What I Learned From Nigella, Obama & G-String Wearing Strangers

Let Your Words And Body Speak: Nigella And Obama Style

 

In a world of superfluous verbosity and redundant superlatives, whose services, products and ideas do we believe, trust and follow?

(This article is based on a 30 minute recently filmed speech about how to let your words and body speak for you to build trust and rapport. You are welcome to watch, especially if you’ve never heard me speak before! First is a 1-minute video demonstrating the 6 techniques in this article. Second is an edited 10-minute video of the whole speech, which does include a little Nigella impersonation.)

 

According to my Mother, I’ve been living in “a little slice of heaven on earth” for the last 20 years. Brunswick Heads is an idyllic seaside town, nicely daggy around the edges. People nod and say “hello” even if you don’t know them as you meander down the street. And that’s how we like it.

Change Is Here

But this year it’s changed. Apart from the soaring 30 plus degree temperatures, Brunswick Heads has been “discovered” and the locals are finding it hard to get a parking spot.

What I really noticed was the change in pace. It was faster (“I want it now!”). It was intolerant and closed (“I was here first!”). There was a loss of community (little eye contact, connection or conversation from visitors.) Locals felt like they’d lost their friendly village to a horde of transient, cold-eyed, g-string wearing strangers.

Apart from this year’s fashion for scanty beach attire, it strikes me that our experience in Brunswick Heads is similar to fears that speakers face the first time they give a talk to a new group. The group is often perceived by the quaking speaker as a wall of strangers with whom they have little connection or warmth. And the group may feel exactly the same way toward the speaker.

So how do you break through and forge meaningful relationships, trust and credibility with strangers? And how do you do it with genuine warmth, integrity and an invitation to come back? Especially if you are selling something or promoting change and new ideas to people who are “happy to stay as we are, thank you very much”?

A Quick Way To Learn
One of the quickest ways to learn anything new is to observe how successful others do it. And of course, sometimes it’s the best way to learn how not to do something. You can find yourself in the mirror of others, trying on their ideas and behaviours like a new outfit. Then assiduously keeping the bits that fit and letting go of the bits that don’t.

Whom Do You Admire?
Before reading on, please take a moment to think of someone, local or global, famous or infamous who makes you sit up and listen. What qualities do they embody? Why are you attracted or repelled? Which of their communication skills would you like to try on and see if they work for you?

Let Your Words And Body Speak – Obama And Nigella Style
I admire the communication skills of Barack Obama, the former American President and Nigella Lawson, the English cook and former journalist. Both are brilliant communicators and generate emotional impact, presence and approachability. Barack is more cerebral, structured and deep thinking. Nigella is more sensual, down to earth and practical. She shows you how to do it; Barack inspires you why to do it. I’m going to briefly describe and demonstrate 3 verbal and 3 body language techniques used very differently by Barack and Nigella. If you haven’t already done so, you may now find it useful to watch the 1-minute video demonstrating these 6 techniques…

3 Ways To Spruce Up Your Verbal Language

  1. Anaphora: is the repetition of the same word or phrases. Used well, it adds impact and power to a central idea. Barack Obama is skilled at using anaphora: “If I told you that…If I told you that… If I told you that…” Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard used anaphora brilliantly in her famous 2013  “Misogyny” speech in parliament when she repeated…”I am offended when… I am offended when… I am offended when…” It requires holding your nerve and delivering the simple repetition with elegance and confidence. It if feels too performance like – you need to reconnect with the authenticity of your message. Speeding up and garbling diminishes and dissolves you and the message. (Find the link to Julia’s speech within my article “Do Men & Women Do Public Speaking Differently?”See my underlined example below of how to use anaphora in my one-minute self-intro below.
  2. Rule Of Three: refers to using words and ideas in sets of three. Our brain processes and remembers groups of three very well; groups of four or more get a bit awkward. There is a familiar, story-telling rhythm in groups of three… “long, long, long ago, in a far, far, far land…there lived three sisters… Martha, Bertha and Greta.” Who can forget Barack Obama’s powerful promise line distilled into three words: “Yes We Can.”  Another speaking device is called the ascending tricolon (“three’s getting bigger”) It’s a lovely way of taking a small, do-able idea, then making it bigger, then making it bigger again and again. It helps expand ideas from one point to another. See my bolded example below.
  3. Personal, Conversational Language: helps remove barriers of unfamiliarity, difference and newness. It enables one human being to speak directly to another human being, building the connection of shared relationship and experience. Using pronouns of “me”, “you” and “us” are inclusive. Using present, active tense grammar, keeps us united in the current moment. “Together, we can do this.“  Rather than speak in the passive tense of what I call  “the royal we”, Barack speaks directly to every person, to you and I, from him. During Nigella’s cooking shows, she speaks personally and conversationally, almost like a confession… “I don’t know about you… but I just don’t have time to mash my own potatoes.” She is engaging because she appears like every busy woman, pressed for time, and finding smarter ways to do things. Her down to earth humanity, shortcuts and joy of food are universally appealing. See my own examples below in italics.

3 Ways To Luxuriate In Your Body Language

  1. Large, Lighthouse Gestures: Your eyes track movement and gesture long before your mind processes word meaning. A large, simple gesture, cuts through the fluff of endless verbiage and flies straight to the heart of understanding. Why say, “It was a big fish, at least a metre long”, when you can show it with your hands and emphasise with your voice. Your meaning is clearer with physical demonstration and is much more interesting for viewers. A hand on your chest adds credibility when you share something personal; a “no” becomes emphatic when you make an accompanying slashing gesture and use a hard tone. You can be as creative as you like, as long as you get the message across.
  2. Direct Eye To Eye Contact: In most western cultures, direct eye contact is an invitation to trust and connect. If we linger too long or too short, it becomes uncomfortable. Look directly, pause, wait for your words to land and move on. Direct eye contact with a speaker makes listeners feel heard and important. They immediately know they are not being spoken at, but with. In Nigella’s cooking videos (“Nigella Bites”), she leans forward conversationally, and lingers into the camera to make sure you are still keen to make a berry soufflé. Obama looks directly into the camera, he doesn’t shy away, gazing without fear into millions of eyes. He is solid and real. Yep, direct eye to eye contact definitely takes practice and confidence if you are squirming right now.
  3. Open, Relaxed Body: The “secret” to looking relaxed and confident is to show your body as relaxed and confident. Obama looks open, languid and comfortable in his own skin. The message it sends is “I’ve got this. I’m strong and capable and at ease with myself and the world.” It causes others to believe in him because he appears to believe in himself. That’s confidence and it’s a compellingly attractive quality in anyone. He also takes his time in speaking and gazing, he gives complete attention, he doesn’t rush. One of my favourite Nigella moments is the last 3 minutes of her cooking program. It’s dark in the kitchen, she slips down in her robe late at night lit up by the light of her giant fridge. She decides between a hunk of chocolate gateau or a roasted pork roll to snack on. She makes her choice and takes a huge bite with a cheeky grin. Yep, we’d all like to effortlessly embrace the joy of eating without guilt. Nigella defies popular convention and shows us how to do it with a relaxed, open mind and body.

How And When To Apply These Techniques
Written directly below, I delivered this rather formal, 1-minute self-introduction at a business breakfast where we took turns to stand and introduce ourselves to the group.
It was a good opportunity to demonstrate the use of anaphora (underlined), rule of 3, ascending tricolon (in bold)  and the use of personal, conversational language (in italics). To see the body language gestures, you’ll have to either watch the video or use your imagination. It’s probably easier to watch the 1-minute video…

My One-Minute Demo Self-Introduction
This one-minute self-introduction formed the opening of a 30-minute speech about what we can learn from expert communicators like Obama and Nigella. Watch the 10 minute edited version here.
Have you ever wondered, how some speakers inspire you with every word and others, do not?
How some speakers inspire you to trust and believe in them and others, do not?
How some speakers inspire you to ask for their card, work with them, connect to something bigger and others, do not?
My name is Geraldine. I am a public speaking coach and I transform the speakers whom you didn’t want to work with, into the ones that you do!!!
I show professionals like you, like authors, coaches and business owners how to relax and overcome nerves. How to find your true voice and how to craft meaningful words into memorable presentations you can be proud of.
Work with me if you want to get hired whenever you speak!
I’m Geraldine Barkworth, director, Goddess Of Public Speaking.”

 

Above All, Stay Real & Stay Open
In a world of superfluous verbosity and redundant superlatives, whose services, products and ideas do we believe, trust and follow?

The speaker-leaders who embody warmth, credibility and authenticity. Who aren’t afraid to look you in the eyes. To help you grow, learn and connect to something bigger than what you saw for yourself. Speakers are compelling when they offer that gift of intimacy and invite you to join them there.

So… welcome to Brunswick Heads! Let your words and body speak. And don’t forget your g-string.

(c) 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, speaking coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

The Fine Art Of Self Introduction

So Who On Earth Are You & Why Should We Care?

And that Question dear reader, speaks to one of our deepest fears and is the key to the fine art of self introduction. Being able to introduce oneself with ease and memorable panache at a meeting, networking event, professional seminar or party is one of my Top 5 client requests. Are you wondering why?

The Fear Beneath Self Introduction
The fear is primarily of social rejection. What if you are not good enough? What if they don’t like you? What if you are judged and found wanting?  Most people peddle a no-thought-out self introduction that walks the tenuous line of trying to not to stand out too much and yet, stand out enough to be remembered.

What would happen if you just dropped over-thinking and self consciousness and turned your focus from yourself onto… them… your listeners… your audience… colleagues… potential friends?

I’ll tell you what will happen… you will become a Self Introduction Super Star! And for those of you who just cringed (me included), I’ll rephrase that to something suitably less hyped… you’ll forget the fear and effortlessly introduce yourself… because self introductions are not really about you.

Generally, a Self Introduction takes between 30 and 180 seconds. About the time it takes to brush your teeth, answer a text message or have a blood test. A brief rah rah and then it’s all over. But, it is important, yes?

The Impact of A Poor Self Intro
Ooooh dear, are you shrivelling with the memory of a time you really “stuffed up” introducing yourself or remembered the compassion you felt when someone else struggled like a butterfly on a pin in front of the group? Oh how we don’t want that for ourselves. And yet, it does happen to all of us, some of the time.

Common Self Intro Mistakes Quiz
1. Forget to mention your name.
2. Ramble and get gonged off for going overtime.
3. You don’t really “end”, just fade away as you sink into your chair.
4. Say too much too soon and overwhelm. (My downfall)
5. Be mind numbingly boring… because you are bored.
6. Apologise for existing before and after you speak.
7. Sound just like everyone else and be just as forgettable.
8. Inappropriately list your achievements like a verbal CV.
9. Launch into a high powered selling tirade.
10. Fail to explain who you are and why anyone should listen to you.

Tip: Know Your Listeners First
When listeners ask themselves “who on earth are you and why should I care?, what they really looking for in a self introduction is:
•    Credibility (how are you qualified to speak and why should I listen to you?)
•    Relationship (how are you related to me and people I trust?)
•    Need (what’s in it for me? Do I need you now, later or never?)

How do you fit this all in 60 seconds and still sound relaxed and enthralling? Sounds like a lot to bother with doesn’t it?

So Why Bother Learning This Fine Art?
1. It creates a positive, memorable first impression.
2. It helps listeners understand who you are and how you can help.
3. It is courteous, professional and respectful of people’s time.
4. It helps you stand out by identifying your unique point of difference.
5. It builds confidence in yourself which is radiantly attractive.

It’s Not Hard When You Know How
Here’s a great example I’ve used before because I like it’s picturesque brevity:

“Hello, I’m Wendy; I help people find their toes. I’m a weight loss consultant.”

See how these 2 short sentences introduce Wendy and explain how she can help you (if you need to find your toes) in a memorable and creative way? And here’s another of my self introduction favourites demonstrating a clear point of difference and personality:

“You know how people often struggle at tax time… well I fix that. I’m a specialist bookkeeper for small business. My clients call me “The Tax Queen” but really, my name is Julia… and I really do love tax and computers!“

Use Your Physical Presence To Introduce Yourself
And you don’t need to just use your mouth to introduce yourself. Most listeners have other senses to engage. Ever had someone call out an endorsement when you speak “She’s great!” Trust and engagement spread like wildfire because some else said it, not you.

Take a confident physical stance. Yes, re-watch the Amy Cuddy video on power poses. Hold eye contact, use gestures, voice and props. Some examples:
•    If you are a photographer, bring your camera “This is what I do” and explain how you’d take a photo of the group in front of you… “If you want an angle that shows…” If appropriate, do it and offer it up as a social media post later.
•    If you are a physical therapist, say “Neck and shoulders hold the most tension. I’m going to show you how to fix that. Turn to the person next to you, ask their permission, and if ok, press this point and massage… pause…my name is Gregor… yes no joke, I’m a Swedish physio… and I help clients release pain and get back to normal.”

And so on. Don’t get fixated on verbal gymnastics. Use your body to speak.

Be Clear, Be Honest, Be Brief
Self Introductions appear to be about you.
But Self Introductions are really about your listeners.
Use clarity, honesty and brevity to explain who you are and why they should care.

(c) 2016 Geraldine Barkworth, speaking coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

How To Introduce Yourself In 2 Minutes

Self Introductions Made Incredibly Easy

Creating a powerful and succinct 2-minute self-introduction is one of your best and cheapest promotional tools. 2 minutes gives you time to explain what you do with a case study, it enables you to build rapport by showing more of yourself and it gives an opportunity to promote a current product, service or special offer. Customised to each audience of course.

We’ve all been at an event and seen how frequently people struggle with explaining who they are and how their work benefits others.  Here’s an example how to do it from a Physiotherapist at a women’s lunch:

“Hello everyone – My name is Jo Kikidis. Have you ever had trouble reverse parking because your neck was stiff? Or you had to stay in bed for a few days because your back was so sore? It’s my job to help clients park their car and get out of bed!

“I’m a physiotherapist and I specialise in sore necks, sore backs and sports injuries. I’ve run a small clinic with 4 staff, just down the road for the last 3 years. We work Monday to Saturday.

Recently, one of my clients who runs a small local business, hurt his back lifting something he shouldn’t have. He said he thought about asking for help with lifting but then decided he didn’t have time. So ignoring his intuition he went ahead and did it anyway… and ended up barely able to walk and unable to drive. His wife brought him in to see me – he was on high dosage pain killers. They’d had to employ someone temporarily since he couldn’t work. He came to see me every week for 4 weeks. By week 2 his pain had decreased by 50% and his mobility was also up 50%. I showed him some simple ways to strengthen his core and make his back muscles more stable – he does them every day at home. Yesterday was his last appointment and he’s now pain free and back at work. “Bad Backs” are such a frequent problem for my clients I’ve created a special program just for learning how to look after your back.

What I need at the moment are 3 more clients interested in undertaking a 6 week ‘No More Sore Back Program” I’m running next month. I only have room for 8 people who have a history of back problems. If you or someone you know would benefit from my back care program, please take one of these flyers. I’m Jo Kikidis, your local physio.”

See? It’s easy to introduce yourself in 2 minutes when you know how. Now it’s your turn to create your very own version. Don’t forget to read it out loud and time it, including your pauses. Oh, and don’t forget to pause! Less is more. Keep it light and experiment until it’s juusst right for you and each occasion.

© 2015, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article or review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Self Introductions: Be Intriguing

“Intriguing Ways To Introduce Yourself At Networking Events”

There are so many ways to give a self introduction at networking events it can be confusing. I am going to show you just one. It’s a short and simple script enabling you to effortlessly explain who you are and what you offer at any event, meeting, workshop or party.

Drama Queen 2.5 x 1.5This simple self introduction script will stop you waffling and forgetting important facts like your name!

Here are examples I’m fond of because they are creative, fun and effuse credibility:

•    “I help people find their toes. I’m Wendy and I help people lose weight.“
•    “You know how some people look 20 years older than they really are? Well I fix that. I’m an anti-aging specialist and my name is Sai.“
•    “I’m the person that people call when the wheels have come unstuck in their life and they want to do something about it. I help people get back on track with a 12-week program. My name is Lou Phillips and I’m an accredited Counsellor.“

It’s a good idea to have a few scripts up your sleeve to adapt to different networking events and to avoid sounding like a broken record. Once you have internalised the concept, you will start to ad lib and customise to each occasion without having to prepare for it. You will be authentic, off the cuff and relevant every time. Say bye bye to your memorised script.

© 2015, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Shy People And Parties Survival Guide

Cheese Is A Terrific Starting Point

Many people find it difficult to “just be themselves”, especially shy people at parties. Remember that feeling when you first walk through the door, confronted by a sea of unknown faces or backs? Should you stick around or should you run? Parties can bring up fear of being separate or rejected by the group. Similar fears surface when public speaking.

Basically, when self consciousness looms, people shrink with fear and disappear, or pump themselves up with a flashy veneer.

At parties, it’s frequently a case of one human shield meeting another human shield – no wonder it’s difficult to connect meaningfully with the room awash with air kisses.

Trust & Rapport
Recently I attended a women’s’ “drinks & nibbles”. (Yes, the dreaded “After Hours Networking” – see the related article “Un-Networking For Shy People”.)

The guest speaker was a funeral director and she explained the process of building trust and rapport with someone you’ve never met before. Her process can also be applied to creating heart to heart connections at a party.

Level 1:  Surface chitchat about the party…Head nodding acknowledgement.
Level 2:  Basic information exchange…Name, connection to host.
Level 3:  Offering of safe opinions… Scanning for similarities.  Longer eye contact.
Level 4:  Exchange of appropriate personal thoughts…Standing closer, feeling safer.
Level 5:  Opening up & sharing honest feelings…Authentic Connection.

If your party experience traditionally stays between Levels 1 and 3, then you miss the opportunity to “show yourself” and so does the other person. Self consciousness keeps you in its’ grip and it’s purpose is to keep you feeling safe. Whether you need it or not.

And hey hey hey! If you get to Level 5, you can consider yourself someone who just got comfortable with being themselves at a party, or at least, with one new person. Shy people and parties, who would have thought?

Dropping The Mask
Most of us hide behind a façade at some point. We do this because we don’t feel safe enough to be ourselves. We fear judgement, rejection or loss. Parties and public speaking can trigger a lot of fear! Here’s a quote from a client of mine who sums it up:

“  I can see now that speakers who rely on putting up a mask, rob their audience of the authentic experience of being with them. “ Elise Wynyard, Art Therapist

And so it is at parties. When you wear a mask, you rob people meeting the real you. I am not recommending you drop your guard and expose yourself to the whole wide world this afternoon.

I am recommending you try this technique next time you feel uncomfortable at a party, or when public speaking:

•    Take a slow, deep breath and feel your feet on the floor.
•    Take all the time you need to slow down, make soft eye contact.
•    If you feel like it, introduce yourself to someone who willingly offers eye contact.
•    Pause, smile, and allow space for words to arise naturally. And they will.
•    If someone appears impatient and moves on because you didn’t enthral them within thirty seconds, let them go; you were never going to feel safe enough to open up and connect with this person anyway.

After The Party, Ask Yourself:
•    Is it more satisfying to have connected authentically with one real person, or
•    Is it more satisfying to have ten superficial conversations about the cheese?

It is not my intention to deride conversations about cheese. Cheese is a terrific starting point. The key is to find that starting point, a place of connection with another person. One real person, meets another real person and hey presto, you can be yourself, even as one of the shy people at parties.

© 2013, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Un-Networking For Shy People

Un-Networking

Un-Networking is brilliant for shy people. It is the art of being genuinely interested in meeting new people with no expectations of selling them something.

I developed an early horror of cheese and chardonnay networking events, filled with drunken blokes with no home to go to, but a hellava lot of business cards to press sweatily into any willing palm.

Needless to say, I missed opportunities to expand and avoided “After Hours Networking” for years, until I created the concept of “un-networking”.

Step 1: Identify possible valuable benefits to attending the After Hours Event.
Yes, Possible Benefits:                                                                                
•    I need new clients and new ideas.
•    I could learn something from the speaker.
•    The cheese chunks are more nutritious than anything I’ve got at home.  

No Perceivable Benefits:
•    So don’t go.

Step 2: If “YES, Possible Benefits”
Proceed with an open heart to the After Hours Event. Be aware of the Possible Benefit to you and then let go of the expectation that you will receive it. Yes, I know, that’s the tricky bit. But if it were easy, we’d all be sitting on top of a fluffy cloud with lots of dark chocolate.

Step 3: How To Let Go Of Expectations Script
(Say to yourself) “… My purpose in attending this event is because I need…(fill in the Benefit you are after.) However, the outcome, whatever it may be, is beyond my control. So I’m just going to show up, be myself and see what happens. And I can choose to leave whenever I want.”

Step 4: How To Be Yourself
Trickier than it sounds for our self-conscious, time-poor western society. This is an affliction affecting up to 50% of the population. Read the related article: “The Shy Person’s Guide To Party Survival”.

Step 5: Your Arrival
Take a deep breath, ground yourself and look around. Where is there movement and energy? Where are the awkward places? And most importantly, where is the food? Walk determinedly in your chosen direction. Frequently the best place for meaningful connection with new people is in the kitchen or by the carrot sticks.

Step 6: The Business Card Swapping Ceremony – Do’s & Don’ts
Do try either of these:
1.    Upon initial introduction, immediately offer your card. Politely ask if you may receive one of theirs in return. The beauty of this ceremony is that it immediately generates conversation – “Oh that‘s an interesting business logo, what’s the story behind it?” and so on. It also means you won’t forget peoples’ names thirty seconds after they’ve just told you.

2.    If after chatting for a while, you decide that this is a person you’d like to get to know, as a buyer, seller or friend, either offer one of your cards or ask if you can have one of their cards. Generally, if you accept someone’s card, I believe it is good manners to offer one of your own. This creates a balance of mutual giving and receiving.

Do not try either of these:
1.    Simply “plonk” your card in front of people to whom you are not currently conversing and then buzz off, distributing them like poison pollen.

2.    Accept a card and immediately stuff it in your bag without looking at it. The Japanese believe the card personally represents you and as such, should be treated with the appearance of respect. Many of us feel the same way.

Step 7: Make New Friends, Connections And Business:
After all that effort to attend the After Hours Event, cocktail party, business breakfast or general smoozing, you might as well take it all the way. Write where and when you met the person on their card. If you enjoyed talking and made an offer, such as sending them some information, then phone or email them within 24 hours or so.

Frequently, your thoughtful and genuine follow up email or phone call makes Un-Networking very worthwhile. You just never know what interesting opportunities, ideas and people are out there.

But if you never go, you’ll never know.

© 2013, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Speak About What Makes You, Different

Name Your Point Of Difference At Networking Events

Picture this: you are at a networking event. Perhaps it’s a lunch, a book launch or a conference. Amongst others, there are 4 naturopaths, 2 real estate agents and 3 life coaches. You need their services, but how do you choose and what’s the difference between them?

And that’s the crucial question.

In today’s market, there are an overwhelming variety of services and products from which to choose. Creating a unique Point Of Difference (POD) is a strategic way to make your product or service stand out and be noticed.

Generally, people choose their service and product providers based on:

  • Whether they instantly like and trust you, more so than the others.
  • If they immediately understand what you offer and it’s what they need.
  • If they have a recommendation from a friend, so the process of trust has begun.
  • Regularly seeing and hearing you and your marketing so that it feels “familiar”.

To help potential clients recognise your Point Of Difference, build these 4 pathways:

  1. Learn public speaking techniques to build authentic trust, rapport and presence.
  2. Be able to clearly articulate in 30 seconds your Point Of Difference.
  3. Build cross-referrals with related practitioners and make sure existing clients understand all that you do. Don’t forget the most obvious: ask good clients for referrals.
  4. Create a consistent marketing message in a variety of media and share value added information to educate and inform. This builds your credibility and brand so that you become known as the familiar subject expert.

Finally, ask yourself:
Would you choose you?

If your answer is “no” and you don’t have these four pathways clearly laid out, take the time to work out your unique Point Of Difference. If you don’t know what makes you stand out from your competitors, then neither will your clients and they may choose someone else.

Find your authentic voice and message and you will have created your unique Point Of Difference.

© 2009-2011, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

How To Create A Compelling 30 Second Self Introduction

Be Short And Sweet

We live in a society with advert-length attention spans.  We can capture that short attention span by creating a 30 second personal ad, otherwise known as “a self introduction”. I’m going to show you how… in 180 seconds!

One of my bugbears occurs at functions when the harassed facilitator pleads: “Now we’ve got a lot to cover today, so please give a brief 30 second self introduction.”  Before long, someone grabs 4 minutes of “Me Me Time” at everyone’s expense.  A new trend begins of 4, 5, 6 minute mind numbing self-introductions.

I used to think such people were insensitive, selfish and couldn’t follow direction.  Now having worked with so many people, I understand that the number one reason some people rave and ramble when they introduce themselves is:

  • they simply don’t know how to structure a succinct self-introduction.
  • they simply are so nervous about speaking, they blank out and ramble.
  • they simply are unprepared and have no idea what they are doing there.
  • they simply are insensitive, selfish and can’t follow direction!

The Key Benefits of Keeping You Short & Sweet

  • First Impressions, like First Contact, create a lasting legacy.
  • Less Is More – keeping your words clutter-free makes you easier to understand.
  • Being Succinct shows respect for other people’s time & this is always appreciated.

Succinctly introducing yourself with ease and grace enables you to:

  • Quickly establish rapport and open a connection.
  • Give an ‘elevator” speech and create an opportunity.
  • Make a powerful impression that gets you noticed.

It’s a good idea to have a few self-intro’s up your sleeve, because you don’t want to sound like a broken record and because everybody, every situation and everyday is different.

1. Describe the benefit of what you do for others (not your title or process.)
2. Use visual, graphic examples to which people can easily relate.
3. Give your name.

Most people want to get a sense of who you are and what you can do for them, before they want to know your name.  And if they are interested in what you offer, they are likely remember your name.  So think about Them first, not You, when you give a self introduction.

Be Intriguing, Not Boring

  • ” I help people find their toes. I’m Wendy and I help people lose weight. “
  • ” You know how some people look 20 years older than they really are? Well I fix that.  I’m an anti-aging specialist and my name is Sammi. “
  • ” I’m the person that people call when the wheels have come unstuck in their life and they want to do something about it. I help people get back on track with a 12 week program. My name is Lou and I’m an accredited Counsellor. “

Create your own 30 second personal ad and grab those short attention spans before they pass you by.  And don’t forget to practice.

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