Excerpted from the Spring 2002 Newsletter
Tips for becoming invisible
How did Cinderella get away with it? No one taught her the finer
points of etiquette, yet there she was with royalty. Undetected.
It seems unlikely that just the new outfit, clean face and snazzy
hairdo could effect a complete transformation.
She went undetected -- she was invisible. That is, no one doubted
her right to be there; she fit right in. Nothing to suggest she didn't
belong. Instead, the attention she attracted was because she was so
I was reminded of Cinderella as I was walking amongst those
heading toward the People's Choice Awards. An attractive young
woman in front of me was beautifully gowned but she walked as
if her high heels were a foreign concept. Not invisible. Attracting
attention for the wrong reasons. She ruined the whole picture she
had worked so hard to create.
It's important to remember that everything we do to polish our
presentations is for the purpose of invisibility, not for personal
enrichment or glory. Everything. And that includes clothes, slides,
stories, anecdotes, data, gestures, eye contact.
If we focus on making ourselves look good, on impressing people,
we will be blamed for anything and everything that goes wrong.
If we focus on helping the audience, we'll be appropriate, and
invisible. That is, they won't be looking at us at all, but at the
the ideas that can benefit them.
Dian D. Hughes, President, Hughes & Company, Newport Beach:
"I'd already had a day that included more things to do than time to
do them. I was late for a meeting where I was responsible for
the first 10 minutes; nothing would happen until I did my part.
"As I sped to my destination, I could suddenly hear you saying, 'If
the material you have to present is of any consequence, then give it
the value it deserves and -- get over your self! The message isn't
about being late so you need to focus on the material and not on
feeling guilty. And if you rush through the material to make up for
lost time you'll only devalue the message.'
"That allowed me to focus, calmly enter the meeting a bit late,
briefly apologize, arrange my materials and then quite calmly focus
on delivering my part of the meeting. I was amazed how all that
sense of the previous harried rushing simply melted away as I
began to speak.
"I'm sure my grasp on poise had an effect not only on me, but on
the rest of the people in the meeting. Every one got focused on
what I was presenting, responded appropriately and moved forward
Faye Coleman, First AME Church, Los Angeles:
"I preached the
sermon of my lifetime this past Sunday thanks to the added edge
you gave me in your workshop.
"I have spoken and sung all over, even done television and radio
and always got serious jitters beforehand, but this Sunday, to my
amazement, I was barely nervous. I was so focused on God,
trusting Him and using your tools, all I remember thinking before
I stood up to that lectern was, "It's not about me. It's not about
me," thanks to you.
"It was an incredible experience of feeling liberated and
comfortable being myself while reaching out and helping others.
My confidence level was incredibly high and the people were right
"It was the first time preaching/speaking without a manuscript. I
used your outline format. It was a Kodak moment. Thank you."
Dealing with hostile audiences
"How do you deal with a hostile audience? Our staff is giving
presentations to disgruntled workers. We're telling them they
have to change the way they work, and it's going to make their
Look at it from their point-of-view and accept and acknowledge
that how they feel is legitimate.
The biggest problem people make in handling this kind of audience
is to distance themselves from the audience and how they're
feeling and try to protect themselves. When the speaker dons
armor, the audience prepares for battle. Heightened anger is the
only possible result.
Or, in an effort to avoid looking uncaring, speakers may make a
different kind of mistake: mouthing words of understanding while
not looking or sounding as though they care. "I understand how
you feel," will usually create greater unrest: "You sure don't
sound like it." Or, "how can you know how I feel?"
Instead, it's vital to be genuine. Acknowledge in word, voice, and
body language that you really do understand what this means to
them. And if you're going to face a hostile audience, you'd better
know their position well enough and have enough humility to
understand their position and not be afraid to admit that you do.
Describe a parallel experience from some other arena that
illustrates the challenge and shows your grasp on what's happening
Connecting with the audience is the biggest task any speaker has.
If you can connect with them by becoming one of the group instead
of an adversary, you have a good chance of accomplishing your
Converse with them before the meeting starts. In some cases, you
might start by acknowledging you recognize you're not the most
popular person in the room (or the company) right now. And right
up front, before describing the program, show how the changes
will benefit them.
Stay focused on the audience and how you can help them, not on
trying to protect yourself.
Consider the following quotes in the context of dealing with the
"Understanding human needs is half of meeting them."
--Adlai E. Stevenson, Jr.
"Knowing what other people value is important, but showing a
genuine interest and enthusiasm in what they value is essential for
success in dealing with others." Unknown
"When the eyes say one thing and the tongue another, the practiced
person relies on the language of the first."-- Ralph Waldo
Sayings to weave into presentations
The only substitute for good manners is fast reflexes.
Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.
When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane and
going the wrong way.
If at first you don't succeed, destroy all evidence that you tried.
Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
Light travels faster than sound. That's why some people appear
bright until you hear them speak.
He who laughs last, thinks slowest.
As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.
Everybody lies, but it doesn't matter since nobody listens.
Every time I close the door on reality it comes in through the
windows. -Jennifer Unlimited
I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack
me at once. -Jennifer Unlimited
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
frequently asked questions"
"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
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
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
View Current Newsletter
View Past Newsletters
Sign up online to receive our free quarterly newseletter
by email. Sign up now.