Public Speaking Fear Begone!

A Speaking Fear Relaxation Exercise That Really Works

So many public speaking fear exercises out there… which one to choose and which one is right for you?

A solution feels like a good fit when it exactly addresses the specific problem. In other words, you don’t just have anxiety, you have “public speaking anxiety”. If you apply a generic formula, you’ll get a generic result, one that’s just not quite right for you. So you abandon it and lump it in with all the other failed solutions.

I’m a specialist public speaking coach and I introduce my clients to a mindful breath technique I’ve developed for nervous public speakers. It works for speaking nerves and it works for dinner with your mother in law. It works whether you are a coach, therapist or CEO.

Breathe Your Way To Inner Calm

I call this special mindful breath technique, dum de dum daa:  The Inner Calm Exercise. Below is a short MP3 audio recording of my voice and a quirky home-made video on how to breathe your way to inner calm with this public speaking relaxation exercise that really works.

Simply click the “Play” triangle below and you’ll hear me talk you through it. Make sure you turn up your sound button.

The Inner Calm Exercise MP3:

 

The Inner Calm Exercise Is The “Hit” of Every Workshop

It’s such an effective technique I offer it free to everyone. It’s the “hit” of my retreats, workshops and private coaching. Years later, clients contact me to exclaim over how it’s still changing their life. They use it before speaking, to help them go to sleep, to help them wake up and focus, to deal with moments of overwhelm and with difficult conversations of life.

And here’s a short training video demonstrating how to do it:

 

Public Speaking Fear Begone and Stay Gone!

To enjoy the full benefits, I recommend you practice it every day for 6 weeks and continue to use it on a regular basis. Pretty soon, your body and mind begin to associate mindfully taking a breath in and out, with taking emotional control. Make Inner Calm a daily habit and find a way to make it part of your daily routine.

If you prefer to have step by step help to stay on track with learning this new habit, try my Online Course called Confidence & Connection. It’s a 43 page eBook covering weekly public speaking confidence exercises to make your public speaking fear begone! It includes MP3 recordings of visualisation exercises to help you speak with ease and authenticity. More information on using the Inner Calm exercise is included.

Now you can take a big breath in… and out. Finally, a public speaking relaxation exercise that really works.

© 2013-18, Geraldine Barkworth, authentic speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Video: How To Save The World Or At Least Yourself From Bad Meetings

TED Talk By David Grady

If you desire to inspire behavioural change within office culture, David Grady’s short TED Talk shows you how to poke fun at a universal problem and present a simple, do-able solution in 6.4 minutes.

David engages immediate attention with a visual story we can all relate to: wasted days of pointless, endless meetings at the office. He cleverly reframes the problem as “Stealing Your Time”. This reframe names the righteous indignation we feel but seem powerless to change.

The Importance of Purpose

David shares his simple solution: only attend meetings with a clear goal to make a productive outcome more likely. And assist meeting organisers to learn how to create meetings with purpose.

How To Save The World Or At Least Yourself From Bad Meetings strings together funny stories of shared frustration at the idiocy of meetings from hell. This bonds listeners through common experience and laughter. Who hasn’t attended a conference call constantly interrupted by incoming and outgoing attendees with a flummoxed facilitator? “Umm hello? Who just joined us? Oh, no one there? Ah, now where was I?”

David Grady’s speaking style is casual, down to earth and approachable. Which I think, makes his ideas less threatening to corporate culture and increases the likelihood of adoption. David’s talk taps into our sense of fair play and common sense. For more talks about “ideas worth spreading”, visit the home of TED Talks.

© 2018 Geraldine Barkworth. This Review is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Video: Massively Multi Player Thumb Wrestling by Jane McGonigal

Use Oxytocin To Group Bond

Oxytocin is the “bonding hormone” – the feel good hormone that opens our hearts and minds to each other. Apparently 6 seconds of hand holding is enough to activate the flow of oxytocin through our veins. Important to know this if you work with a group / team / audience and wish to lead them somewhere meaningful and, together!

Jane McGonigal begins this fun and fabulous 7 minute TED Talk with the promise that you’ll feel 10 positive emotions in 60 seconds. She promises and she delivers by showing how to connect a large audience of 1500, physically and emotionally.

Watch this video if you want to learn how to make your presentations dynamically creative. And, if you want to learn how to set up and successfully manage large scale interactive group exercises. Oh and, it’s very well written, tightly delivered and even over-delivers.

Massively Multi Player Thumb Wrestling is also a great warm up, wake up and cool down exercise. It costs nothing and doesn’t even take much time. It generates cooperation, laughter, connection, physical movement, inspiration, perspective and a sense of togetherness. And who doesn’t want more of that?

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, from fear to fabulous speaking coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au . This video review is the opinion of the author only.

 

Video Review: What I Learned From 100 Days Of Rejection by Jia Jiang

What I Learned From 100 Days Of Rejection  is a 15 minute TED Talk which shows how to turn a great fear into a great gift.  Jia Jiang offers powerful and poignant lessons about learning from rejection rather than running from it.

Jia begins with a 2 minute story of shameful rejection at age 6, something most of us can relate to. He explains how his fear of public rejection and humiliation undermined his bodacious plans for young entrepreneurship until he came across an online game called Rejection Therapy.

Similarly, avoidance of public speaking situations frequently stems from a fear of social rejection and the initial trigger doesn’t have to have anything to do with speaking in public. Our mind perceives a parallel and reacts to it. Generally, with fear we avoid and move away, with reward we approach and embrace.

At 10 minutes into What I Learned From 100 days of Rejection, Jia explains how he stopped running from potential rejection and changed his approach. There is a magic word (“Why”?) and a simple feeling (empathy and voicing the other’s fears and doubts). He sums it up: “Just ask”. Stay, hang around and talk to the person. Find out what’s behind the “rejection”. There can be good reasons why your request can not be fulfilled. And it’s nothing to do with whether you are good enough or likeable.

Take Jia’s insights and apply them to yourself when you feel like running away from a public speaking situation. Frequently what we perceive to be rejection is nothing of the sort. It’s our own fear stuffing us up. Embrace your greatest fear and receive your greatest gift. And that’s what Jia Jiang does with his hilarious and refreshing speech.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading.

© 2017, Geraldine Barkworth. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au  This Video Review is entirely the opinion of the author.

Video Review: Before I Die I Want To… by Candy Chang

“Preparing for death is one of the most empowering things you can do. Thinking about death clarifies your life.”

Before I Die I Want To… is a terrific 6 minute TED Talk that shows you how to:

  1. Handle tears when they start rolling down your face in the middle of a presentation,
  2. Make sense of a personal sadness by channelling it into a powerful social movement,
  3. Take one simple idea, link it with a universal story we all relate to, use visual examples to explain the concept and demonstrate the how and why it’s spread around the world,

And all in 6 minutes. The talk is elegant, clear and uncluttered and refreshingly natural. Candy advocates using public spaces, like the sides of unused buildings and bus shelters, to encourage people to anonymously talk about their greatest hopes, dreams and fears… it begins conversation between people, the community and, the world.

Spaces are set up for people to write their answers to big statements like: “Before I die I want to…” The spaces fill up quickly. Most people understand that “life is brief and tender” yet have few opportunities to explore the fears, hopes and ideas that this and other big questions, ask of us.

I like this speech for many reasons. I recommend it to clients who worry about breaking down with emotion in public. Candy’s feelings surface throughout her speech and it doesn’t detract, it enhances. It makes her message more powerful and sincere because she stands her ground and rides through the storm, letting it flow through her as she keeps going. If you are interested in more tips on how to handle strong emotions when you present, here’s another article I’ve written: “But What If I Cry?”

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading.

© 2017, Geraldine Barkworth. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au  This Video Review is entirely the opinion of the author.

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

Let Your Words And Body Speak For You

 

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

Video Review: How To Use A Paper Towel, by Joe Smith

Ever tried to convince people to change their behaviour? How did that go for you?

Watch TED Talk, How To Use A Paper Towel 5 minute video by Joe Smith and learn how to:

  • build a case for change by using practical evidence and visual props;
  • physically demonstrate the ease of making the recommended change;
  • link to change to a higher purpose that benefits us all and uses inspiration to motivate;
  • invite group participation by making learning fun, easy and memorable… and building a habit.

Joe Smith, a USA lawyer, has a thing about reducing the outrageous waste of using too much paper towel when you dry your hands. Small thing to you perhaps, big thing for forests and pollution. In just under 5 minutes, Joe teaches the audience How To Use A Paper Towel with his simple technique – “Shake and Fold”. By asking the audience to call out the steps he simultaneously engages their attention, reinforces learning, increases ownership and makes it fun.

I’ve been using his technique now for years. It works! Saves paper and gives me a glow of virtuous satisfaction every time.

Watch How To Use A Paper Towel and learn not only how to dry your hands efficiently, discover how to imprint a persuasive argument and promote positive behaviour change in less than 5 minutes. Tip: Notice he introduces only one idea and sticks to it.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading.

(c) 2015-17, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This video review is the author’s opinion only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Video Review: Meryl Streep Tribute to Hillary Clinton 2012

Meryl Streep reads her speech, yet sounds just like she’s having a conversation with you. Watch this video to learn how to read and yet stay connected to your audience.

Ever wondered how to read your speech and not sound like you are READING it? Actress Meryl Streep shows how with effortless ease in this video. She is natural and engaging and you forget, or even don’t realise, that she is reading a prepared speech. Note how she talks directly, conversationally and inclusively. This is my current second most favourite video I refer to clients who struggle with “how do I read, memorise or ad lib and yet be natural?”

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

Video Review: Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are, by Amy Cuddy

I share Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are by Amy Cuddy, for conveying confidence, credibility and authority with body language more than any other TED Talk.

This is a brilliant 20 minute talk from Amy Cuddy for understanding how to make simple physiological changes to transform the way you feel and how others see us. Perfect for those who need to lead, influence, get a message across or feel more confident in any situation.

TED Talks: Ideas Worth Spreading.

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

But What If I Cry When It’s My Turn to Speak?

The Vulnerability Of Public Speaking

Uh, oh… your chest feels like it may explode, your throat is constricted and your face is hot. Strong emotions are rising and about to overwhelm your carefully constructed boundaries. Oh no, not now! Now you need to look good. You need to convey strength, confidence and above all, professionalism. Too late. A tear escapes and more are following. The vulnerability of public speaking.

The fear of breaking down or crying in public is a powerful and common fear. These are the 3 main ways people choose to react:

•    1. Strive harder for polished perfection.
•    2. Become invisible with no voice.
•    3. Completely relax into all your flawed glory.

Which appeals most to you? Let me introduce you to two of my clients, Sandra and Ms M who both came to me with a fear of the vulnerability of public speaking.

Real Life Cases
1.  Sandra*, HR Manager
“If I break down, I’ll look unprofessional.” Sandra was great 1 on 1 and decisive, empathic and warm in day to day communication. However, in formal speaking situations she felt overwhelmed, teary and spoke in a forced, staccato manner. This made Sandra hard to listen to, stiff and ineffective as a trainer as she struggled to “control herself.” She received feedback that she was perceived as angry and distant.

2.  Ms M*, Bondage Mistress
“If I cry, I’ll look weak.” Ms M was a strong, articulate and insightful woman, extremely adept at keeping her clients safe. She was brilliant at maintaining strong boundaries for others but was terrified of crying and losing control when she was due to speak at a conference about the power of trust.

To Cry Or Not To Cry
Both Sandra and Ms M learned to handle their fears of falling apart in public and to overcome stage fright.

Sandra learned to shift the focus off herself and instead shift her attention to the individuals in front of her. She also learned to soften her jaw and voice and to telegraph her message visually as well as verbally. Sandra stopped being angry with herself and learned to respond differently. The biggest surprise for Sandra was when a few months later staff began asking her advice about public speaking skills.

Ms M’s experience took another route. When it came to the big moment in front of 500 people, she did cry. But instead of shrinking, she expanded and held her ground. She paused, gathered herself and looked up to find the whole audience was crying with her. Her genuine emotion, beautifully handled and not hidden, moved everyone and deepened her credibility and professionalism.

What You Can Do Now
One of the quickest ways to learn how to handle the vulnerability of public speaking or something you find challenging, is to observe how others do it.  I highly recommend a terrific 6 minute speech by Candy Chang about the impact of identifying what’s really important to you and to do it, before you die. The subject is a very personal one for Candy and she handles her tears graciously. Do not fear that you will be watching 6 pain-filled minutes of wallowing. Candy’s speech is innovative and clever and like most TED speeches, “an idea worth spreading.”

http://www.ted.com/talks/candy_chang_before_i_die_i_want_to.html

Next time strong emotion arises in you when you speak in public, just notice it and don’t get caught up in the story. Instead, pause and connect through your eyes with another person to help keep you grounded. Pause and continue with your speech.

I’ve cried a number of times when speaking in public. It feels like a storm has passed through leaving behind peace and acceptance. Certainly the words seem to flow much better once emotion is released. “Better out than in” as someone infamous once said, and through my tears, I couldn’t agree more.

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