public speaking

Don't listen to anyone else's advice

My favourite piece of advice?

"Don't listen to anyone else's advice. No-body knows what the heck they're doing anyway."

When we're in the mentoring game, sometimes we take ourselves so seriously.  It's critical for me and my clients to remember to not take ourselves so seriously, and it's always up to them.

Here is a brief video that I use to close out one of my keynotes

Enjoy!

Vive la révolution!

#ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambitionrocks

#success #career #executivebranding #personalbrand #standout

#leadership  #executivewomen #careerfutureproofing

Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

Three incredibly powerful speaking tips I learned from Jane Caro

When my coach first said to me I'd need to take to the stage and speak I said -

"No way!" "Not me!" "Talk to the hand!".

Three steps to be a kick-ass female speaker -  1. kick some ass, 2. be female & 3. speak!

Three steps to be a kick-ass female speaker -

1. kick some ass, 2. be female & 3. speak!

While I'd booked and briefed more speakers than most people have had hot dinners, the thought of doing it myself was terrifying.

Spring forward a few years and that initial resistance is beginning to dissipate. While I still get incredibly nervous, it's now more manageable - and I know I can make a bigger difference speaking one to many.

AIM Great Debate

Recently I shared the AIM Great Debate stage in Canberra with high profile, advertising and media personality, Jane Caro. Jane is well known for her dry sense of humour, her unique perspective and her ability to get the room comfortable really fast.  She was also the adjudicator for the debate.


Speaking While Female

So we started to chat about some of the challenges women speakers face including:

  1. The audience will critique what you look like, no matter what. And frequently, other women are the harshest critics.
  2. Some of us try and pack our talks full of content to prove we know what we're talking about and give extra value - when the principle of less is more might work better.
  3. Women speakers are still far more prevalent in the female empowerment space than hard data business topics, so finding ways to establish credibility is critical.


Just prior to going on stage Jane gave me three great pieces of advice which I now share with you.

  • #1 - be authentic because the audience will warm to you more. Not the let it all hang out type of authenticity, but the type that connects with real life language, experience and examples. 
  • #2 - don't be afraid to use humour. Humour is the thing that unites us. So smile at the audience, use your regular jokes that you would with peers and colleagues, and win them over with humour.
  • #3 - be confident and own the room. It will help you boost credibility if you look and sound like you know what you are talking about. 

So What Happened Next?

Given my competitive nature, in that moment I mentally dropped the page of stats from my script and stuck to the things that I was far more comfortable with (my skewed way of looking at the world and my irreverent sense of humour). I'd done the preparation, it just helped me to speak from a more authentic place. And the best bit? I rocked the stage for the first time ever. I nailed it. Wish I could bottle it. Looking forward to doing it again.  (Thanks Jane!)

  • I won points for the dubious honour of being the first person to swear on stage (mum would be so proud),
  • I got points for getting the audience to try manspreading and extrapolating to corridors of power in Canberra,
  • I got points for sucking up to the adjudicator by closing the argument with one of Jane's frequently quoted statements on gender equity, 
  • I even got points for working Trump into my argument on the cost of hair care products for women, and
  • Our team won! 
Gender equality will be achieved when we have as many incompetent women leading as we do incompetent men
— Jane Caro

So why is this important to you?

When we're in the realm of feeling like we're not quite good enough, or that we need to prove our worth, we tend to over prepare, over analyse or run the risk of being overwhelmed. It triggers socialised responses of conscientiousness, compliance and competence. 

In some scenarios, conscientiousness, compliance and being competent are suitable. But when you are in speak out mode - making a point, pitching to win, creating compelling arguments, then channelling your confident and more competitive self will be far better.

So get out there and invite yourself onto a speaker panel or something - and rock the stage with your own authentic compelling and confident style.

Remember - smart and savvy truly is the name of this game! 

Vive la révolution!  #ambitionrevolution #executivebrand

Book in for a free 45 min phone call if you want help with that.  Limited times available in the link.

 

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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

#1 fear that holds you back in your career

Have you ever found yourself at the end of the day after a couple of hefty debates at work thinking

  • "Why didn't I say that?", 
  • "Gee, I wish I hadn't said this ..... ", or
  • "Why is it that I always think of the right answer after the fact?"

If that's you, I hear you. I'm the same. Good with an argument after the fact, but not in the spur of the moment. If there was ever a subject that should become compulsory at high school, I reckon it's debating, to help young people learn how to speak in public, to construct rational arguments on the fly and to give them confidence in responding under pressure.

Frequently in a professional environment we need to defend a position or champion an idea, and speak out effectively on said topic. Easier said than done for most.

You have no doubt heard the humorous, but serious terms, bro-propriation, manterruptions and mansplaining, used to draw attention to those times when men speak over women, interrupt women or appropriate women's ideas. Worse, you've likely experienced them.  Yet there are things we women can do on our own behalf to ensure that our voice is heard and opinion is valued.

Learning how to back yourself and your ideas, express your opinions powerfully and effectively in meetings, public forums and via published mediums such as interviews will help.   

Evidence tells us that there are more male speakers on the speaker circuit and historically the consulting world has been dominated by men. However with more and more women speakers stepping up and speaking out, along with the rise of the fempreneur, our professional world is changing.  And the expectation for consultants, business leaders, professionals and entrepreneurs, is that you need to know how to express your opinion in public (comms department permission pending of course).


I believe in the power of the voice of women.
— Malala Yousafzai

Letting go of your need to be right

Landing an opinion and having others critique it is extremely challenging for the recovering perfectionist. Yet when you let go of your need to be right, it is far easier.

Once you let go of your need to be right all of a sudden you allow for the possibility that there might be more than one opinion that is right at any one time.  After all, an opinion is just an opinion and what we hold to be 'true' today may be considered 'false' tomorrow anyway - and vice versa.

"Pressophobia" - fear of being interviewed by the press

Here’s the rub – most people are scared of expressing their opinion in public. In fact, fear of public speaking is the #1 fear for many and ranks even higher than death.

But I reckon if there is one thing that some people fear more than speaking in public, that’s being interviewed by the press/media.
 
If done right, media is a great way to boost your personal brand, build your credibility, position you as an expert and help you create authority.   Whether that’s industry press, your peak body magazine, or more highly publicised media channels such as television, radio and print/online articles it doesn’t matter.  

And if it’s done badly you have egg on your professional face in a potentially humiliating way.

Expert advice from three women in the know

Michele Barry, Sharon Sebastian & Rebecca Leo

Michele Barry, Sharon Sebastian & Rebecca Leo

 

 

So to help you become better prepared about possible interviews and getting more comfortable with voicing your opinion – I went straight to the source. Three women who know what it’s like to speak with the press and be quoted in public, have given you their thoughts on how to prepare. Thanks to each of Michele Barry, Rebecca Leo and Sharon Sebastian for generously donating their perspectives!

 

Michele Barry is a leader in the pubic health sector, is currently National President of Better Hearing Australia and Director of Frontis Consulting.  She regularly represents the organisations she works for.

Michelle’s advice:

1. Know your key messages and be ready for action. Media opportunities can be valuable and at times unexpected. Write media releases, followed by phone calls - get to know the journalists and producers in your topic area.

2. Be easy to deal with - when a journo calls you; call back quickly, respect the time lines of those in the media. If you are easy to deal with you will be called  back for your area of expertise. If you are difficult to deal with journos will simply call someone else.

3. Media interviews take practice so ask a trusted friend or colleague for feedback. I was told I smiled too much, which might be good sometimes, but in that instance it was a serious topic.

4. Call or write back to the journalist and say thank you. Tell them about the impact. You are more likely to be asked for an interview again.

5. Have a heading called media contacts on your website/ Facebook.  Make it easy for people to help you and connect withyou.

  • Michelle’s recommended resources: Invest in media training. Watch recordings of your self and work on your personal style. Sign up to "the Source" a PR reaching site and go for it.
  • Michele can be contacted via LinkedIn

Rebecca Leo is the Founder of Roar Women and the award winning Roar Events Australia. She is a speaker, coach and presenter who found herself winning a spot as a guest co-host on The Project!

Rebecca’s #1 tip was given to her by journalist (and host on the night) Hugh Riminton, when she was on The Project:  Just be yourself!  Be in the conversation as you would be with your best friends.   Your presence on camera is much more appealing when you are being naturally you.

Sharon Sebastian is a former journalist and currently works as a senior communications professional in Queensland. 

Sharon’s #1 advice?

Be prepared and do your research on the journalist, the publication and their target audience

  1. Find out who the journalist is and which publication they are from. Try and find a couple of articles written by your interviewer to get a feel for what their writing style is like.   
  2. Ask what the article is about and get the deadline.
  3. Get your questions ahead of time – a good journalist will normally send you through a set of questions so you can prepare. If they don't, not to worry, just ask.
  4. Key messages – if you are representing your organisation, think about what key messages you would want to get across. Don't try to be a salesperson! (Journalists do not like this.) Think about how you can creatively incorporate key messages about your organisation, while answering the questions put forward by the journalist, in line with what the article is about.

In summary

  1. Yes, learning how to speak out articulately and confidently is an excellent executive branding tool. Invest in training, support and practice so you can leverage it.
  2. Work out what you stand for - key messages, succinct, articulate, powerful and effective
  3. Be yourself - everyone else is taken!
  4. Do your research into the publication and audience
  5. Make it easy for people to find you.

Let me know how you go! If you end up being featured by your industry rag or profiled in your peak body magazine, send me a copy!  I'd love to share.


Vive la révolution!

#ambitionrevolution #LookOutCSuiteHereSheComes #feminineambition #careerfutureproofing #visibility #womeninleadership


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Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months

What have you done to deliberately make yourself scared lately?

When I grew up, for some reason I thought that being seen in the self help section of the bookshop was a sign of weakness. I had a notion that books in this section had some sort of lesser value than the more intellectual (albeit rather less interesting) scientific tomes and journals. So this bias meant I missed out on reading the (now) classic when it first was published in 1987  – Feel the Fear and do it Anyway. If you want to know more about the author Susan Jeffers or the history of the book read more here .

The interesting thing is that it’s through my reading and research into the differences between male and female brain biology that this book has come back into my consciousness. Let me explain.

Steven Kotler.jpg

Right now I’m about to embark on a part of my life that up until a year ago would have been something out of a nightmare. You guessed it, I’m launching my career as a public speaker – and I’ve always been terrified of it.

I, along with about 75% of the rest of the population, have a condition called glossophobia - fear of public speaking.

Okay, I’ve done it in dribs and drabs - I teach yoga, I’ve provided MCing and introductions at conferences plus I facilitate small group workshops. I’ve even booked, briefed and advised more speakers than you can poke a stick at through out my professional career while programming industry conferences.

But for some reason I had made a mountain out of a molehill, and the thought of actually being the centre of attention and giving a speech about my ideas has been something that makes my brain and body respond in really irrational ways;

fear.jpg
  • My memory goes blank at mid sentence - even though I know my material inside out and back to front.
  • My voice gets all plummy, posh and pretentious which means I sound incredibly inauthentic and …. lets face it, awful.
  • And my legs shake. Not just minor shakes, but huge wobbles that make my knees knock. Thank god for lecterns to hide behind.

The title of my new presentation is Decision Making Under Pressure – and the reason I talk about this is so that I can speak to a mixed gender audience about neuroscience (the study of brain biology) and then gently introduce some of the interesting and generalised tidbits about the differences in brain scans between men and women.

  • Did you know that the Anterior Cingulate Cortex is larger in women than in men according to Dr Louann Brizendine author of two interesting books The Female Brian and The Male Brain?  So that’s really only interesting if you know that the Anterior Cingulate Cortex has a nickname of the “worrywart” centre. You guessed it. According to brain scientists and fear scientists women are twice as likely as men to experience worry and anxiety.
  • Did you also know that testosterone is a great dampener of one of the stress hormones - cortisol?  Some years back a researcher called Amy Cuddy presented a TED talk which has since gone viral where she talks about body language. The benefit of Power Poses (i.e. standing in traditionally masculine type poses - arms and legs akimbo or hands behind head with legs apart) is that after about two minutes in the pose this boosts testosterone which in turns dampens cortisol so your stress response drops. And .. the connection is quite obvious, in general men naturally have more testosterone than women.

So in preparation for my first talk I’ve explored  the role of stress, anxiety and worry plus fear in keeping us playing small - and how getting over or transmuting these (frequently intense) feelings can help us get on with our bigger game plan far more quickly.

I’ve been reading about emergency service personnel and staff in casualty in hospitals and how they deal with stress and fear. 

I’ve been reflecting on the latest scientific research on anxiety and worry, in particular Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool by Taylor Clark .

Tara Mohr's "Playing Big" talks about  how our brain isn't particularly good at differentiating between anticipation fear and survival fear.  Where we feel fear could be an opportunity for real personal growth.   Once we tackle something really big and achieve it despite our fears and anxiety, we feel like we can do anything.

Or The Rise of Superman by Steven Kotler on the power of flow state - from the Flow Genome Project.

“When risk is a challenge, fear becomes a compass—literally pointing people in the direction they need to go next”
— Steven Kotler, The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance

So what have I found out?  That the advice given 25+ years ago by Susan Jeffers was pretty much spot on.  Feel the fear and do it anyway. If you can learn how to transmute those feelings somehow (and the devil is in the detail) and work through the irrational part of your fear response then you can actually continue on to achieve great things in the face of that fear.

Hence me deciding it was high time to tackle my particular glossophobia head on. And that the discomfort that I will no doubt experience in my first year, will one day subside and just might open new doors and opportunities where I can truly make a difference – as I help others to step up, speak out and take charge.

So what have you done to face your fears lately? What are you hiding from? What else could you be doing if you got over something you are scared of?

Bookings

If you would like me to speak at your conference about the power of channeling fear into positive energy, along with some of that devilish detail of how to function through strong emotions such as fear, worry and anxiety, then send me an email.  info@amandablesing.com I'm sure it will make me feel stressed and anxious, but think of it as being good for me! 
Feel like your leadership journey has stalled? Email ablesing@amandablesing.com to set up a 30 min one on one to learn more. Helping clients shift from feeling invisible to becoming invincible in just 12 months