3 Reasons Why Public Speaking Will Change Your Life

3 Reasons Why Public Speaking Will Change Your Life

There is no doubt that whenever anyone has to approach speaking in public the nerves set in. Countless articles and books have been written about the ways to beat the nerves, and how to create the perfect presentation. But I wanted to focus in on the “why”. “Why” is it so important to be good at public speaking today, more than ever before.

 

       1)You Will Build Resilience and Grow In Confidence

 

The first time I was in a position of doing a talk that “really mattered” I was so nervous I couldn’t speak to anyone for days. I was afraid of forgetting my lines. I was afraid no one would think anything of what I had to say. I was afraid that I was going to be thought of as all sizzle and no sausage. I felt sick.

 

Then I did the talk.

 

It went really well. Like super well.

 

Nowadays the nerves still come whenever I talk, but I am more confident. I built some resilience to the nerves.

 

After attending one of my Speaker Courses, Clare saw me at an event and said to me “Kate, I went for a job interview after the course, and I decided to just be me, and be confident. On the first question I answered really assertively – and just said what I thought. I would never have done that before the course! I didn’t just get the job, I got offered a better job because of my answer to the first question”

 

If you can beat your fear of speaking in public – you can do anything.

 

       2) You Will Be A Better Communicator In Day to Day Life

 

Great communication is a skill. It requires thought and practice. The thing is that we rarely think of it as a skill, and think of it as something we can all just “do”, and therefore we don’t apply any thought or practice.  Especially when our key way to communicate today is via text or WhatsApp.

 

Speaking in public whether on stage, or podcast or on a youtube channel, will make you a better communicator in your day to day life, because you have to think about what you are saying and how your message is being received.

 

I helped a client start a podcast about 3 years ago. His podcast is on sport, his job is as a surveyor. He commented to me about a year in that he had noticed the impact of the podcast on his working life. He said “Having to form arguments and opinions on a weekly basis on the podcast means I am able to form stronger arguments at work. I am much less fearless about speaking up, and I am better at making a clear point”

 

       3) You Will Become An Authority (and More Persuasive As A Result)

 

There are 2 things that make you successful:

  1. Be good at what you do
  2. Make sure people know about it

 

I have a friend who is a brilliant teacher. He covered a role while a colleague was on maternity leave for a year, did a brilliant job and then went for the role full time. In the interview, he assumed that they realised that he had done a good job, and so didn’t feel the need to tell stories or explain in detail what he had done.

 

He didn’t get the job.

 

When you stand up in public and tell people stories about what you do, and what you do well, you automatically become an authority on what you do.

 

When I did my talk to my industry I went from “person who could do a good job” to “person people knew did that job well”. In fact from that talk I found the confidence, and the authority, to launch a business to coach presenters.

 

The world is noisy. The world has its face in social media. The world is getting automated all the time. Being a good communicator is essential to you being able to achieve your goals – and getting good at public speaking is one of the ways that you can achieve this.

 

You can find out more details of my public speaking course “Speaker In 6” here.

Less Is More: 3 Tips on Editing for Impact

Less Is More: 3 Tips on Editing for Impact

Commercial Radio Presenters have always known the pressure of being allowed to talk, for only a certain time. Over the years it has been my job to get the most out of a presenter that has to talk for only 2 minutes. Or 30 seconds. Or 10 seconds. Or 3 seconds.

 

In that time it’s a radio presenter’s job to get you to listen for 15 minutes more (this is to do with how audience figures are collated). It’s not easy.

 

Now many presenters struggled, complaining that they couldn’t get the story in in-that time. I spent many hours and days explaining that in that short time they should be thinking “what CAN I do?” Rather than “What can’t I get done?” There is nothing like a time limit to make you self edit – but self-editing is hard.

 

Then one day a presenter who had been resistant, bounded up to me and with a real glint in his eye said: “Kate! I listened to my Friday show and I tell you what, this shorter link thing is amazing. When you hear my voice it’s like, boom!”

 

He clapped his hands together “Impact!”

 

Joy.

 

Making every word count is not a new concept, Mark Twain said: “I’m sorry this letter is long, but I didn’t have the time to make it short”. And the Twitter age has had us working out how to edit our complex emotions down to 140/250 characters for some time now.

 

It’s still not easy. So here are some tips to self edit your content.

 

  1. Remove all mitigating language

Too many words get in the way of your message.

 

When you look at a painting the warmer colours (yellows, oranges, reds) attract the eye first. So if you want the eye drawn to a certain part of the canvas you paint some red in that spot. But if you paint the whole canvas red, it’s just red – and nothing else stands out.

 

Words are the same. Too many words, and too much detail is an ineffective way of getting someone to hear your point. You are saying everything and nothing.

 

The first thing to do is to get rid of any wasted words:

 

Like

So

Basically

I was thinking that

Erm

Does that make sense?

 

Not only do they fill in space that needs to be cleared, but they also undermine your point.

 

  1. Rehearse and hear it back

Nothing beats rehearsal and listening back to spot where an edit is required.

 

Record yourself on your phone, and listen back. Film yourself on your phone, and watch it back. Even practising in front of another human gets you to hear yourself back.

 

Trust me – you will hear your edit immediately. I usually find myself yelling “oh shush will you” at myself. And then I just hammer out the words.

 

  1. Get to the point as quickly as you can

 

Helen Zaltzman-Austwick is the Queen Of Podcasters. I saw her speak at a live event a couple of years ago and she advised the audience of eager podcast makers: “Start as late in the story as possible”.

 

The biggest mistake people make is to over explain the set up and give too much context. The story doesn’t start with the set up, it starts with the problem. The set up literally gives your audience the reason to keep listening to you.

 

It’s the same with any point you wish to make. Never make your boss wait 45 minutes before you deliver the point of your presentation. Get into your point as soon as you can.

 

Use these three tips to be heard, and create an impact in these noisy times.

Sell yourself in one line (without sounding like a show off)

Sell yourself in one line (without sounding like a show off)

The One Thing You Can Do To Stick In People’s Minds

In the last blog, I bust some myths around networking – the theme being that you don’t need to make it about you, and in fact, you should make it all about the person you are speaking to.

In fact, there is ONE thing you can do that means you can make sure people know how you can help them.

The most classic question you will get at a networking event or in any new meeting is: “what do you do?”

Most people answer with their job title. “I am an account manager”, “I am a coach”, “I am a sales rep”, “I’m an artist”, “I’m a Managing Director”…

You might know what that means. The person you are speaking to has no idea what that means, or how it impacts them.

Start telling people what it is you do and the impact you have.

In the last blog, it was clear that impactful networking means you are getting people to understand how what you do can help them.

Not only do you have to listen to them, but you also need to be clear about what it is you do.

So you need to have what I call an “Action Impact Liner”.

To do that you need to explain what you do, what is your action:
I help people manage their money…
I run a company that creates handwritten letters on mass…
I teach kids at primary school…  
I sell artworks…

And then explain the impact it has:
So that they can rest easy when they get to bed at night  
So that you can guarantee to get someone’s attention with a personal touch.
So that the future is a better place.
So that people feel good about their house.

Mine is:
“I help people get confident and comfortable speaking in public so that when someone sees you speak they think “I want to work with you”:”

What is your “Action Impact Liner”?  

You can still give your job title “I’m a Presenter Coach – I help people….etc…”

Try writing your Action “Impact Liner” below

I help / make / create / run * insert verb _____________________________

So that  _______________________________________________________________________

When people know what you do, and how you are passionate about helping people, they will then know to call on you when the issue you can help with arises.

3 Myths About Networking That Will Change Your Mind About Networking

3 Myths About Networking That Will Change Your Mind About Networking

For a lot of people, the word “networking” is an evil word. That feeling of meeting people and selling yourself sounds hideous. Haunted by negative self-talk like “they aren’t going to want to hear about me”, or “it’s all so fake”, or “I’m just not smart enough”, many run for the door as soon as networking is mentioned.

 

The reality is, that nowadays, there is no job in the world, that doesn’t require you to sell your business. Building relationships is vital to any career, or business because people work with people they know, like and trust.

 

Networking doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience and the whole concept of building relationships is shrouded with myths.

 

Let’s bust through a few:

 

Myth 1: Networking is only done at events and meetings

When you say “networking” to someone the immediate picture is standing in a group of people at an event awkwardly trying to work out when to introduce yourself.

 

Yes, networking events are important, but you can “network” in your own way, space and time as well. You can arrange to meet people for coffee. You can meet people through Linkedin. And in fact you are networking all the time. The people that you work with right now, will possibly be your boss one day, or they’ll go to a great new job and may recommend you.

 

One thing that helps is understanding what type of communicator you are as you can then play to your strengths. Take this iMA Strategies quiz to discover how you can be better at networking: http://katecocker-ima.com

 

Myth 2: Networking only counts if you are meeting new people

When I started both my Presenter Coach Business and Kate Cocker Studio (where I sold my artwork and paintings) I realised that actually where the connections start, are with the people you know. Friends would be the first to buy my paintings, and I still get Presenter Coach work through people I play netball with.

 

Start with who you know, make a list. Then see who they know. And make sure your friends and family, know what it is you actually do so that they can employ you or recommend you.

 

Myth 3: Networking means talking about myself or the business constantly, and I am not good at that

This is the greatest pressure people put on themselves when they think about networking. But you can take the pressure off right now as here is the secret to being a good networker:

 

All you have to do is listen.

 

Think about the people you know that you consider to be good listeners. Do you dislike them? No. Do you respect them? Yes. Do you trust them? Yes.

 

Listening is key to building relationships and business development. Finding out what are the challenges for their business, gives you the opportunity to help them. You can’t help without listening, being interested and asking questions about the things they are talking about.

 

Take the light off you, and make sure you shine the light on them.

 

Sometimes we can build up myths that protect us. Our assumptions protect us from taking risks, feeling uncomfortable and bursting out the comfort zone. Sometimes we don’t have to jump in 2 footed and terrify ourselves, sometimes we can stretch our comfort zone and slowly build confidence that we know what we are doing.

 

So network to your strengths, start with who you already know, and listen so that you can work out how what you do can help the person you are talking to.

 

There is one more element to networking that will help you get that new gig, or client. I will reveal all in my next blog.

The One Way To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

The One Way To Stop Comparing Yourself To Others

To stand on stage and perform feels vulnerable, so when you are on a line up with other speakers, that’s when the comparison voice kicks in.

 

I’m sat watching the guy who is speaking before me. He is really funny. Like really funny. I’m not that funny. And he has no notes – how is he doing all this without notes?

 

Then the next lady steps on the stage and she is covering really similar stuff to me, so obviously my brain starts up: “they are going to find out that you aren’t as clever as you make out”. And again “oh she is putting this message together much better than you do”…

 

And then your brain hits you with this doozy: “Are you sure you’re good enough?”

 

Brene Brown says that “Comparison is the killer of creativity and joy”.

 

And as I sat there trying to stop myself from going into a flat spin, I started to deploy the methods I use that remind me of the only thing that can stop you from killing your creativity and joy…

 

Remember that You are You.

 

I get all my clients to establish who they are before doing anything else. Understanding what you bring to the table, where your strengths lie, and what you are trying to achieve, eradicates comparison. All that matters is that you are attempting to be the best you can be, in line with your own values. Grasp this, and then suddenly you won’t be worrying about what others do.

 

Presenter Chris Evans said on his first Virgin Radio show in January “If anyone is any good then there is room for everyone”. He was replying to those who were curious about any competition between him and his old Radio 2 show. He’s right.

 

I also used to get really worried that I wasn’t as good as other people doing what I do. That was until I started to realise that there wasn’t one or two people that I was in competition with… there are thousands of people doing it, all over the world. All I can do is do the best I can to help the people I want to help.

 

Of course, competition is useful, It spurs us on and helps us to be better, and competition is fuelled by comparison. So, be clear on who you are, what you want people to remember, and focus on that. You can wave goodbye to comparisonitis.

 

Facing Rejection: You Are A Twix, And They Wanted A Mars Bar.

Facing Rejection: You Are A Twix, And They Wanted A Mars Bar.

Rejection is a yukky thing.

 

This week as Global Radio in the UK consolidated their local breakfast and drive shows. Industry press juggernaut Radio Today estimates that 250 presenters could be affected by the changes in the UK. And it’s all kicking in, in a month’s time. There are households across the country now wondering “what now?”.  

 

As a radio presenter, your career is built on rejection: The number of demos and conversations that lead to nothing. The number of times a new boss comes in and you have to hold tight to find out if you still have a job. The time the station decides to refresh the lineup and you get offered a weekend show from your daily one. The time another radio group buys your station. Or as we have seen this week: The time Ofcom rules change and the “business” end of things get in the way of your dreams.

 

The difficulties are that it all gets played out in public and when your product is “you”, it’s very difficult to not take it personally.

 

I’ve been through redundancy twice, and left my role as Content Controller at Key 103 because of a “restructure”. I’ve also had to let people go: there’s a BBC National presenter who was on the receiving end of me “not renewing their contract” at a local commercial station some years ago, who I am sure (quite rightly) is and will be dining out on it for years to come. Mr C lost his beloved Xfm Manchester Breakfast show, when Radio X (another Global Station) was launched and it was announced that Chris Moyles was going to be networked from London.

 

Long story short the outcomes were – Tim got his gig on Virgin Radio and BT Sport and launched Hive Content. I launched The Presenter Coach which has gone from strength to strength. And the presenter I let go: well you see it say “BBC National Presenter” right?

 

Most stories of losing jobs, end with the protagonist saying “it was probably one of the best things that happened to me”. The thing is, in the moment, no matter how well you are compensated, you can’t help but feel utterly rejected when your boss tells you that you are no longer needed in your current role.

 

Here are a few of things that got me and Mr C through it the last time (and will get us through it next time):

 

  1. Permission to Grieve

When you are in the eye of the storm of rejection – it’s not a calm, reflective experience. It’s clunky, difficult and sad. It’s really sad. So allow yourself space to grieve.

 

The reality is that you are experiencing loss. Rejection in this way isn’t just about feeling unwanted – you will have lost a part of your life you love, and even base your identity on. It’s not easy. I found that once I recognised what I was experiencing was grief, it was a lot easier to cut myself some slack.

 

It’s easy to put pressure on dusting yourself off and picking yourself back up and to “man up”, but the best use of your time is going along with your emotions as they come and allow them to become part of you.

        2. Do Not Get Confused Between MERIT and TASTE*  

You were and are good enough to be there in the first place (this is merit), but the new boss wants their station product to sound like a Twix and you are a glorious Mars Bar (this is taste). Or the new boss wants to run a more streamlined business (I’m going to call this taste too!).

 

“You” are the presenting product, and that means that sometimes your product isn’t right for the station product. It feels personal, but the decision is very rarely personal. (It’s worth remembering this when you are the one delivering the news too.)

Trust you will find your new product “fit”.

     

       3. Put Your Audience First

When your audience finds out you are leaving, be gracious. Remember without them you are just a person talking in a box on your own. A beloved mentor of mine said to me, at the time I was leaving: “if you are comfortable with it, others will be comfortable too”. The minute you become snarky or awkward, your audience will begin to doubt your intentions and feel discomfort. Remember you need them with you, in whatever you do next.

    4. “Don’t Make Any Decisions For 10 Weeks”

I have to credit the same mentor with this one and it was excellent advice.

 

Tim and I held off making any decisions and allowed ourselves time to think (we lost our gigs at the same time). I explored options, tried things out and allowed the thing I wanted the most to rise to the top. Before setting up The Presenter Coach, I thought I was ready to go down a different path. But by holding off for the 10 weeks it allowed me to set my mind and get what I really wanted.

 

It also meant that Tim and I had time to redecorate the kitchen! Ha!

     

  5. The Rejectee Becomes The Rejector…

Post-rejection is the perfect time for reflection, but you are likely to be vulnerable to making decisions out of financial or spiritual necessity, rather than personal choice.

 

Sort out your finances and make it so that they will last you as long as possible without work. Establish what time you have* – how many hours a day are spent on sleeping, eating, exercising, netflix. Set some goals and commitments. Think about your habits. Read, learn, eat well, exercise, sleep, find joy.

 

Do whatever you need to do to be in a position to choose when an opportunity comes your way. Feeling like you can say “nope” to the ideas and jobs that aren’t quite right is important in choosing the “right” thing for you next.

 

Of course, when 250 presenters lose their seat at the ever-shrinking radio presenter table it starts to look bleak. My observation is that now more than ever, the presenters that will be secure are the ones with the “portfolio” career: write the book, make the podcast, own the production company, do the voiceovers, set up a kids club, run an events company – all the while presenting too. And when it comes to changing careers and sectors all together; Lisa Kerr did a talk at Next Radio a few years ago about the invaluable transferable skills you get from radio.

 

In the same week the radio industry felt a sack full of rejection, I went to PechaKucha Manchester – a spoken word night with 10 speakers, each talk is 20 slides and they have 20 seconds per slide. This week’s theme: “Rejection”. (Anywhere you see an * in this blog is credit to this night). From those 10 talks I was reminded:

 

Rejection is a yukky thing but…

  • it helps you focus on you
  • it sets you on the right path
  • it helps you reassess and rebuild
  • it should be felt in everything you do, because then you know you’re doing it right.