Today’s post is available via a 2 minute audio clip; or the written content follows too just below.
Frustration, frustration frustration.
A few colleagues and clients recently shared they were mentally caving to frustration. They were preparing for their next talk and realized: they didn’t know what to say.
They have deep funds of knowledge.
They have specific and creative expertise.
They’ve been speaking to public audiences on and off for years.
They are intelligent, driven people with plenty to offer a range of listeners.
Yet their ideas were stuck, as in really stuck…like an elephant caught in spandex. As in, no idea and no sense of permission were escaping the inner workings of their mind.
The ‘It’s Not Good Enough” syndrome: a common cause of blocked ideas
In each conversation with these great professionals one trait unified each person’s predicament: in every attempt to even casually brainstorm a point of view for their speech — each person immediately criticized themselves. Whatever idea they tossed out as a potential vantage point from which to develop their presentation – it wasn’t good enough to them.
Getting beyond cycles of criticism: a 20 minute exercise to help
Even with heaps of expertise to draw from and share, this often happens — that cycle of ideas/delete/ideas/delete.
This whirlwind of self-criticism builds off itself, making the self-perception of “my ideas aren’t good enough” as the only type of creative development possible.
This is a cycle to break.
For our ideas to progress as public speakers at this type of crossroads, the main goal (stat!) is to create a sense of permission with how we express (and assert) ideas.
Here’s a favorite exercise to get unstuck:
1. Set your timer for 20 minutes.
Your iPhone, Android, or old time tomato timer on the stove. Please grab it and set it for 20 minutes.
2. Commit to zero self-criticism.
Before diving into this exercise, dedicate your mind to a criticism-free zone. Grant full authority to your hand, the pen it is about to hold, and the paper it will write on.
2a. Which leads to: turn off your computer and find paper and a pen.
3. Start the timer.
4. Then write down at least (3) assertions in 20 minutes — one or two sentences each — about your expertise and related to the gist of your speech.
Keep writing until the timer rings.
Judge not, judge not, just write write write. And ideally: consider these assertions as points of view too. As in, write down what you hold true about your industry with your expertise in mind, again in one or two sentences per assertion.
Start each assertion with the words “I believe…” if that helps to dislodge thought.
“I believe public speaking is a self-assertion game and a clarity game…and it takes time to achieve both.”*
*Is that a run-on sentence? Yes. Is it perfect grammar? No. Is it an assertion that I hold true as a public speaking professional? Yes.
Does it satisfy the perimeters of this exercise? You bet.
Because the goal is to get unstuck, out of your mind, away from delete-every-idea-syndrome and onto the page before you.
Another raw example:
“I believe social content is an interactive and strong way to build community online.”
or… “I believe public relations means stimulating social voice around your company.”
How about you?
What tactical ways help you liberate creativity when preparing for a speech (and abandon self-criticism with ideas)?
There are so many great ideas on how to start a video blog and express one’s self to the camera. From the perspective of growing as a public speaker, I heartily see videoblogging as a fantastic development tool.
I really enjoyed it because of her genuine, comical nature which she shared.
Her video also demonstrated these three tips for getting a video blog off the ground (which can apply to shaping your mindset when talking to the camera in general).
And the 3 tips are:
1. Seek honesty vs perfection.
The camera is a 100% truth finder. Faking it? It sees it. Doubting your ideas or words? The camera (and thus audience) sees that too. She (Lisa) didn’t shy away from the fact she was nervous about talking to the camera. Expressing her anxiety openly fit into the topic of her overall video blog.
2. Assert clear intent.
Did Lisa have a distinct message, as if giving a media Q&A? No and that was absolutely fine (and more natural). She did however assert clear, simple intent and purpose for the video i.e. to share her big goals to improve physically and professionally.
3. Create momentum through editing, a layered viewpoint, or storyboarded structure.
Stimulating energy in the cut itself can be done with different editing decisions. It can be achieved by showing enthusiasm and conviction for your topic. Choosing a specific content structure enables energy to come across too. This was Lisa’s approach: choosing a simple consecutive structure. Lisa conveys uncertainty about her structure in the video itself. It works however.
She relayed one-by-one different goals she wants to accomplish this year. That added vocal variety and thus stimulus from an audience’s vantage point (yet without losing focus on the main purpose of her cut).
What ideas and tips do you like to use when “getting your video blog on?”
It sometimes can be a challenge for me to articulate joy without uttering a word. But then an expression comes along from other people, offered with a glance or gesture that conveys joy without restraint.
Is it clear how your home impacts your life? Frankly I haven’t often reflected on it. I’m embarrassed to admit that. And learning about refugees through The Blue Key Campaign has crystalized for me how much the experience of a home is worth. It has motivated personal action too; and I’m honored to be a champion for the cause of refugees and the Blue Key campaign.
It’s an incredible anchor, isn’t it?
Or how else would you describe home? How would you like to describe the experience of home and its impact on your life? I’m more fully valuing what a gift it is to have the opportunity to dwell in a home day in and day out.
Impacting family, community and business.
On a personal level, home has been the place to grow our marriage of 11 years. It’s a hub for reflection, contentment, togetherness, and relief. It’s been a safe place of fun for family and friends and our kittens. On a business level too, it’s been an anchor for my work – providing a place for clients and I to find solutions as a team.
Yet beyond the borders of my little safe home, there are over 43 million people forcibly displaced from their homes and countries worldwide.
A 10 minute video tutorial on persuasive speaking, laughter, & yoga too…
After sifting through LiveYourTalk’s video archives, I edited one of my workshops into a shorter version. It’s based on a 4-prong approach to preparing persuasive presentations, plus tips for using more vocal flexibility and understanding the impact of silence.
On that note: your breakfast invitation
And this is your invitation to join a flash-mob-breakfast-for-fun-fundraising event hosted by my business LiveYourTalk along with the ever good Shana Glickfield, partner of Beekeeper Group.
What inspired this flash-mob-breakfast idea?
In the spirit of Digital Capital Week and the GiveToTheMax fundraising drive — we wanted to plan a coffee and breakfast to enjoy our community, gobble up some good food from a DC institution, and donate whatever we all can to help Miriam’s Kitchen — an area nonprofit which assists thousands of DC’s homeless and less fortunate