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How to look confident without appearing fake

How to look confident without appearing fake

red apple with heart design templateThe Apple Stance

Apple speakers, at the recent Apple Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), “strode into view and assumed the position: standing with legs spread and toes pointing out”, according to the Washington Post. Dubbed The Apple Stance, it began to look fake since everyone struck this same pose!

The effort spent to look effortless

When every company employee on camera has the same stance, the juice is not worth the squeeze. I believe in executive speech coaching (I am one!). However the effort to look effortless took too much effort. The result, paradoxically, created a lack of believability. They looked like they were performing the A in AI.

The Ready Position

Try this method to look confident and approachable when giving your presentations ➜

  • Walk up to the lectern or centerstage with energy and a smile.
  • Don’t start talking the nanosecond you get there (or before you’ve even gotten to centerstage).
  • Do pause and count (internally) for two long seconds “1001 and 1002”.
  • Vary your eye contact from the left side to the right side of the room during this two-second pre-pause.
  • Stand with your weight evenly distributed at a shoulder’s width apart. BTW, the Apple Stance is a little wider and looks a bit too practiced.
  • Stand tall – don’t crouch over.
  • Don’t lock your knees – have a bit of flex here.
  • Put your arms by your sides.
  • Start your presentation, and then use your arms in a natural way.

This “Ready Position” shows strength. You’re taking up your space and it’s one of the most important ways to display confidence. My last blog, The real reason you shouldn’t tell audiences you’re nervous … and what to do instead lists other ways to look confident even if you don’t feel all that confident.

You, your stance and eating one bite out of The Apple

Far be it from me to question the world’s most valuable company! In fact, I’m typing this blog on an Apple MacBook Air while my Apple iPhone charges.

To look confident and speak with strength – speak for yourself using your own natural gestures and the Ready Position stance.

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved.

Thank you to my blog editor, Judy Dedmon Coyle, for bringing this Washington Post article to my attention. What fun!

4 Tedious Conversation Topics to Avoid

4 Tedious Conversation Topics to Avoid

Roman sculpture of a face with a water spiget placed where the mouth is.

Know when to turn your faucet on and off!

Your Speak For Yourself® guide

Conversation topics that can best be handled with Zen minimalism

Don’t be the one that shares too much detail on subjects with limited interest to others.

🎤  Tedious Topic #1: Your driving mishaps

🤯  You have a wreck. Or you almost have a wreck. You delve into the details. “I was in the left lane on Northwest Highway, going west, and this other guy who is two lanes over veers into my lane…” Stop right there! We are already lost trying to figure out where you are.

✅  Try to pare down the details and say, “I’m shaken by an almost wreck last week. I got lucky.”

🎤  Tedious Topic #2: Your technology hassles

🤯  Technology – you can’t live without it, and sometimes you can’t live with it! Your Wi-Fi goes away, your calendar doesn’t sync, you get to the last step and the system doesn’t accept your zip code. I won’t even mention worse tech nightmares. Stuff happens. And the less you tell us the better. It’s horrible for you and boring for us.

✅  Try saying, “I’m having tech issues. I’ll spare you the details, but it’s been a bad Monday morning!”

🎤  Tedious Topic #3: Your medical challenges

🤯  “First I had a twinge of pain on the back of my left knee. It hurt whenever I took a step. Then …” Stop!  “I take xxx for high cholesterol, yyy for high blood pressure and zzz for insomnia, and my test results were …”  Stop! Too much info!

✅  Try being very broad and make sure you have empathy for the other person’s situation. Say, “It’s been a rough time but it’s temporary. It makes me even more aware of your strength in dealing with your [fill in the blank] chronic issue.”  Or, “I have good days and bad days. I’m taking this one day at a time. Thanks for asking.”

🎤  Tedious Topic #4: Your vacations

💤   Do not give us a day-by-day rundown of your itinerary, meals and adventures. It’s boring.

✅  Try picking one story of something that went wrong! While that sounds counterintuitive, we love to hear how you handled a travel snafu. We can relate and it helps us figure out how to handle calamities on the road or at home. Plus, good stories include conflict.

Exceptions

Only go into detail if your listener keeps asking questions. Their interest stems from having similar experiences. They had a wreck in the exact same place as you. They have a very similar medical experience or they’re going to the same vacation destination. Or they are your beloved family and friends who really care. Talk away.

Truths

  • You and I have made all of these errors… sharing too much detail/pain/aggravations on these topics.
  • Why? We want you to share in our pain and joy.
  • Try the Zen approach going forward. I will too.

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved 

Photo taken by Karen in Rome, Italy

Everything in life needs a good edit – your diet, your closet & your words

Everything in life needs a good edit – your diet, your closet & your words

Cross out your deletes!

If you’re like me you have thousands of digital pics on your phone or some other cloud storage. You spend precious time scrolling through them to find The One You Want To Show At Your Dinner With Friends.

Wirecutter expert, Max Eddy, has some advice on cleaning out your camera roll. The solution? Build in a “delete day” habit. Take a few minutes daily to search that day’s date in past years and then whack away. Delete, sort into albums, or save. With time you’ll see a transformation from photo warehouse to “curated gallery”!

Everything in life needs a good edit from time to time.

I’ll leave your diet, closet and photos in your hands. As for your words, build in this Wirecutter strategy. Here’s how to clean it up.

“Words ‘n Phrase Delete” habit

Salty Sailor Words. I am walking again! I had a knee surgery 10 weeks ago that left me non weight bearing for 6 weeks that meant using a walker and a wheel chair,  followed by just the walker and then a cane. Why am I telling you this? Because I found myself using curse words to describe my situation! Yes, I admit that my frustration over the whole deal brought out some graphic phrases. I am deleting these words NOW. They detract from my gravitas.

🎤  What words belie your personal brand?

Overused Cliches and Phrases.

  • “At the end of the day” – this one wins an award for excessive use.
  • “To be honest” – is everything else you say not honest?
  • “You know what I mean?” – ummm, yes I do, unless you confused me, in which case I’d ask you to clarify.

🎤  What phrases are you using that add nothing to your meaning? Be intentional.

Verbal Clutter. The main offenders include ➜

  • “Umm”, “You know”, “And, so… anyway”.
  • I also can’t stand the “Illy Family” – filler words we can all do without. “Really”, “Actually”, “Basically”, “Truly”, and “Literally”.

🎤  Monitor your use of word clutter. Wear your “Anti-Verbal-Clutter Hat” in non-stress situations and practice deleting these superfluous words.

😳 I’m embarrassed to share that I have 21,539 photos and 641 videos on my iPhone. We all need to edit something from time to time!

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved 

Photo ©:  123RF Stock Photo

6 Ways to Appear More Authoritative at Work

6 Ways to Appear More Authoritative at Work

Emerging leaders beware: are you undermining your own authority without realizing it?

Here are 6 ways to exude confidence and appear to be a leader, according to U.S. News & World Report writer Alison Green.

🎤  Get in synch, up front, with your direct report.

Have alignment with your supervisor on issues facing your team and company. You will lose authority if your boss reverses what you are doing and saying.

🎤  Know how to answer questions when you don’t know the answer.

You will not know how to handle every situation that crosses your path. To respond with confidence in these scenarios learn to use time as your negotiating factor. Example: “You’ve raised some valid concerns and you’ve given me lots to think about. I’ll get back to you on Friday.” Note: follow up when you say you’ll follow up.

🎤  Reduce your verbal clutter.

Fillers like “um,” “you know,” and “I think,” dilute your point, make you look nervous and decreases your gravitas. Try to erase this clutter by being aware of what fillers you use and wearing your imaginary Verbal Clutter Hat. Hint: practice this de-cluttering technique in less stressful situations and the habit will carry over into your work life.

🎤  Be aware of your tone of voice.

Don’t end sentences with a question mark unless they’re questions! This bad habit, called “upspeak”, negates your authority. Also, use declarative sentences. These are simple statements providing information or stating facts. Your tone of voice implies authority vs sounding hesitant and unsure.

🎤  Use the Power of the Pause.

Sounds easy but it’s not! You rush to fill in the spaces. You might chatter nervously or do a quick laugh/giggle at the end of your sentences. Both belie your sense of authority. State your thoughts and then stop. When answering questions you can pause to formulate your thoughts before responding. Become comfortable with silence.

🎤  Be straightforward.

Say what you want to say, even in difficult or awkward conversations. You will appear more confident and authoritative by being direct. Addressing issues is part of your job.

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

A Powerful Communication Lesson from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

A Powerful Communication Lesson from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Note – This blog, originally published on 1.17.17, has been one of our most popular posts. The message remains true and I’d like to share it again on this Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

MLK uses the Anaphora Effect.

You’re asking, “What’s the Anaphora Effect?”

In honor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s American federal holiday marking his birthday, celebrated earlier this week, let’s highlight one of the genius components of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech delivered in 1963 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.

He uses the Anaphora Effect exquisitely.

Definition of Anaphora

It’s the repetition of words at the start of successive clauses, phrases or sentences.

Why use Anaphora phrases? To create a rhythm, heighten emotion, and add emphasis to make the message easier to remember.

In MLK’s famous speech:

  • Now is the time” is repeated three times in the sixth paragraph.
  • One hundred years later”, “We can never be satisfied”, “With this faith”, “Let freedom ring”, and “free at last” are also repeated.
  • Of course, the most widely cited example of anaphora is found in the often quoted phrase “I have a dream”, which is repeated eight times as King paints a picture of an integrated and unified America.

You might have learned in your English writing classes to not repeat words too often in written form. It depends. Using a catchy phrase can enhance your email or Chairman’s Report.

Your Speak For Yourself® challenge:

Use the Anaphora Effect digitally, informally and in formal presentations to create more buy-in.

 

 

Photos taken by Robin Sachs Photography. Thank you to Robin for joining me in Atlanta to tour the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and the Martin Luther King National Historical Park!

© 2024 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved

 

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