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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the October 2007 Newsletter

Staying in the Moment

In this MTV, TIVO, do-more-with-less, kind of a world we live in, it seems imperative to multi-task. But if you've been in one of my classes, you know there are wrong times to multitask - - such as when you're in front of an audience.

We don't want to be boring, and we hate it when the speaker bores us, and if you analyze the situation, you'll often find that a big reason speakers are boring is that they're multitasking - - focused on their notes, the slides, their fear, the boss sitting in the front row, a meeting they have the next day. Whatever it is, if they're not in the moment and not focused on sharing that moment's information with the audience, the probabilities of being boring are high.

In class we do an "in the moment" exercise with Beanie Babies that hammers home the point. It requires complete concentration on just one subject. In the same context, I also suggest things like listening to a news broadcast for 1 minute without mental wandering, or trying to recite (silently) something short you know by heart (such as the Pledge Allegiance to the Flag, or the Gettysburg Address, or a prayer, even the lyrics to a song) without veering off.

Here's another exercise you can do to hone those mental discipline muscles: get a book or an article that requires some thought (Shakespeare and the King James Version of the Bible are good because the language is in unfamiliar patterns ).

Choose a paragraph and cover all but the first word with a business card. Read and process that one word before uncovering the next word and do the same, again and again. Because you know that "and," "the," "to," (connectors, prepositions, articles, etc.) don't pack a punch, there's no need to spend time or thought on those.

You're looking to pull the ideas from the piece one thought at a time without anticipating what the next word will be.

When giving a presentation, no matter how quick or smart you are, there's room for only one thought AT THAT MOMENT. If you're processing other stuff, you're losing the full impact of your message.

First Person

Angie Policarpio, Associate Director, Health Management Resources, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals:

"Well, our presentation to our VP's et al is over, and I just had to tell you the glowing feedback I got from the entire group. Thank you so much for your insights and pointers, it really helped me a lot.

"For some reason I was extremely nervous that morning, so while I was waiting, the things you talked about replayed in my head: Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!! I'm there to help. Breathe (and I breathed, A LOT!)

"When it was my turn, before opening my mouth, I remembered to stay in the moment. I collected myself and made eye contact with everyone and smiled. I remembered the pie chart you drew that illustrated how important it is to connect with your audience and then I went forward with the presentation.

"I modified my slides using the feedback the class gave me and even overcame the challenge of having to use a template to tell my story. I did exactly that: told my story and used the slides just as a visual aid and not the slides as the story.

"The pauses… also worked wonderfully -- something I never incorporated before.

"You would have thought I won an award, after I was finished; I had people stopping me to tell me what a great presentation. Your class really worked. It made the difference between a good presentation and a memorable presentation.

"My boss told me I did a wonderful job and what a big difference from last spring. I responded ’See that training paid off!!’

"Thanks again and I plan on visiting your web site to keep me on track as often as I can."

Isn't it wonderful, Angie, to find out that it works? Then you know you've made it your own and it's always there for you.

Being Consise

Dear Barb: "What can you do to manage the time better, that is, to make your presentation shorter or more concise?"

It helps to remember that the most important part is connecting with your audience rather than cramming in information.

Specifically you can tighten your objective; be more clear on just what you expect to accomplish, to get your audience to do or feel and leave out anything that doesn't directly help you accomplish that (unless it's part of how you're connecting with them).

Make sure your thesis statement encompasses only what will accomplish your result.

Don't fall in love with your data; only use what relates to them and to your objective.

If you're using 2 examples to make your point, maybe 1 will accomplish what you want.

And, stories are a great way to make your presentation shorter and more powerful. They incorporate the essence plus the information and make a greater impact.

Quotes to Make You a Better Speaker

“It's hard to lead a cavalry charge if you think you look funny on a horse.” —Adlai Stevenson

“When your work speaks for itself, don't interrupt.” —Henry Kaiser

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” —Aristotle

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” —Tom Peters

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door.” —Emily Dickinson

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
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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