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Editor's Corner
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 appropriate.

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.

Dear teach

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 effectively."

First person

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 in tune.

"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 jobs harder."

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 to them.

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 goal.

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 hostile audience:

"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 Emerson

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 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"
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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
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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