from the August 2002 Newsletter
is no finish line
For some of us, getting over ourselves is a full time job; it's like Nike's old
slogan, "There is no finish line." Just when you think you've got it, something
else pops up to remind you, "It's not about you."
For instance, maybe you've figured out that the audience is interested only in
themselves, but you still think everyone at the gym is looking at your spare tire.
Or maybe you've figured out that it doesn't matter to anyone else that you're
having a bad hair day, but you still think everyone is judging your motor skills
because you tripped on the rug or spilled your coffee.
What about going to a meeting or a party alone? And what if you don't know anyone
And do you enjoy dancing but refrain in public because you don't want everyone
seeing how you dance? Or how do you handle showing up at your high school reunion
after all those years facing all those strange looking strangers and feeling like
the strangest looking of all? Or do you just not go?
"No finish line" is a good thing because it suggests we always have the capacity
to grow, to keep getting better, and to keep becoming freer.
Life keeps throwing curves; we keep learning and changing perspective on a myriad
of subjects, and around every corner is a new opportunity to get over ourselves.
That's good news, because we have the solution. Almost always we'll discover that
this new situation is just a new twist on an old subject, and that it's still
not about us.
"When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target." --George
Ralph J. Colarusso, Project Manager, Turner Construction, Johns Hopkins University
School of Medicine:
"Thank you for the speaking tools and coaching. It has really come in handy in
making presentations and offering my own staff (and children) some guidance.
"I specifically feel the use of metaphors and visuals in getting technical points
across has helped our staff become more clearly understood (and interesting) in
owner/architect meetings, and with clients and professional contacts in general."
Sarinah Tambu, Advertising Department, The San Francisco Chronicle:
"I went through your fabulous course once a few years ago and then got the chance
to do it all over again a year later.
"Last Saturday my daughter, Azlinah, as part of the graduation ceremony in her
summer program, was asked to be the student speaker. She wrote a fabulous speech,
which I helped edit. I then coached her on the delivery, using the Barbara Rocha
method. I taught her everything you taught me -- lots of pauses, looking at the
audience, engaging them with rhetorical questions, using humor, and mostly reminding
her that it's not about her but all about the message she was delivering. We practiced
the delivery oh, maybe 10 times.
"The program last Saturday consisted of a long evening of entertainment. Then
it was my daughter's turn. She delivered what I thought was an incredibly crafted
speech, with beautiful articulation and delivery. She paused at the right places,
looked up often, told a few jokes, and generally showed a lot of confidence. At
the end of the 5 minute speech I was amazed at how fast the 200-strong audience
jumped to their feet for a standing ovation that seemed to last a lifetime. People
ran up to the front to hug and congratulate her.
"Let me tell you Barbara, I was proud - and I immediately thought of you. Not
only did you change MY life (and I mean that!), you are now touching my daughter's
life. I must thank you for helping me get over myself. I use your principles both
at work and in my private life. I can speak in front of 2000 people with no fear
-- and my daughter seems to be heading that way. Thank you again.
By the way, my daughter is 11 years old.
Using notes well
"What is an acceptable way to use notes?"
It's not so much how you use notes as it is how much you think about them. Are
they a crutch or a safety net?
If they're a crutch, they keep you tethered mentally and physically, always wondering
if you're saying the right thing and what you're supposed to cover next.
Considering them a safety net allows you to have them in a convenient place, available
for reference should you need them. In which case, you can quietly walk to where
they are, look at them and then look back at the audience and resume talking.
It leaves you free to explore ideas with the audience.
It's helpful to remember that in the silence (the pause) the audience is thinking
about what you just said and not wondering what's the matter with you nor being
critical. That only happens if you act flustered or panicked.
Learn to feel comfortable without notes so you can experience the freedom that
comes from exchanging ideas in real time. Then you will be able to use them appropriately
when the occasion calls for them.
Try including these in your presentations
"No one is perfect...that's
why pencils have erasers."
"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing."
-- Elbert Hubbard
"I never make stupid mistakes. Only very, very clever ones."
-- John Peel
"The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything."
-- Edward Phelps
"I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how
to do it."
-- Pablo Picasso
"When in doubt, make a fool of yourself. There is a microscopically thin
line between being brilliantly creative and acting like the most gigantic idiot
on earth. So what the hell, leap."
-- Cynthia Heimel
"Yes, risk taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called
-- Tim McMahon
"You've got to get to the stage in life where going for it is more important
than winning or losing."
-- Arthur Ashe
"You're never as good as everyone tells you when you win, and you're never
as bad as they say when you lose."
-- Lou Holtz
"It ain't what they call you, it's what you answer to."
" The greatest discovery of my generation is that human beings can alter
their lives by altering their attitudes of mind."
" If you're going to be able to look back on something and laugh about it--
you might as well laugh about it now."
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
"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"
"60 Ways to Spark Your Speaking: Just in time answers to
frequently asked questions"
"Love to Talk/Hate to Speak: Selected articles by Barbara
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
Call (888) 800-2001
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
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
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