Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Having a Ball as a Public Speaker!

Good morning, Successful People!

Are you feeling motivated this morning? I certainly hope so. I know that I am!

Did you know that public speaking is the major fear of most people? That probably applies to our friends, the billionaires, too.

If you can learn to have fun with public speaking, you'll have more opportunities for fun and to share great knowledge and experiences with others. What could be nicer?

At Jack Canfield's Success Secrets seminar, August 12 was devoted to teaching us about the potential joys of public speaking.

While fear gripped most breasts in the beginning, we used the Sedona Method to first welcome and then to dissipate that fear. Jack Canfield and Marcia Martin then combined to give us experience with having fun while speaking.

We started by working with just one other person. Exercises included talking in gibberish, employing humorous accents, telling tall tales we handed off to each other in mid-story, introducing one another as outrageous characters and generally playing like I hadn't done since I was about four.

Next, Marcia taught us some simple lessons. Here are some of my favorites:

1. First, settle yourself before starting to speak. Relax and connect with the audience before launching in. The Sedona Method releasing works well. I also go shake hands with as many people in the audience as possible before I start speaking to release my nervousness and to make them real to me as individuals. This also helps to warm them up for me.

2. Imagine you are speaking to just one person in a conversational tone. I found it helpful to think of this like a cocktail party before having a cocktail.

3. Make eye contact for at least five seconds with one person before moving on to another person.

4. Connect and stay connected to the audience by extending your message to the whole group, watching for their reactions and being responsive to those reactions.

5. Put in pauses to give your listeners time to think about what you've just said before moving on.

6. Make what you have to say move efficiently from beginning to end, and then stop. Many people tell long preambles rather than just launching into the story they want to tell, and keep talking after they've reached the end of their story . . . endlessly repeating themselves and dissipating the power of their point.

7. Practice, practice, practice! Be sure to create videos of yourself so you can see what you do. Get feedback from others after each practice so you don't keep practicing mistakes.

8. Avoid sounding like a performer. Be real and speak from the heart.

9. Enroll your audience in what you have to say by starting with an intriguing statement. In one practice session, I told a story about getting stuck in a telephone booth as a child by saying, "When I was five, I went off looking for an adventure." That engaged my listeners so that they paid more attention to my story.

10. Think about the fun and naturalness of these exercises when the subject of public speaking comes up rather than the fear you used to have.

I was impressed by how quickly most people in the seminar started to become playful and relax with one another. Nice!

In the evening, we had a treat when Michael Gerber, the small business guru, joined us to share his views that until your small business has a successful system that you continuously improve, you don't have much more in your small business than a lot of risk and a painful job. He told us hilarious stories about his saxophone teacher, the master carpenter who taught him carpentry, and the encyclopedia salesman who taught him sales. The key lesson: Develop a system that any uneducated, inexperienced person can learn. Don't develop a business that requires your special talents to thrive. Use those talents instead to make a system that thrives without you . . . like Ray Kroc did with McDonald's (something that made him the equivalent of a billionaire today). Michael made a strong argument for putting in a "dreaming room" (like Walt Disney used) six blocks from your business to work on your business, instead of in your business.

I was fascinated to learn that Michael Gerber had no experience in business when he began his small business consulting practice in 1977. But by using a beginner's mind and a blank sheet of paper, he soon developed a superior system that he's been using ever since.

Once again, I was disappointed that there was no response from the Canfield organization about the information I shared with them about helping Tina (see yesterday's blog) assist homeless people. One woman I had been talking to did suggest I post a notice on the bulletin board . . . which I did.

What are the lessons for you?

1. Influencing others means becoming a superior communicator. Take the time to develop those skills. Toastmasters is an inexpensive, helpful, safe place to start.

2. No matter what you do, create a compelling vision that excites you and others. Share that vision, and create a superior system for creating the vision's reality.

3. Share your vision with others by revealing your true self to them.

Please feel free to let me know what else you would like to learn, and I'll do my best to help in future blog entries.

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If you are visiting today because one of them invited you, I'm delighted to meet you! Let's stay in touch.

May God bless you.

Donald W. Mitchell, Your Dream Concierge

Copyright 2005 Donald W. Mitchell