Presence Power: 6 Steps To Super Speaking!

No longer hiding beneath her cape, Dianna threw her anticipation anxiety aside and strode to centre stage.

Well ok, it was her lounge room and her family was her audience on this occasion. But next week, it will be in front of 250 of her colleagues. Quaking in her boots no matter how pretty, or calling in sick last minute will just not do.

So how did Dianna shift from a slink to a strut?

For starters, she worked with me earlier this year in a 5 session program called Feel Fear Speak Anyway. Dianna learned how to embody leadership presence, inside and out. Before I launch into describing this 6 step sequence (it’s a kind of elegant 3 minute ritual), I better explain a bit about the significance of Presence Power and why you definitely need it.

Why You Need Presence Power

If you suffer from speaking nerves, presence power will fix it. If you wish to engage the respect and attention of your listeners, presence power will deliver it. If you wish to boost your personal influence and find a large audience for your ideas, presence power will take you there.

Recap: What Is Presence?

Presence is a state of being. It’s something you feel, not do. Presence is also described as “charisma”, “something drew me to her”, “compelling”, “magnetic”, “powerful”, “mindful”, “now.”

Presence is mind, body and emotions working harmoniously. It is radiantly attractive. There is no space for fear and doubt when you are fully present in the moment. Listeners “switch on” when they realise they are in for a special treat: the speaker is truly authentic and right here right now.

Presence charges the atmosphere and inspires trust, rapport and connection. It generates credibility, energy and impact. The most compelling leaders speak with presence power.

Wow! Who wouldn’t some of that? And it’s free! Flowing through your veins right now. You just need to know how to activate your super power!

How To Activate Your Super Power

You need to coax your super power into it’s full magnificence. This involves trust and perhaps some cajoling. The state of presence is a habit like any other. Until it becomes second nature whenever you speak and lead, you need to cultivate it, mentally, physically and emotionally.

Homework Before You Do The 6 Step Sequence

  • Watch the Amy Cuddy TED Talk “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are” to understand the significance of a power pose and how to do it.
  • Spend some time getting clear about your purpose for the next time you are going to speak to other people. Be specific. “I want to talk good” is not good enough for a purpose. You want your purpose to ring true, to enliven your words and your listeners. To capture the very essence of a meaningful outcome. “I want to show my group how to take a 5 minute break every hour to decrease stress and increase joy”.

 

Presence Power: 6 Step Sequence

  1. Power Pose: Strike a powerful “super person” stance for about 1 minute. Feel stable, grounded and strong. Become aware of your breath, pace and thoughts. Relaxxx.
  2. Calm Belly: Close your eyes, hands on lower belly, count 5 slow, even breaths in and out. Feel the natural rise and fall of your belly. With each breath, relax more deeply.
  3. Be Present: Now open your eyes slowly and awaken your senses. Identify 3 things you can see, 3 you can hear, 3 you can feel on your skin. This will keep ground and calm you.
  4. Purpose: Bring to mind your Speaking Purpose. Focus on the result you want for your listeners. Let the clarity fill every cell of your body. You know you have a job to do! Speak it!
  5. Refocus: Intentionally shift your focus onto your listeners and away from yourself. Be 100% present with your listeners and your message. See their enthralled faces.
  6. Now Move! Do a gentle shoulder roll, slightly tilt your chin up, walk forward into your future…

Unexpected Bonus

Talk about a transportable skill! Recently I had 10 minutes before I left the house to run a 3 hour workshop. I needed to be calm as I was teaching, “How To Be Calm Under Pressure!” Well, I had an unexpected visitor who was demanding and rude. I got very angry. I was now late. As I drove my car away, mentally obsessing about where I could hire a hit man, it occurred to me to practise my Presence Power sequence.

While I couldn’t close my eyes and stand like superwoman, I adjusted my posture, went through the process and stated my speaking purpose whilst ducking and weaving through traffic. And you know what? By the time I finished this cute little 3 minute-ish sequence, I was indeed, cool, calm and connected. I was so surprised with the unexpected bonus… Presence Power can be applied to any challenging situation… not just “public speaking”.

Go Get Your Cape!

Well, what are you waiting for? Presence Power is here, there and everywhere! It really does start with you, knowing how to transport yourself and then others, into that better place. Go forth and strut your stuff with dum de dum daa… Presence Power!

© 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

How To Prepare For Media Interviews

Stay Relaxed And Alert

Woo hoo! Or boo hoo! You are invited to give a media interview. The “media” I’m referring to includes: print (magazines, papers), radio (phone, studio), electronic (TV, online, social media, webinars) and live (panels, forums, events).

Media interviews spread your message and do your marketing for you. Well, that’s the ideal outcome and often what is dangled in front of you. The reality often falls short and maybe just your mum will stay up to watch the 2am television interview or read the obscure Etruscan Vessels Quarterly magazine. But sometimes, a media interview will generate increased attention, sales and PR opportunities for your organisation.

I Didn’t Say That!
Media interviews are often set up as a series of highly structured and tightly controlled questions and answers. But not always. Here’s some tales of the unexpected which I’m sharing not to frighten you but to help you stay relaxed and alert:

  • Radio Interview – Recently I gave a short radio interview and in the preliminary phone call I was told the theme was famous people who suffered stage fright. Could I provide tips for handling nerves? Well… the interviewer only asked me about tips for giving wedding speeches; the area in which I do the least amount of work. I just scrambled along as best I could, live on air and survived, as you do.
  • TV Interview – A client was invited to be interviewed by a well known current affairs program. She turned up to find a camera operator and a wall which she had to talk to and pretend was a person. Luckily the camera operator was kind and patient.
  • Newspaper Interview – Once you’ve done a few of these you realise that nothing you say bares any resemblance to what gets printed. Do your best not to swear or reveal your mental health problems. Or even that you know what a mental health problem is, because you may find you have one when you read the article the next day!
  • Live Event Interview – A friend of mine was invited with 24 hours notice to speak at a football stadium of 50,000 in Bangladesh, plus multiple TV cameras. She was the only white face and the translator kept every one laughing. However, she wasn’t saying anything funny! My friend realised she had to let go of her nerves and fears of being misquoted. Every one apparently had a very good time and eventually, so did she.

Tips To Handle Media Interviews

  • Be organised and prepared – think about the ramifications of this opportunity and strategise how you can make the most of it. If you are organised, you will think and speak clearly and get your message across effectively. This is not the time to be star struck and rely on “winging it.” Find out if you can “proof” the interview before it’s released and how you can copy and distribute it yourself.
  • Research – read, listen or watch previous interviews by your interviewer to become familiar with their style and expectations. Observe how previous interviewees handled themselves.
  • Who, what, when and why – make up the structure of an interview. Make sure you can answer each. Ensure you have an expert understanding of your subject and are abreast of current hot topics.
  • You may receive a list of questions in advance – if so, practise answering them flexibly off the cuff; don’t memorise because the questions may change. If there are topics you won’t talk about, advise them in writing and remind the interviewer on the day.
  • Live TV, radio or online – remember to follow the host’s directions as they want you to be at your best. Aim to genuinely converse with the host in normal conversation, letting them lead you with their questions. You may enjoy yourself so much you forget this person is not really your friend! You must remember you are there to do a job and so are they… so watch what you say.
  • Stick to your core message – be grounded and clear about your purpose, which is why you have been asked to speak in the first place. Don’t divulge personal or irrelevant details about your divorce, weight gain or fears about handling media interviews… unless they are the topic!
  • Hone and practise your core message so that when you are asked about it, you will articulate who you are and what you offer with ease, authenticity and professionalism.

 

Prepare, Relax And Let Go!

You may find it useful to observe how I handle speaking to a video camera when I present my 3 Minute Video Tips. I use a conversational, natural style to suit my audience (that’s you!) and a specific video message: “Everyone can speak in public with as much confidence and authenticity as they do in their own lounge room.” Choose a style that is right for you, your audience and your message. In the meantime, if you’d like some professional help with handling your next media interview, contact me for private coaching.

© 2014, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Prepare To Speak!

Countdown Steps To Prepare For Your Next Presentation

I’m often asked, “What can I do to best prepare to speak?”  I recommend getting out of your head and into your body. This means, prepare yourself emotionally, physically and mentally weeks in advance. Or if it’s a big deal or event, prepare months in advance. Take the time to get very clear about your purpose and message.

When we feel emotionally tense, our bodies follow suit and tense up. Tension, particularly relating to stage fright, manifests itself in the chest, shoulders, throat, jaw, head and stomach for many people. This results in a kind of “holding oneself in” paralysis. A bit like a rabbit in the headlights – there you are speaking in front of a group and you whisper to yourself – “If I don’t move and look like a chair – they’ll forget I’m here”. Doesn’t work unfortunately. And you aren’t a rabbit.

Tension can also result in a “blank mind” and a disconnect from yourself and your audience. And “head spins” can come from a lack of oxygen (breathing too quickly from your upper chest and not being grounded, so slow it down and feel your feet on floor). It’s interesting that issues relating to the “head” figure so highly when it comes to fearing public speaking. The remedy I recommend is to: “Get out of your head and into your body”. I love this phrase; you’ve probably noticed I use it a lot. It really is a simple counterpoint to speaking nerves and tension.

Follow this countdown to prepare to speak:

Some Weeks Before Your Presentation:
Practice using the Calm Barometer and the Inner Calm Exercise daily to build a new calm habit – follow the links below to these exercises. (These are not quick fixes but a long term solution to retraining your body’s reaction to tension.)

Some Days Before Your Presentation:
Visualise yourself speaking with ease in front of your audience. Consciously choose to relax your traditional tension spots. See yourself taking your time and using the physical exercises written directly below…

The Day Before Your Presentation:
Raise your shoulders to your ears, hold, and release, letting your shoulders gently drop. Repeat twice more. Then, hug yourself tightly, just like you are holding yourself in with tension, and release, throwing your arms generously open, kind of like you are ‘hugging the world” – (I know, I know, it sounds dicky in print, it’s better at my workshops.) These exercises open your chest, face, airways, shoulders and tummy, releasing tension and awakening intention. Go for a walk and stop thinking about your presentation. Daydream. Physical exercise helps you regain perspective and breaks obsessive thoughts. Really, life goes on. Will you remember this presentation in 5 years time? And, will anyone else?

Directly Before Your Presentation:
Take a deep, even breath from the base of your stomach and release evenly. Feel your feet on the floor. Gently roll your shoulders back. This opens your chest, drops your shoulders, opens your throat and magically gives you a confident posture. Imagine the top of your head is suspended by a silken cord and the rest of your body follows effortlessly. (Thank you Alexander technique.) Use your Calm Anchor if you have one and embody your personal strengths.

Directly After Your Presentation:
Rather than go straight back into your head and do a vicious deconstruction of every mistake you made during your presentation – just don’t go there right now. Your adrenaline is pumping and what you need to do is reground yourself so that you continue to be fully present with others – answer questions, accept invitations, make decisions, network and so on. Consciously let your breath flow evenly and let your body take care of dissipating your stress hormones.

The Day After Your Presentation:
Make sure you have been for a walk or engaged in some kind of relaxation activity to switch your brain off and reboot your system. When you have surfaced, it’s time to evaluate you and your presentation constructively:

  • How effectively did you handle nervous tension this time?
  • When were your listeners most engaged with you?
  • How might you do the same presentation again?
  • Knowing what you now know, how might you help yourself prepare to speak next time?

When you give yourself the gift of generous time to prepare to speak, you’ll be able to handle speaking tension before, during and after, sooo much better. You’ll also be able to focus on your message and purpose with calm clarity, allowing you to captivate your group with authenticity and presence every time you speak.

© 2011-17, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au