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Editor's Corner
Excerpted from the Spring 2002 Newsletter

Active organizing

If you don't have enough time to prepare your presentation and you're feeling pressured, try this: Instead of sitting down at your computer, pulling up files, collecting data, or paying homage to the god of PowerPoint, take a walk.

Or, if it's almost time for your presentation and you don't feel ready, instead of continuing to go over and over your notes (or slides), take a walk.

Walk and talk to yourself. There's something almost magical about walking and talking. For most people, it's a great combination for getting focused and advancing the thought process.

You have a kernel of an idea, hardly developed at all. Or you have spent hours working on it but you don't feel you have a good enough grasp to actually deliver it. In either case, just start walking in the park, around town, or down the corridor (not one where you'll be interrupted, or maybe even recognized).

If you haven't developed much yet, talk your way around the subject, feel for some ideas, try some approaches. Just hearing yourself say it, and releasing some of those endorphins with the physical activity, can more quickly move you to the big picture, as well as specific ideas, examples and even conversational language for what you want to say. It can get you to your destination in less time with less tension than doodling at your desk.

After the walking and talking, you may find the time you now spend in jotting down ideas will be much more productive and to the point.

If, on the other hand, your presentation is essentially prepared and is to be delivered within a few minutes, hours, or days, go out and walk and talk your way through your message -- without notes, slides, or props of any kind,. As you grope for the words and ideas, you solidify the thoughts and your sense of the flow. It wonderfully concentrates the mind.

Groping for the thoughts is good. Because if you aren't, perhaps you're over-rehearsed, or it's memorized both of which can cause you trouble. And because your mind is actively engaged, when you are groping, you'll recall what you need when you're making the presentation.

In this instance, after walking and talking, you should find that you're much more relaxed and certain of your message.

So make your presentation theme song, "I'm walkin,' yes indeed. I'm talkin' . . . ." Save time, save pressure, and be brilliant.

As Dan Zadra said, "Worry is a misuse of the imagination."

Dear teach

Glen Jansma, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Digital Map Product, Costa Mesa:

"I'm finding that being in the moment affects more than just those times in the spotlight. I'm getting better at addressing one task at a time which is helping me get each task done more quickly. In addition, the other day, I suddenly realized I wasn't really listening to an employee, switched modes and focused, and consequently was able to solve the issue quickly and directly. What a time and emotion saver this is."

First person

Cliff Lindgren, Engineer, Turner Construction, Seattle: "I've been noticing recently that in the least boring classes I've attended the instructor uses more personal anecdotes and experiences as examples. I attended one yesterday and recognized some of the attention getting games used for openers from your class. They do work well.

"Also yesterday, the instructor was pretty good getting the class back on track when one of the attendees kept wanting to debate points. I think a person with less focus and discipline might have struggled."

As Cliff points out, observing others is a great way to observe the principles of good presentation skills whether you're giving a speech or conducting training sessions.

You gain confidence to try out things that you enjoyed as an audience member, and can see clearly how the speaker who stays focused on where the group needs to go rather than on personalities, can keep things headed in the right direction.

Correcting mistakes

"What happens when you relay information incorrectly and realize it later in the presentation? When do you correct it?"

Wait until you're rational. Give yourself a moment to discover the appropriate moment and method.

Sometimes you realize it very quickly because you see an odd expression on people's faces. At that moment, you can say something like, "Did I say there were no problems with the trial run?" If you're sure you did, you can then say, "Wow, my wishful thinking must have kicked in." Otherwise, wait a moment for confirmation of what you said before correcting it.

If it's much later in the presentation, wait until you've finished the current thought. Look thoughtful, and then say, "It just occurred to me, that I may have misspoken earlier. I'm thinking I said ______, when what I should have said was ___________."

If no one is likely to have noticed it, you might instead say, "Earlier I was telling you about ___________. And I'd just like to repeat that to make sure I was clear." And you could give a reason why it's important to be clear on this point.

As always, the key is not feeling guilty or inept. Keep your good thinking patterns in place and you can correct it without losing the audience in any way.

Sayings to weave into presentations

"Money talks. Chocolate sings."

"Success seems to be largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go." William Feather

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."

"The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook." William James

"Fall seven times, stand up eight."

"An open mind collects more riches than an open purse."

"Have patience with all things but first with yourself. Never confuse your mistakes with your value as a human being."

"Unconditional self-acceptance is the core of a peaceful mind." St. Francis de Sales

"Don't follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Muriel Strode.


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:
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"Pocket Guide for Presenters"
103 pages

"60 Ways to Spark Your Speaking: Just in time answers to frequently asked questions"
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"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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Call (888) 800-2001
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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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