Archive for the ‘communication tips’ Category
I’ve talked a lot recently about the fear of speaking, because it holds so many people back from speaking their truth – as well as from using speaking to easily get clients. However, for many, there’s a bigger problem:
Why in the world should confidence be a problem?
To be honest (which I always am – it’s my M.O. – but I’ve never addressed this before), I’ve never loved the term. Yes, this is true even though “confidence” is in the subtitle of my upcoming training and I talk about it a lot. Why? Because for many, it is about the ego. For example, I’ve heard many coaches declare, “You just gotta be confident!”… as if implying that confidence is easy, or that it can be somehow pasted on. Often, confidence is forced or misguided. When confidence isn’t 100% real, your nonverbal communication looks forced and pushes people away.
This is different than true confidence - which is completely relaxed – even humble, because you don’t need to prove anything to anyone… including yourself. It’s largely a reflection of being present, centered, and being able to deal with anything.
And while you can fake confidence, what cannot be forced is presence… and self-acceptance… and deep connection with an audience.
Here’s the biggest problem with confidence, though:
When we’re confident, it’s easy to think we know everything.
And no one knows everything. In my 17 years of coaching public speaking, I’ve never seen a single speaker, be it live or on YouTube, who couldn’t improve.
Every day, I see confident speakers making basic mistakes – ones that can be easily rectified.
Here are the biggest problems that confident speakers and networkers have:
- Not authentically connecting with the audience. And if they don’t connect with you, they won’t be moved to work with you.
- Mistaking loud volume for being a dynamic speaker. I focus with clients on 6 primary vocal dynamics, 4 advanced speaking styles, and powerful ways to use gestures, facial expressions and body language. Most speakers don’t even get close to exploring their full range.
- Not being grounded, centered and totally relaxed. This is part of what creates presence – and it’s hard to be centered when speaking, which is a heightened experience! This takes practice, technique, and a fantastic warm-up routine to help you get “in the zone.”
- Not realizing that speaking in front of larger groups, and other high stakes situations like selling from the stage, can cause you to lose your confidence. We all need methods to become more relaxed and centered, when on a growing edge.
- Skipping public speaking essentials. Can I tell you how often I see confident speakers betraying themselves by using ineffective body language, a plethora of “ums” and more? Far more than I’d like. Oy vey.
The strength of people without confidence is that they realize they need to learn. And who doesn’t need to grow? For yourself – and to grow your business?
If you haven’t seen it, I’d like to invite you to check out my free video training on speaking with confidence and presence, at http://bitly.com/speakingtraining.
And I also invite you to my upcoming 7-week online program: Claim Your Voice: Speak with Confidence, Heart, Power and Presence. Details and Registration: http://ClaimYourVoiceNow.com
If you consider yourself a confident speaker, in Claim Your Voice you’ll also learn how to get more comfortable when selling from the stage and other high-stakes situations. And learn a ton of other skills – read my article on The Public Speaking Must-Haves.
In any case, here’s the deal with confidence… it’s pretty much 3 things: getting the skills you need, relaxing/centering, and trusting your capacity to handle anything that happens.
Which of these is your next step?
–Jonathan Bender, MS, MFA, WholeSpeak - http://www.WholeSpeak.com
For many, being an effective speaker is a mystery; for others, they feel fairly comfortable and think that’s all they need. Since speaking is the best way to get known as an expert and build your business, it’s important to really know how it works. Over the past 17 years of coaching public speaking, I’ve developed a thorough breakdown of everything necessary to speak powerfully. It can be categorized into 3 levels.
Level One – The Core Foundations
- Strong Content. It’s essential to know how to put together a great presentation – how to grab attention at the beginning, keep your audience members engaged both emotionally and intellectually, and move them to want to work with you or follow your call to action.
- Comfort – turning nervousness into confidence. This is a curious skill, because when most people hit a new edge (for some, just speaking at all – and for others, it’s presenting in front of a much bigger audience or with higher stakes), then they get nervous – even if they’re confident otherwise. Other aspects of comfort:
- Knowing how to warm up for a presentation, and how to recover if you lose your mojo mid-way through.
- The inner mindset – how you treat yourself (are you critical? Fearful? Or self-accepting and caring for yourself?).
- Effective Use of Voice.
- Clear Enunciation. Don’t make the audience struggle to understand you.
- No Fillers, such as “Um.” If these are largely present, they’ll undermine your credibility.
- Powerful Body Language. This includes several areas:
- How to completely relax. Body tension will hurt your presence as well as your voice.
- How to stand. The right position will cause to both look and feel more confident.
- How to walk. Aimless wandering or pacing will hurt; deliberate steps and walks will guide your audience through your presentation.
- Gestures. Those hands aren’t just meant to dangle there!
- Facial expressions. These also help establish connection, while they bring out more of your personality.
- Connection. You simply must authentically connect with your audience in order to move them. There are 9 aspects of connection, 7 of which are pertinent to speaking, so it’s a long topic, but you need to begin with connecting with… yourself.
- Eye contact. Strong eye contact will cause every person in the audience – no matter how large it is – to feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Level Two – Presence
Presence isn’t an intangible, and it’s not a pat answer. Here are the most important components:
- Integrated Comfort and Connection. When you learn to easily get yourself into a state of being where you are both fully at ease, and also deeply connected with your audience (and with yourself!), you’ll be on your way.
- Staying Fully Centered. Few people can do this under great pressure; those who can become leaders. Knowing how to breathe deeply is a good start – and many other exercises help with this.
- Enhancing the Voice. This includes finding a more resonant, relaxed voice. It’ll then literally resonate more fully with your audience.
Level Three – The Dynamic, Charismatic Speaker
- Advanced Vocal Dynamics. Mastering how – and when – to utilize and combine pitch, tempo, volume, pausing, enunciation variation, and tone will help you hold the audience’s rapt attention at all times.
- There are also 4 powerful speaking styles, which you can use effectively (more difficult to describe in brief, so I’ll leave it at that).
- Advanced Body Language. Beyond the basics, there is a deeper level of movement available to you. Yoga is a good start; movement techniques used by actors and dancers will take you even farther.
- Mastering Emotion. Acting techniques will help you find a fuller range of emotion to express yourself and move the audience.
- Charisma. While the above elements help bring it out (especially when they’re combined), this also arises from more advanced acting techniques.
- Professionally Crafted Content. While the standards for crafting a talk work at all levels, to move to another level, the content is fused with emotions. That is, everything you say is deeply stirring or moving – no matter what the topic.
What level are most speakers at?
Unfortunately, I’ve found that the majority of speakers who don’t suffer from a lot of fear are somewhere around mid-level 1. That is, they feel somewhat comfortable, but still really need to master the essentials of body language and the voice. The sad part is that because they feel a little confident, they don’t get the help they need to really step up their game.
Want to learn these skills quickly, instead of taking years figuring it out yourself?
My training program, Claim Your Voice: Speak with Confidence, Heart, Power and Presence, covers Levels 1 and 2. There’s less emphasis on content, which is easier to implement; thorough guidelines are provided for participants to apply themselves. The biggest difficulties in speaking lie in all of the other areas, which are far trickier and more nuanced.
Even if you’re doing okay right now, you may have little idea how much better you can be! When you transform your connection skills, body language, presence, and mindset, the audience will be completely yours.
If you’re ready to step into your full potential as a speaker, you are warmly invited. Please go to http://www.ClaimYourVoiceNow.com for full details and to register.
And, if you’d like another perspective and hear me speak about it, watch a free video training at http://bitly.com/speakingtraining.
–Jonathan Bender, MS, MFA, WholeSpeak - http://www.WholeSpeak.com
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.
Everywhere I look, I seem to discover a new marketing term for self-employed professionals. Conscious Entrepreneurs. Evolutionary Entrepreneurs. Heart-Based Entrepreneurs. Visionary Change-Agents.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Except that I’ve never met anyone who said, “Hi, I’m a heart-based entrepreneur.” Meanwhile, I’d been trying to avoid stepping on those inert, unconscious entrepreneurs. And if someone did introduce her or himself as an evolutionary entrepreneur, I’d be curious to have them show me their X-Men-like ability to transform chimpanzees into clients.
What these marketing strategies are addressing, I believe, is that many coaches, entrepreneurs, holistic practitioners, and more are just done with the old paradigm to simply make money: they feel compelled to transform the world around them by adhering to their life purpose. And why? Because they believe in something bigger than themselves, and likely have had direct experience with… well, here’s where we run into trouble, because the terms are so loaded. Spirit guides. Angels. And, yes, God. Although if you’d prefer to avoid the Judeo-Christian burdens laid upon it, you can call it the Divine, Spirit, Source, the higher self, Presence, the inner light, or a plethora or other terms.
For many of us spiritually-based (at least in our personal lives) entrepreneurs, Divine Presence is the real reason behind our passions and work in the world. We weren’t given a choice – we must do what we are doing, and must continue to follow our inner guidance. There’s no shortage of us – and our numbers are radically growing. Yes, 2012 is here.
Yet in many circles, we still act as if it were the 1950’s, and a radical act to talk about intuition when in a business context. We don’t want to be labeled “woo-woo.” And, if your spiritual practice is embedded within a particular religious tradition, somehow the old separation of church and business limits us from being overt about it. We don’t want to turn others off, afraid of being blacklisted and having our businesses fail.
Unfortunately, in the course of doing so, we hide what matters most to us, and pretend that Something Larger really doesn’t matter at all or play such a prominent role in our lives. We forget that so many others feel the same way.
So I’m taking this opportunity to “out” myself. I previously had been calling myself a Performance Coach. Yes, I work with self-aware entrepreneurs and professionals who want their businesses to perform well, and to perform as compelling and effective public speakers. The fulltruth is that I tap in intuitively to what is most aligned with your life purpose, as well as with those you are here to serve, and to help you show up as the real you. The truth is that I’m an Intuitive Business Strategist and an Authenticity Coach. “Intuitive” and strategic? You bet: there’s nothing more strategic or authentic than tapping into your Divine Light to guide you forward on your path in a practical, tangible way.
Depending on one’s clientele, this must be negotiated individually, and often slowly. It may take time for this to emerge. But when we have deeper conversations, reveal more about ourselves, and take risks, we create room for others to really be themselves too – and even forge stronger client relationships. By being totally authentic to our core values, and speaking in our highest truth, we light the way for others to come to us.
Note: this does not imply that it is appropriate to begin talking about God in every business conversation. I’ve certainly felt uncomfortable at times when others with very different beliefs have brought up their beliefs out of the blue. The point is: if you are already using somewhat muted terms to talk about spirituality – and especially if your ideal clients actually hold similar worldviews – that’s a really good time to consider being more open.
So whether you’re a conscious entrepreneur, a visionary, or simply work for yourself while definitively knowing you’re here for a reason, I have one question for you:
Are you ready to come out of the spiritual closet?