Jackie Kellso

Archive for the ‘public speaking fear’ Category

Ask Jackie: How to Present Ideas Worth Spreading

In audiences, body language, building rapport, communicating, communication, connecting with people, delivering a powerful message, drawing in an audience, effective communicating, engaging, interpersonal skills, non-verbal signals, personal power, Preparing a Ted Talk, preparing speeches, presentation skills, Presentation Tips, presenting, public speaking, public speaking coaches, public speaking fear, Public Speaking Tips, self-image, self-improvement, speaking, speech preparation, Ted Speakers, Ted Talk Coaches, Ted Talks, Ted X Speakers, Ted X Talks, transparency, trust on June 11, 2016 at 2:49 pm

Presentation tips for public speakers, presenters and Ted Talkers!  Here I demonstrate the techniques of drawing in an audience, holding their attention and creating a bond so that they will relate to you and embrace your message.

Please share this video with colleagues who would benefit.

Happy speaking,

Jackie

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How to Make a Positive, Succinct Point When Presenting

In business, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, messages, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, public speaking fear, sales, selling, speech preparation, speech writing, training on September 1, 2015 at 3:43 pm

Remember the end of John F. Kennedy’s inaugural speech?   “Think not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

Imagine if he’d said it like this:  “Don’t misunderstand the role of being an American citizen. You can’t sit back while your government works to make you secure.   You have to step up to the plate, be proactive and support the whole.  We’re counting on you, and we’re in this together….or else.”

Not so good. Right? Certainly no one would be quoting it nearly 50 years later.  His actual words inspired and challenged people — giving them a fine reputation to live up to and a good cause to work towards.  A winning speech!

This is a great example of delivering a compelling point while conveying a positive message. It must be memorable and give listeners something to respond to; an action with an inherent value to them for taking that action.  We want to get buy-in and be perceived as leaders, too.

Generally, people absorb messages when they’re short.    Here’s the difference:

a. Don’t smoke — you’ll die too young from a devastating cancer of the mouth, tongue, lungs or brain. You’ll shorten your life, you’ll contaminate the air and give others health problems from second hand smoke.

b. Avoid getting cancer. Don’t smoke! You can live a long, healthy life.

Which message would you be able to quote?  Isn’t that what you would want your listeners to be able to do with your message?

Here are a few steps in preparing your positive, succinct point:

1. Identify the point of your message. This is frequently something you’d like your listeners to do, change, or follow-up on. Do you want them to take your advice, remember something you said or take on a challenge? Write that one thing down.  Make it ONE thing only.  The action you want them to take is the point of your speech.

2. Use this core point to gather information such as, facts, personal examples, anecdotes, to reinforce your point. Use this information to enhance and drive home your message.

3. Create a value proposition.  Your point must have a value to the audience or you will lose your ability to make impact.

When you deliver your message, here’s the order for making a succinct point:

a. Share your examples, anecdotes, facts, etc., rich with detail that ties your point to your message.

b.  State your point.

c. Make it clear to the listener that there’s a value to him/her for doing what you suggest.

Think not what your audience can do for you, but what you can do for your audience!

Go get ’em!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Public Speaking Tip: Reveal vs. Impress

In body language, business pitching, business relationships, communicating, communication, communication skills, impress, non-verbal signals, personal development, personal growth, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, public speaking, public speaking fear, reveal, selling, training, transparency on February 10, 2015 at 7:13 pm

The public speaker who wants to win an audience, get buy-in and be memorable has the right intentions.  And, in order to be effective one must achieve these goals.  Yet, so many people only have a portion of the formula needed to accomplish this.  Many strive to show themselves as expert of their content.  Good, but not enough. Many realize that it’s not only the content, it’s also the delivery – body language, eye contact, vocal inflection, pitch, etc..  Great!  Still, not enough.

The winning formula for public speakers is content+delivery+TRANSPARENCY.  Why transparency? When we are actively speaking or presenting, in that moment, we are in a leadership role. There is much written about how transparency in leadership is a winning formula. Revealing our authentic selves builds trust and helps people connect to us.

I shall explain.  When a speaker is only trained to impress an audience — content+delivery — s/he is not reaching into the guts of the listeners for an emotional reaction to the message. I don’t care whether the message is about how to change a tire; as public speakers, in order to WOW our listeners and actually make lasting impact, we must be prepared to shed a public persona or any veneer, and reveal ourselves to the point where the audience is seeing what makes us uniquely human.

Hence, REVEAL vs. IMPRESS.  But how?  Think of yourself as a pistachio nut. You know that inside you are crunchy, sweet and savory. What’s inside the shell is what we want. What’s outside is a protection that cannot be consumed.  Imagine you can impress because you have built up your presentation skills (content + delivery).  Crack open the shell to reveal the good stuff! Now your audience can digest the best of you.

Here are quick tips to help get you there:

1. Tell a personal story.  Let it reveal how you feel about your subject matter and how an experience changed you.  Make the story relevant to the audience’s interests and to the point of your presentation.  Show humility and gratitude within your area of expertise.

2. Allow your own range of emotions to come through.  Be more emphatic than you think you need to be.  Dramatize. Show honest frustration, sadness, joy, passion…SHOW that you are moved by what you’re saying.  Show a little vulnerability. This adds so much credence to your message and makes you more likable and trustworthy.

3. Do not be self-deprecating.  This is usually an unconscious but manipulative action to make people feel sorry for us.  The effect is that it lowers the expectations audiences have of the speaker.  This doesn’t endear them to us! Be humble and confident (or even act it if you have to!)  Confidence is very appealing!

4. State facts and truths (not claims).  People who are out to impress say things like, “It’s the greatest!”  We’re number one!”  They come off as bragging vs. confident.  Instead bring evidence to support your points.  Use third party sources. REVEAL truths that support your message and fuel the audience’s belief in you.  Give the audience a sense of being brought in on what’s real and truthful.

5. Dare to be uncomfortable.  As a coach I know that the people who deliver the best speeches or presentations are those who are willing to feel ‘out there’ and unnatural and stretched to the max using the tools of transparency. Make it your duty to be out of your comfort zone.  This is important because it subliminally translates to audiences that not only are you quite competent, you are fearless about showing them who you really are:  the best pistachio of the bunch.

Speaking from the heart,

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Your Audience Always Wants to Know, “What’s in it for me?”

In business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, leadership, managing, people skills, presentation skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, public speaking fear, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on January 3, 2015 at 6:04 pm

WIIFM.  You know, the radio station, what’s in it for me?  That’s precisely what audiences are thinking when they have to listen to a presentation. One of my most trusted mentors once said, “No one comes to hear a presentation wondering if the speaker slept well the night before, had an easy commute and a good cup of coffee. Audiences are thinking about themselves.  Not you.  So stop thinking, worrying and focusing on yourself.” I repeat his words with great compassion for you!

To effectively sell your idea, concept, product, or service, you must get buy-in — and that only happens when your audience understands how your point relates to them. With this in mind, be careful not to stand in the way of communicating your point.

A. Don’t Seek Sympathy

Listen to how often speakers stand before audiences and introduce their presentations with a self-deprecating remark, such as, “My computer was down all last week and I didn’t have the chance to practice as much as I’d hoped so I’m not as sharp as I’d wish to be,” or “I’ve just gotten over a cold and am not fully myself yet,”  etc…. NEVER APOLOGIZE to an audience before you start you presentation, folks!  1. You are calling attention to you and away from them.  2. You are giving them permission to look for your flaws.  3. You are asking for sympathy:  they are not going to give you the latitude to be less informative and entertaining. So, please, NEVER APOLOGIZE before, during or after a presentation. Remember: they are thinking of themselves, not you.

B. Take Yourself Out of the Equation

Your point has to benefit your audience, so every time you insert yourself, your needs, your wishes, you lose a connection.  Every word and concept is on behalf of their interests. I have heard many presenters make statements that are ‘me’ based and not ‘you’ based, like:  I want your attention, I need you to follow my direction, my goal is for everyone of you to buy my product.  You get the idea.  Your goals are irrelevant and what you want is pointless.  (The only time a speaker can state what he wants is when he is in a leadership role and has already gotten buy-in and approval.  What he really means is, ‘what we all want.’)  No speaker is spared the burden of proving a benefit. The reasons people are texting, snoring, looking at the floor, whispering to the person sitting next to them, and pretending to listen (you know, eyes are fixed on you the whole time but are unresponsive) is because:  1. They are thinking of themselves. 2. The speaker has failed to prove the ability to meet their objectives, or solve their problems.  3.  The point to them has been lost or hasn’t been made clear.   So, think you vs. me when you speak.

C. Don’t Let Fear or Pride Isolate You

Please don’t let the fear of looking silly stop you from using a wide emotional range that can be playful, humorous, mournful, soulful — whatever makes sense — it reveals the essence and humanity of who you are.  An audience’s quest for WIIFM is the command they have on the speaker to be entertaining as well as informative.  As a trainer and coach I know that the people who do not improve on their presentations are ones that refuse to budge on this; they remain uninteresting, unapproachable and isolated from their listeners. People don’t trust emotionally withholding speakers. Dare to put your own brand of sparkle into it! Dramatic execution helps people understand the point and see its worth.  When you insert natural, human emotion into your presentations people appreciate you and relate to you.  That’s how you build value. If you can look at yourself as the delivery system for your presentation, it might make it easier to realize that your personal needs can not be packaged into your material. This might be hard, especially if you’re already a bit stressed or worried about your presentation skills. You are more likely to get the result you want if you think solely about benefitting your audience than making it more comfortable for yourself.

Happy presenting!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc.,  with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Tips for Hiring An Executive Coach

In assertiveness, body language, business networking, business pitching, business relationships, career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, conflict resolution, consulting, coping with pressure at work, diplomacy and tact, effective communicating, executive coaching, executives, handling tough boss, interpersonal skills, interview questions, interviewing skills, leadership, manage stress at work, managing, managing conflict, negotiating, networking, office politics, people skills, pitches, pitching, presentation skills, professional behavior, professional development, professional development training, public speaking fear, tone of voice, training on February 1, 2011 at 11:28 am

I remember seeing a Reality TV show in which an executive coach had come in to a small business to fix the business owner’s communication problems with her employees. He immediately started out by saying to her, “I want you to listen to the things your employees have to say.” I want you to consider their feelings.”  He said this directly to her in front of her employees!

This coach made a huge error, in my mind, because the owner hadn’t been included in the decision to do this in a public forum.  The coach tried to enforce change before he had permission to do so. What a coach wants from you is meaningless and should never position what you should do in this way.  I continued to watch this fiasco unfold — the owner seemed overwrought with stress; her face red, her voice tight — she was the opposite of open, flexible and cool.  As she listened to a few criticisms of her, she not only shut down, but became so closed-off that she got up and walked away. Nothing was accomplished.

An executive coach is supposed to be the ally of the executive, and should never provoke an employee-employer intervention unless as planned and executed with the boss.

Your coach should be masterful in communicating all of the benefits to you of changing, growing and challenging yourself. Your coach should be supporting your growth based on your needs and work with you on a timeline, budget and plan of action for your goals to be reached.   S/he should provide leadership based in personal experiences and proof of success that has resulted from a particular expertise.

Coaches should ‘walk-the-walk’ in their own lives in order to effectively motivate others. I once personally knew someone who was getting a certification as a sex therapist who hadn’t had sex in 20 years and hadn’t been successful in having a loving relationship in all that time.  I couldn’t get over the hypocrisy of that!

I also know an executive coach who refuses to work through her fear of presenting. She knows it limits her ability to generate business and express key information, but she defers to her fear. How can she help an executive with a fear of presenting see the value of pushing himself out of his comfort zone?  She doesn’t have to be a presentation coach, she just has to know from experience that the fear doesn’t have to win! Coaches are at their best when they are working to overcome their own resistance to things that will yield good results.

Interview coaches before you hire them. Here are some things to look for:

1. LISTEN.  Listen to how he or she communicates with you. Is s/he asking questions that show genuine interest in you and the ability to understand your needs? Do you feel heard? Is s/he speaking in terms of your needs?  Are you clear about how this coaching method ties back to your outcome?

2. LOOK.  Sit down with this coach and observe signs of non-verbal communication. How’s the eye contact, tone of voice and body language?  Does he or she have the image and attitude of someone who engenders your trust and respect?  Your gut is your best friend. This is why a test session or interview before you sign an agreement is critical.

3. ASK QUESTIONS.  Find out what challenges s/he has overcome. Ask questions about his/her journey and how it led to becoming a coach.  Ask about the training history, methodology, and proof of credentials.

4. ANALYZE FEES.  You have to decide what your budget is and discuss with your coach what the scope of the work together is expected to be.  If your gut tells you that this person or service is not worth the price, then you have to decide if you have found the right coach. Is this coach forcing you to sign a long-term contract that would cost you thousands before you’ve had a first test session?  Do you feel pressured to lock-in sessions at a wildly reduced rate?  Is there a fair cancellation policy or at least a mutually agreeable non-cancellation policy? Have you spoken with prior clients about their return on investment with this individual?

5. AGREE BEFORE YOU SIGN. Before you sign-up for a long process, you must have your coach set reasonable expectations for your development and outline the areas you will be addressing as you progress towards your goals. For example, if you want to improve upon your presentation skills, be sure that this coach has expertise in this area vs. a coach who is expert in organizational design or team-building.  Some coaches are skilled in addressing multiple functions, but be sure to discuss this ahead of time.  The goal is that you feel in control and trust that this person is the right one for you.

Executive coaches are helping many people actualize their goals.  There are so many good coaches out there and most of us have noble ideals as to why we’ve chosen this consultative role. We’ve mostly been in your shoes and have taken risks to deal with challenges head-on. We have cultivated our skills and are always motivated to grow. We feel our purpose is to help and be a role-model to others. But, you must do your due diligence to work with the ones that serve your interests and possess admirable, executive qualities.

Happy Learning!

Jackie

Copyright, PointMaker Communications, Inc., 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, Inc., with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Art of Public Speaking: Show vs. Tell

In career, coaching, communicating, communication, communication skills, executive coaching, executives, people skills, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, public speaking fear, sales, selling, training, Uncategorized on July 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm

I was hit by a car at the age of 14.  I spent two months in the hospital and it took me two years to walk again without the aid of casts, crutches and canes.

True story!  But what’s interesting about the way I represent the story?  Nothing!

How’s this version:

I was crossing the street on a chilly, December afternoon, right in front of the Junior High School I was attending. Suddenly, a suped-up car with a loud engine came around the bend, swerving and accelerating towards my friend and me.   I gasped and yelled,  “Gene, hurry towards the sidewalk!  That guy’s out of control!”  Well, that was my last moment of consciousness until I awakened later that afternoon.  By that point, my eyes were swollen shut and I couldn’t assess the sounds or voices of my surroundings. I had no clue as to what was happening to me. “Mom!  I want my Mom!” I screamed. I was in the emergency room.

Do you want to know about my injuries and why I couldn’t walk for two years after that? My guess is you’re interested.

This is the difference between showing vs. telling (when writing) and speaking.  If you’re going to tell an audience about something, it’s the same as delivering a sketch or an outline of your point rather than delivering the essence and relevance of your point. When I coach my clients on public speaking, I emphasize this:  do not tell me about something.  Show me the story.  Peel the layers away and describe it; paint a vivid picture, re-live it in the telling of it.  Make me an interested party.  Draw me into your experience so much so, that I could re-tell it (or re-show it, for that matter) to somebody else.

Not only will your talks be dynamic and memorable, you will increase your credibility as a speaker.  Once you’ve proven that you’re experienced in your subject, you will have earned the right to make a succinct and relevant point, and your audience will listen and believe in you. (For instance, I will always be able to to speak credibly about how people can learn to cope with and overcome emotional and physical trauma.)

A good thing to do is to observe other speakers and determine if they are showing vs. telling. Decide for yourself what’s more effective. Your ability to determine the difference as a listener, will be a good starting point for becoming a better speaker.

Happy showing!

Jackie

Copyright, Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, 2009-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Fear of Public Speaking is Nothing to Fear

In business, coaching, communication, executive coaching, executives, presentations, presenting, professional development training, public speaking, public speaking fear, training, Uncategorized on July 10, 2009 at 4:10 pm

I once had a client who had the most intense fear of public speaking I had ever seen.  I witnessed this during the first assignment of a public speaking course I was teaching. Naturally, every class member was a little nervous, but this guy, Mike, got up, mumbled his words, looked down at the floor, trembled and sweated profusely.  I thought he was going to pass-out.  But he didn’t — he presented his one minute speech in its entirety.   The class cheered and I praised him for his courage.  Mike smiled and said how amazed he was that he had gotten through it.  Before he left the class that night, I said, “See, fear doesn’t stop you in your tracks. See you next week!”  He nodded affirmatively and walked out the door.  I never saw or heard from him again.

For years I wondered why this guy gave up on himself, even after proving that he could speak to an audience. But I believe I know the answer now, having coached so many fearful speakers since then.  I focused on fear as the prime coaching issue and ended up magnifying the fear instead of diminishing it. I can only imagine the bravado he would have had to muster to get back into class and speak again, not to mention the pressure he might have felt not to disappoint the class. This was a very powerful lesson for me. What I should have said to him was, “Mike, great job. Next time let’s work on keeping your feet planted.” (Or, something to that effect.)

Would that have brought him back to class?   I can’t say for sure, but it would have given him something skill-based to focus on rather than this monster he was battling.  Today, when a client wants to overcome fear, the very first thing I say is this:  We are not even going to try to overcome fear. It’s there and we welcome it.  Being uncomfortable is a preferred state to sustain when stretching the comfort zone.  The fear may stay with you, it may leave you, we simply don’t care.

The goal is this:  focus solely on the skills that make for a powerful presenter.  Learn the right techniques and structures that support the flow and articulation of your presentations. As examples, concentrate on body language, practice making eye contact, focus on choosing words and concepts that help you drive a point, work on being clear and concise, use your natural sense of humor when delivering dry material.  Just start with one and go from there.  Practice getting in front of an audience and doing it again, and again, and again, and again and again.  It will be the key to making your fear powerless.

In the words of the wise, “It’s okay to have butterflies in your stomach, just get them to fly in formation.”  –Dr. Rob Gilbert

Happy presenting,

Jackie

Copyright, Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jackie Kellso and PointMaker Communications with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.