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speaking skills

Take The Lead, Move Forward & Have Fun!

Take The LeadYou’ve got to take the lead if you want to create an epic ambiance for people to have fun and remember.

We humans, have a need for social bonding, it helped us in our early days millions of years ago to be part of a pack and work together as a team.

In order to get people to bond, connected and overcome the barriers of “being strangers”, there has to be a “common goal” and/or something that sets you apart from the crowd.

You’ve got to be that “guy” or that “girl” that no matter where you go, people want to follow you or gravitate around you because they know where ever you are, that’s where the “party’s” going to be at.

But first allow me to situate where this story comes from. I just got back from my vacation on the boat cruise, which was an awesome experience by the way. I went as a solo traveller because it was last minute and I could leave on short notice.

Any ways, here’s an example of what I mean to “take the lead” and how I’ve done it: The first time I saw someone new I introduced myself saying that I was André and I was from Ottawa, then asked them the same. See if you willingly give out this information upfront, more than likely they will return at least the same information or more.

Then I let them know why I’m here at this specific time of the year and ask them why they chose their trip now instead of later. It’s a good way to break the ice, then I moved on, “hey nice meeting you we’ll see you around, I’m going to go check out this, that or whatever”, either you split or offer them to join you. “Hey, I’m actually on my way to go there but if you want you can join me and we can go explore that part of the ship!”

Later on, after all the solo introduced themselves and the reason why they were there; right after I went around and quickly talked to everyone asking them if they were doing scuba diving. Again, this was a reason to approach everyone and again, try to plant the seed in the other’s mind to set myself apart from the rest of the group. Right away people associated me as the “scuba guy” which later changed to the stunt guy.

When there’s a large crowd that you don’t know, everyone’s kind of intimidated to approach anyone but everyone’s stays in their own bubble, you’re not going to get that awesome synergy of the group ambiance. After quickly going around the room once, I started to know who was from around where and sort of what their interests were.

So, I started connecting people with one another: “Hey this person is also from that same area, you guys should talk!” I then walked away and let them talk. This creates new friendship but it also counts as “brownie points” for you as you’re the one who’s put people together in contact.

It’s Important That You Take The Lead As Soon As Possible!

That was all on day one, you’ve got to do this as fast as possible, the sooner people get connected and are no longer strangers, the more fun and a better positive energy will be created.

I talked to the solo host and offer to organize a “Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament” to which she agreed and made some sign-up forms for me. On day 2 and 3 I collected over 55 names of people wanting to participate in my Rock, Paper, Scissors Tournament.

Seriously though, think about it, it’s very unique experience that is not a “normal” activity on cruise ships, so again, this gave me a “reason” to go talk to people, get to know more of them, etc. On day 4 I hosted the tournament and arranged with the host to get some a prize for the winner.

Again, everything was “winged”, nothing was really planned, people asked me what the prize was, I had no idea but my answer was: “The prize is kept as a surprise!  You’ve got to attend the tournament to find out!” I said that just say something and create some curiosity.

Turns out that 15 people showed up. Not bad considering, there was no “proper structure”, no follow-ups, no confirmation or reminder of the tournament. Keep in mind that people on vacation are easily distracted by all kinds of other entertainment activities, so that’s where the number’s game comes into play.

For the 15 people that did show up, they’ve had an absolute blast! The ripples of the awesome energy and good vibes resonated everywhere, lots people talked about or heard about it. Even the entertainment staffs on the ship heard about it and were giving me props for doing this. The people who missed out, later told me that they wished they were there!

For the rest of the trip I kept on getting positive comments and testimonials from people enjoying their unique experience. Where ever I went, people were either following me or inviting me to join their parties and most importantly, people where just happy to a fun time.

Overall it was an amazing experience, if there’s only one thing I want you to take away from this story is that you’ve got to make your own fun and be happy where ever you go. This is how you’ll create memorable experiences. So go out there, take charge, move forward and take the lead! You’re in full control of what impacts your life whether good or bad so make it count and have fun!

What about you, what other ideas do you have to take the lead?

Fear Of Public Speaking Sucks

Fear of Public SpeakingFear of public speaking really sucks but luckily there are a few ways to get around that. Let’s face it, if you are in any business you have to talk to people whether one on one or in front of a large audience.  Especially when you are successful, more and more event organizer will want to have you as a guest speaker to come and share your story or give trainings.  It seems to come with exponential growth. The more you become a leader of influence, the more you’ll be on the stage and at one point or another you’ll have no choice but to tackle on your own fear of public speaking.

Before you get on stage or in front of any audience, know your stuff, I can’t stress that enough.  If you don’t know what you’re talking about it’s going to show in your body language by how uncomfortable you are and people will sense your fear of public speaking.  One of the best thing to do when you know you’re about to “perform” is to outline your speech. Think of it as your story line. You want to be able to have your main structure and be able wonder off a little bit but always coming back to your main story line.

Having a PowerPoint or Keynote point form slide show can be a huge asset to keep you on track. Notice I said point form and not the whole story. You want to convey messages to your audience without boring them by reading long slides. Ideally if you can memorise your whole speech that would be the best case scenario, that way you can fully engage with the audience while you’re delivering your content.

Side Note! When you give a speech to a crowd it is important that they can see your face. Don’t let yourself become distracted by other activity in the room.

You can learn a lot by watching and observing other people perform. A great website to see lots of various guest speakers, from all walks of life who share their personal expertise from every discipline, from science to global issues is TED.com. Essentially TED is a non profit organization that invites the world’s most inspiring people to give powerful talks (usually 18 minutes or less). I actually really enjoy watching them. Some of them will actually share how they beat their fear of public speaking.

Something else you can do if you really want to kick the fear of public speaking is to practise. Yes, practise makes perfect. You can start as little as standing in front of a mirror in your home. You can deliver your speech in front of a camera then watch later and take notes.

If you want more feedback and interacting with other people, then I recommend you check out ToastMasters. Toastmasters International is a world leader in communication and leadership development. There are over 14,000 clubs worldwide, in over 122 countries, so more than likely there’s one near you and they offer learn by doing hands on experiences.

Nothing stops your from doing other forms of public speaking to help you beat your fear of public speaking. When I teach the self defense program in high school for example: I’m using my background as a martial arts instructor yet because I’m in charge to lead the class, the side effects are gaining more experience and becoming better at public speaking. The same would apply if you’re in fitness, a dancer, a realtor or any skill set that you have, if you can share it with someone and teach it, you are public speaking on a small scale.  So don’t get the fear of public speaking get to you.

Fear Of Public Speaking Is Real

Understanding how the body works helps you to defeat the fear of public speaking.  Our bodies natural fear response system came up millions of years ago. So, when you’re afraid, the fight or flight syndrome kicks in. The adrenaline rushes through your body sending all the blood flow to your muscles in order to fight the saber tooth tiger or run away from it.  When that happens there’s less blood flow going to your brain because you’re in survival mode. You’ll notice that by shaking, being fidgety, perhaps wanting to throw up, etc. More about that in the book Crucial Conversations.  Or you can get the Crucial Conversation audiobook version here.

Side Note! Familiarize yourself with the venue where you will speak. If a microphone is not available, discover how well your voice carries.

A few strategies to deal with that state of anxiety is to reassure yourself that you are not in a state of danger that in fact you are in a safe place. If there’s one thing to remember out of all this, it’s how to get back into a relaxed mode and you do that by asking yourself a simple question. Like: “What do I really want?”  By asking that question, you will force the blood flow to go back to your brain and get out of that adrenaline rush state.

It’s best to combine that with breathing exercises. Breathe in and out very slowly, counting to four or five on each inhale and exhale. Do this up to six times and you will feel more relaxed and calm. When you’re brand new at this, it will be a whole roller coaster of emotions but overtime, like anything, you’ll get better at it.

Some public speakers have the ability to be powerful and seems to have no fear of public speaking. If you want to be among the best, implementing what you’ve just learn will help you do that. You can take the bull by the horns and get over your fear of public speaking by applying those tricks. All the best!

What about you, what other techniques did you use to deal with your fear of public speaking?  Share it with us down below.

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