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  • [MUSIC]

  • Welcome.

  • I'm very excited today to talk about effective speaking in

  • spontaneous situations.

  • I thank you all for

  • joining us, even though the title of my talk is grammatically incorrect.

  • I thought that might scare a few of you away.

  • But I learned teaching here at the business school,

  • catching people's attention is hard.

  • So, something as simple as that, I thought, might draw a few of you here, so

  • this is going to be a highly interactive and participative workshop today.

  • If you don't feel comfortable participating that's completely fine, but

  • do know I'm gonna ask you to talk to people next to you.

  • They'll be opportunities to stand up and

  • practice some things because I believe the way we become effective communicators is

  • by actually communicating, so let's get started right away.

  • I'd like to ask you all to read this sentence, and as you read this sentence,

  • what's most important to me is that you count the number of fs

  • that you find in this sentence, please.

  • Count the number of fs.

  • Keep it quiet to yourself.

  • [BLANK_AUDIO]

  • Give you just another couple seconds here.

  • [BLANK_AUDIO]

  • Three, two, one.

  • Raise your hand please if you found three and only three f's.

  • Excellent, great. Did anybody find four?

  • Anybody find only five fs?

  • Anybody find six?

  • There's six fs.

  • What two letter word ending in f did many of us miss?

  • Oh. We'll make sure to get this to you so

  • you can torment your friends and family at a later date.

  • When I first was exposed to this over 12 years ago I only found three, and

  • I felt really stupid.

  • So, I like to start every workshop,

  • every class I teach with to pass that feeling along.

  • No, no. [LAUGH] That's not,

  • that's not why I do this.

  • I do this because this is a perfect analogy for

  • what we're going to be talking about today.

  • The vast majority of us in this room, very smart people in this room,

  • were not as effective as we could have been in this activity.

  • We didn't get it right.

  • And the same is true when it comes to speaking in public,

  • particularly when spontaneous speaking.

  • It's little things that make a big difference in being affective.

  • So today we're going to talk about little things in terms of your approach, your

  • attitude, your practice, that can change how you feel when you speak in public.

  • And we're gonna be talking primarily about one type of public speaking.

  • Not the type that you plan for in advance, the type

  • that you actually spend time thinking about, you might even create slides for.

  • These are the key notes, the conference presentation, the formal toasts.

  • That's not what we are talking about today,

  • we are talking about spontaneous speaking.

  • When you are in a situation that you are asked to speak off the cuff and

  • in the moment.

  • What we're going through today is actually the result of a workshop I

  • created here for the business school.

  • Several years ago, a survey was taken among the students, and they said, what's

  • one of the, what are things we could do to help make you more successful here?

  • And at the top of that list was this notion of responding to cold calls.

  • Does everybody know what a cold call is?

  • It's where the mean professor like me looks at some student and

  • says, what do you think?

  • And there was a lot of panic, and a lot of silence.

  • So as a result of that, this workshop was created, and

  • a vast majority of first year students here at the GSB go through this workshop.

  • So I'm gonna walk you through sort of a hybrid version of what they do.

  • The reality is that spontaneous speaking is actually more

  • prevalent than planned speaking.

  • Perhaps it's giving introductions.

  • You're at a dinner and

  • somebody says, you know so and so, would you mind introducing them?

  • Maybe it's giving feedback.

  • In the moment, your boss turns to you and says, would you tell me what you think?

  • It could be a surprise toast.

  • Or finally, it could be during the Q and A session.

  • And by the way,

  • we will leave plenty of time at the end of our day today for Q and A.

  • I'd love to hear the questions you have about this topic or

  • other topics related to communicating.

  • So our agenda is simple, in order to be an effective communicator, regardless of if

  • it's planned or spontaneous, you need to have your anxiety under control.

  • So we'll start there.

  • Second, what we're going to talk about is some ground rules for

  • the interactivity we'll have today and

  • then finally we're going to get into the heart of what we will be covering and

  • again, as I said, lots of activity and I invite you to participate.

  • So lets get started with anxiety management.

  • 85% of people tell us that they're nervous when speaking in public.

  • And I think the other 15% are lying.

  • Okay? We could create a situation where we

  • could make them nervous too.

  • In fact, just this past week a study from Chapman University asked American's,

  • what are the things you fear most?

  • And among being caught in a surprise terrorist attack,

  • having identity, your identity stolen, was public speaking.

  • Among the top five was speaking in front of others.

  • This is a ubiquitous fear, and one that I believe we can learn to manage.

  • And I use that word manage very carefully because I

  • don't think we ever want to overcome it.

  • Anxiety actually helps us.

  • It gives us energy, helps us focus, tells us what we're doing is important.

  • But we want to learn to manage it.

  • So I'd like to introduce you to a few techniques that can work and

  • all of these techniques are based on academic research.

  • But before we get there, I'd love to ask you what does it feel like

  • when you're sitting in the audience watching a nervous speaker present,

  • how do you feel, just shout out a few things, how to do you feel?

  • >> Uncomfortable.

  • >> Uncomfortable.

  • I heard many of you going, yes, uncomfortable.

  • It feels very awkward, doesn't it?

  • So what do we do?

  • Now a couple of you probably like watching somebody suffer.

  • [LAUGH] 'Kay, but most of us don't.

  • So what do we do?

  • We sit there and we nod and we smile or we disengage.

  • And to the nervous speaker looking out at his or

  • her audience seeing a bunch of people nodding or disengaged, that does not help.

  • Okay. So we need to manage our anxiety.

  • Cuz, fundamentally, your job as a communicator rather, regardless of

  • if it's planned or spontaneous, is to make your audience comfortable.

  • Because if they're comfortable they can receive your message.

  • And when I say comfortable I am not referring to the fact that

  • your message has to be sugar coated and nice for them to hear.

  • It can be a harsh message.

  • But they have to be in a place where they can receive it.

  • So it's incumbent on you as a communicator to help your audience feel comfortable and

  • we do that by managing our anxiety.

  • So let me introduce you to a few techniques that I think you can

  • use right away to help you feel more comfortable.

  • The first has to do with when you begin to feel those anxiety symptoms.

  • For most people this happens the, in the initial minutes prior to speaking.

  • In this situation what happens is many of us begin to feel whatever it

  • is that happens to you.

  • Maybe your stomach gets a little gurgly.

  • Maybe your legs begin to shake.

  • Maybe you begin to perspire.

  • And then we start to say to ourselves, oh, my goodness, I'm nervous.

  • oh. They're gonna tell I'm nervous.

  • This is not gonna go well.

  • And we start spiraling out of control.

  • So, research on mindful attention tells us that if,

  • when we begin to feel those anxiety symptoms,

  • we simply greet our anxiety and say hey, this is me feeling nervous.

  • I'm about to do something of consequence.

  • And simply by greeting your anxiety and acknowledging it,

  • that it's normal and natural.

  • Heck, 85% of people tell us they have it.

  • You actually can stem the tide of that anxiety spiraling out of control.

  • It's not necessarily going to reduce the anxiety but

  • it will stop it from spinning out.

  • So the next time you begin to feel those anxiety signs,

  • take a deep breath and say, this is me feeling anxious.

  • I notice a few of you taking some notes.

  • There's a handout that will come at the end.

  • It has everything that I'm supposed to say, okay?

  • Can't guarantee I'm gonna say it, but you'll have it there.

  • In addition to this approach, a technique that works very well, and

  • this is a technique that I helped do some research on way back when I was in

  • graduate school, has to do with re-framing how you see the speaking situation.

  • Most of us, when we are up presenting, planned or

  • spontaneous, we feel that we have to do it right and we feel like we are performing.

  • How many of you have ever acted, done singing or

  • dancing, I am not going to ask for performances now, okay.

  • Many of you have.

  • We should note that we could do next year, maybe, a talent show of alums.

  • It looks like we got the talent there.

  • That's great.

  • So when you perform, you know that there's a right way and a wrong way to do it.

  • If you don't hit your, the right note or you right line at the right time,

  • at the right place, you've made a mistake.

  • It messes up the audience.

  • It messes up the people on stage.

  • But when you present, there is no right way.

  • There's certainly better and worse ways.

  • But there is no one right way.

  • So we need to look at presenting as something other than performance.

  • And what I'd like to suggest is what we need to see this is as is a conversation.

  • Right now, I'm having a conversation with 100 plus people.

  • Rather than saying I'm performing for you.

  • But it's not enough just to say, this is a conversation.

  • I want to give you some concrete things you can do.

  • First, start with questions.

  • Questions by their very nature are dialogic, they're two way.

  • What was one of the very first things I did here for you?

  • I had you count the number of fs and raise your hands.

  • I asked you a question.

  • That gets your audience involved,

  • it makes it feel to me as the presenter as if we're in conversation.

  • So, use questions.

  • They can be rhetorical.

  • They can be polling, perhaps I actually want to hear information from you.

  • In fact, I use questions when I create an outline for my presentations.

  • Rather than writing bullet points, I list questions that I'm going to answer.

  • And that puts me in that conversational mode.

  • If you were to look at my notes for

  • today's talk, you'll see it's just a series of questions.

  • Right now I'm answering the question, how do we manage our anxiety?

  • Beyond questions, another very useful technique for

  • making us conversational is to use conversational language.

  • Many nervous speakers distance themselves physically.

  • If youve ever seen a nervous speaker present, he or

  • she will say something like this.

  • Welcome, I am really excited to be here with you.

  • They pull as far away from you as possible,

  • because you threaten us, speakers.

  • You make us nervous so we want to get away from you.

  • We do the same thing linguistically.

  • We use language that distances ourselves.

  • It's not unusual to hear a nervous speaker say something like,

  • one must consider the ramifications.

  • Or, today we're going to cover step one, step two, step three.

  • That's very distancing language.

  • To be more conversational, use conversational language.

  • Instead of one must consider say,

  • this is important to you, we all need to be concerned with.

  • Do you hear that inclusive conversational language?

  • Has to do with the pronouns.

  • Instead of step 1, step, 2, step 3.

  • First what we need to do is this, the second thing you should consider is here.

  • Use conversational language, so

  • being conversational can also help you manage your anxiety.

  • The third technique I would like to share is research that I actually started when I

  • was an undergraduate here, I was very fortunate to study with

  • Phil Zimbardo of the Stanford Prison experiment fame.

  • Many people don't know that Zim actually was instrumental in starting one of

  • the very first shyness institutes in the, the world and especially in the country.

  • And I did some research with him that looked at how your orientation to time

  • influences how you react.

  • And what we learned is if you can bring yourself into the present moment,

  • rather than being worried about the future consequences,

  • you can actually be less nervous.

  • Most of us, when we present, are worried about the future consequences.

  • My students are worried they're not going to get the right grade.

  • Some of you are worried you might not get the funding.

  • You might not get the support.

  • You might not get the laughs that you want.

  • All of those are future states.

  • So if we can bring ourselves into the present moment, we're not going to be

  • as concerned about those future states and therefore we<