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Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

Traveled a long way to end up here?

It’s hard when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere stranded with no support nor any sign of rescue. There’s a sinking feeling that comes on as you realize that you’re lost and all alone. Physiological effects begin to take place in your body as your nervous system reacts to the shock of being lost. You have a hard time determining whether its hot or cold, whether you’re facing north or south, or if you’re truly here right now or just dreaming. Your mind can shuffle through thousands of scenarios and even your life may flash before your eyes.

WAKE UP! You’re in the middle of your speech and the shock has caused you to freeze up. You’ve been standing here silently for about 30 seconds (an eternity) while your audience questions whether you’re going to recover. Get back to the speech. You’re the only one who can help you and success is in your hands. Just start talking. Don’t be alarmed. You’ve done all the work to be a success. Now find your speech outline, pinpoint where you are, and begin where you left off. 

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Don’t panic and make big scene over the fact that you stalled and were lost, just get back on track. Your audience will thank you for it.  

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

Old School to New School–Some things don’t change

Today, I’m visiting with my father-in-law, Senior Master Sergeant (Ret.) Dave Clark. He was a Security Police K-9 handler in Vietnam and for most of his career. He finished out his career as a Senior NCO Academy Instructor teaching the best and brightest the Senior NCO leadership skills of the day (1995).

I was a Vehicle Operator for most of my career including teaching at the Vehicle Ops Technical School and finished my career as the Commandant of the Airman Leadership School teaching the new generation of enlisted leaders the fundamentals of supervision and leadership (2017).

We discussed my book and the whole idea of public speaking and we agreed that its hard to watch even the most notable public speakers due to the distractors that they display repeatedly. The biggest one for him is the continuous movement of the hands without dropping them into a neutral position and then using a gesture to make a point.

I’d have to say, for me, it’s context of the speech, enthusiasm and how the whole thing is tied together. Both of us and most who have been trained to do public speaking of any kind these are the things that make it hard to watch or pay attention someone’s presentation.

I believe that all of the distractors, especially in high quality public speakers, come from residual fear left unchecked. You might say, “he’s just uncomfortable”. Then, I would say, “uncomfortable, boiled down to its essence is still fear.”

I’d like to save the world from all of the bad presentations… one speech at a time.

Have blessed day.

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

Can you be a little more specific? What am I looking at?

When you want to convey a message do you start randomly spitting out information in different ways and find yourself trying to tie up loose ends as you get further along? Your audience may not understand what they’re looking at.

Before actually engaging your audience with a specific topic. Think through all aspects or  main points and sub points of your message (MP1, SP a,b, MP2, SP a,b,c,d, MP3, a,b, etc.). Then narrow down the listed topics for your specific audience so that you’re only providing the vital information for the overall message to that audience.

Once you have isolated your exact content. Put a considerable amount of energy into the most important part of your speech preparation: finding a common thread that holds it all together and adds value to the message for your audience. This common thread should be relevant and broadcast throughout the speech. Do not hide the common thread. Don’t keep it secret until some premeditated moment that you think will wow your audience, because it won’t. The audience wants to feel connected to your message from beginning to end. The common thread is like the building code of a house. Without the code your audience what your hotel was like will become confused about what you’ve been building right in front of them. (see picture above)

Your common thread is also the brick and mortar of the structure. It should be applied to the Introduction, the transitions, the body, the summaries and closing of the message. It should add value and increase your audience’s attention toward the message.

 

 

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

When your audience has no idea where you’re going…find a common thread to straighten everything out

Its never harder to stay tuned-in than when a presenter seems to be all over the place.

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To keep this from being you: work on your craft by finding a common thread in your speech and follow it all the way through to the end.

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Tie everything into that common thread and keep your audience on track with you without any surprises.

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Have you ever been in the audience when the presenter ventured into what seemed to talk about everything except for his topic and when he does mention something that is in line with his topic you’re not sure where it fits? Then you know what your audience will feel if you are “that guy.”

This common thread that you identify and use throughout your presentation should add value to your overall topic.

 

 

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

Clean up your mess

When you must talk with an audience in a one way communication, please clean up your mess.

Know your purpose. Clearly define your key points. Be specific and meaningful. Stick to your purpose. Tell your audience what your key points are and why they are “key” to your overall purpose. You may have a lot to say and talking your subject may excite you, but don’t ramble on with endless information that may not be key to your overall purpose. Offer to stay back for awhile after your presentation to take questions and give your expertise then: where it can be targeted and meaningful to the person or group that wanted to know more.

 

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

Building your presentation is hard work

Knowing your material, knowing your audience and being fully prepared to perfectly fill your allotted time can’t be faked. You audience will see right through it every time.

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They’ll be able to spot the flaws in your presentation without even trying. What kind of flaws do you notice during someone else’s presentation? (leave a reply)

Free consultation

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

Showcase your workplace (Armed Forces)

In the military you often have visitors to your unit. Our commander or commander’s representative will usually bring the visitor(s) to your work center and the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) or Section Chief will greet them, introduce his team and talk about what it is his work center does or has accomplished recently.

These visits are like a prophesied nightmare for most NCOICs and Section Chiefs. They know there will be a visit in the future, but have no idea when or how ugly it will be for them.

Tips for the NCOIC or Section Chief (prepare beforehand)

1 Take time and review what it is your work center does. List out major tasks and anything extremely unique that your shop does (think seasonal and upcoming tasks as well).

2 Select from that list 3 primary go-to discussion points that truly highlight the heart of the work your team performs. Also, note what major effects your team has on the rest of the unit, Group, or wing (base).

3 Once you’ve narrowed down the goods. Put it into a structure that makes sense. First, an introduction of yourself and you staff is necessary (when actually introducing, don’t make it weird). Next, put your three mission topics in an order that flows (one thing leads to the next).

4 Don’t forget to highlight at least one team member’s achievements. For instance, if someone has recently won an award, mention it when you introduce that team member.  If someone has been instrumental in accomplishing one of your work centers major tasks mention the team member while discussing that topic.

5 Finally, add a closing statement that lends completeness and suggests to your visitor that you are done. Example: “That’s a good summary of our mission sir, do you have any questions for myself or my team?”

6 Keep it short, simple, and precise. This briefing should only take a minute or two, but don’t be alarmed if your visitor drags it out by asking questions, just be ready to talk your discussion points (be flexible).  If the talk goes long on account of the visitor, you’re good. If the talk goes long because of you, you’ll need to shorten what you actually say. In this case, ask your team for suggestions and feedback on how you should do this next time. They’ll love that you asked for their input!

7 In many cases,  there will also be other work center NCOICs present to meet and greet the visitor. Be prepared to pass the visitor on to the next work center by introducing them yourself if your commander or his rep doesn’t step right in and do it themselves.

8 If you’re a Moses and speaking isn’t for you, find an Aaron in your section, sit down with him, and rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Nevertheless, you need to go through your visitor brief several times yourself to “hear” what it sounds like and make the appropriate adjustments before that day comes.

I have full confidence in you. We don’t put you in that position because you can’t. We put you in that position to see all you can accomplish!

 

 

 

 

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

What goes into a presentation

Fear is sort of like Pac Man. While your pie chart may look a little different than this one; fear is standing by to gobble up your confidence, dismantle your preparation, and convince you that you don’t have the ability or the knack for public speaking.

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When you start your speech, do it with confidence. Only you know how the presentation is supposed to look, sound, taste, and feel.

Not if, but when you make a mistake; KEEP IT TO YOURSELF. Your audience may not have noticed a thing. Oh, but they will notice if you start addressing, correcting, and/or apologizing for it. Don’t let the mistake distract you from your purpose. If you follow your mistake and try to clean it up, your audience will definitely give you noticeable feedback! The whole mood will shift and if you’re not ready, fear will run up and tackle you right there.

Instead, know that mistakes will happen. Keep the focus on the main points of your presentation and be flexible. You’re audience doesn’t need or want to know your excuses and apologies for what went wrong…

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

His name is Fear

Fear is a freeloader. He stakes you out, he takes his time and makes friends with you. He moves in and takes up square footage in your home. He eats your food, sleeps in your spare room and never cleans up after himself. He drains you, but you don’t even realize what’s going on and you feel like the relationship is unbreakable (that he’ll always be there). You’re used to him and even comfortable with him always by your side. Everyone who sees you sees him with you even when you don’t acknowledge his presence. You tend to his needs. You make sure that he has a roof over his head and a bed to sleep in. He feeds off of your willingness to keep him in your home. He affects all of your relationships and makes you feel that this lifestyle is standard.

Strike

Fear strikes at will. He can paralyze you in a moment without notice. He affects you nervous system and all the other systems simultaneously. He raises the heat taunting you and binding you to inactivity or else you’ll embarrass yourself tremendously. When the moment has passed and you can behave normally again his best work is in his ability to calm you down and draw the attention away from him and to you. As a result you go on believing you’re the problem and he continues to go undetected. You even declare it, “I hate public speaking” or “I have terrible stage fright”. All the blame rests with you.

Truth

The truth is you don’t have to keep the freeloader around. You have rights! When will you exercise your right to act solely on you own without fear affecting how you behave? After all it is your home! He doesn’t pay you rent or buy you groceries. As a matter of fact, he doesn’t do anything that benefits you in anyway.

The move

It’s time to kick him out. You have to confront him in all truth. Yes, you’ve been together for longer than you can remember. Yes, you don’t know how to behave on your own and that’s a bit scary because it’s unknown territory, but you have to do it for freedom’s sake. Don’t think about what it will be like when you confront him. What you can’t comprehend is that dwelling on what the confrontation will be like is actually result of his influence.

Freedom

Once Fear is removed you’ll have to make a lot of adjustments to living life free on your own. You don’t remember ever living like this before. Free. Get excited! Get up and be free.

 

Fear, Military, public speaking, Self help

First blog post

I started this website because over my 20-year military career I have become passionate about public speaking and worked hard to help others overcome the standard pitfalls we all have when it comes to having all eyes on as we stand in front of an audience.

I also have been planning for many years to right books on some specific topics. It seems that as the years went by, the topics have multiplied. Fear Driven Speech is just the first book and website.