13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

Book Review by Speaking Coach Geraldine Barkworth

This is a good book to help you grow onward and upward after cultivating a strong stable base. Think beautiful flower, contributing to eco system around it, rather than becoming the next CEO tyrant of Wall Street.

What I especially liked about 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do was:

  • no pop psychology, quick fixes or faddish positivism – back to basics learning how to manage your own self defeating behaviours through your thoughts, behaviours and feelings – the basis of strong mental health.
  • the wake up call I received upon reading it – I had slipped into a self indulgent habit of decline.
  • the emphasis on self responsibility – taking control of your inner life to create a satisfying outer life.

A Snapshot of Chapter Headings To Inspire You

  • Chapter 2: They Don’t Give Away Their Power
  • Chapter 4: They Don’t Focus On Things They Can’t Control
  • Chapter 5: They Don’t Worry About Pleasing Everyone

If you have already worked with me as your Speaking Coach or Trainer, you’ll recognise many of these same themes. Speaking starts from the inside. Cultivate your inner life to communicate with richness.

Gentle and powerful. I’m keeping psychotherapist Amy Morin’s 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by the side of my bed to keep me on track. And here’s a link to Amy’s website which includes pdf downloads and a link to a TED Talk for those who prefer video to books.

(c) 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, From to Fabulous Speaking Coach. This book review is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

What People Really Think Of You

And What You Can Do About It

The Answer?

You guessed it; there is nothing you can do about them.

But there’s quite a bit you can do about you.

I bring this topic up because “ fear of what people really think of you ” is such a recurring biggie for people who avoid speaking up in a public space.

Most of us have experienced this public paralysis. It’s a shocker and the quickest way to drain your self-esteem smoothie.

Why Oh Why Oh Why?

I could talk knowledgably about:

  • “Separation from the herd” anxiety (personal fave); or
  • “They’ll see I’m a fraud” anxiety; or
  • “I’m going to fail and ruin my entire career” anxiety; or
  • “The weight of expectations through all those eyes” anxiety; or
  • “I’m just not good enough, smart enough, experienced enough” anxiety;

but, I will not talk about them, again. We all know them well and I for one, am sick of them.

Sick of them controlling who I am and what I want.

Are You With Me?

If you are – keep reading.

The easiest place to start? Labels. Language is something you can control. Let’s drop “public paralysis”, also known as “ public speaking fear ” and all its dreadful baggage and instead choose something… attractive, powerful, energising.

I tried out many nifty names and phrases on the casting couch of change, but they sounded:

  • Too serious – no, I want to have fun!
  • Too new age – ooh, such self-important wisdom!
  • Too biiiggg – no, I’m not promising to save the world. Yet.

And My Winner Is:

“From Fear To Fabulous!” Yep and with that exclamation mark.

Why? It just makes me laugh. It’s over the top with a boa feather-ish. My whole body quivers with the joy of it. My husband says my shoulders give a little cheeky wiggle and back they go, chest out, big smile. It’s not just my mind that recognizes the good fit, but my body and spirit too. Energy returns with the right words.

I like From Fear to Fabulous so much I’ve decided to splash it about my website, add it to my logo and have renamed my enewsletter in its honour. It’s a clarion call to anchor and remind me of who I am and what I want. With no fear of judgement.

No more “crash and burn” or “public speaking fear” for you either. Adopt From Fear to Fabulous or choose your own inspiring, powerful words.

Don’t Believe Your Wild Imagination

What people think about you is always and can only ever be, a reflection of their own beliefs and values. Contrary to your wild imagination, other people do not have the power of x-ray vision to see all your flaws.

According to research, most people are thinking about dinner and sex at any given moment. So, count yourself lucky if they squeeze in a random thought or judgement about you.

Challenge

Is the problem: “Fear of what people really think of you ?”

Or is the real problem, our own fearful belief that they must be thinking the worst?

You cannot control what’s inside other people’s heads, but you can control what’s inside your own.

© 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, Fear To Fabulous Speaking Coach. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Chocolate Brandy Ice Creme Cake

Keep Calm & Eat Chocolate!

RATING: TDF (To Die For) Gorgeous Chocolate Brandy Ice Creme Cake that you can say… “I made it myself”! Simple, fast and high impact! This receipe was inspired by Nigella Lawson’s “Meringue Gelato Cake With Chocolate Sauce”.

You Will Need:

  • Loaf tin with high sides, lots of cling film, heavy knife, cutting board, crème beaters.
  • 300ml plain crème, 100g white meringue, 90g dark chocolate, 30ml brandy, Optional berries to scatter across the top when serving, or not!

Abracadabra

Right, begin with whipping the crème. I do it by hand in front of the TV so it takes 30 minutes with a hand beater. That way you can justify day time TV watching. Line your loaf tin generously with cling film with pieces trailing out on all 4 sides.

With a heavy knife, chop up the chocolate block into fine and chunky pieces. Taste test of course. Tip all the chocolate into the crème. Now scrunch the meringue finely into the crème – it is easier by hand and feels very satisfying. Mix it all up. Now add in the brandy. Mix.

Pour and scrape the lot into your prepared loaf tin. Pat down. Now fold over the cling film so it’s a neat packaged log. Pop into the fridge overnight. Turn the tin over and let the ice crème cake plop out. Turn over and unwrap the clingfilm.

Cut your Chocolate Brandy Ice Creme Cake into thick slices. If inclined, artfully drizzle berries over the top. Ta Daa!

© 2018 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Feel free to contact Geraldine for speaking guidance, not cooking advice! www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

This Is A Voice: 99 Exercises To Train, Project & Harness The Power Of Your Voice By Jeremy Fisher & Gillyanne Kayes

Book Review By Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach

Great book filled with simple techniques for professional speakers, singers, actors and voice professionals. It offers useful exercises for anyone who wants greater control over their voice to become a more confident, persuasive and vocally powerful speaker.

I immediately dipped into This Is A Voice to share exercises with my clients. In particular:

  • Voice projection for over loud and over soft speakers. Vocal variation adds dimension, depth and variety and ensures listeners can hear and understand you.

 

  • The annoying Australian habit of rising inflection… “This is a lovely cup of coffee?” where every sentence sounds like a question. It causes listeners to assume the speaker doesn’t know what they are talking about and are seeking reassurance. Yup; this vocal habit will not get you elected as the next Prime Minister.

 

  • Body balancing exercise to re-centre yourself before and after speaking. Take a moment to consider how much you have magically learnt about a speaker just through listening to their voice. To astute listeners, so much about us emotionally, intellectually and culturally is revealed through tone, emphasis and word choice. It makes sense to ground and retune yourself before speaking, to ensure you deliver what you intend to say on so many levels.

 

© 2018, Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au. This Book Review of This Is A Voice is the opinion of the author only.

“What Should I Talk About? I’ve Been Asked To Speak!”

A Common Conundrum

Most of us emerge from our mother’s womb with plenty to say and no worries about who hears it. Why then, with decades of experience, insight and knowledge behind us, do we quiver with self-doubt on invitation to speak?

One of my recent clients, a practitioner of the law, just turned 70. He deliberately hid in the shadows of research rather than the bar, because he feared his spoken words were just not good enough. His written words however were brilliant and he was happily successful behind the scenes of Australian law.

When he came to see me, it was because he’d decided to step out and take a big risk. He wanted, needed, to speak at his son’s wedding. What he couldn’t do for himself and his career all those years, he was ready to do for his son.

I could see it was difficult for him, turning up week after week to see me. He persisted, determined to slip from the grip that held him. He wanted to respond differently whenever he was asked to speak and he was asked to speak often. He wanted to not panic, “But what should I talk about?” He wanted to just say, “Yes”.

I’ll return to his story at the end; first it’s important to explore a bit of subtext. The question, “What should I talk about?” is a common conundrum.

 

Why Was I Asked To Speak?

It’s generally a compliment when someone asks you to speak at an event, meeting or gathering. It’s weird but true that others believe in us, before we believe in ourselves. Of course another reason could be purely pragmatic. They were desperate and needed a speaker! Seriously though, no one will invite you to speak if they genuinely think you might stuff it up.

What Should I Talk About?

Being asked to speak, can feel like an entire set of very heavy encyclopaedias are sitting on your shoulders. Who are you to sift and sieve the entire knowledge of the world? And then absorb and mush it about a bit to regurgitate exactly the right bits of relevant, witty insights just perfect for your audience? Their eager faces, upturned like expectant flowers, ready to receive your wisdom, your thoughts, you.

Therein lies the problem. And you have created it. By turning it into an amorphous one-way talkfest of frightening proportion.

The Reframe: What Do Your Listeners Need To Know?

Firstly, start with the Old Switcheroo, also known as The Reframe. Ask the Organiser, Who will be there and What do they care about? What should I talk about? Why were you specifically asked? Research what you share in common with group members. It could include things like: desire for change or a love of words.

Secondly, decide on the purpose of your Talk. This will anchor your thoughts into a logical flow and pull, not push, your listeners along with you. Decide:

  • Do you want them to learn a specific skill? (“At the end of this talk you’ll be able to…”)
  • Do you want to build awareness of an important issue? (“My purpose today is to help you understand the importance of and take action on…”)
  • Do you want to entertain them? (“I’m going to share my adventures of the world’s most dangerous places. Although I must say your carpark out the back is one of the scariest places I’ve ever been to!”)

Thirdly, speak about a subject that begins with a personal story. It will be easy to tell and remember because you were there; it’s the story of your own experience. An experience you thoughtfully chose because you know the group will relate to it. Self-consciousness drops away when you allow yourself to get lost in the story. You tap into something much bigger than yourself and it becomes a bridge, connecting you to the whole group. This is where rapport and trust begin.

Fourthly, respectfully choose topics that will not offend but extend your listeners. Ask yourself, What would keep me in my seat as a member of this group? Where does my passion lurk within this topic? What universal truth can I tap into to reach people’s hearts and minds? Listeners want to grow as human beings and like you, want to be seen, heard and attended to. Offer them that and you will be scintillating, whether your topic is Secrets of Cabbage Success or How I Conquered The World With Just One Leg or How To Increase Ticket Sales And Increase Profit.

“I’ve Been Asked To Speak… What Should I Talk About?”

The answer to this question lies in it’s reframing, research, purpose and your passion. The privilege of speaking to a group, whether it’s a Workshop, Team Meeting or your son’s wedding, is about honouring the occasion and the human beings in front of you. Temporarily you have been gifted the Mantle of Leadership. Transfer your focus from you to them. Attend to their needs and you will earn their attention and perhaps their hearts, minds and wallets!

 

I’ll return now to my original client story and end with his insight gleaned from 6 weeks of being willing to show up and feel very uncomfortable, to achieve something for which he yearned:

He said: “I’ve come to realise that public speaking isn’t about performance. It’s about sharing. And I can do that.”

And he did!

© 2017, Geraldine Barkworth, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Persian Rocky Squares

Keep Calm Eat Chocolate

RATING: BW (Beyond Words) Persian Rocky Squares are my own version of dark chocolate Rocky Road which my husband reckons I should sell. He’s horrified I’m sharing the recipe. Make sure you take off your rings and roll your sleeves up. Lots to lick!

You Will Need

  • Cutting board, heavy knife, 1 x heat-resistant mixing bowl, 1 large pan the bowl can sit atop, measuring spoons and cup, 1 x medium square/rectangular baking dish, lined with baking paper.
  • 180g dark chocolate (I use Lindt dark cooking chocolate), smashed up to make melting quicker, 6 chunks crystallised ginger, cut up very fine, 3 tablespoons desiccated coconut, ¼ cup macadamia or brazil nuts, chopped, 60g mini marshmellows, or 6 snakes or 2 Frys Turkish Delight bars, And the secret ingredient… 1 x big teaspoon rose water syrup. Add this only when mixing the dry ingredients.

Abracadabra

Right, start with putting a large pot of water on the stove and balance a flame proof round bowl on the top of the water. Add your smashed up chocolate to the bowl. Heat the water beneath and this heat will slowly melt the chocolate; Keep an eye on it, stir to help along. Make sure it is really runny so pouring will be easy.

Line a medium dish/tray with baking paper for easy removal and do this first before you mix the ingredients. There’s nothing worse than your hands caked in delicious goo while you try to wrestle the baking paper out of the box. Next chop up all the dry ingredients in different sizes to add variety and texture.

Now add the rose water syrup to the dry ingredients and mix through. Once the chocolate is runny, transfer the very hot bowl to the table with a cloth. Working quickly, throw in all your chopped up ingredients and mix thoroughly. Lastly, pour in your rosewater syrup and mx quickly through. The syrup causes the chocolate to thicken so do not waste time here. Scrape the entire mixture into your prepared tray and squoosh it down out to the edges as neat as you can. Take your time with this.

Put in your freezer for a couple of hours then lift the sleeping Persian Rocky by its baking paper. Cut now before its gets too hard and cut into squares with patience. It’s a messy job but someone has to do it and taste test for quality control!

© 2017-18 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Feel free to contact Geraldine for speaking guidance, not cooking advice! www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Tell To Win: Connect, Persuade & Triumph With The Hidden Power Of Story, by Peter Guber

Book Review By Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach

♥ Love This One

Tell To Win is a keeper. It’s a wonderful addition to my reference library on story telling, persuasive speaking and inspiring people with genuine emotion. Tell To Win is a delightful book filled with incredibly useful tips, reframes and stories for tapping into the power of purposeful story telling. My husband read it first and choked up every time he tried to read me one of the stories. So much good stuff in one little book from the local library. I began to fold corners as reminders of “the good bits”, but really there were so many, I ordered the book online. I’ve now asterisked, underlined and happily dog-eared my own copy. My husband recommends it to so many people, there’s now a waiting list at the local library. To get your own copy, order it from PeterGuber.com

3 Gems From Tell To Win:

  • p.57: “Stories make facts and figures memorable, resonant and actionable… ignite empathy in the room and face to face and your audience won’t just hear you, they’ll feel you. (Geez I love that bit!!)
  • p.174-5: “…mirror neurons in the brain only switch on when the sense another person is acting intentionally… humans begin reading each other’s intentions as soon as they are physically close enough to see, hear and smell each another… intention can speak louder than words.
  • p.197: Human communication is mostly non verbal. Half is visual and one third is vocal tone. We talk through our senses, rather than our words.

The author, Peter Guber works in the movie, entertainment and sports industries often as CEO. He is well connected and fills his book with stories, case studies and examples of famous people, firms and films. Here’s a quote from the actor George Clooney who says it well: “If anyone knows how to survive in business, it’s Peter. This book is a manual for that. It gives you the two keys to success – first, everything starts with a good story, and second, don’t drop names (actually Frank Sinatra told me that.”)

© 2017 Geraldine Barkworth, Speaking Coach. Articles and reviews reflect the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Presence Power: 6 Steps To Super Speaking!

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

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

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

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

Why You Need Presence Power

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

Recap: What Is Presence?

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

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

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

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

How To Activate Your Super Power

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

Homework Before You Do The 6 Step Sequence

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

 

Presence Power: 6 Step Sequence

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

Unexpected Bonus

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

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

Go Get Your Cape!

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

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