Did you learn in grade school that when you give a presentation you must “act” a certain way?
Going full Shakespeare
Here’s what we see with our Speak For Yourself® clients: When you stand up to deliver your message you transform! The real you goes missing and you go full Shakespeare. Or, conversely, you become muted.
Where did “you” go?
The best mental exercise to sound like yourself at the lectern & reduce performance anxiety
Think about a friend that you meet with to just hang out and talk.
What’s the location? Where are you when you have these chats?
What are you drinking? (Doesn’t have to be alcoholic.)
Some recent client responses:
Person: His brother. Watering hole: A campsite at their 700 acre family ranch. Drink: Blanton’s Bourbon
His mother. Back porch by the pool. Iced tea with lime and mint.
Her husband. Their Crested Butte house on the deck – drinking chilled dry Grey Goose martini.
When you are giving a speech imagine you’re talking to your buddy, in your favorite hang-out location, sipping on your drink of choice.
THAT’S the voice and tone you want to project at your board meeting, panel, or quarterly townhall.
Fill in these blanks and add to our blog comments. Picture that set up at your next event. You will sound conversational and like you.
So, tonight when I’m being interviewed as a “Local Legend” of National Speakers Association – N. TX Chapter I’m going to imagine I’m with my husband, sitting on the porch of our Star Ranch, sipping Glenlivet neat.
PS: check out our new website! www.speakforyourself.com
What should you get yourself in order to speak with confidence?
We @ Speak For Yourself® have curated the best gifts, by category, to help you check this quest off your gift-buying list.
A smile, good posture, and effective eye contact cost nothing.
Have you heard the phrase, “Fake it till you make it?” You may feel uncomfortable but you can appear as if you own Manhattan by your facial expression, stance and eyeball connection.
Clothing & Accessories
Buy clothes you love that fit the group and venue you’re speaking at.
Buy shoes that you can stand in, for hours, that look great. (Good luck.) For women – I’ve seen some fabulous post-pandemic glittery sneakers that have rocked the stage.
Buy yourself a Story Journal. Write down the funny stuff that happens. Keep a story log of events inside and outside your professional world. Then find ways to make these stories relevant when you run your company town halls / strategic retreats / quarterly zoom meetings. You will resonate more with your various audiences, which in turn will increase your confidence.
Besides the obvious – your computer, auxiliary cords, and remote wireless clicker if you use visuals, also purchase back up batteries, a decent pen, old fashioned note pad, and a thumb drive with your material (even if everything is in the cloud). Having your tech arsenal ready and available will add to your comfort level.
Food & Drink
Some of my clients beg me to agree that a shot of vodka will boost confident communication. No. That won’t work, and your holiday gift list to yourself does not include a trip to your wine store. Here are foods and a great drink that will boost your energy:
Some type of protein or a protein shake.
Easy food that will not drip onto your clothes like a piece of fruit or nuts.
(I always take a protein bar, a banana and some nuts to my speaking venues to snack on.)
Your best drink: room temp water to hydrate your vocal cords.
OK – chocolates are always a good thing to have on hand.
Can you think of other items to add to our holiday Communicate With Confidence gift list?
Loved my outfit I wore last week when I gave my Einstein keynote in Portland… until I saw the side profile pics. You tell me… better yet, don’t tell me.
At another recent communication presentation I was asked, “What’re your tips on using humor?” Read on.
Why using humor is a good thing
A lesson taught with humor is a lesson retained.
Humor reduces tension and increases retention.
Everyone wants/needs to laugh.
Humor Do Not’s
Don’t use jokes. You will alienate someone. Jokes poke fun at a social group, a political party, a gender, a college, a religion… Not good.
Don’t use funny quips or cartoons you find online. First – the copyright issues. Second – NOT original. If you see this online then so did 10,000 others.
🙄 🙄 🙄
Your safest bet is to use material about yourself. Keep a log of your own crazy mishaps. Then figure out how to fold your own stories into material that can be relevant to your audience.
Humor = Tragedy + Time
What are you crying about today… that you will laugh about tomorrow? (Well, maybe not the very next day… but with the buffer of time.)
EX: I cried after I found out that I would need a bunch of chemo due to a breast cancer diagnosis 10 years ago. … Time went by. … Then I told my husband, “Jimmy – I’d always thought I’d sleep with someone bald, I just didn’t think it would be me.”
😬 😬 😬
Your Humor Challenge
Observe with purpose.
Find the funny stuff around you. Write it down. Keep a log.
Use these personal stories to support your content.
Ok – the pics from my Portland, Oregon keynote. I don’t think my butt looks big, but do I look fat? Don’t answer that question – it’s a lose – lose proposition.
Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and just discovered that the spell checker on her Word software has been somehow reset for Brazil and it wants to change the spelling of this entire blog. You cannot make this stuff up! And it’s going to get used somewhere in Karen’s workshop tomorrow for a new client.
PS: Thank you to Linda Cohen, my friend & colleague, for attending my presentation in Portland, OR and taking these photos!
Fear of public speaking is a common form of anxiety. Everyone gets nervous before giving a speech. Full disclosure – I get nervous too. In fact I rarely eat much before a presentation. (About 15 minutes into my speech or workshop I’m starving!)
How can anxiety be useful in public speaking?
Public speaking creates an increase in adrenaline. What you do with this extra jolt separates those that become miserable at the lectern vs those that become more energized.
How can you capitalize on this extra jolt of energy?
Accept the obvious. Do NOT wish this anxiety to go away. That takes you down a slippery negative slope. You can’t undo these nerves and then you feel even more anxiety when the nervousness persists!
Do the reverse. Say to yourself, “Great – I’ve got this extra energy. All good.”
Think of this boost of adrenaline as a shot of caffeine.
Do all of the steps we’ve blogged about to ensure your success, like being prepared, knowing your audience, getting to the venue early, drinking room temp water, practicing out loud and doing some pre vocal warmups.
What happens if you are NOT nervous/excited?
What if your upcoming speech is the 29th time you’re giving the exact same message? You’re almost lethargic. Not good!
Find ways to add some nervousness/energy … as counter-intuitive as this sounds.
Shake it up – rework your topic.
Create new visuals.
Try new material.
The paradox of the fear of public speaking
You need the extra adrenaline. Use it to add more energy to your delivery. It’s a good thing.
Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself®, a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and she always has nuts or a protein bar with her at a speaking gig to snack on once her appetite kicks in.