July 27, 2011 By
I’m continuing yesterday’s post on this subject because it continues to be a one that brings otherwise powerful leaders and experts to their knees. Yesterday, I put forth the contention that the first step in getting over the fear of speaking is to stop saying you are afraid of public speaking–because that’s not accurate. What you are afraid of is being humiliated–and I outlined five contributors to this mind-gripping terror. Today, I am going into some depth with each one. I would love to hear which one you find has contributed most to your fears–and what solution you are committed to engaging so that you get out there with your message! The 5 Contributors to Fearing Being Humiliated When Public Speaking 1. We’ve been humiliated publicly. This first issue is a deep one. We have a primordial reaction to being shunned publicly—perhaps because throughout history it has so often meant being ostracized from our clan and facing life alone. And when it happens to us as a child, before we’ve learned to engage our reasoning mind to disengage from our emotionality, the stain of humiliation can seem permanent. But only if we allow it to be. As Eleanor Roosevelt so aptly put it, No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. And no event defines who you are unless you let it. You can choose to allow an experience to define your fragility; you can choose to allow the past to define your future—but that’s a choice you’re making. Know that you don’t have to keep yourself safe anymore. You can handle anything. (See an up-coming post about my own humiliation years ago.) 2. We’re self-focused, rather than audience-focused. Rather than giving to the audience, we’re focused on getting approval from them—which leads to a strong need to be perfect. Here’s the rub: if we must be perfect, we’re going to fail because—sit down, if you need to— we’re not ever going to be perfect. If we feel we must be perfect but we never will be perfect, we’re in quite a spot, aren’t we? And ultimately,we know that, which is what a great deal of the fear is about. So how do you stop needing to be perfect before an audience? Adjust your purpose from“needing to get” to “needing to give.” In the New Paradigm, you are (among many things) involved with your audience in such a way that you are not the star, they are. I teach that you are a teacher, not a speaker, and that shift creates a significant change in how you view yourself. When you’re there to give (as teachers are), your self-importance vanishes, and it is self-importance that fuels fear. You aren’t important, they are. Another note on this: it’s also worth accepting that you’re never going to please everyone. Someone in the room won’t like you. The question is, Can that be okay with you? If it can’t be…why? Try this tack, too: ask yourself, what’s the worst that can happen if I forget something—or everything? If the audience gets up and leaves after the first 10 minutes? Go through the process of questioning yourself with this. Answer it the first time. If I forget what I want to say, the worst thing is I won’t be asked back to speak. And what’s the worst thing that could happen from that? I’ll have to find a new group to speak to. And the worst thing from that? You’ll find, that “the worst”…isn’t. Finally—if you aren’t perfect? Be self-effacing right in the moment. People love when speakers acknowledge their own “mistakes.” Not doing so, however, allows the awkwardness to “sit in the room,” which isn’t good energy -management. So, make a joke about yourself and move on. Your audience will feel what you feel, so the more confidently and nonchalantly you handle an embarrassing moment, the more confident they will feel about what you did, as well. 3. We simply aren’t prepared. Needing to practice is Public Speaking 101, right? Not for many, many speakers (especially those who like being in front of groups; they think their comfort level makes them good, and often they don’t bother to practice at all.) But even those who fear speaking don’t realize the incredible power of knowing their material cold. The greatest fear comes from not knowing it; that your brain will go blank. So, practice! Practice in the shower, in the car, doing dishes— wherever you can. You will walk on the (proverbial) stage as if you own it when you know your stuff. 4. We’re mimicking “old school” speakers and presenters. The New Paradigm techniques I teach tend to mitigate fear because they are so much about creating energy in the room and being empowered and self-expressed. But let me share some Old Paradigm techniques that tend to perpetuate fear: 1) Opening with your name and a “thank you for coming”—the first puts an emphasis on you, which will only augment the fear you already have, and the second puts you in the weak position of appreciating the audience for taking the time to list to you—and that insecure stance can perpetuate fear; 2) “Pouring” information at your audience from a distance, while they listen quietly—again, this emphasizes you and your material, which will increase trepidation and the need to get it right; 3) Believing you must present yourself as serious and intellectual—“having to be” anything is going to rattle your nerves, but feeling you need to appear“important” is going to send you over the edge; and finally, 4) Standing behind a podium— physical blockades symbolize emotional blockades; the more physical and emotional distance between you and your audience, the more nervous you are going to be. Get out from behind the block and close to your audience. 5. We’re unsure about the value of our message. Other than being unprepared, little can make us as nervous as being unsure if others want to hear our message. I’m not going to give you a pep-talk here; I’m going to be blunt: make sure it is something they want to hear. Know your audience. Then, make sure that you really are giving value. A lot of speakers don’t! They speak above or below their audiences; they provide cliché material; they don’t help the audience to see how it’s valuable in their lives. If you’re nervous about the value of your message—it may be worth a look. On the other hand, when you know that you’re giving extreme value to your audiences, you’ll be chomping on the bit to give it to them and your nerves will be jumping for other reasons! That goes back to the giving vs . getting issue: If you’ve got value to give but you’re still more focused on getting their approval, fear will nail you. But giving great value because you can’t wait to give it? You’ll be irrepressible! I truly hope these ideas have given you food for thought because you have a message to get out there!! You cannot give fear the power any longer. Take over, take control. Recognize, again, that it is humiliation you fear, not public speaking. So, what’s the worst thing that can happen to you if you’re humiliated? Really dig deep with yourself there and you’ll find that the “worst” is simply not worth being a slave to fear any longer, hiding away what you’ve got to say, and living a life far smaller than you were meant to live. Nothing is worth that.
May 10, 2011 By
April 15, 2011 By
April 12, 2011 By
As the socially-dominant person in your live events (or teleclass, or meeting, or home), you have immense power…because you activate this neuron in the members of your audience, good or bad. Here’s a question for you: what do you think has *more* power: YOU or that neuron in the person in the front row? When you’re done watching me, watch this!
April 6, 2011 By
I won’t mention his name, but I went into the city last week to see a guy who traverses the country, giving seminars. Here are 3 mistakes he made that I want to make sure you don’t make yourself. When you’re done watching, make a comment or ask a question about the tips. This is a 5-minute video–but think of it as a “mini-training,” and look to see how you could change your own live events.
February 19, 2011 By
In my last post, I cracked the moral whip, taking a zero-tolerance stance on “how-to experts” who earn a living sharing their expertise, without ever learning the expertise of teaching. I made it clear that I find doing so irresponsible and glaringly out of alignment with their professed intention of wanting to help others. No one is being helped by an expert who doesn’t know how to successfully transfer knowledge. And I ruffled a few (not many, but a few) feathers, clearly hitting a nerve. So, let’s leave morality behind and get practical. Teaching power- fully is the difference between a message sticking, and a message evaporating into thin air. Teaching effectively is the difference between your viewers, readers or listeners taking the action you want them to, and slipping away into oblivion. Teaching well is the difference between their buying on the spot, and procrastinating. Contributing, and making excuses. Participating full-on, and sitting on the bench. Telling others about you, and remaining silent. If you got triggered by my wrist-slapping the other day, you can certainly agree with the common sense fact that teaching well is good for your reputation, your business and your intention to stimulate action. But I believe there is a critical purpose to teaching effectively that is greater than the moral value and the benefits to your business—and it has to do with the historic times we find ourselves in, and what they mean for the future of entrepreneurs. Have you noticed the once-incomprehensible changes that are happening on the planet right now? Upheavals of almost every kind abound, and with them come growing fear and uncertainty. And whether you realize it or not, your role as a business owner is changing, too. Where once, you were in service to your individual markets—now, you’re in service to the planet. Your role as entrepreneur is being upgraded to “leader of change.” I met an 85-year-old woman the other night who was terribly excited about the GET ON YOUR FEET2011 movement I’ve launched, and she added a new word to my lexicon: world-citizen. In these times, we are being called to world-citizenship as businesses. Which means we will be called forward to lead–on platforms we’ve never stood on before. And we must be worthy of that leadership. We must communicate so potently and effectively, that our words of insight get through, and move people to change with these changing times. It is essential that we not waste a breath speaking, unless it impacts. As a leader of change, everything we convey must count. And that is the most important reason to teach with powerful effectiveness. Not just because it’s morally responsible (which it is), or because it will make you more money (which it will)—but because you are here to achieve something and become a part of something bigger than you, and its success is imperative. The “new world” we are so quickly inhabiting will require powerful new leaders with new-paradigm qualifications. Teaching with excellence will be just one. On Thursday, February 24 at 4pm EST, I am doing something I have never done. (You’ve heard that one before, right?) I’m serious, though. For years, I’ve taught a revolutionary public speaking training based on brain research in memory and learning. Secrets of Impact and Influence has been an enduring and highly acclaimed signature program—that I only give live. Outside that training, I have never so much as whispered to any- one the secrets I teach there—and all of my attendees have been sworn to the same code of honor. But on Feb. 24, I am opening up the Secrets of Impact & Influence manual and teaching page 13: The 10 “Don’t-Bother -Teaching-Without-These” Factors of Deep and Rapid Learning. And because I’ll be using all 10 factors, The Inspired Speakers teleclass is going to be unlike ANY free call (or paid call!) you have EVER experienced. If you’re an expert, you cannot miss this. If you’re an entrepreneur, this is your future: leaders of change must know this information. So go now, read all about it and sign up!
March 31, 2010 By
For the next few weeks, I’m focusing my posts on public speaking because it’s key to changing the world. Today, I want to send you over to an eye-opening video on YouTube that has, on the surface, nothing to do with speaking–and yet nothing we do in any part of our lives is exempt from the message contained in this video. The video tell us “We are living in exponential times“–and it then proceeds to make its point: in 2006, there were 2.7 billion Google searchs. Two years later, there were 31 billion!! Did you read that right? In 1984 there were 1,000 internet devices. In ’92, there were 1 million. In ’08–1 trillion. Exponential times. A company in Japan is testing a fiber optic cable that can send 14 trillion bits of information per second down a single strand of fiber…this is equal to 210 millon phone calls per second. Ever heard for an exabyte? It’s (4 x10 ^19). Equal to 1 billion gigabytes. It looks like this: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000. The video estimated that in ’08, 4 exabytes of unique information would be generated. More than in the previous 5,000 years. We are living in exponential times. The world is humming at frequencies never known before. Obsolescence is occuring some- where every second. With this mind-boggling upsurge in speed, our brains are being rewired; we are thinking differently and learning differently. The brain is plastic; it changes and grows and the way we integrated information twenty years ago in high school doesn’t apply. And it doesn’t apply for those we’re teaching and coaching. Are your current attempts at knowledge-transfer (ie. your pre- sentations) humming as fast as the rest of the world? Are they provocative enough to capture the attention of minds fractured by constant stumuli? Are they as new as the latest App? Are the ideas you’re presenting ”escaping the wannabees” and gener- ating exponential growth? Maybe those are high standards for a single presentation. But I’m not one to wrap myself up in cozy excuses and I bet you aren’t either. I believe if we are worth our salt as leaders and as conveyors of information, we must measure the quality of our content against the pace of the world–and that of course, begins with the big-picture question, Is my business keeping up with the breath-stealing acceleration of the times we’re in? If not, what must I do? If so, how do I ensure my presentations do the same? I teach a “new paradigm” of audience leadership– but this video got me asking the question, How can it be even newer? How can I speed up what I’m teaching to meet the frequency of the world’s vibration? I’m giving a free 90-minute teleclass on the “old paradigm” of public speaking, and its replacement: the new paradigm based on the latest brain research. I’m sending you away to watch the YouTube video–but before you go, I invite you to sign up for the teleclass on April 7th. It’s provocative and will shift how you think about speaking in public You can read all about it here. Then go check out the video I’ve talked about today, Did You Know?
March 25, 2010 By
I love Chris Daughtry. I love that he triumphed magnificently after being voted off of American Idol at number 5. That his debut album was the fastest selling debut rock album in Soundscan his- tory. That it has been certified 4 times platinum by RIAA and has sold more than 5 million copies. And I love his music—or should I say his first album. Every single song rocks and, well, I’ve listened to them on my iPod so many times, I honestly don’t know what was a hit single on the radio and what wasn’t; they’re all hit songs to me. It was with that great appreciation and admiration that I excitedly took my seat at the Prudential Center Sunday night to see Daughtry live. I write about my experience now because it so nicely parallels the experience any of us has when we are in an audience, and gives clues to what we need to do when we’re in front of an audience. Granted, Daughtry is no Paul Rogers–my true rock idol and THE rock legend, who knows precisely how to energize an audi- ence and keep them energized, even when he’s singing new music. But Daughtry should have known that he has to open with a song that spikes endorphins in his audience, a crowd-pleaser that takes the energy in the stadium from 0-60 in seconds. Paul started a concert I saw two years ago with “Feel Like Making Love.” What state of mind and spirit do you think that put his fans into, hearing that song right out of the gate? Daughtry played a new song—which, come on, let’s get real,the audience doesn’t want to hear. Not yet. Those amazing chemicals released from our brains that make us feel “high” and dizzy with excitement…weren’t released And that is a bad mistake. It sets the stage for what’s to come—and not come. And it’s a mistake presenters make all the time. I noticed, in spite of myself, that at the half-hour mark, I wasn’t jumping up and down. In fact, I was sitting. In fact, most every- one was sitting. Unless you’re watching Luciano Pavoratti, or bluegrass or any other “listening music”—there is no worse sign at a rock concert than an audience sitting down. It means there’s not enough energy coursing through them to get to their feet. Nothing impelling them to rise and move or clap or shout or sing. It’s rare to see anyone singing passionately at a rock concert while sitting down. No, we rise to our feet because the energy in us is too big and powerful for the constrained sitting position. If we’re reclining, our brains are, too. And that spells death for a rock star (and presenter). Why was everyone sitting? Because Daughtry was playing one new song after another. And they’re mainly ballads—and not great ones, at that. This is akin to giving a presentation in a flat monotone, with nothing but Power Point, and referencing very little that is of interest to us. Last week in the blog posts, I wrote about the brain’s need for relevancy–what’s in it for me, and for emotion! Neither was happening thirty-minutes into the concert. And then Chris said something so true, and I’m wondering if he realized their mis- take as it was unfolding (if you’re professional at all in front of a group, you are masterful at measuring energy.) He said, “Let’s get you guys back into familiarity.” My brain jumped back to my blog post from last Friday, where I talked about the brain’s need for familiarity. And low and behold, as they started to play the very first notes of a song from their first album, bodies began to rise instantly, instinctively. Soon, the whole room was standing again because the familiarity of a song they loved shot a cascade of feel-good chemicals from their brain into their body and brought them to their feet because sitting down was too small a feeling for what was burgeoning within them. The band managed to keep us standing for a few more songs, but then dropped the ball again. Lost their control of the room’s energy. Like presenters do constantly. This is something iconic Paul never does. Of course, he’s been doing this forty years longer than Daughtry. But he knows that alternating between old favorites and new ones keeps the energy at a constant high. He also knows that the audience needs to experience the biggest high of the night as they are walking out. He knows he needs to build the energy to a crescendo in his encores, until the last song he sings tips everyone over the edge. The last song must be an all-time favorite—not one most of the room doesn’t know. Energy is what causes an audience to want more, tell others about their experience, and come back for more. If it dips for a few minutes, that’s understandable and it can be saved. But if it dips more than once, you begin to lose your audi- ence. Daughtry let it dip too often, and near the end, we all slid off the cliff. Countless seats had been abandoned by the beginning of his encore. Just as so many presentations, classrooms and churches experience a mass exodus near the end. Brain-Food for Thought: Do you manage the energy in your presentations, so that your audience is feeling familiar with your content but also energized by the content they’ve never heard? Are you causing them to feel so they figuratively (and literally!) “rise to their feet”? Or do they stay (figuratively and literally) sedately in their seats because nothing you are saying grabs at them, heart and soul, causing the chemicals of emotion to burst through them? If you want to hear more on this topic, be sure to sign up for my upcoming 90-minute free teleclass on the new paradigm of public speaking that “talks to the brains” of audiences. The next one is April 7th. Click here to learn more.