by Lisa Lane Brown
If you want to turn the heat up on your career, I suggest you become a compelling public speaker.
The key to being a good speaker is to establish trust with people FAST. This called getting “good in the living room” (according to Tom Cruise in Jerry McGuire).
Getting good in the living room is actually way easier than you think.
You see, most people are afraid of public speaking because they have the wrong idea about it.
Their head is full of myths.
The first myth is that you must be super-articulate.
Compelling speakers APPEAR super-articulate, but their comments are actually heavily rehearsed.
I learned this from comedian and TV writer Irwin Barker. Irwin confessed that the real genius of every live performance is delivering pre-rehearsed material in an off-the-cuff way.
Every comedian looks like and articulate genius who just thought of a joke, but in truth, he’s delivered it many times.
Let’s say you have an upcoming meeting and you want to make an impression.
Once your prep is done, rehearse out loud some EXACT phrases words you are going to use.
And make sure they are sticky.
That is, they are short and impactful and therefore STICK in the mind of your audience.
Example: in my seminar, you know I always tell my story of losing the Nationals back in 1991 with one second left on the clock.
What you don’t know is that I tell it using the EXACT same phrases every time.
I’ll say, “Losing hurts…but under-performing hurts more. And I knew I had just choked in the biggest game of the year for my team.”
Once you’ve selected a few sticky phrases, practice delivering them in a casual, relaxed way.
You’ll be shocked how much more relaxed you are before the meeting.
The second myth is the assumption you need feel and appear super-confident when you are speaking to make a good impression.
Example: most people believe that if they get too nervous, or their voice trembles, or they stumble over a word that their audience will judge them harshly.
I have given very successful presentations where I started out with a shaky voice…stammered…and forgot my content mid-sentence.
The real truth is that people are not looking for perfection. They are looking for VALUE – and if you give them practical information that helps them, they will give you excellent evaluations.
Plus, people appreciate your vulnerability up there. They know how hard it is to grab the microphone and will forgive momentary lapses.
If you stumble in a presentation, the best thing you can do is be humble. Rather than try to appear super-human, acknowledge that you are flawed but trying.
Example: Recently I had a full-blown coughing fit right in the middle of a lecture. I had to leave the room (to get water) and could not even excuse myself.
Upon walking back in, I simply said, “That was awesome.” Everybody laughed and we picked right back up where we left off, because I was not worked up about it.
The bottom line is that being able to perform flawlessly under pressure in meetings and presentations is merely a skill.
However, it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced for you to enjoy yourself and get the results you want.
That’s why I created an Ebook called How To Perform Flawlessly Under Pressure that will teach you exactly how to put your career on over-drive using this marvelous skill.
Lisa Brown is the founder of the Courage to Win and is considered the world's leading expert on deep mental toughness for success in career, love, and sport. She has personally coached over 7,200 achievers to new heights and conducted over 1,300 live seminars on mental toughness across North America. She has been featured by major media including the New York Times and Entrepreneur Magazine, who called the Courage to Win “a straight-forward guide to success, highly recommended.”