Influencing Negative Thoughts: One Phone Call and It All Came Tumbling Down

Influencing Negative Thoughts: One Phone Call and It All Came Tumbling Down ‘Twas the day after Christmas And all through the house Not a creature was stirring Except Sharí was balling her eyes out One phone call. One 10 second message. A flood of fears and insecurities. Yep. That’s all it took. I listened to a 10 second message on my voicemail and I was triggered. My body was shaking from the effort to hold myself together – feeling like I could shatter at any moment. What was the phone call? It doesn’t matter. What matters it what immediately followed. Thought patterns that I believed to be long gone charge forward all at once. Within an instant I was the entrepreneur trying to make ends meat. I was the chick struggling with an eating disorder. I was the girl falling apart over a break up. All the difficult, negative, and ugly moments of my life flashed through my mind. And just like hitting play on a recorder, a string of negative thoughts followed. I don’t know what to do. It’s always going to be like this. I’m always going to be alone in this. Will this ever just go away? I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do. And that was the moment. I snapped back into my body for one brief moment and realized what just happened. […]

Improv Your Way to Influence

Improv Your Way to Influence  Avish Parashar is a fantastic opening and closing keynote speaker. He teaches audience how to incorporate lessons of improv comedy into their daily lives, helping them become more adaptable, innovative, creative, and successful. For those of you who know me, you know that I’m a comedy nerd. I’ve probably watched every stand-up special on Netflix and definitely every episode of Who’s Line Is It Anyway? – both U.K. and U.S. versions. Yeah, it’s like that. That’s why I am so happy I got the opportunity to speak with Avish about how his philosophy about how “Ding Happens” can be applied to communication skills and building influence. I REALLY recommend that you watch/listen to the entire interview, but just in case you don’t (again, REALLY recommend that you do!), I’ve jotted down some of the highlights from the interview below. Enjoy! HIGHLIGHTS: Learn about “Ding Happens!” Anyone can do really well when everything is going right. But, periodically, the universe is going to throw some curveballs. How you adjust, adapt, and improvise will ultimately determine your success. Mindset before Technique: Learning new techniques and tools is great, but they will ultimately be pointless if you don’t have the effective mindset to adapt. Learn why I use my favorite interview question, “If you were a superhero, which one would you be and why?” Sometimes you aren’t judged by your answer, you’re judged by your reaction to the “ding” Why “yes, and…” is a way of life! (I [...]

The Science of Stage Fright and How to Overcome It

The Science Of Stage Fright And How To Overcome It People experience stage fright in all sorts of ways. For some, it’s a ball of energy that gets you pumped and excited. For others, the butterflies aren’t limited to the stomach. And, most unfortunately, some experience a severe and paralyzing nausea. Everyone experiences some level of nervousness before speaking in front of an audience and everyone has to figure out their own way to overcome and conquer the feeling. It may not go away entirely, nor should it, but knowing how to diminish it and make it work for you is essential for any public speaker. Before I speak in front of a group of 5 or 500, I get the pre-stage jitters just like anyone else. Thankfully, my acting training gave me so many tools I can use at a moment’s notice to help me get into an effective state. However, I know that some people enjoy the more scientific approach to dealing with stage fright (myself included). And so, Isaiah Hankel the Cheeky Scientist offered to write a post with a bit more left-brained approach to conquering stage fright. I was more than happy to have him step in and share his thoughts. […]

2014-01-07T15:46:57-08:00Public Speaking|

How to Motivate: Tips from a Superhero

How to Motivate Like a Superhero WARNING: Sharí Alexander is unabashedly a geek. A super-geeky moment is approaching.  In X-Men (told ya), Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) has the mutation of emitting an deadly “optic blast” from his eyes. Cyclops doesn’t have control over his optic blasts. If he opens his eyes, he unintentionally can do a lot of damage to his surroundings and the people around him. That is, unless he wears his visor or protective sunglasses. His eyewear filters out the destructive blast so that he can use his powers at will. He can pick a target rather than destroying everything around him, making him and his powers much more functional. When I am in the middle of an ill-prepared meeting or presentation, I think of Cyclops. When someone has a message, but it’s not clearly defined and they don’t have a specific target or outcome, they end up doing more damage than good. Clear intention and focus is critical for any successful presentation. (click here to tweet that) I recently was approached by a media company who wanted my business. I was curious about their approach to marketing and booked a phone appointment with their CEO. Cutting past some of the chit chat, I asked him what his company does exactly. Normally, at this moment, I would cut to some dialogue. He said this. I said that. But, I am unable to do so because I, for the life of me, can’t relay to you what the man said exactly. [...]

The Art of Storytelling: How to Tell a Story Like a Pro

The Art of Storytelling: How to Tell a Story Like a Pro I reached out to Lou Heckler for a video interview because of all the speakers I know, he is undoubtedly the top tier storyteller. As a professional speaker, trainer, speech coach, and presentation skills nerd, it’s hard for me to watch other speakers without taking notes on what worked in the speech, what fell flat, ideas for my own speeches, etc. When I watch Lou Heckler on stage, I forget that I am a fellow speaker. When he takes the platform, I am an audience member. I am drawn into his stories. I slip into a transe. With absolute delight I watch the movies playing in my mind, guided by his eloquence, humor, and skill. In this video interview, I talk with Lou about his story development process. What is his take on good storytelling? What should people avoid when creating a story? What storytellers inspire him? As always, below the video are my notes and takeaways, along with links to the resources mentioned in the interview. Happy watching! You Are What You Read Lou has a background in journalism and reads constantly from a wide a variety of sources. His wide-ranging knowledge makes him a more effective speaker as well as a pleasant conversationalist. His curiosity fuels his speaking strategies. […]

How to Start a Speech: Two Killer Tips

How to Start a Speech: Two Killer Tips It’s okay. It’s not your fault. You were just wired that way. You, like everyone else, enjoy talking about yourself. You’re a cool person with cool experiences, so why wouldn’t you? Especially if you have a microphone pointed at you with a roomful of people who have been told that you are the person who knows best when it comes to your topic. It’s only natural to brush your shoulders off and let the awesomeness of you waft over you. It’s a pretty cool feeling. So naturally, you think – either consciously or unconsciously – that since you have been given this platform and people have come to hear you, then they must be interested in learning about you. by Helga Weber And so, you open your speech with some information about you, why you’re the person talking about this topic, and how you got to be the head honcho on stage. While I have no doubt that your credentials, background, and experiences are very interesting, this isn’t the best way to open your speech. Don’t worry! You will still be able to talk about yourself. That part has its rightful place just a little later in your speech. More often than not, I see people start their speeches by talking about themselves, not the audience. I don’t know if it’s a desire to establish credibility. I don’t know if it’s being deemed an “expert” that initiates a myopic point of [...]

2014-01-07T16:07:15-08:00Public Speaking|

A Different Kind of Audience Engagement

by smackfu What does audience engagement mean to you? What does their approval look like? Applause? Cheers? Roses thrown at your feet? Sometimes, the deepest and profound kind of audience approval is silence. Hear me out. Yes, it’s true that silence can mean that your audience is bored out of their minds and on the verge of falling asleep. That is one version of silence that is, well, bad. But there is another kind of silence and, quite frankly, it’s the kind of silence I aim for in all of my training programs. The discussion of the different types of audience approval came up recently while I was speaking to a group of the National Speakers Association. “Sometimes I don’t get the feedback I want from my audience,” said a woman in the back row, “Do you have any recommendations on how to get your audience to give you the positive feedback you might need as a speaker It just helps because then I can feed off of their energy.” What a great question. To which I replied, “You’re not going to like my answer.” (At least I’m honest.) “Your goal as a speaker is not to seek approval from your audience. Instead, your objective should be to change lives. You are trying to help your audience change their way of thinking or behaving that will improve their life in some way. Therefore, your message should surpass any self-esteem need you might have,” I explained. Does it feel good [...]

2014-01-07T16:12:38-08:00Public Speaking|

Vocal Variety: Improving Speeches with Help from Music

Vocal Variety: Improving Speeches with Help from Music My brother was always better at the violin than me. We both started playing in the fourth grade. We both received scholarships to play in the orchestra in college. But he always sat in the 1st violin section, and I in the 2nd violin section. There was never any rivalry between us, because he loved to play and I tolerated it. Once I graduated college, I never picked up the instrument again. He now has a family and a great career, still practicing as often as he can and playing with the church choir. by ancasta1901 Even though my love of playing music was minuscule, that’s not to say that I didn’t learn a great deal from it. How a player dissects a piece of music is the same way an actor dissects a script. And, it is the same process a speaker can use to create specific, memorable moments in their speech. In a previous blog post, I discussed how my development of communication programs have come from a wide variety of industries, inspired by The Medici Effect. There is no doubt that Music has influenced how I view speeches. Music and acting have both taught me that you need to breakdown a performance (speech, sheet music, script) into its components. Then explore where you can create powerful moments. […]

2014-01-07T16:17:08-08:00Public Speaking|