Public Speaking & Your Purpose: What Do You Want Them To Do?

I always ask my clients, what do you want to experience when you are speaking in public?

The answers vary from "I want to feel like I’m doing a great job." "I want to get a standing ovation." "I want to feel like I know what I’m talking about."

But my favorite answer was, "I want them to think I’m great! I want them to be really impressed!"

Now, that was an honest answer. Because if you distill the other answers down to their essence, it all comes down to, "I want to be liked." Or, "I want to them to be impressed."

Now, there is nothing wrong with this desire. It’s an honest desire. But it’s also a desire that can really mess you up when it comes to feeling confident and free when you’re speaking or communicating in any way. If you are doing it to get someone to like you, or to be impressive, you will forever be at the mercy of someone’s good or bad day, their opinion or their state of mind in that moment. And it will drive you crazy.

That’s why I love the advice that world champion speaker Darren LaCroix gave to Eric Feng of The Public Speaking Blog about his purpose in being a speaker. Darren was commenting on Eric’s desire to WOW his audience, which is, again, a very honest desire.
Here’s what Darren told him:

"First of all, I must comment on your purpose. You say that you want the audience to go “wow” after the end of my speech… to me that implies that you want the audience to be impressed by you. Then you say that you want to be at the level of a champion. Do you understand that to speak like a champion, you must think like a champion?

Champion speakers do not aspire to getting a wow. We aspire to get the audience to do something for themselves, or to think differently about your subject or themselves when we are done. You need to think the same way. You cannot worry about what the audience thinks of you…that is an amaturish way of thinking. Think bigger. What will they “do” as a result of you speaking… make sense?

Don’t worry, we all start that way. A speaker grows incredibly when – as Brian Tracy says – you go from here I am to there you are."

Fascinating, no?

I love that Eric had the guts to share this feedback publicly so we could all benefit from Darren’s comments.

Now, I’ve never been an advocate of getting an audience to DO something. It reminds me too much of watching these evangelical, hypnotic marketing gurus speaking in such a way as to inspire the audience to buy thousands of dollars worth of their products.

But what Darren is saying is that it’s about inspiring your audience to do something FOR THEMSELVES, or perhaps even think differently about themselves.

What I also appreciate about this message is this: it’s not about you, it’s about them, your audience. It’s not about you being revered and admired and adored. It’s about your audience benefiting in some way by spending that time with you.

Now, as Lee Glickstein would say, just sharing your authentic presence is enough. That in itself can inspire and move people to a different place, a sweeter space.

So, don’t feel like you need to get your audience to do something huge, grand and dramatic. Remember, that just showing up with the purpose to be present, to be available to your audience, to be real, and to share what’s true for you is in itself inspiring and will move your audience in the direction they want and need to go.

Your authenticity and your ease in fully being who you really are gives the same to your audience. It awakens within them their owning knowing of what they need to do to move closer to that which will be in their best interest.

Why Am I Presenting This Challenge?

Some people are asking me why am I talking about a World Drunk on Appreciation challenge on a blog dedicated to fearless self-expression and confident speaking.

Because I want to.

Ha! No, the real reason is that this challenge is all focus. Focus and Feeling. Two of the most powerful tools we can use when it comes to feeling confident and powerful when we are speaking in public in any way.

Where you put your focus determines how you feel. It also directs your energy and thought along the same lines. So if you are complaining, you are focusing on what you don’t want. You are giving it energy AND power in your experience, in your reality.

And this, I find, is exactly what we do when we are about to speak or perform or express ourselves in some public way.  Our mind starts focusing on everything that could go wrong. It starts worrying. It starts saying things to you like, “Oh, man, I’m going to forget that middle part. And this audience is sure to find me boring. What if I space out?” 

This is focus gone postal. The mind is telling you horror stories, hurling insults at you and basically giving a lot of energy to WHAT YOU DON’T WANT!

By choosing your focus, focusing on what you DO want rather than what you DON’T want, you get to direct your energy, attention AND your feeling in a direction that allows you to feel eager and confident about what you are about to do. By choosing your focus, you choose how you get to feel. Fabulous and ready. Or small and terrified.

That’s why I’m presenting this Appreciation Challenge. To become more conscious of how we use the power of our focus. We can focus on what irks us, or we can, in that moment, bask in the appreciation of what we love.

This is just good creating and attracting. What you think about grows. What you think about is attracted into your experience. So, think about what you love, what you truly appreciate. Let every little niggle of a complaint turn you towards appreciation.

Just try it!

A Technorati Technicality

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But I’ll be back with something substantial any second now.

Complaints on Not Complaining The Challenge Continues!

Okay, I’ve already gotten complaints about this Complaint Free Counter Challenge!
Isn’t that funny! Complaints about not complaining! I love it!

The point that some people are making is this: to not complain is a form of denial. For instance, if we don’t protest, if we choose to turn away from that which we feel is “wrong,” then we are living in denial. We’re being deluded, apathetic Pollyannas.

I don’t see it that way. Not complaining doesn’t mean not noticing. Nor does it mean you don’t take action to make changes you feel are necessary and good. I’m not talking about becoming brain dead. In fact, I’m advising that you use your brain to create, influence and enhance your life and your world. How?

By choosing.

The truth is that you can’t help but notice what you don’t like. Your mind is built to discern, think, judge and evaluate. It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not. That’s what minds do.

Where our power comes in is in our choice. We can choose to push against what we are noticing by complaining or protesting or silently grumbling under our breath. Or we can choose to focus on what we would prefer. And perhaps even take action in that direction.

Complaining doesn’t do anything except to give more energy and power and attention to that which you don’t like. So, you’re actually feeding the problem. You’re not just noticing it. You’re adding to it.

But if you choose instead to give your attention and voice to that which you do want, that which you prefer, like a solution, that’s empowering what you do want. And that’s not complaining. That’s creating.

If there’s something that’s a problem for you or the world, give your attention to the solution, to that which feels good, rather than give endless complaining energy to that which you hate.

I don’t believe not complaining is a form of denial. Nor do I believe that appreciating is a delusional and pollyanna-ish. It just makes good sense.

Complaining v.s. GossipingIs There a Difference?

Is gossiping the same as complaining?

Yesterday, I was doing great with my new challenge to stop complaining and start appreciating. Until I met my friend Jason for a mocha at the French Hotel in Berkeley. Jason and I don’t get to see each other very much so when we do, we talk about everything. Mostly about singers, singing, health issues, and what the heck we are doing with our lives. Simple stuff, like that.

Well, we fell into gossiping because it’s just too easy to do.  And I was wondering, is this complaining? If I am talking negatively about anyone, is that complaining, or is it just…noticing. And then commenting? Offering opinion?

Now, when we were talking about health stuff, we were complaining. I admit it! I complained. I talked about something unwanted and I gave it energy, and that, to me, is a complaint. But I immediately started appreciating. I appreciated Jason, who is such a love. And the mocha I was drinking was so rich with really, really good chocolate. And the photos on the wall of the French Hotel were so interesting.

But what about gossiping?

I decided, after really looking at it, that if you are talking about someone else in a negative way, that IS complaining. Because you are saying: I don’t like this and I’m going to give it tons of energy by talking about it.

Even if you’re having a great time talking about it? Even if it feels really good?

Yes. Even if it feels really good. Because you know what? It doesn’t really feel all that good. It only feels good because we’re connecting with another human being by talking. But does it ever feel good to say negative things about anybody? Maybe temporarily. As the words are flying out of your mouth. But the aftertaste is bitter.

What do you think? Is gossiping a form of complaining?

Stop Complaining Or Start Appreciating?My Counter-Challenge to Pastor Will

Could you stop complaining for 21 days?

About anything. No complaining about anything. Even internally. So, when you’re driving behind someone who’s going super slow, can you NOT internally curse that person or the situation?

I was watching Oprah a few days ago (yes, I watch her sometimes, usually when The View is on hiatus, as it was this week) and she had as her guest Will Bowen, pastor of Christ Church Unity in Kansas City, Missouri, who took a small idea and created a monster revolution.

In a Sunday morning sermon, Pastor Will (who’s quite a cutie, don’t ya think?) challenged his congregation to stop complaining for 21 days. He took on the challenge himself, and to help his congregation, he gave them all these purple rubber bracelets. You know, the kind Lance Armstrong started with his “Live Strong’ campaign so many years ago.

This is all part of Pastor Will’s campaign to create a Complaint Free World.

Here’s how it works. You wear the bracelet, and any time you catch yourself complaining, about anything, you move the bracelet to the other wrist. The goal is to go 21 days with that bracelet on one wrist, which means you haven’t complained in 21 days.

Well, this church challenge has grown like wildfire. People all over the world are taking up Pastor Will’s challenge and the Christ Church Unity is sending these purple bracelets out like crazy. As of today, 3,565, 251 bracelets have been sent.

There is no charge for these bracelets! If you want to send the church a donation you can.

But here’s my counter challenge.

It’s always hard to stop something, any habit or addiction, without giving yourself something to replace it with. And anytime we are saying “NO!” to anything, it just causes that thing to grow in our experience. Anything we resist, persists. According to the Law of Attraction.

So, how about, instead of creating a Complaint Free World, we create A World Drunk On Appreciation.

Here’s how my challenge works.
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