, no depth.

If you are fake in communication –  face to face or to a group your listeners will flip the channel – there eyes will be hollow stares as they go into their own world.  You might as well be talking to your dog.  You must speak and brand you – no matter how strange you think you are inside.  To communicate you must release the freak.

Do one thing today to release your inner freak  and comment!!

“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.”

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.

I am a proud Introvert and a Public Speaker?

19 Aug

Introverts can be public speakers!

Introverts can be public speakers!

Do you freak out when your cell phone is down to 10 percent and you can’t find a plug to charge anywhere?  You may debate – should I turn it off to save the battery or just hope you get to a place to charge in time?  For me by Friday afternoon my battery is red-lining.  I am desperate for some solitude – to get away from conversation and interaction.  I need that time to put all my thoughts in order and to make sense of the world.

People think that only extroverts can be good public speakers because they gain their energy from people.  They think that introverts can’t stand people and only want to live on a remote island.  That type of talk is rubbish and completely ignorant and irresponsible.   Anyone can be an amazing speaker but they have to know their temperament and limitations with stimulation.  I have learned that I must have some time before a presentation (10-15) minutes to put my thoughts in order and find that inner solitude.  So, my introverted friends – don’t let an emotional condition hold you back from communicating with the world?

Introvert 2

Begin with a Flavor Scene – hmmmmm?

12 Aug

Many of the clients I coach ask me “I just don’t know how to start my talk”?  We have been trained to start with our name and what organization or position we hold in a company.  THAT IS BORING!  You have 5 seconds to capture your audience’s attention and you think saying your name and company will grab them!  Imagine if every movie started with “Today you will be watching”  You must start by grabbing attention.

Begin with a Flavor Scene

Good movies  open with what is called a “flavor scene,” grabbing attention and positioning the audience for what is to come. I relate the first three pages of a movie script to the first thirty seconds of your speech.

Mike Powell, when he was a senior scientist at Genentech, grabbed the interest of a Continental Breakfast Club audience by beginning: “Being a scientist is like doing a jigsaw puzzle, in a snow storm…at night…when you don’t have all the pieces…or the picture you are trying to create.” Everyone sat up and paid attention, they realized that they could understand and relate to the challenges and frustration of a scientist. That immediately proved it would not be a technical presentation.

Your flavor scene doesn’t necessarily have to lead where the audience expects it to, but it should make an impact, and it must tie in to what follows

Picking lint off your clothes means you disapprove? WHAT!!!

2 Aug

Do you know the meaning of picking lint?

Do you know the meaning of picking lint?

The first language we learn is body language but many times we have no idea what we are REALLY saying!   Below are some common things we do daily – but this time you learn what they are saying to others!

  • Holding Objects in Front of Your Body – a coffee cup, notebook, hand bag, etc.  Holding objects in front of your body indicates shyness and resistance, such that you’re hiding behind the objects in an effort to separate yourself from others.  Instead of carrying objects in front of you, carry them at your side whenever possible.
  • Picking Lint Off of Your Clothes– If you pick lint off of your clothes during a conversation, especially in conjunction with looking downwards, most people will assume that you disapprove of their ideas and/or feel uneasy about giving them an honest opinion.  Leave the lint alone!
  • Stroking Your Chin While Looking at Someone – “I’m judging you!”  People frequently stroke their chin during the decision-making process.  If you look at someone while you’re stroking your chin, they may assume that you’re making a judgmental decision about them.
  • Standing Too Close – Most people consider the 4 square feet of space immediately surrounding their body to be personal space.  Cross this invisible boundary with good friends and intimate mates only.
  • Touching Your Face During a Conversation– Face touching, especially on the nose, is commonly interpreted as an indication of deception.  Also, covering up the mouth is a common gesture people make when they’re lying.  Always keep your hands away from your face when you’re speaking.
  • Resting Hands Behind the Head or on the Hips – usually interpreted as a sign of superiority or bigheadedness.  Only use these gestures when you’re in the presence of close friends.
  • Crossing Your Arms – a sign of defensive resistance.  Some people may also interpret it as a sign of egotism.  Always try to keep your arms open and at your sides.
  • Displaying a Sluggish Posture – Your stance literally makes a stand for you, delivering a clear message about how you should be treated.  It can make a huge difference in the way strangers respond to you.  Place your feet a comfortable distance apart, keep your shoulders pulled back, head up and greet people with direct eye contact and a firm handshake.
  • Scratching at the Backside of Your Head and Neck – a typical sign of doubt and uncertainty.  It can also be interpreted as an indication of lying.  Try to keep your hands away from your head when you’re communicating with others.

Saying “So” makes you sound weak and afraid to voice your opinion!

15 Jul

“So” may be the new “well,” “um,” “oh” and “like.”

To begin a sentence with “oh,” she said in an e-mail message, is to focus on what you have just remembered and your own concerns. To begin with “so,” she said, is to signal that one’s coming words are chosen for their relevance to the listener.

The ascendancy of “so,” Dr. Bolden said, “suggests that we are concerned with displaying interest for others and downplaying our interest in our own affairs.”

Perhaps we all live now in fear that a conversation could snap at any moment, could be interrupted by so many rival offerings. With “so,” we beg to be heard. We insist, time and again, that this is it; this is what you’ve been waiting to hear; this is the “so” moment.

Saying “So” make s you sound weak and afraid to voice your opinion.  It makes you look like you have to fight for attention.  It shows that you can’t pause and let silence fill the room.  “So” is a filler word to delay an answer and it dulls your listening audience.  Break the habit of “So” via training from a speech coach such as TALLspeaking.

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