Does SELL feel like a dirty 4-letter word? Is the fear of it stopping you from making a living?
For the first few years of my coaching business, I really struggled to make it. Why? Because I felt like I was “selling myself.” I could talk about other people’s work that I loved, but to talk about mine? It was really hard. Even though I teach public speaking!!
And what did this mean? I was selling single sessions, one at a time… instead of bigger packages and offerings, which my clients truly needed. And I struggled financially, and didn’t have enough clients, even though my coaching was great.
To become successful, I had to translate the idea of selling (ew!) into… serving.
This is the first secret to know: your work is not about you. It’s about providing value – and transformation – to your clients. Offering single sessions is literally underserving people who need us. We need to create packages – and know how to talk about them effectively – so that we help clients the most, and enroll them in the packages that will give them what they really desire.
Honestly, this is a HUGE topic. So I want to recommend a resource for you, by an awesome friend and colleague of mine, Leela Somaya. She rocks. We were having a chat at a cafe yesterday, and she was telling me how she had to deal with getting over this fear herself.
Obviously, Leela did – because she made it to 6 figures within 14 months of launching her coaching business!
Leela is leading a free training: “Stop Selling & Start Listening: How To Get Three Dream Clients In 30 Days—By Learning to Listen on a Deeper Level & Serving From A Place of Compassion”
If this is an issue for you – especially if your fear of selling is stopping you from bringing your heartfelt gifts to the world – then I recommend joining in.
I’ll be there too! (I always want to learn more and get other perspectives.) Hope you enjoy it too – comment on this blog entry afterward and let me know what you got from it.
Most professionals and entrepreneurs who need to give a presentation, talk or speaking engagement will do some degree of preparation. Unfortunately, they prepare the wrong way! Many focus on their content, trying to get every word perfect, maybe making tons of last-minute changes. And others “prepare” by procrastinating. Finally, some will just look at their notes and mumble through it… but that also doesn’t prepare you adequately.
As well, I often get calls from people who get nervous when they speak. Or I get asked to help them craft a talk. Or they want to know how to speak “off the cuff,” and to not be worried too much about what to say.
These are all signs of a lack of knowing how to prepare. So, here are some important elements to keep in mind.
Know the core of your message. When it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter if you mess up a little, or find the perfectly nuanced phrase. Simply stay in touch with the central idea or transformation you are trying to convey, and that’ll keep you on track.
Focus on helping and serving your audience. Place your attention on how you can be of service. Make it about them – not about you. This is your intention. When our intention is about being of service, rather than about our own desires, it can help us relax.
And, more than anything… warm up! It’s absolutely essential to have a great warmup routine. You wouldn’t run a marathon without a lot of stretching as well as eating right beforehand, would you? The same goes for speaking. Here are several elements to a good speaking warmup.
- Warm up your body. Stretch, move around, and practice body language like gestures and facial expressions. Speaking is a full-bodied act!
- Open up your voice. Do vocal warmups, enunciation exercises, diaphragmatic breathing, and more, to find the full power of your voice. Practice using different vocal dynamics.
- Warm up emotionally. What do you need to do to feel ready? To take care of yourself? To be present? It’s essential to have your heart in it, and to feel good.
- Get in the game. This would also be called your “mental” warmup, and could be done in part with the aforementioned focus on serving your audience. You can also do affirmations. I teach mindset shifts to my clients, and these are also helpful.
And, once you’ve done all of these, you can finally apply these to your presentation, and practice your talk. Remember that 50-80% of communication is nonverbal. So, focusing on everything but the words may also help it go well. Also, last-minute text changes tend to throw you off, not help; it’s more important to get comfortable than get the words totally perfect.
If the above are a mystery about how to do them, keep an eye out for my Claim Your Voice training, which will be coming soon – it’ll make it all really clear.
What surprised you from these ideas? Or, what are your own ways you warm up for a talk? Please share and comment below.
Whenever I try something new, it’s a bit uncomfortable. When I do something really different, it’s really uncomfortable. Who wants that?
Like, speaking in front of large groups. Now, “large” is subjective. You might view large as 10, or 100. (For me, it’s over 1000… see below for my April event!)
However, being uncomfortable is how we grow. When we are too comfortable for too long, we’re not growing. We’re stagnant.
For speakers, learning new skills, like expanding the dynamics of your voice (e.g., pitch, tone, tempo, the resonance of your voice, and even pausing) may feel uncomfortable at first. So many people don’t even realize they can have a more dynamic voice and presence – it’s unfathomable to realize that your voice can be that amazing! And yet, for most people, finding those new dimensions is scary and uncomfortable.
You see, our comfort zone is where you’re safe. When you’re uncomfortable and choosing new actions, it means your growing. So, it’s essential to establish a new relationship with discomfort.
Sure, I talk about this with my clients all the time… and I also love what my own coach says: that in order to grow our businesses, we must expand our capacity to be uncomfortable.
And oh boy, I know what it’s like. When I first held my Authentic Entrepreneur Speaker Series a year ago, I was really uncomfortable. 3000 people tuning in, and partnering with incredible experts in the field with email lists up to 100,000? Yowza! Creating new offerings and implementing new marketing techniques? Scary. At times, I certainly didn’t have confidence, and I procrastinated as much as my time frame allowed. Yet, I still did it. Could it have been better? Certainly. And it is, each time – as I get more comfortable.
And today? Well, I’m a professional speaker, and enjoy new opportunities. And yet, there’s a great opportunity to expand my comfort zone. On April 27th, I’ll be a featured speaker at the National Entrepreneurs and Small Business Expo in Los Angeles. And I’ll be speaking live to at least 2500 people. It’ll be my biggest speaking engagement to date. Wahooooo!
So I encourage you to ask: what are avoiding because it’s uncomfortable? The more you can give yourself permission to make mistakes, and to grow, the better. Whether that’s to become more confident at speaking, to get more clients, or simply to have a difficult conversation with someone, here are some specific tips on how to be okay with being uncomfortable:
1) Let yourself be in the unknown. Be okay not knowing all the answers.
2) Take a lot of deep breaths. Stretch. Get in your body, so that you don’t get stuck in your fears.
3) Give yourself permission to make mistakes. Face it: “perfect” is a utopian fantasy. It’s not reality.
4) Have fun! Don’t take things so seriously. Incorporate play into your day. Even make the new growth into a game. (Yes, this might be easier when expanding your vocal dynamics, but it can work with other areas too!)
5) Stop beating yourself up! This is so important: as long as you are self-critical you’re blocking yourself.
Below in the comments section, you have a chance to be lovingly witnessed. Please share your own experiences, or write in what action you’re willing to take to expand your comfort zone – and to step into even more of who you truly are.
Happy Self-Love Day!
Valentine’s Day brings up so much baggage. It was created by Hallmark to sell greeting cards. And it leaves single people feeling alone and insufficient, and often causes couples to try to measure up to a mythical standard.
So how about we recontextualize this day… as a time when we learn to have more compassion and acceptance of ourselves? Even… self-love?
It breaks my heart when I hear people say that they can have some more compassion toward themselves, but that loving themselves is almost out of the question.
This is also really important professionally: in my opinion, half of what makes a confident, effective speaker is self-love. And it’s most of what makes a genuinely happy person, too.
A few tips:
Know that there’s no such thing as being perfect.
People will love you more when you give yourself permission to be ALL of you.
When you embrace yourself as an ever-evolving, imperfect human, you give others permission to be themselves, too.
So give yourself a break. Today, my wish is that we each spend time to appreciate ourselves, our foibles, our humanity, and our gifts. May we all be gentle and sweet with ourselves.
If you’ve been reading my stuff for a while, you likely know I’m pretty obsessed with authenticity. Because I just can’t deal with people who feel really fake, or entrepreneurs and businesses that use scheming sales tactics, yet still attempt to label their efforts as “real” or “being authentic.” Ugh!
The thing is, those tactics used to work. But they don’t much anymore, because we’ve seen them in too many places. See, anything that’s a you-can-do-it formula will eventually become… formulaic. People see through it, even though the most well-intended, heart-based entrepreneurs fall prey to it. Whether it’s the tactic where the seller crosses out a bunch of prices and offers a really low “sale” price, or where they give a presentation that feels manipulative, the false premise is that they must do this in order to be a success.
And this simply isn’t true.
You can be YOU – the real you – and succeed.
I used to think, for example, that I couldn’t bring my whole self to my work. Like, when emailing my community I strived to be “professional”… and in doing so, I hid part of myself. What if they found out that I’m not normal?? Finally, I decided to have a “coming out” party… and announced to my list that I’m a deeply spiritual person. (Gasp!) And that it’s an essential part of my work (I’m an empath and an intuitive – so I deeply feel what’s happening with a client, and also can tune into what’s most aligned for them with their voice or with creating a thriving practice). This was scary. And you know what the big response was? Very little. Except that, the more I brought my real self out, the more I began to attract ideal clients. Cool, huh? The same goes for you.
Authenticity is not…
…A formula. Not that formulas are evil (not reinventing the wheel can actually save you a lot of time!), but you must adapt them to fit you.
…A particular way of speaking. Any style dictated by someone else will not be your true voice.
…Your habits. This is a tricky one: something may not feel authentic or “natural,” but that may be because it’s asking you to grow. This is true, for example, when I’m teaching clients empowering ways to breathe to support their voices more fully, or when expanding vocal dynamics.
Real authenticity is…
…Being humble…and also in your power. It’s giving an offering from your heart, and doing your best, without trying to prove yourself.
…Simply being present. You don’t need to talk in any particular style to be authentic. The less you try to be authentic, the better.
…Staying open. If you receive your audience, or the other person, and honor them, you’ll more truly know how to respond in a real way.
…Letting go. We’ve learned so many habits and patterns that go far beyond how we speak. It’s about our emotional makeup and our thoughts. And when we learn to release these, and find our true voice, we find our authenticity.
More than anything, authenticity is a path. In my experience, it takes time, and practice, and simple techniques, to release what isn’t truly us – so that we can let the golden sunshine of our true selves shine forth. And when you do, you’ll feel more at peace, more alive, and will become the true agent of change you were born to be.
And this is when your clients will come – and when your business will flourish. Because you’re just being you. Yes, business skills are necessary, but they’ll sign up because they experience the real you.
For me, authenticity is about frequent self-examination. Not in a scrutinizing, negative way, but in asking myself questions, about my behavior and how I feel internally: How am I showing up? Am I following my true path? Do I feel in integrity with how I’m speaking and interacting? Am I following formulas that aren’t me, and what might feel better? …While this sometimes may be a bit much, I am dedicated to embodying what I believe.
How about you? Other thoughts on authenticity? Please share your experiences, and leave comments or questions below.
Are you sick of feeling lack about money, and not knowing where to get enough clients? Or, perhaps you know… and yet it still feels like a struggle. There are honestly numerous reasons why holistic practitioners, coaches, and other conscious, spiritual entrepreneurs who are trying to really do good work in the world find themselves stuck and under-earning. One frequent issue: we are not aligned in our truth. This may show up as…
- Using marketing or messaging techniques that feel forced, fake or salesy… because that’s what you’ve been taught or see others doing
- Not having identified your heartfelt niche or calling that really excites and motivates you to move forward
- Not standing in the true power of your work – which means you may be undercharging, or simply undercutting your value through unconfident nonverbal communication (so that others aren’t compelled to hire you)
- Energetically not attracting clients who really would benefit from your work – and who you just love!
- What feels really alive in your work in the world? What do you love?
- Are there business-building techniques (ways of finding clients) you’ve been taught that don’t really feel good? What are they?
- What’s really missing for you in your work?
Have you been feeling a little… wacky… as of late? Lots of change is afoot now. I’ve noticed a lot of wild energy and mood swings happening everywhere – often very positive, and at other times just bizarre. Sometimes I’m feeling just incredible, and at other times I feel all over the place. Really weird! I wanted to get a sense of who else was going through this, so I just took a poll on Facebook, and almost unanimously found that people currently feel like they’re switching back and forth between being really centered and pretty off-kilter. Have you noticed yourself experiencing any of the following?
- Vacillating feelings and moods (like, sudden bursts of fear or hope), or changing your mind repeatedly
- Intense interactions; those around you negotiating dramatic issues, or even family members facing life-threatening illnesses
- Increased feelings of doubt about your work, relationships or other important matters
Yes, it’s not just you. I’m here to tell you: you’re not crazy. And you’re not alone. (And if you’re not experiencing this at all, be aware that others might be.) This is the 2012 change energy at its peak. It’s here. So… what do we do with this??
Here are some exercises. These are great to help transform nervousness around public speaking into confidence – and also help us maintain our center in the rest of life.
- Get in your body. Stretch, exercise, jump up and down… you get the picture.
- Ground your energy. Send roots or cords into the center of the earth. Often. And, if it’s your cup of tea, upon Divine Source or the Universe from above, so you’re centered between heaven and earth.
- Witness the ride. If you use any sort of awareness techniques, like Vipassana, this a good time! Don’t be attached to huge fluctuations. Know it may keep changing for a while. If nothing else, just take a lot of deep breaths and focus your attention there.
- Postpone making big decisions. Since a lot is moving all over the planet right now, and it’s affecting everyone, you may want to wait until things have felt consistent for some time.
- Smile. Get some perspective, laugh a little, and know we’re on a roller coaster. Have a little fun with it, if possible.
Hopefully these will help. If you’re dealing with this too, keep breathing. And stay compassionate for your friends and family. We’re all in it together.
…Been experiencing this? Please share, and leave a comment below.