The flip-site of Inspiration

The flip-site of Inspiration

It was hard to not see the video of Melania Trump and Michelle Obama today.
So many questions came through my mind as a speaker’s Mentor. I help people to write their speeches but still it’s important to let them speak authentic.
You can admire other speakers for their great speeches. You can borrow inspirational quotes by quoting them. What happened here is a total different order.
If you help someone who is for sure not trained to write a ‘first-ladies speech’, I would suggest to protect the speaker first.
Protect your speaker by the integrity to let them shine as themselves.
To protect them from the image of being a copy cat.
To protect them from looking odd an not authentic.
To protect them from a husband tweeting: It was truly an honor to introduce my wife, Melania. Her speech and demeanor were absolutely incredible. Very proud! I hope for him he has the right person in mind, not a different Mrs M.
I knew my mission is BIG but after today I realize it might be even bigger than I had in mind.
You can be carried away with inspiration of someone else’s speech. Martin Luther King,J.F Kennedy Barack Obama or Margaret Thatcher or Hillary Clinton. Just be careful to loose yourself, for sure it will turn against you and the power of your message.
Keep up speaking as yourself! Anyone else is taken….Being someone wife doesn’t mean someone else’s speech.

The way you do anything is the way you do everything…

The way you do anything is the way you do everything…

Last week I coached several speakers with a lot in common. The all thought fear for speaking was their ‘issue’. Most of the time that’s not was is going on. Fear is a selfish habit as a speaker. If you have something serious to say, you put still your fear first.
Habits get in the way if you want something else than you do in real time. The habit of procrastination, the habit of ignorance, the habit of breaking your word to a promise, the habit of being late.
There is a TV commercial saying ‘never change a winning team….’
I don’t agree. Keep a winning team fresh and developing I would say.
You can’t see your blind-spots because they are blind-spots.. Not in a team and not as an individual.
Back to public speaking and habits. I’m a big fan of recording my coachees with their speeches and talk it over the next coaching session. Cover blind-spots and seeking unwanted habits as a speaker. I remember a ferm discussion about hands in pockets as a speaker on stage. He said: ‘that’s me in my see me being relaxed as a speaker mode’.  That can be the case.
Do you see the speaker’s picture above this post? It is at one of the most prestigious events in the Netherlands. People paid €795 to see this. Would you?
I will just share with you some habits:
1. he is insecure about his content, he is clinging on speaker-notes
2. he is hiding his feelings because he is seeking for support in his own pocket on his ‘feeling-side’ How does that come across?
3. he is avoiding eye-contact with the audience. He is busy ‘carpet-inspecting’ as a speaker. How does that feel when you are in the room?
You might not be aware about the signals you give to your audience. The signals of this speaker are clear:
I’m insecure and avoiding you.
I don’t think that was his mission of that day, do you think so?
I can tell you congruent as he was: it was really hard to understand him in how he used his voice too.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame him: you can’t know what you don’t know. Blind-spots….
All coachees this week shared one other thing in common. They were eager to improve and let go of their developed habits. The good thing is: you can replace this unwanted habit for a supportive habit. How?
Keep calm and get a coach!
Not sure is you have speaker blind-spots?
Do your Speaker Self-assessment here… .

What’s in it for me?

What’s in it for me?

“What’s in it for me? That’s the focus your audience will have when you speak.The audience wants to get something out of the presentation – a useable idea, a takeaway, a new perspective, a life-changing connection, a laugh, a bit of fun in the shape of a great story. Expectations and hopes vary, but the audience fundamentally doesn’t want its time wasted. It wants either enlightenment or entertainment..” Quote by Nick Morgan…

Motivation from the outside or inspiration from the inside. Quote by me…

Most speakers are so busy dealing with their fears that their efforts at connection with the audience are fatally hampered by those fears, and they fail to ask themselves the only important question: What does the audience want – what’s in it for them?
If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’re not ready to connect with them.

What’s in it for me? It’s not about you; it’s about the audience. Figure out what the audience’s perspective is and you will be able to deliver a great, world-changing speech.

In our interview series with ‘Speaking Leaders’ in the Netherlands we met ‘big names’ and they shared openly their thoughts and feelings about how they speak, not for themselves but how they want to create impact by speaking.

In our coaching for for business leaders, professional speakers or f.e. TEDx we work hard with our clients to help them to understand their audience.
For me it’s the same as a coach as it is as a speaker: it’s never about me. It’s what I can do to help you. Beyond ego, beyond the imagination what is possible. Creating new perspectives, to provide change from within. Speaking by connecting, like the new business is by connecting…
What is your ‘why’?  Why do you speak? For the reason to persuade or to serve your audience?
The new generation of speakers, the new leaders in the field know how they can help their audience, what’s in it for them . They know ánd act on it: What’s in it for me?It’s not about you; it’s about the audience.

Why people have the tendency to believe Michelle, not Hillary

Why people have the tendency to believe Michelle, not Hillary

Michelle Obama gave a great speech at the DNC this year. Michelle Obama might become Hillary Clinton’s best ACE to win the elections. “Speak like Obama” reached a whole new level. We knew she was capable to do it right into peoples heart, she did it in 2012 too. In my book I describe ACE as Authentic Clear Effective. Michelle nailed it.
What can Hillary do, to get a spark of what Michelle is doing? The answer is:
Let go of force and stay congruent.
Let me clarify this.

  1. How to use your voice. If Hillary get into the state as ‘motivational speaker’ she puts force on her vocal cords. She can sound like a nagging mom. In the unconscious mind of the voters that’s something that can put people off.
  2. Stay congruent. When Hillary is touched or really motivated she smiles with a force.  It comes across as not congruent. The feeling you get is anger, smile doesn’t match. Animals in fear like monkeys do the same.Our brain catches that as unreal, fake even when your intention is good.
  3. Vary your voice. Hillary has the tendency to speak loud, force on breathing high. People get tired of the same volume and sound and believe less of what you say. The words an volume don’t match and it creates an non-congruent feeling as well. People see you as ‘not trustworthy’.

Michelle Obama’s speech of 2012 came fully from her heart: no force what so ever. Variation in tonality, speed, smile and being touched, vary in volume etc.
Eight years of being a dedicated first wife changed the tone and the facial expression. She is congruent in the body-language and voice.
Compared to Donald Trump Hillary has an ACE with Michelle.
My colleague Dr Nick Morgan had a great analyse that ticks the powerful part of being congruent and without force as a speaker, according to Trump.
I have more hope for America if Michelle and Hillary put their power together. Authentic Clear and Effective!

How big is your Ego?

How big is your Ego?

Recently I was touched by two articles of people I highly respect. Both wrote about ego.
The first one, Robert Bridgeman, mentioned: Donald Trump and the Dalai Lama both have a BIG ego. They both need that in order to achieve BIG things in life. Ego means ”I” in Latin nothing more or less. You need to feel you basic “self” in order to serve others too.

Donald Trump might have a total different perspective on that. The ego power can still be the same. The drive or will to make things happen.

Also my colleague Nick Morgan spoke about ego in particular for speakers. He says: It’s the ego that holds you back from doing well as a speaker.  What makes public speaking most difficult is that you’re putting yourself out there, and you’re afraid of judgement. I often tell coaching clients that the secret to happiness in public speaking is to let go of your ego and realize that the presentation isn’t about you speaking. It’s about the audience hearing something. You’re in service to that audience and to the message. In the trio of speaker, message, and audience, you’re the least important part.

Speakers with fear of speaking or with a lack of performance drive (such as: I always do it like this, I never get complains always applause) put their ego up first. If I get them in my speaker-mentoring I call them selfish speakers.
Yes, also the ones who hesitate because they are afraid to speak in front of an audience.
Dr. Nick Morgan mentioned another item as well. The ego causes procrastination. Procrastination to prepare you speech or presentation to the best. All other emails, meetings and social time before practicing speaking. Don’t let ego get in the way of mastering your craft.
Especially with busy CEO’s and entrepreneurs I see this happen a lot. For example: the people we work with rarely hesitate on price investment, they hesitate on time investment. They are too busy to prepare deeply.

If you want to be or stay at the top of your performance in business, like an athlete thrives for the best performance in sport, why not prepare for the best.
That’s why we ask our people the most important question; Are you willing to let go of your ego when you speak? What we mean by that is: are you willing to put your audience first. Are you willing to let go of the need to hear applause for your ego.
Some people say yes, of course, some people hesitate and some say honest No, I want that applause, I love to be in the spotlight. That’s the place to be for me. We don’t judge the last category. We just don’t work with them. We refer them with an open mind and heart to a colleague whom loves to work with them.

Ego is highly underestimated or unexplored item for speakers. We just help to wake you up and let you contribute to a serving mindset. In some field highly over-estimated. Ego means a bad thing that need to be tempered. Also there: We just help to wake you up and let you contribute to a serving mindset.
No matter if you identify with the Dalia Lama or someone like Trump. To me it is: what do you do to contribute, beyond ego.
Keep up speaking!

The secret of TED: there is no secret

The secret of TED: there is no secret

Chris Anderson the curator of shared a great video with his opinion about the secrets of a TED(x) talk. Some people think that there’s a TED Talk formula:

“Give a talk on a round, red rug.”
“Share a childhood story.”

“Divulge a personal secret.”
“End with an inspiring call to action.”

No. That’s not how to think of a TED Talk. In fact, if you overuse those devices, you’re just going to come across as clichéd or emotionally manipulative.

But there is one thing that all great TED Talks have in common, and I would like to share that thing with you…

Over the last couple of weeks I coached with my business partner Lars Ros 15 TEDx speakers for #TEDxTwenteU.
Over the years I coached about hundred speakers worldwide. I’ve been in juries, boards and adviser. I’m so pleased to notice we did exactly what Chris Anderson revealed in his video.

So what’s the secret?
When I first started coaching for TEDx I thought the ‘script’ was:
1. great opening
2. make your point
3. illustrate
4. summarise
5. end even stronger then you started

Will Stephen gives one of my favourite talks in: How to sound smart at your TEDxtalk. He follows this script to the lettre and make a fool out of all of us who think they know the secret. There is no secret. There shouldn’t be a secret.

The tagline of TED is  ‘ideas worth spreading’. That’s the only thing that counts. I get a lot of requests: ‘I have something important to share, can you get me on a TED-stage?’ The first question in return I’ll give is: ‘In one sentence; what is your idea worth spreading?’
I dare to say: 90% of these request are about self-branding, ego and hunger to become famous in the line-up of famous speakers.
Many of the Dutch pronounce idea as ID. I always think that’s exactly the difference.  It’s not about your own identity, share your idea worth spreading.

Chris Anderson says it perfectly:
Ask yourself the question: “Who does this idea benefit?” And I need you to be honest with the answer. If the idea only serves you or your organization, then, I’m sorry to say, it’s probably not worth sharing. The audience will see right through you. But if you believe that the idea has the potential to brighten up someone else’s day or change someone else’s perspective for the better or inspire someone to do something differently, then you have the core ingredient to a truly great talk, one that can be a gift to them and to all of us.

Apart from that: the TED-formula forces you to condense your message down to the pure essence. That goes beyond TED(x)
That’s what you need in your company message, your business message and every time you share what matters to be shared. That’s Presentation-Master’s Method. That’s what we do with all our clients. That’s not for everybody…
Don’t care about your ID, share your idea!