Daily Quote and Self-Reflection: Embracing Change and Openness

Daily Quote: “Things do not Change: We change.”  Henry Thoreau

Self Reflection: When “IT” comes to change and upsetting the “status quo” I am a searcher. Searchers look for problems that can become opportunities. They are open-minded about how to solve problems and do not think they have all the answers. The main tools searchers use are a “growth mindset” seeing problems as challenges, experimentation and piloting potential solutions.  Their change mantra is:: “Whoever Tries The Most Stuff Wins.” Always be open to try new ways to find the right answers. I believe one must never lose time in vainly regretting failures nor in complaining about the changes which cause us discomfort, or making excuses because the essence of change is shaking things-up.

Self-Coaching: What are you facing in your daily life that needs changing and you have been procrastinating from doing it. Listen to Graham Hill, feature speaker at TED, talk about how to create more happiness in your life. Then reflect on the TED talk and pick one thing in your daily life that will make your happiness soar. Good Luck and have fun.

Want to Make Your first Step Toward Effective Public Speaking? Try these 3 Proven Methods.

“Unique connections, even if there are 1 or 500 people in your audience, are purposeful, personal, and passionate. Your message needs to be relevant and responsive to the audience needs and interest.” -Coach Mark

We all know that a lack of effective communication skills (public speaking) will seriously harm your career and relationship prospects. Whether you are a project manager, frontline employee, or CEO, your ability to communicate in a clear and compelling manner will be important component on how successful you will be. If you can not communicate and connect with your different shareholders your great ideas and intellect will not matter.  So how do you go about making a positive impression and gain credibility with any audience.

1.  Your audience will respond warmly if you remember to not just talk or lecture at them but find creative ways to connect and engage with them.

My first rule of sticky presentations is “NO Connection = NO Interest.”

This is plainly intuitive, if you have sat through a boring presentation, you disconnect because the presenter does not take your needs into consideration  and does not make the message relevant to your problems, needs and interest.  So the question is, “how to effectively connect with your audience?

a. The easiest way to create a connection is to meet as many people 1 to 1 before you walk on stage. Then, use some of the information you have gathered in your “meet and greet” conversations to salt into your opening remarks. This technique provides a valuable time for you to get to know people and gather information that makes your present come alive to the audience.

b. Create audience member engagement and involvement. Your audience does want to be a passive vessel for you to empty your message into; they want to be an active and engaged part of  your presentation. Right at the beginning of your presentation, pose a challenging question or use a quick activity like an audience survey to find out their needs and interest in your topic; this kind of activity always works because the audience now feels that you care about them and you have provided an opportunity for them to think about and provide input into the presentation design. This method provides content so that your message can be customized to their interests and questions.

The question or activity, must align with the audience members current reality, needs and issues to get and hold their attention. If I am presenting to a group that has been told, “You HAVE to be in attendance to receive CPE credits or other reasons. I might ask “What would they rather be doing  than be at this presentation?” Or I might ask the audience to tell another member what would make this a great presentation. After their short discussion I will conduct a shout out session to get some feedback on their discussions.

Having created some engagement through involvement we can link this to the subject of the presentation like this, “Knowing you are interested in “A”  let’s begin by discussing why “A” is important…”

My second rule of presentation skills is, “No Competence=No Confidence”  

I have seen competent people lack confidence in presenting and confident people lack competence (nothing is as dangerous as a confident fool!).

When coaching people to feel confident to present well, I use the Cognitive Behavioral Technique of Mental Rehearsal that when confronted with anxiety or performance confidence issues. This CBT technique encourages  finding a trigger of something you are already confident doing such as playing the piano, or shooting a foul shot in basketball etc. and tap into this past experience and feeling of confidence so that you can access this feeling in your mind and body before presenting. For some people this lack of confidence or anxiety about presenting is a “double bind” that we must feel some confidence to attempt to present well and only when we do this will we gain the competence; and with competence comes confidence! An effective presenter is also competent in the subject matter of their presentation. Sometimes this just means you are competent to share your perspective on a limited piece of information.

So when getting ready for your presentation learn everything you can about the topic and subject to be discussed by doubling the amount of prep and practice compared to the allocated length of your speech. For example, for a  1 hour speech put in at least three hours of prep and practice time.You may only speak about 10% of what you know but your competence will show when you can make your subject matter clear, concise and compelling.

This brings me to my third rule, “No Compelling Message No Memory or transfer by Audience to Action ”

People will only remember one or two or three points from your presentation, so plan your presentation so that those 2-3 points will stick with them. Techniques for making a point stick include:

  • Repetition – remember kinder garden and repeating your ABC’s over and over.
  • Gestures or Actions – get the knowledge from the mind into the body with a powerful physical trigger.
  • Visuals or Video – we live in a multimedia world so use powerful graphic or short videos to create a visual link to your sticky points.
  •  Story Telling– powerful personal stories engage the audience and are great memory triggers for your message.

So in Summary, here are my 3 Rules for Making Sticky and Effective Presentation Skills

1.  No Connection = No interest

2. No Competence =No Confidence

4. No Memorable Message = No Transfer to Action  

Fear and Anxiety of Public Speaking: Lean-In

Speaking – how to communicate thoughts and ideas to others clearly, concisely, and with confidence. A person who is highly skilled in speaking is a confident communicator with individuals or in front of a small or large of people in an engaging manner. They possess the ability to capture and keep the audience attention. And most importantly, influence individuals  thinking and encourage taking action on your message and request for change.

In public speaking some of you feel like you are just not good at presenting so you avoid speaking engagements like the plague. This type of thinking is career limiting. I want to teach you how to confront your fears and anxiety because giving-up on speaking to groups is not only career limiting but de-moralizing because not being able to confidently communicate to others erodes our self-esteem and confidence. Confidence about our ability to connect and engage others is about putting our presence and reputation on the line.

If you want to be a great presenter and truly connect with our audience be it 1 person or 1000 you need to engage the audience members from a place of confidence and worthiness, your first step is practicing the courage it takes to own our stories and tell the truth about who we are and convince others why your message is important and relevant to them. Most of us are afraid to take that risk and this leaves you open to anxiety, fear of failure and rejection. This shows it doesn’t get tougher than that when you are trying to perform at your best.  Tell me about your speaking performances—have you ever screwed up an important presentation that had an impact on your job or how you were perceived from then on by your boss. To many of these “career limiting performances” will impact your reputation and potential career advancement.  Be honest with me and yourself here I want to know have you ever been so nervous or hyped-up in communicating with an audience that you loss your train of thought and never got your footing back so people started to leave the presentation or excuse themselves from the meeting and you watch as more be lost interest and just started to do other things or walked out?

Have you ever been in a situation where the formal presentation went well … but you were so anxious about closing the deal and emotionally insecure for your own feeling of well-being… to the point where you literally drove the client away from the sale?

Have you ever you wanted to start a conversation with your boss about a promotion or salary increase… but your emotions started to go crazy at even the thought of approaching him or her… and you just decided that it would be easier to walk away and say nothing rather than try to overcome your fear of rejection?

Now you can confront and work through these obstacles and fear by learning the secrets of presenting…just contact me at thewick.wordpress.com

Three “secret” elements that set you apart from others delivering boring and unproductive presentations.

So you have worked hard on designing a powerful message for your next presentation. You now turn to the presentation to fine tune your  performance skills which are grounded in three key elements : deliberative practice, confidence ( self-efficacy and mental toughness) and  connecting by demonstrating your competence (expertise or point of view based on data or life experiences). I am not about to tell anyone that a presenter who lacks substance and clarity of thought and an organized and powerful message can transform overnight into a great speaker by changing his thinking or mental preparation. If you are confident but not organized or clear and compelling it is not smart to think you can achieve your goals by just “winging it”. This approach it’s still going to produce a boring and unproductive talk. You have to attain a level of expertise, create a clear and compelling message and demonstrate in real time self-confidence so as to connect with the audience. These are the “three secret” elements that I want to explore with you on this post. These elements are necessary to accomplish your goal of connecting and influencing your audience. Just like in golf, tennis,  playing the violin, opera singing or any other performance art.

Having said that, I believe it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of the mental side of making an exceptional presentation.  Your brain combined with the right habits—created through deliberative and repetitive practice can provide a strong foundation for your success in any performance art. Memory resides in your head. Therefore, no matter how long you practice a speech, no matter how skilled you think you are verbally, your mind and nerves can overwhelm your desire to execute when the moment of truth arises on the platform. Your muscles and the rest of your body are controlled by your mind. Unless you are mentally prepared and tough the mind may not be ready for “prime time”, your voice may not project your words in a strong way and it will be difficult to hear you, your knees or hands may shake and you may start to profusely sweet because of how your mind can trigger physical reactions to nervousness and low confidence.  If your head is filled with poor experiences from the past or bad thoughts, your ability to communicate and connect will project bad vibes to your audience, thus under-minding your impact and influence on them.

Having control of your mind and being mentally tough can separate you from many other speakers. I believe every speaker has the potential to be much better than he or she is, and that using the mind cues and toughness is one essential way to improve. You will never know if you have the ability to be the best you can be, unless you commit yourself to designing, practicing and delivering your presentation with confidence and mental toughness.

As you know it’s the same when it comes to any other performance art. No one creates a speech or practices hard to go out on stage and lay an egg. Or to be an embarrassed by an average or boring speech. But you make a choice – to do what needs to be done to have a positive and hopefully a lasting impact or prepare for your presentation on the run, or seeing practicing as a necessary evil or waste of time.  Remember over time your choices put in place habits like positive mindset, skillset and smart actions that can build your reputation as a “great communicator” or just another boring presenter.

Keep us posted on your progress or any barriers that are getting in your way with wick  community of problem solvers and learners we our here to support your journey to be –the best you can be. Good Luck and Never, Never Give-up.

Want to Live a more Meaningful Life–Know and Trust Yourself

 

” As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”  Cicero

  1. Being present when others speak builds trust. Being present encourages  others to speak their mind and share their view of the world. It is opportunity for would be leaders to connect and understand others.  Over the years I have learned a  “magic formula” for connecting in conversations– speaker talks 75% and Listener 25% . This formula signals I care. Try it and see what I mean.
  2. Trust is more than confidence. One dictionary tells us that trust implies instinctive, unquestioning belief in and reliance upon someone or something. Confidence implies conscious trust because of good reasons, definite evidence, truthful and fact-based data or past experience .  Confidence is cerebral, more planned and based on expectations than trust. Trust is more intuitive and instinctive, it is spontaneous and more freely given. So ask yourself:  What is trust?  How do you know, when it is present? When broken how do you repair the damage?
  3. Interference blocks trust and openness. When I am fearful I direct my energies not in discovering the truth, but toward protecting myself from seen, expected, or disaster fantasies or dangers. I am not sure of who I am, cover up and put on protective masks, become concerned about how I ought to meet the expectations of others, and find it difficult to be truthful and authentically interact with others. Trust enriches my experience; fear robs it. When someone smiles they seem to be reaching out and connecting to a friendly. To me it signals that the person is transparent, open, and ready to be engaged. With the smile they are non-verbally communicating and seem to be saying I will trust you to enter my world. In my very best moments, I feel inside the way they seems to be when they are smiling at us. Trusting, calm, confident and full of life.  We all can boost our odds of harnessing the power of trust and open communication.

When it comes to trust, it’s not about talking or ideas. It’s about making risking and being vulnerable happen. What’s your next step?

Identify an important relationship and then in the next 24 hours try using one of the principles just mentioned to improve your trust level with this person. . Give us some feedback: Did you try improving trust? Did you ignore the challenge? If you tried to increase trust did your attempt work? What did you do?  Where did you get stuck or miss the mark? What would you do differently next time to improve your trust level with this person.

 

Sticky vs. Sucky Presentations–4 Secrets to Success

DELIVERING an effective and impactful presentation is the goal of every presenter. But how about one that makes a difference in people’s thinking and action. In short it is an inspiring and impactful speech.  This is what I mean by STICKY ( See the wick for introduction to Sticky Presentations) It includes achieving the objectives of the presentation, whether to inform, persuade , or generate support for a call to action.

So, what is the difference between a STICKY and SSUCKY  presentation?

The followings are the secrets behind every “sticky presentation”:

1. Connect with Conviction—Believable and Credible

Conviction on the material presented plays an important role. How is it possible if you can convince your audience, while you are not sure of the presentation material that is delivered? The first thing that must be owned by a presenter is to believe what is presented is something that is true, important and useful to your audience. Convince yourself first before convincing others.

To convince yourself, you should think what you want to convey very deeply, why the material is important and useful, and what will be felt by the audience when listening to the material. If you are really not sure, you should leave the material because it is probably not for you to say.

2. Confidence—Self and Content

Many people have problems with confidence. They are not confident when they have to perform in front of crowds. The bottleneck to be confident is often insecure feeling or excessive anxiety.

To solve it, just thing positively as your audience will be impressed and grateful for your meaningful and convincing presentation. You should remember that even the best speakers still feel a little anxiety when they will start the presentation. So, take advantage of such anxiety and make it as something that makes you confident. When you are confident, then you can smile, stand up with dignity, and respect yourself and the audience who is listening.

3. Compelling–Energy and Passion

In every presentation, show the audience your positive energy in speech, posture, and gestures. A presenter who speaks too slowly will make audiences sleepy or lazy posture will also make your audiences lose their interest.

Showing the energy does not mean speaking loudly. Energy is where you are relaxed but focused. Confident but not arrogant, while passion is where you show a strong desire and interest to what is delivered. Present relevant and important information and the audience will mirror your enthusiasm and passion.

4. Being authentic and PLAYING TO YOUR NATURAL STRENGTHS

Being yourself is taking advantage of your natural talents and strengths, so you will present an original, distinctive, and not artificial presentation. You may follow someone’s style when he is giving a presentation, but you should not remove your personal side.

If you are a naturally funny person, take advantage of your sense of humor. If you are serious person, take advantage of your style and sharp analysis. If you are a quiet person, take advantage of your reflective style when giving a presentation. Be yourself and take advantage of your unique and natural style in presenting.

On Becoming more Trusting–Be Present, Aware and Authentic

On Become more Trusting

” As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”  Cicero

  1. Being present when others speak builds trust. Being present encourages  others to speak their mind and share their view of the world. It is opportunity for would be leaders to connect and understand others.  Over the years I have learned a  “magic formula” for connecting in conversations– speaker talks 75% and Listener 25% . This formula signals I care. Try it and see what I mean.
  2. Trust is more than confidence. One dictionary tells us that trust implies instinctive, unquestioning belief in and reliance upon someone or something. Confidence implies conscious trust because of good reasons, definite evidence, truthful and fact-based data or past experience .  Confidence is cerebral, more planned and based on expectations than trust. Trust is more intuitive and instinctive, it is spontaneous and more freely given. So ask yourself:  What is trust?  How do you know, when it is present? When broken how do you repair the damage?
  3. Interference blocks trust and openness. When I am fearful I direct my energies not in discovering the truth, but toward protecting myself from seen, expected, or disaster fantasies or dangers. I am not sure of who I am, cover up and put on protective masks, become concerned about how I ought to meet the expectations of others, and find it difficult to be truthful and authentically interact with others. Trust enriches my experience; fear robs it. When someone smiles they seem to be reaching out and connecting to a friendly. To me it signals that the person is transparent, open, and ready to be engaged. With the smile they are non-verbally communicating and seem to be saying I will trust you to enter my world. In my very best moments, I feel inside the way they seems to be when they are smiling at us. Trusting, calm, confident and full of life.  We all can boost our odds of harnessing the power of trust and open communication.

Your assignment is  to become more trusting with a significant other in your life by using one of the principles just mention. Give us some feedback: On what worked? Where did you get stuck or miss the mark? What would you do differently next time to improve your trust level with this person.