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Our Weirdest Advice on how to prepare for any speaking opportunity

Our Weirdest Advice on how to prepare for any speaking opportunity

You might guess that I’d advise you to prepare for speaking opportunities by analyzing your audience’s needs and how to get their buy-in, figuring out your main points, support material and & stories, and sharing your call to action.

All true but not weird!

Our weirdest advice

Do the 7 to 1 Exercise.

What is this?

  • Stand up.
  • Smile.
  • Lift your right arm and shake your arm while projecting your voice louder than usual and say each number descending from 7 to 1,  “7,6,5,4,3,2,1”. Put your right arm down.
  • Lift your left arm and repeat. Put your left arm down.
  • Lift your right leg and shake your foot in the air while smiling and saying loudly each number descending from 7 to 1. Put your right leg down.
  • Lift your left leg and repeat.
  • Do this all again (right arm – then left arm – then right foot – then left foot) starting with 6 down to 1. Then again starting with 5 to 1, 4 to 1, 3 to 1, 2 to 1, and then 1 wave of your right arm, 1 wave or your left arm, 1 kick of your right foot and one final kick of your left foot.
  • Remember to smile and project your voice at all times during this routine.
  • OR …  click on the 90-second video in this blog and watch this exercise in action!

When do you do this?

Do this exercise ahead of your speaking opportunity in the privacy of your hotel room or office.

Why do you want to do this?!

You warm up your voice, body, face and brain cells. You have to think about what number you’re on, while you smile, project and balance your body. AND… you’ll channel your extra adrenaline (those sneaky nerve-racking butterflies) in a positive direction.

I learned this great exercise when I took improv classes. We did this routine before every performance. I still do this 7 to 1 exercise before any speaking engagement and I’ve taught it to all my clients. You may think you look like an idiot but you’re training your face, voice and body to look natural and strong.

 

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

 

How to Solve Speaker Anxiety

How to Solve Speaker Anxiety

How to Solve the New York Times Crossword gives you four excellent clues on how to solve speaker anxiety.

Start With the Monday Puzzles

“The Monday NYT Crosswords are the easiest, and the puzzles get harder as the week goes on. Solve as many of the Mondays as you can before pushing yourself to Tuesday puzzles. You can thank us later.”

Same goes for giving presentations. Start small. Speak to “warm”/agreeable audiences first. Speak on topics you’ve earned the right to discuss. Speak in settings that add to your comfort zone. Then push yourself. You can thank me later.

It’s Not Cheating, It’s Learning

Tip: Don’t be afraid to look up answers. You’ll become a better solver for it.”

As speakers, it’s not cheating to have notes. In fact your audience wants you to stay on time and on target. Notes keep you from getting disorganized and tangential. And it lowers your anxiety.

Note: Don’t read your notes verbatim. Only bring an outline to the lectern.

Practice Makes, If Not Perfect, a Much Better Solver

“Do more puzzles. The more you solve, the better you’ll get.”

Quid pro quo, practice makes you a better speaker and decreases nervousness. Practice tips: Say your beginning and ending out loud at least 4 times. Remember that giving a speech is not hard (because you’re speaking about your topic) … it’s just difficult to start and conclude.

As a recovering perfectionist I steer away from the adage, “Practice makes perfect.” Instead, “Predictable practice makes you better prepared.”

Solve With a Friend

“Tip: Solving with another person can work to your advantage. You know things your friend doesn’t know, and he or she knows things that you don’t know.”

I love speaking and am intimidated by doing crossword puzzles. Thank you to my son-in-law, Kevin, for being my crossword puzzle friend. You make it fun and easier!

To decrease your fear of public speaking practice with a non-judgey friend. Then buy them lunch.

Puzzling your way out of speaker anxiety ➜ Use these foundational crossword puzzle strategies as your clues.

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

Speaker Anxiety – how to dance with this demon

Speaker Anxiety – how to dance with this demon

I remember…

my first class I teach at Richland College.

I’m nervous and think, “This 90-minute class will never end.”

But I’m done in 5 minutes!

There I stand, with 40 college students looking at me. I know I have nothing else to say. They know I have nothing else to say. And my entire body breaks out into a sheen of sweat.

Had I not signed a contract to teach this class I might not be a speaker and communication consultant now as CEO of Speak For Yourself®! I am forced to show up at Richland College every Tuesday and Thursday for 16 weeks. That’s 32 class sessions in case you didn’t do the math.

It was a powerful lesson that I learned about practice and perseverance.

Effective speakers/teachers/communicators make it look easy.

It’s not!

And now…

I warn all of my fabulous clients that speaker anxiety is part of the game of speaking. You won’t get rid of it. In fact, you want that adrenaline edge. You learn how to dance with that demon and use that extra energy in a positive vs. negative way.

And some of those demon-dance steps include practice, perseverance, time, rinse and repeat.

I taught at Richland College for 10 years. The first class of each semester (and all my classes) lasted the full 90 minutes!

One of my coping mechanisms then and now (I still can get hot!) …  I wear cotton.

What are some of your coping mechanisms?

What’s your biggest presentation mistake?

What’s your biggest presentation mistake?

Just 20 minutes into my Speak For Yourself® Workshop in New Jersey…

… an attendee shuffles into the room. It’s not a big room. Everyone stops, as do I, to let him walk in front of me, and the group, to find a seat.

You know the beginning of your presentation is crucial. That’s when you build credibility with your audience, gain their attention, set out your goals, get their buy-in.

This guy misses that train. I stop him – right in the middle of the room – and say, “Hey – I’m going to sit down and let you teach this class!” And I find a seat, leaving this guy center stage.

Note: This maneuver can get you into trouble. It’s edgy. But I was NOT going to leave him up there for more than a few seconds. Reasons FOR doing this: everyone is distracted and you, the speaker, need to address the distraction. At this moment, no one is listening to you anyway.

From my seated position I ask, “What’s your name?” He replies, standing in the middle of the room, “Bill Cutler.”

I pause and respond, “Bill, thank you for founding this company in 1977. You are the reason we are here today. It’s your genius and your tenacity that got your business to its international status during this past 40 years!”

How do you really screw up as a communicator?

Not doing your pre-intel on your audience.

If the ship misses the harbor, it’s rarely the harbor’s fault. Whether you are speaking to your investors, your team, chatting at a cocktail reception, or sending an email – do your homework. Find out who they are, what they do, what matters to them. You won’t hit any icebergs and you will reduce your speaker anxiety.

Speaking of ships, when this tardy attendee says his name my credibility and trust in that room could have hit an iceberg. By doing some homework ahead of time I avoid a Titanic Moment. He looked different than his website photo, but (thank you Lord) I did know his story.

How do you write a great introduction?

How do you write a great introduction?

You have prepared for your presentation. You are ready.

But wait! How will you get introduced? It’s one ingredient for a knockout presentation that often goes missing… with fatal consequences.

Not to sound too dramatic – without a planned way to introduce yourself, you leave yourself open to the whim of the meeting organizer.

  • Maybe there are things you DON’T want the audience to know.
  • Maybe you want the audience to laugh even before you’ve opened your mouth.
  • Maybe you want to add some speaker credibility from another source.
  • Maybe you want to lower your speaker anxiety index!

Your template for a clever, fun and engaging introduction

  1. Open with WHY the audience wants to hear about your subject. That’s right… your subject. NOT YOU! How is your info relevant to them? What will they gain from listening to you?
  2. Next – Share some credibility facts about you – why you are the perfect person to discuss the subject matter. Keep this to four sentences max.
  3. Following short paragraph: Share some personal stuff (if that works for you). Audiences like to know about you, the person, as well as you, the expert.
  4. Last paragraph: Share your name and title of your speech – “Let’s welcome from Dallas, Texas – Karen Cortell Reisman, who will tell us how to Speak For Yourself!”

Rules for a great introduction

  1. Fits on one page at 18-font type (sometimes your introducer needs reading glasses but isn’t wearing them…)
  2. Print out your intro and bring to the event, even though you emailed it in advance.
  3. Provide a phonetic spelling of your name: “Karen Core-tell Rice-men”
  4. Keep the whole thing short. We stop listening after your third accolade.
  5. Include something funny – here’s what I use: “Our speaker has one masters degree, one bachelors degree, one cow named Bliss, one daughter, one son and one husband, not exactly in that order. When our speaker is not working with decision makers on how to communicate, she can be found on that farm with her cow trying to find cell phone reception to talk to her city slicker friends.”

Don’t miss this opportunity to begin your presentation with pizzaz and predictability.

Source: thanks to Christine Cashen, CSP, Speaker Hall of Fame, for many of the ideas used in this blog. She is the pro on creating fantastic introductions.

© 123RF Stock Photo

#communication   #KarenCortellReisman   #SpeakForYourself   #GreatIntroductions

One ingredient for a  powerful speech that often goes missing

One ingredient for a powerful speech that often goes missing

You have practiced your delivery and you know what your audience wants/needs to hear.

All critical for your success on the platform.

BUT – What haven’t you done? What often goes missing?

Your introduction. What the meeting organizer says about YOU just before you jump on stage.

Recently I visited the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santé Fe, NM. One entire wall exhibited picture frames that she liked to use for her art.

This wall, in a small museum, was devoted to frames? Not her art?

Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Sante Fe, NM

Of course. O’Keeffe understood that the picture frame mattered. It could enhance or detract from the art itself.

The same principle applies to your presentations. The way you get introduced frames the way you are perceived. Why leave this to chance?

🎤 Your homework

Write your own introduction and email it to the meeting planner. Bring an extra copy as well, in case the emcee loses it (happens a lot).

🎤 Your payoff

  • More predictability.
  • More energy.
  • Less speaker anxiety.

One client who speaks across the country told me, “Karen, having a great introduction sets the stage in such a better way for me. It calms my nerves, and I start off with more power. It’s one of the best takeaways from working with you.”

Stay tuned for tips on how to write clever and fun introductions.

#speakforyourself   #karencortellreisman   #speechintroduction   #communication

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