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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the April 2004 Newsletter

"You Need to Understand"

What's wrong with this picture? "You need to understand how our company works." (Substitute "department", "product," "process," or your own favorite for "company" and you've got the idea.)

I can see three problems with it. As soon as you get to the word "understand," I'm already tuning out. And I doubt I'm the only one, because you're about to tell me what's important to you, not what's important to me. It also has the feel of teacher to student, and not in the very best sense of that relationship. You are going to straighten me out, and I'm obviously the one who is going to have to adjust. Or else, it takes on the tone of being defensive.

Rethink it from the audience's point of view. How does this affect their situation and how can you say it so it sounds as though you care?

Dear Teach

Cynthia Amos, Program Director, Century/Lift, Century Housing Corporation:

"Fresh from presenting at our last board of directors' meeting, I want to again say thank you, thank you, thank you for your guidance during the public speaking workshop at Century. As you know, during class I was feeling challenged about this presentation. Your class helped me 'nail' it.

"Because of your class, I am more confident and deliberate with my presentations and I learned pauses are a good thing. I learned the power of telling a story (I began my presentation with a story that captured the audience); I learned that pauses give the audience a chance to really take in what you are saying; I spoke slowly and deliberately, and paused after each point; and I also used bumper sticker language ("a leg up, not a hand out.") I looked at people (and saw them) and took my time and set the stage for my presentation. Our CEO was pleased and the board voted in our favor, unanimously."

First Person

Manny Erives, Automotive Advertising Manager, The San Francisco Chronicle:

"The San Antonio speech went very well, I received rave reviews, and, you'll be pleased to know, I didn't use notes! Thanks for you help and training.

"I suspect I'll be receiving more invitations to speak and now I will jump at the opportunity."

Avoiding a Monotone Voice

"I have a deep voice that tends to be monotone. How can I keep my audience awake?"

This is a two-part answer. First, if your voice tends to be monotone even when you're not giving a speech, practice reading children's stories aloud, taking on the voice and personality of each character, or read a play aloud with the same attention to getting into the role of the characters. That will expand the range of your voice and give you more notes to work with when you're speaking normally.

Second, it's important to construct your remarks to be more active. Use active, rather than passive, verbs, and active thinking. More attention to the real nature of the people in the audience, rather than automatically characterizing them as serious business people with whom you must be appropriately businesslike.

Indeed, most of them are serious about succeeding at their business (or the business at hand), but they also don't want to have to work too hard to get your message.

So, construct your remarks to be more conversational with more examples and analogies. And be sure to invest your own interest in every aspect of the information. Make it easy for yourself to be interested in your message, and easy for them. It will bring a level of sparkle to your voice and eyes that will get you beyond the designation of monotone.

Expanding the range of your vocal instrument and the depth of your interest in your material can do wonders for a monotone and help keep people alert and interested.

Quotes to Make You a Better Speaker

Do not repeat anything you will not sign your name to. Author Unknown

When I do good, I feel good. When I do bad, I feel bad. That's my religion. Abraham Lincoln

Quality means doing it right when no one is looking. Henry Ford

A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval. Mark Twain

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. James D. Miles

My goal in life is to be as good a person as my dog already thinks I am. Author Unknown

To know what is right and not do it is the worst cowardice. Confucius

Oliver Wendell Holmes once attended a meeting in which he was the shortest man present. "Dr. Holmes," quipped a friend, "I should think you'd feel rather small among us big fellows." "I do," retorted Holmes, "I feel like a dime among a lot of pennies." Author Unknown

Teleseminars Anyone?

I'm currently developing content and structure for a Presentation Skills Teleseminar series to launch in late Spring '04. Sound interesting? If it's something you think you'd like to get in on, I'd love to hear from you. Please let me know soon at Barbara@GettingOverYourself.com. I promise to keep you in the loop.


Think gifts. Someone you know is going to be giving more presentations soon. Give them a practical gift that will make those presentations easier and more effective. Learn more or Order Online.

"Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking...and More" by Barbara Rocha 208 pages, illustrated, cartoons $19.95

Audiotape or CD ROM
The "Getting Over Yourself" book on audiotape read by the author ($17.95) or CD ROM ($19.95).

Booklets by Barbara Rocha:
$9.95 each (+$1.50 Shipping and Handling)
"Pocket Guide for Presenters"
103 pages

"60 Ways to Spark Your Speaking: Just in time answers to frequently asked questions"
154 pages

"Love to Talk/Hate to Speak: Selected articles by Barbara Rocha"
121 pages

Speeches on Tape:
"From Bored Room to Board Room" $10.95
"Stand Up and Stand Out" $10.95

"Getting Over Yourself: A Guide to Painless Public Speaking" featuring Barbara Rocha in excerpts from her book, seminar classes and interactive coaching. VHS $99.95

Learn more
Order Online
Call (888) 800-2001
E-mail: BouldinHil@aol.com
Write: Bouldin Hill Press at 17-555 Bubbling Wells Rd., Desert Hot Springs, CA 92241


**How to Overcome the Stress of Public Speaking
Pasadena: 3-day workshop October 25, 26, 27, 2010.

We have two public seminars each year: May and October/November. If you have several people who could use this training, contact us regarding an in-house seminar.

As a refresher, workshop graduates (from any of our 3-day workshops) may attend for half price at any time. People tell us they get as much or more out of the workshop the second time around.

Visit our seminars section for details or call (888) 800-2001

For more information, contact:

Barbara Rocha and Associates

PO Box 60521, Pasadena, California 91116

(626) 792-8075

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