Excerpted from the Spring 2002 Newsletter
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
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
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
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."
Glen Jansma, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer, Digital Map Product,
"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."
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
"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
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.
"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."
"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
"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
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"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
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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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