Feel Fear Speak Anyway

L Plates For Learner Speakers

Most years I run a specialised Public Speaking Retreat for 6 women. And every year I get asked the same question: “If I attend the Retreat, will I have to speak?”

Ummm; yes!

Not So Red Faced
I once worked with a woman who successfully avoided speaking to her staff en masse for 5 years. Just the thought of it was enough to produce a blood rush. She felt warmth and embarrassment spread across her face like a bushfire. She was sure she looked silly and bright red. She avoided situations that made her the centre of attention. A bit tricky as she was the owner of a small business. When we worked with a video camera, body language and slowing down, she realised her face was not noticeably red and she didn’t look as nervous as she felt inside. With proof and practise over the next few months, her fear went down and her confidence went up. She focused on her purpose in speaking and the people in front of her, instead of herself. Voila!

Relief Rush

Now I love the adrenaline rush of relief when I’ve successfully gotten out of something as much as anybody. But avoidance is a good choice only for the short term.

Communication is a core life skill. You are going to be speaking for the long term. You might as well get on with feeling the fear and speaking anyway. Because running a service that makes a real difference, is going to involve you talking about it with more than one person.

Expand From One To Many

“But I prefer one to one speaking” I hear you cry! Many women in business declare their preference for speaking with one person at a time. They enjoy being up close and personal with just one client, colleague or friend.

One day you will have to leave the safety of the coffee nook to promote, influence and impress on a larger scale. If you excel at one to one then I know you can transition from one to many.  It’s the same skills, just tweaked and practised to fit the new purpose. Trust me, I’ve helped hundreds of women make the shift.

The Fear To Fab Makeover

While many ways are touted as the answer to overcoming public speaking fear, after specialising in this area for many years, I reckon there are 5 fundamental speaking habits that shift even the most timid of women in business from fear to fabulous:

  1. Anchor yourself with your speaking purpose.
  2. Relax your body into a confident, powerful, natural stance.
  3. Slow down everything. You will have presence and be present.
  4. Transfer your attention from yourself to your listeners and their needs.
  5. Don’t give the speech. Be the speech.

Learning To Speak Is Like Learning To Drive

Remember when you first learned to drive a car? You had to turn on the ignition, put the car in gear, check your mirrors, indicate and move into the flow of traffic. One day you are driving along and realise you haven’t thought about those individual steps. You did it unconsciously because it had become a habit of confidence.

And that’s exactly the same when learning those 5 Fear To Fab speaking habits.

The first level of learning is referred to as “conscious incompetence”. Doesn’t sound flattering, but we are all in the same boat when we learn anything new. As your experience increases, you move to the level of flow, fully present and in the moment. This higher level of learning is called “unconscious competence.” This doesn’t too flattering either, but I assure you, flow is good, very good!

In the same way as you effortlessly weave in and out of traffic; having conversations as it were with other cars, I assure you that public speaking becomes an effortless weaving, melding and merging of you and your audience.

Some people come to love public speaking so much, they’ve always got their hand up. The joy of new found speaking agility drives you effortlessly along a freeway, rather than kangaroo hopping in a back lane of obscurity.

Feel Fear Speak Anyway

Finally, to return to the fearful plea: “If I attend the public speaking retreat, will I have to speak?”

Mmm, methinks hanging out with people who actively embrace their public speaking fear at a retreat immersion is the classic “feel the fear and do it anyway”. Surviving the fear shows you can handle it and experiential proof builds your confidence.

At some point, public speaking fear passes away when you learn to let it go, just like my client with the not-so-red face. She now leads her weekly team meeting and is loving it. And so does her business and the ripples it creates, year after year.

©2018, Geraldine Barkworth specialises in helping women transform public speaking fear to become naturally relaxed and fully present speakers. 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

Self Introductions: Be Intriguing

Sample Self Introduction For Networking

There are so many ways to introduce yourself at networking events it can be confusing. I am going to offer you one simple sample self introduction. 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 sample self introduction 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

Introduce Yourself With A WIFM Not A Wish

How To Speak To A “Closed Group”

Have you ever tried to introduce yourself in a meeting, group or event and as much as you tried to insert yourself into the conversation, you are passed over by the others, as if you don’t exist? It’s hard to maintain self-confidence in an environment where you feel ignored. Actually it’s hard to not feel paranoid!

Unfortunately this is a common experience for many first timers when they attend an established group who often close ranks rather than open and welcome the newbies. Newcomers often feel they have to “force their way in” and “prove themselves”. Sometimes, they just don’t come back.

I’m going to outline how to introduce yourself using a simple WIFM strategy to show you how to break through this social communication barrier. It will enable you to be seen and heard every time you speak.

What’s In It For Me?
The strategy is called “What’s In It For Me?” (WIFM) Whenever we evaluate a product, service, idea or even a relationship, there are three questions running subconsciously through our mind. When you speak, especially if it’s to a group who don’t know you well, within the first two minutes people will be asking themselves:

1.    Who are you? (What qualifies you to talk about this?)
2.    How will I benefit?  (What will I get out of this?)
3.    And what do I have to do, to benefit? (What steps do I need to take?)

You may now be re-evaluating the last time you spoke, whether it was in a small meeting, large group or a networking event. Did you establish the answer to those questions with your listeners? And did you do it right up front so they quickly became engaged and interested?

Whether we browse for a new breakfast cereal, analyse the government Budget or listen to a colleague speak at a meeting, these are the same three critical questions we subconsciously ask ourselves each time.

 

WIFM Sample For A Networking Event

“Hello, I’m Maud and I manufacturing gizmos for reinforced concrete to keep our bridges safe. I’ve implemented 5 projects using gizmos and I’m going to tell you how I did that today.

My purpose is to help you avoid pitfalls in your business expansion and take to advantage of my experience

…and when I’ve finished in 30 minutes time, you’ll know how to do such and such… with your business. Is that something you want for your future?”

 

Play around with the WIFM Strategy sample and substitute your own language. If you use this style to introduce yourself when you speak at meetings and groups, especially when you know your audience may not want to hear what you have to say, you will answer those three critical, unspoken questions and objections running through their minds.

Once you establish credibility, explain the benefit and the steps to get that benefit, the audience will be welcoming, open to hearing what you say and more likely to follow your recommendations. Your influence will grow with your credibility every time.

Contact Geraldine for help with creating the WIFM for your next speech.

(c)2014, Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach. This article is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

What Does Your Speaking Voice Say About You?

A Speaking Voice To Command Attention & Authority

Why do some people generate more attention and authority than others? Is it something they do with their speaking voice?

I Speak Therefore I Breathe
As you breathe in and out, air is pushed out of the lungs by the diaphragm and upwards against the vocal cords. This causes the cords to separate and breath passes between them. Ta daa! Sound is produced! The extraordinary variety of sounds we humans produce is caused by the vibrating sound waves in the throat, nose and mouth.

Why Everyone Has A Unique Speaking Voice
Your voice is different to everyone else because of the unique size and shape variations producing different vocal tones in the vocal cords, nose, mouth and throat.

Your voice becomes even more unique to you when volume strengths such as soft and loud are added. In your mind, think of hearing a whisper… now think of hearing a command.

Pitch conveys the colour, meaning and emotion behind your words. Think of a speaker you know whose voice has a high, monotonous, low, shrill, flat or squeaky pitch. What’s your reaction to each? What’s your preference?

And let’s not forget rhythm or ululation, the cadence and emphasis that individuals place on syllables and pronounciation which contribute to the different sounds of a regional accent or to convey meaning. For instance, “I see” or “I see.”

For Every Role, A Different Speaking Voice
Everyday, we all play different roles as parents, colleagues, managers, friends, lovers or children. Have you noticed whether or not your voice changes as you step into each new role? Have you noticed a variation in the voice of others? Obvious examples include:

  • A soft, slower tone when addressing children or someone who is upset or an employee learning a complex new task;
  • an authoritative level tone when addressing a team or audience;
  • a playful whisper to share a joke with your partner.

HOW you say your words is more influential than WHAT you say.

Influencing Others With Your Speaking Voice
Expression and emotion in your voice stirs an emotional response in others. For example, in the West:

  • Deeper, authoritative tones enhance credibility and leadership;
  • High, shrill tones lose authority and are ignored;
  • Soft, confident, slow tones cause people to ‘lean in” and reflect;
  • Powerful, story telling tones using language rich with emotive pictures command attention and engage imagination.

Leaders are often elected and followed due to their ability to lead with their voice and the power of their words. If you are a leader, you need to speak with professional presence. If you are a speaker, you need to lead with professional presence. Leading and speaking are flip sides of the same coin.

What Does Your Speaking Voice Say About You?
Most of us make assumptions about what we sound like based on feedback both verbal and non verbal (such as a smile or a frown) from others.

But are your assumptions about your voice and its influence, correct?

Some of my clients come to see me about “improving their voice” as they desire to command authority and attention when they speak. Sometimes the reasons are obvious:

  • they speak too softly (so they learn to project);
  • they speak too quickly (so they learn to slow down and pause);
  • they speak in a monotone (so they learn how to add colour);
  • they speak with a nervous quiver (so they learn to manage nerves).

What surprises me is how often people assume their voices aren’t powerful enough, effective enough, articulate enough or even good enough for others to hear. When we film or record their voice, they can hear the truth for themselves and take steps if they need to.

What Does Your Speaking Voice Sound Like?
To command greater attention and authority when you speak, you first need to get some factual feedback:

  • Ask 5 friends and colleagues for 5 words describing your speaking style;
  • Observe the impact of your words as they land on people’s faces. Are they listening respectfully, enthusiastically or tuning off?

Great speakers and leaders (at home, at work and in the world) command respect, trust and attention and inspire credibility and action. You can use your influence “for good” simply by finding and tweaking your authentic voice.

Access the power of your vocal cords and let me hear from you!

(c)2014, Geraldine Barkworth, public 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

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

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

Stop Feeling Intimidated In The Boardroom

Boardroom Presentations

Boardroom presentations offer you an opportunity to develop intestinal fortitude and emotional intelligence. And neither appears on the Meeting Agenda. There’s a lot you can learn beneath the surface – about yourself and others.

If you don’t know how to stand your ground and make yourself heard in the boardroom, one of the most intimidating of public places to speak, you will quickly become it’s casualty. When intimidated, my clients have reported the following feelings:

•    A sense of being made small or reduced in value;
•    Wondering if they are wearing a Cloak Of Invisibility;
•    Anger and in danger of saying something they’ll later regret;
•    A drop in esteem and creeping self doubt.

Feeling intimidated can happen to the most confident of people. Learning to be less influenced by the behaviours of people around you, allows you to stand your ground with greater ease.

For many people, access to the Boardroom is like being invited into a secret, powerful society. It has a mystique about it… but that doesn’t mean you have to believe it! These people are often perceived as the cool in-crowd at school. Your beliefs about your worthiness to be accepted may be influencing your feelings of intimidation or sense of welcome ease.

Let’s take a moment now to redesign your boardroom presentations experience. Which of the following appeal to you the most?

•    You are always greeted and acknowledged at the start and finish.
•    You feel included in the groups’ eye contact, body language and conversation.
•    When it’s your turn to speak, you feel heard.
•    You are treated with respect and rarely interrupted or reduced.
•    The group is prepared to action or discuss your proposal.
•    Anything you’d like to add?

OK, so now you know what you want. Next, follow these 6 steps to make it happen:

  1. Prepare and think through your boardroom presentations. Be clear about your purpose, outcomes and benefits. Anticipate possible objections and create counter arguments or alternatives. If you have considerable material, email to the other members in advance. Develop a good relationship with the chairperson, or even better, be the chairperson!
  2. Dress well. If you look good, you’ll feel good. Do not wear revealing or inappropriate clothing. Humans make judgements of each other in less than 6 seconds.
  3. Walk into the room with your head high and without hesitation, initiate gentle eye contact and acknowledge others politely. Take a seat beside those you feel an affinity or who are positively influential.
  4. Claim your space at the table. Don’t allow yourself to be elbowed out by other’s paraphernalia or presence. Take slow, deep breaths, ground yourself though the floor, relax your hands and avoid fidgeting.
  5. When it’s your turn to speak, pause, take a breath, make soft eye contact with one another person and succinctly outline your subject, purpose and it’s relevance in less than 2 minutes. Engage their interest by explaining what’s in it for them, outlining an outcome or benefit. Be clear about what is needed from them to make it happen. If people don’t know what to do they are more likely to say “no” without even thinking about it.
  6. At the end of the meeting, arrange to connect with your allies to continue the conversation or project with the aim of building relationships. Always follow through with what you say you will do. The next time you enter the boardroom, you will have gained at least one new relationship and you’ll automatically feel more confident.

Many of my clients find it useful to visualise a powerful, immovable object that cannot be ignored or bullied, like a huge tree with spreading roots and limbs or a venerable mountain or a deep, calm lake. When they summon up the qualities inside themselves of that powerful, timeless, immovable tree, mountain or lake, they cannot be intimidated.

Try creating a simple visualisation for yourself before your next meeting and you too may become a force of nature in the boardroom.

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