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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the December 2005 Newsletter

Missing the point

It's easy to be fooled about the point. And it's easy to fool yourself. At the gym I see people who think that the best results are gained by tossing around the largest weight they can manage to pick up. In speaking, I see people who think the point is to have terrific visuals, say the words the way they wrote them down, and dazzle the audience with fancy footwork, broad gestures, or special effects.

Just as the woman in my first class who, as a result of the class, improved her bowling average twenty points because she quit focusing on herself and began to focus on knocking down the pins, lifting weights and speaking are also about shifting focus and measuring by results, not technique.

In weight lifting the desired result may be to get stronger, get toned, or increase muscle definition.

In speaking, the desired result should pretty much be to get the audience to come along with you. To recognize your credibility. To trust your numbers. To buy into your proposition.

The desired result comes down to the connection you make with the audience. And that's not a result of great technique, dazzling visuals, or specific words. So, start by being clear on the point of speaking and focus on helping your audience get what they need from you.

Intimidating audiences

"I have to speak in a most intimidating environment. I'm facing a group of important people who are seated in large chairs behind a large desk that is elevated above me. They don't always appear to be paying attention. And. There's a secondary audience behind me. It's hard not to feel shaky."

I'd like to believe that the set-up isn't arranged that way just to intimidate. But even if it is, it is what it is, and the only person you have any control over is you. So you have to find logical reasons for presenting to them, and focus on how what you're reporting is beneficial to them.

In addition, these forums tend to be rigid in scheduling and content, which makes it hard for either the speaker (you) or the audience to engage themselves.

So, while it may feel risky, look for a way to liven up the material don't say it the way they expect to hear it. If you move just a bit away from the formula, it will be 1. easier for you to think about what you're saying and look at your audience, 2. easier for you to bring some life to your delivery, and 3. more likely the audience will pay attention.

Quotes to Make You a Better Speaker

“It's as useless to try to sell a man something until you have first made him want to listen ... as it would be to command the Earth to stop rotating.” —Napoleon Hill

“Knowing how to read people starts with self-awareness.” —Alan J. Wallingford

“Admitting fault is one the best tools for building relationships.” —Michael Bailey

“If today was to be your last day, would you regret your attitude yesterday?” —Trevor Jensen

“The man who is too old to learn was probably always too old too learn.” —Caryl Haskins

For more great quotes, check out these websites:


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
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**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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