Archive for the ‘dealing with emotions’ Category
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.
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.
Recently my focus has simply been on self-love. Loving myself during my mistakes. Loving myself while I continue on this interesting human journey, with all its aspects. Loving myself, with compassion and care, as much as I do my clients, friends and colleagues.
Why is it so much easier to love others than ourselves? Although, anger and other negative emotions toward others are often a reflection of how we feel toward our own person. Interestingly, we often have the hardest time with those we know the best – spouses, coworkers, great friends… often can be the ones we’re also frustrated with. And, the one we know best of all (and, sometimes, understand the least) is ourselves. We judge ourselves, punish ourselves, and worse, for actions that we might have much more easily forgiven in others. Or, at least, in a small child who obviously would have known no better.
The step toward self-love can begin with witnessing and curiosity. Rather than just judging something you did, view it as if an aspect, or part, of you, was responsible for that. Imagine if the part who did an action you judge, or had a feeling with which you struggle, was a child. Would the most loving treatment be to yell at her or him? Would that help your inner sweet, innocent one feel safe?
Action: Write down a list of how you’d like others to treat you. Then, take an inventory of how you’re actually treating yourself. Begin to notice any gaps. And when you have a strong feeling, notice where you feel it in your body… and imagine as if that is part of you that needs to be heard and wants honoring and expression. Send a message to yourself, like…
“I hear you.”
“I care about you… and about what you’re experiencing.”
“I love you.”
After trying this, please note any experiences below.
If you feel inspired to experience love more fully, here is an exercise. It’s inspired by numerous sources, including Buddhist and Sufi methods.
- Close your eyes. Take deep, belly breaths. Relax your body from head to toe.
- Visualize your heart as putty. As you breathe deeply into it, see it softening, and becoming more pliable, and even porous.
- Picture the part of you that is most vulnerable and tender. This may be your inner child, or even the part that gets angry and tries to protect you. Give it love. See an energy cloud around it – perhaps pink, or, another color that feels loving and supportive.
- Have compassion for this struggling part of you. Tell it that it doesn’t have to work so hard, and you’ll be there for it.
- While still breathing deeply and keeping an awareness of the above, open your eyes with a soft gaze. Notice an object near you. Be aware of the crafting of it that took place for it to exist, that someone spent such time creating. Or, notice a person near you – who has these similar raw places inside, perhaps like your own. Notice their tender beauty.
- Become aware of imperfect perfection all around you – and in you. Nothing needs changing.
Why do we not reside in love, permanently?
First of all, we think it’s about someone else. Who are they? Do we feel a connection? Is there a romantic involvement? Have we known them long enough? Do we feel safe enough to open up? When is the right time to open our heart?
Or, you might ask, when is it not the right time?
On an energetic level, love is simply the expression of the heart chakra opening. Some say that God is love – the devotional path of the bhakti yogi.
We may not like some people or feel a strong affinity with all. Some people do things that we label as bad. Yet, on an ultimate level, who is not deserving of love?
Moreover, is there a time when we do not want to feel love? And how can we experience it, regardless of who is around us?
Part 3: How to actively choose love – always.