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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the October 2002 Newsletter

Do yourself a favor. Don't talk.

Have you ever started talking just because you were there facing the audience? Because they're looking at you and you feel obligated to start?

Here's a big favor you can do for yourself when it comes to speaking. If you change just this one thing, it will have a major impact on how you feel about your presentation and how your audience receives it.

You can do this without changing the content, the organization, your level of creativity, or the quality of the slides. You can do it without working on your posture, your voice, or your gestures. And it's guaranteed to make a big difference.

Here it is: Don't start talking until your mind is in gear. Take time to breathe and get focused once you're facing your audience.

If so, it's possible you didn't start strongly, didn't say what you had planned to say. Then you have to spend some time getting back on track.

I often hear people say, "I know what I want to say while I'm waiting for my turn, but when I get up in front, it's gone!" Next thing you know, you're charting a course into unplanned territory and have to figure out how to recover.

Instead of fearing that that will happen, it helps to understand why it happens. You're focusing as you wait. So, when you stand up and move, you can't continue focusing on your talk; you've got to focus on getting out of your chair and up to the front without tripping.

Naturally, because you've shifted your focus, when you get to the front you don't know what you want to say. So pause and refocus. It will come back to you.

It's a simple thing, but given the possibilities for anxiety in this situation, it's not easy. To just not say anything for a moment until you've regrouped can seem like an eternity and definitely risky. But it's worth working on until you can do it.

So do yourself a favor -- don't start talking until you're focused and ready. It's like money in the bank.

"Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken." Orson Rega Card

Dear teach

Saptarshi Desai, Project Manager, Turner Construction Company:

"I wanted to share with you a recent experience I had in public speaking.

"In January I went to India to visit my mom and other family as they had planned for a dance program in the memory of my father.

"The dance festival was in a big auditorium with approximately 600 people. A day before, I was told that I am supposed to give a thank you speech at the end to thank the people, the audience, and the dance group who organized the event. Everything you taught us in that class came in handy.

"The speech was supposed to be less than five minutes and I remembered everything you had told us. I practiced the main point a few times. I remembered to not to get nervous if I forget something and at worked.

"People were surprised and so was I. I spoke for four minutes in my native Indian language and did not say a single word of English. I covered almost everything that I was supposed to cover and it was a great feeling at the end.

"Surprisingly after the event many people who could not attend asked me what I said and I could not remember exactly what I said. Maybe because I did not memorize word for word in my speech but focused on the main points and talked about those points. I think that was an important lesson.

"Thank you for your help."

First person

Keith Kemph, Product Marketing Manager, First Franklin Financial Corporation: "I'm actively involved in conducting various presentations and can clearly see that I'm getting better and better because my confidence is getting stronger.

"Recently I facilitated a meeting that was quite a challenge. Your class helped me to remain poised, in control, as well as passionate about 'why are we here' while all the time remembering -- 'it's not about me!'"

Editing on the spot

"What do you do when you've been allotted 30 minutes for your presentation, and your time is suddenly cut 10 minutes?"

When you first start organizing your talk (you've already done your audience analysis, decided on what you want to accomplish, and chosen your thesis statement) ask yourself, "If I had only 3 minutes to speak, what must I tell them?" Repeat that 2 or 3 more times in increments between and 30, e.g. 10 minutes, and 20 minutes.

This accomplishes several things: You'll organize more tightly because of the narrower focus, you'll have an easier time remembering your presentation, and you've already got a 10 minute version of your presentation all ready to deliver should you suddenly find you've been shorted in the time department.

Try including these in your presentations

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes.
-- Sally Field

When science finally locates the center of the universe, some people will be surprised to learn they're not it.
- - Unknown

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
- - Winston Churchill

The greatest gift is not being afraid to question.
-- Ruby Dee

If we don't change, we don't grow. If we don't grow, we're not really living. Growth demands a temporary surrender of security.
- - Gail Sheehy

Veterinarian's Office sign:
"All unattended children will be given a free kitten"

At a tire shop in Milwaukee:
"Invite us to your next blowout."

At a Towing Company:
"We don't charge an arm and a leg. We want tows."

In a Veterinarian's Office:
"Be back in 5 minutes, Sit! Stay!"

In a Nonsmoking Area:
"If we see smoking we will assume you are on fire and take appropriate action."

At an Optometrist's Office:
"If you don't see what your looking for you've come to the right place."

On a Taxidermist's window:
"We really know our stuff."

On a fence:
"Salesmen Welcome: Dog food is expensive."

Outside a Muffler Shop:
"No appointment necessary, we'll hear you coming."


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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