WMBTSD Giveaway Day Seventeen: September 17, 2007

Today’s giveaway is…

The Confident SpeakerSeptember 17th: The Confident Speaker: Beat Your Nerves and Communicate at Your Best in Any Situation by Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase (McGraw-Hill 2007)

Speak up and succeed.

There you are.

Butterflies swarming in your stomach. Palms sweating. Nervous system on overdrive.

They’re looking at you.

Waiting.

Waiting…

…for you to inspire, to inform, to entertain.

Quickly, you scan the room to connect with your audience.

Blank faces, all of them.

Wonder what they’re thinking. Doesn’t look good. Are you standing incorrectly? Maybe you’re not appearing passionate enough.

Wait. Stop. Just focus on the presentation and…

…take a deep breath.

Okay, here it is…the first joke.

You nailed it.

Proud of your delivery, you let it linger for a second, waiting to hear laughter erupt all over the room.

Silence… except for a few coughs. You get a couple smiles—but you know they’re out of guilt, not genuine amusement.

Sigh…

“If only I could become a confident speaker,” you think to yourself. “Then my career would really take off.”

If only?

We used to think that way, too. No, really. We did. You see, everyone’s afraid of speaking.

Everyone?

Yes, everyone.

In fact, when we think about public speaking, most of us experience so much fear, panic, and dread that…

…we would rather die than have to speak in public.

We’re sure you’ve heard that statement before. Maybe even in promotions for other books on speaking. But it’s worth repeating here.

Why?

Because, as we’re about to show you, in our new book—called The Confident Speaker—we’ve uncovered an entirely different approach to understanding the secrets to remarkable public speaking.

An approach based on…

…hard scientific evidence on the psychology of confidence.

We knew had hit on something significant when we wrote it. But it’s not just us—many of today’s top experts agree that this is breakthrough work too.

Harrison Monarth and Larina Kase are cofounders of TheConfidentSpeaker.com, a public speaking and communication coaching Web site. Monarth is the founder of GuruMaker, a professional speaking consultancy. Kase is a peak performance and anxiety management expert.

Question:

If someone called you up tomorrow and invited you to come speak at their organization on your topic of expertise, would you say yes or no? Are you a confident speaker? A terrified speaker? Or are you a willing-to-grow speaker?

Please make your comments 50-300 words. Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Back-to-School Giveaway.

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29 Responses to “WMBTSD Giveaway Day Seventeen: September 17, 2007”


  1. 1 Shawn September 17, 2007 at 3:04 am

    I actually learned that I’m not half bad at speaking as long as I know what I’m talking about. I still get very nervous, and hate my voice, but what comes out, apparently, isn’t all that bad. I would like to be better at it … not that I have any reason to public speak right now. I am, however, trying to teach a writing class … but I would do fine in that situation.

    It’s hard for me to speak in front of colleagues who are on the same page than when I’m speaking to non-writers, etc.

    So, I would definitely say yes … but I would be really nervous!

  2. 2 Andrea McMann September 17, 2007 at 4:57 am

    I think I would accept, but I would be very nervous. In highschool, I was very involved in vocal music and I had to sing solos frequently. Since becoming a stay-at-home mother, I find that I have little opportunity to get up in front of people anymore, so I would definitely have to draw upon my experiences from highschool. I know that if I was able to get up on stage and sing back then, I could get up there and speak now. It might just take me a while to reconnect with my forgotten confidence.

  3. 3 Tricia Grissom September 17, 2007 at 5:18 am

    When I started speaking as a student teacher, I was terrified and not very good at it.

    Now I’ve had fourteen years of practice, and I no longer feel like the audience is going to get out pitchforks and perforate me. I’ve practiced my material. There are stock jokes I use in class discussions that have been thourougly vetted by previous classes.

    It still took me about ten years before I didn’t have those first-day-of-class jitters. But now I have a secret identity. At home, I am mild-mannered Introvert Tricia, ordinary stay-at-home-mom and writer. At work, I’m Super Tricia, able to leap tall rhetoric in a single bound and entrance my students with my verbal acrobatics (hey it’s my comic book). People who know me would probably be shocked to see me in class – I’m a totally different person and fearless speaker.

  4. 4 Karrie September 17, 2007 at 5:38 am

    I would put myself firmly in the willing-to-grow category. In some contexts I am completely at ease. Every working day I stand up in front of my students and have no trouble speaking. I know them, they know me and we develop a relationship that puts me completely at ease. The first day of class, I am a little nervous. By the time one hour has passed I am in my groove.

    Other speaking situations are a different matter. Speaking in front of my colleagues, at church, or in front of a dinner crowd makes my hands shake and my brain spin. I generally do well in spite of this but I am certain that I could do so much better.

    If someone asked me to come speak I would say yes and push through the butterflies. I would love to win this book to make those butterflies settle down. My fingers are crossed and pointed at that random thing-a-ma-bob.

  5. 5 Tiffani September 17, 2007 at 5:50 am

    I would say, “Yes.” But I’d be nervous as all-get-out. I know what I want to say, and I can’t say it fast enough. I speed through my words, barely taking a breath, and my cheeks are blazing red the whole time. I stumble and stray, but I do it. I’m not confident, but I’m a willing-to-grow speaker.

    I’d like to get better, much better. I’d like to learn to relax, let my personality show while I’m sharing my “wisdom.” 🙂

    This book sounds like just what I need to get a grip on my nerves and learn to be a good speaker.

    Thanks!

  6. 6 Mary Jo C. September 17, 2007 at 6:49 am

    Whew! My head and heart and nerves would scream “No way!!” But my mouth would say, “Sure, where and when?”

    In a previous blog entry I said I prefer communicating via written word. No stares, no immediate reaction, no yawns. But I would push myself to speak, if asked. I would see it as an opportunity, a sign. God gave me a gift, albeit to write, not speak; but I’d feel an obligation to share this talent. (If I’m going to be sitting across from Oprah on stage one day, I’d better get over this fear of speaking in public!)

    A book of how-to definitely would help my queasy stomach, hived chest and shaky voice. Because right now, though terrified on the inside, I’m faking it on the outside, but willing to grow…

  7. 7 Heather Haapoja September 17, 2007 at 6:54 am

    I can answer this one without hesitation – no. I’d have to be quick on my feet to come up with a good excuse, but no, there’s no way. Just the *thought* of public speaking turns me to Jello.

    I was actually in a similar position a couple of years ago. I was talking to the director of our community ed program at a soccer game and she was asking about my writing. She suggested I might teach a class on “getting started in freelance writing” or some such thing. Would have been a paying gig, but I just could not summon up the courage to take it on.

    Yep, I need help. lol

  8. 8 Cheryl Rainfield September 17, 2007 at 7:26 am

    (I posted my post in the wrong place–so I’m re-posting it in the correct place. I guess I should slow down and take a few breaths. 🙂

    My immediate initial internal response would be a loud, screaming “No!” Then I would agonize over the offer and my decision for days. Then I would probably, teeth-clenchingly, white-knuckled, knees shaking, say “Yes.” And then I would prepare and over-prepare written notes, and practice, and feel very sick.

    I am an introvert. I hate public speaking. I mean loathe it to every shy, introverted cell of my body. But I care a lot about my writing, and I want to be able to promote my books once they’re published. I *know* that I have to get past my fear in order to help sell my books. I know that’s important. It’s the getting past my fear that’s hard. So anything that can help me feel more relaxed, comfortable, and confident with public speaking is a bonus. You can bet that I’m going to do as much non-public speaking book promotion as possible, once my books come out.

  9. 9 Beth K. Vogt September 17, 2007 at 8:35 am

    If asked to speak, I would say yes.
    Go ahead, ask me.

    I would say I am a confident, willing-to-grow speaking. My goal when I speak? Not to impress. I want to encourage.
    I leave on Thursday for a speaking gig–and I’ve been working on it for weeks. I run through it while I’m exercising and while I’m driving in the car. (I figure people think I’m talking on my cell phone or singing along with my radio.)
    I did a dry run with my writers group–because I am willing to grow. I wanted their feedback on how I could improve my workshop before I taught it.
    Yes, I get nervous–little butterflies in the tummy that won’t fly in formation. But, I try to turn that nervousness into energy and pour it into my talk.
    I do have one thing that I am a bit worried about: I haven’t done a major speaking engagement in a few years.I was too focused on writing. Since that time, I’ve developed a hearing loss and I wonder how that will affect me–especially if there is any Q&A. But, I talked it out with a professional speaker with lots more experience and I’ve got a game plan.

  10. 10 Lisa B September 17, 2007 at 9:02 am

    I would accept the invitation. I would be terrified until I stood up there and started talking. If it was a topic I truly know and am passionate about though I would probably ramble a lot! I am not confident and I’m not organized. I don’t like to listen to stiff speakers who are reading too much, but I have no clue how to balance the organization (knowing where you’re going and what you’re basically going to say) with being confident and engaging. I know I need to work on my voice as well. One of the pitfalls of working from home is I don’t use my voice to talk to people. If you don’t exercise your voice, it gets really weak. Maybe I need to start reading out loud what I type 😀

  11. 11 marnini September 17, 2007 at 9:19 am

    I would say yes.
    I actually like public speaking. I will not lie and say I don’t get nervous because I do. But the nervousness is part of the excitement. I find even if you lack confidence you can pretend to have it and somewhere all of that pretending will become real confidence.
    I have never minded delivering speeches whether it was in college or elsewhere. This year I really went outside of my box and participated in The Vagina Monologues. My monologue was a group reading so it was not as extreme as others (which I really would have never been able to do).Standing on stage with hot lights beating on you,knowing the audience was relying on you to convey the line the way it was meant to be created a rush. Standing at the microphone my knees began to buckle and I thought for sure I would fall face forward into the audience. That didn’t happen, later on my friends told me I excuded confidence, but, I knew better.So I think it’s a lot like acting. Pretend to have the confidence and others will believe you do. “)

  12. 12 Linda Harris September 17, 2007 at 9:48 am

    The thought of speaking in front of a group–especially a big one–terrifies me. Heck, I don’t even like to speak on the phone to one other person, unless it’s somebody with whom I’m familiar.

    I wouldn’t go out of my way to set up speaking engagements, but if asked, I would probably say yes. So I guess I’m in the “willing-to-grow” category. I have done speaking, but it’s been for groups to which I belong. If I didn’t know at least one other person in the group, I’d be scared to death. But with God’s help, I know I could do it.

  13. 13 Karen September 17, 2007 at 9:55 am

    Yikes! I’d say yes and then stay up all night preparing for it. I don’t have a problem speaking in public as long as I’m prepared–I never did well at the extemporaneous sort. My peformer gene is buried pretty deep, but I know it’s there. When I do have to opportunity to speak in public, I like making people laugh and delivering something that’s worth a listen. I haven’t had the opportunity for a while. Uh, oh. It is time to stretch?

  14. 14 Julianne September 17, 2007 at 10:37 am

    I would jump on the chance to speak at some type of official function. It would establish that:

    A) I have some type of expertise
    B) I am marketable by virtue of being me

    I would be apprehensive and nervous. I’d probably sweat allot and my face would turn red but I’d do OK. I would over-prepare and over-rehearse like I have when I have had the opportunity/burden of giving speeches in the past.

    I got my MBA a couple years ago and started out in that program a dreadful public speaker. Every week we were forced to give speeches and presentations to the class and every week I improved. By the end of the program, I was completely comfortable speaking publicly. I have reaped the benefits of that program in interviews and other off the cuff, high pressure situations.

  15. 15 Richelle September 17, 2007 at 11:10 am

    I would say, “yes.” I find it much easier to speak in front of a large group of strangers — particularly if I know what I’m talking about — than in front of a few people whose opinions matter to me. I certainly have room to grow, though, since it’s rare I get a chance to speak to a group. And either way, I get nervous — heck, I get nervous going to have dinner with friends! (What if I put my foot in my mouth? What if I get too flippant, as I am wont to do? What if I can’t think of one interesting thing to say?)

    But I really try to power through the nerves, and as long as I am prepared, I usually feel good about the results.

  16. 16 Mar Junge September 17, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    I would accept in a heartbeat! When I step on stage and look out at the blank faces, my heart is pounding not from fear, but from the rush I get thinking about the amazing opportunity I have. All of these people are waiting to hear me speak. ME! And I know I won’t let them down because I’ve researched the event and understand why they came and what they expect to learn. I’ve taken the time to practice my material until I could give this speech in my sleep. I’m confident that what I am going to say will inform, inspire and entertain them. Before I start my speech, I take a minute to look out at the audience and smile. It’s like holding out your upturned hand to a dog before you try to pet its head. It relaxes the crowd because they sense that this will be as easy and fun for them as it’s going to be for me. Then throughout my presentation, I make eye contact, engaging attendees one-by-one. This “oneness” spreads up and down the rows until every person in that room feels as if I’m speaking just to them. When that happens, speaking in a crowded auditorium is no different than talking to a dozen people around a conference table.

  17. 17 Cath September 17, 2007 at 12:09 pm

    Sure, I’d speak.

    As long as it’s a subject I feel that I know well, I can speak with the best of them. But give me something OUTSIDE my area of expertise and I’m a palm-sweating, stammering mess. Kind of like poor Miss Whatever State answering the map-reading question. I could totally relate to that because I have no sense of direction, no sense of geography and I’m not even sure how to pronounce some of the countries lurking in Asia/Africa these days.

    Of course,no one’s asked me to speak in awhile. So I could be wrong about myself. But given my “what’s the worst that can happen” philosophy combined with my inability to see anyone in a crowd clearly, I’m guessing I’d be okay. (Translation: minimum palm-sweating).

  18. 18 Abbey September 17, 2007 at 12:33 pm

    I would say ‘yes!’ Would I enjoy it? Probably not, but I’m confident speaking in front of people, especially if I’m discussing a topic that is familiar to me. I still would like to figure out how to get over my nerves. No matter how prepared I am, I still fight a churning stomach and wobbly legs. Sounds like this is the book for me!

  19. 19 Besu September 17, 2007 at 1:01 pm

    When I was a child, I was a natural public speaker. I did performances in front of my entire school and I wasn’t scared. However, my callous classmates in junior high and high school managed to squash my socializing skills quite well. I am officially agoraphobic and social phobic.

    I can still speak well in front of a small group, especially if I know the people well. If it were total strangers and more than ten people? I could speak from a desk or table, but don’t ask me to stand in front of the room. I endured Speech 1 in college and it was sheer hell, especially since my teacher was my 7th grade drama teacher and he remembered me being able to perform.

  20. 20 Laura September 17, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Yes, I am a confident speaker, as long as I know the subject matter. I am comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. I prefer to have an outline to work from, and some interesting & relevant quotes.

    However confident I may be, there is always that just-before panic that always sets in. Butterflies swarm in, my throat goes dry, and my feet turn to cement. However, after lugging my dry-throated, butterfly-filled, cement-footed self to the stage, and squeak out the first words, calmness and confidence returns.

  21. 21 Darren Lipman September 17, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    I can hold a conversation…if I know what I’m talking about. Otherwise, I keep my mouth shut. I have no confidence for public whatsoever, and just thinking about having to talk in public–especially conduct a speech in front of who-knows-how-many people–is terrifying to me.

    But I’m willing to learn. In fact, I want to learn. I’ve never liked my lack of confidence, but it’s hard to start building something that seems to come so naturally to others, especially with no idea how I’d start to, what step I’d need to take first. I admire confidence in others, and I want to build that confidence in myself. I’d like to communicate better as well; communication would be my greatest strength, if not for my hesitancy and fear of speaking out loud.

    This book looks incredible, and I want to thank you for bringing it to my attention. I was at the bookstore this past Saturday, and as I ambled along the aisles, it was an awesome feeling to see the books you’ve had here and to think, “Hey, I recognise that one.”

  22. 22 Kelli September 17, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    If someone called you up tomorrow and invited you to come speak at their organization on your topic of expertise, would you say yes or no? Are you a confident speaker? A terrified speaker? Or are you a willing-to-grow speaker?

    ***I always say yes. Life is short, speak clearly even if you don’t know what you’re talking about! (Of course, in this case, it seems I would.)

    Even if I fail terribly (which I did about 8 months ago during a radio interview) I say yes. I figure even if I do fail, the material it creates for my writing is worth it. And unlike the young lady from South Carolina who flubbed her beauty pagent questions, writers have much less odds of ending up on youtube and being watched by the masses.

    best,
    Kelli

  23. 23 Donna B. September 17, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    I’d say “YES!” After all, the subject is supposedly in my area of expertise. That being said, I’d be terrified anyway (at least during the “anticipation” stage). You’d have to keep reminding yourself “I KNOW this stuff. They WANT TO know this stuff. They WANT me to succeed.” Still, until you find your pace, nervousness can be such a distraction, both to you and your audience. I’m ready to bring my game to the next level, but I’d be happy to start small. I’ve heard good things about Toastmasters, the national organization that gives individuals speaking experience and support, but my time commitments are already out of control. You writer mamas know how that goes …!

  24. 24 Chris September 17, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    I would do it.

    Here’s why: I’m better with the written word than the spoken one, so it would be a great challenge.

    Public speaking is difficult for me…it’s a matter of self-consciousness, saying the right thing, knowing how to work your audience…adjusting to all those eyes staring at you.

    It would be a challenge I would take on…a good thing to cross of my conquer list.

  25. 25 writer_tab September 17, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    I’m a terrified speaker who aspires to be a confident speaker. Or more importantly, an entertaining speaker. I love speakers who speak off the cuff; nothing is more boring than speakers who read from their notes. I went to the SCBWI LA conference last month and there were plenty of both types (entertaining and boring), but none that seemed terrified.

  26. 26 tastycake September 17, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    No! I almost get physically ill when I know that I have to speak on any topic, for any length of time, to more than two people. I have done it in the past, of course, and it’s turned out much better than I feared it would, but I HATE it and dread it and would probably never, never do it unless I had to. I know that’s bad, because I need to grow and learn and be more confident, but there are just so many things I’d rather grow at than public speaking.

    More than once, I’ve met people in the past through computer chatting or letter-writing as an initial introduction. When I meet them in person, they ask me seriously if I am the same one they wrote to before, because my personas are that different. I will write a book if I’m typing, but I won’t speak two words if I have to actually say them out loud.

  27. 27 Jennifer Applin September 17, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    I’ve done it and I hate it. The anticipation is the worst. Usually once I get going I’m okay, although afterwards I can’t remember a thing I just said. I should probably have someone tape me and play it back. Hopefully I’d realize that I don’t sound as nervous as I think I do. Hey, speaking of taping it and playing it back…can’t I just record myself and lip synch? It works for performers 😉

  28. 28 LauraE September 17, 2007 at 9:13 pm

    I’m a willing-to-grow speaker. I know this because when I was asked to be a Lector at church and said yes–to be fair, I gave it two years–I was terrified. I just couldn’t stop stressing out every Sunday it was my turn to speak at the microphone. My quivering legs shook even worse because I usually wore heals. And srsly, it seemed I always got the long passage with the hard-to-pronounce Biblical names that made me certain some super scholar in the congregation was silently laughing at my pronunciations, even though I’d ask my priest Hank beforehand. And, I had to fight using the one cure that every one tells you will make you more comfortable speaking in public–picturing every one in their underwear–because, well, that didn’t seem quite right under the circumstances. But get me in a small captive group and I have a ball telling stories. So maybe one day, I’ll be able to harness that little showgirl inside and feel more comfortable speaking in public.

  29. 29 Mary Jo September 17, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Since I’m a MAMA Writer (emphasis on MAMA), of course, I’d accept an invitation to go and speak on my area of expertise (assuming it fit in the family schedule 🙂 –because my whole family is involved in a homeschool speech club that meets every other week, and I’ve been coaching my children in public speaking now for 6 months. What kind of example would I be setting if I turned down an opportunity to practice what I’ve been preaching?????

    What a great teachable moment: “Yes, children, I do have butterflies in my stomach, but I will face my fears, and with God’s help, I’ll do my best. And it really won’t be as bad as I imagine anyways—the anticipation is always much worse than the actual event.”

    Besides, I’m an expert in this area. I know my stuff. So I am well prepared with knowledge. (Now getting it out of my mouth in an understandable way may be a problem, but I can always say that “I don’t get out much to talk to other adults,” right? Isn’t that what people always say about stay-at-home mamas? 🙂 “Children, if you’re well prepared, the battle is half won!”

    Then, (I’m coaching myself now…) just remember everything you learned about public speaking: take a deep breath, try to relax, and look your audience in the eye…

    Before you know it, it’ll all be over and you can sit down and rub your sweaty palms on your skirt to dry them off! (Oh, remember to dress well when speaking in public! 🙂


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