Speak & Present With Total Confidence Using These Tactics with Matt Abrahams
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    Speak & Present With Total Confidence Using These Tactics with Matt Abrahams

    with host Matt Bodnar featuring Matt Abrahams


     

    In this episode we show you the science of communication. Have you ever been afraid to speak or present? Are you worried about not having the skills or tools to communicate your ideas to the world? We dig into the science and the
    strategies of mastering skills like speaking and presenting, crushing the anxiety that often accompanies thee high stakes moments, and share evidence based strategies for becoming a master communicator.

    Matt Abrahams is a Professor of Strategic Communication for Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He is the co-founder of Bold Echo Communication Solutions and author of the book Speaking Up Without Freaking Out. Matt’s videos and training techniques have been viewed tens of millions of times in TEDx, Inc. and much more!

    • What happens when you rip your pants in the middle of a big speech?
    • Anxiety can have a tremendously negative impact on our ability to to communicate
    • Confidence in speaking and what it means to be authentic and how to be an engaging communicator
    • Anxiety negatively impacts communication in two major ways
      • Audiences have trouble listening to a nervous speaker
      • You get caught up in your own head
    • A foundational tenant of all communication is to be audience centric – your job is to serve the needs of your audience
    • Research sees anxiety about speaking and communicating as ubiquitous across ages, cultures etc
    • Fear of communication is hard-wired intro your brain by evolution and it’s social pressures
    • Risking our status causes is to feel very anxious
    • There are two fundamental approaches to dealing with anxiety
      • Dealing with the symptoms
      • Dealing with the actual sources of anxiety
    • Speaking in high stakes situations is internalized by your body as a threat
    • Hold something cold in the palm of your hand it can reduce your body temperature and counter-act sweating and blushing that results from anxiety. 
    • There are many sources that can exacerbate anxiety
    • Distracting your audience is a great strategy to take their focus off of you.

      Give the audience something to distract them and get them more engaged

    • Start with symptom management, then get into dealing with the sources
    • If you get shaky – do something to engage big muscle groups – broad muscle movements 
    • If you gesture more slowly you will actually slow down your speaking rate
    • People who perform get very nervous – performance anxiety is very real
    • Cognitive reframing of the speaking situation – not as a performance but as something else – see speaking as conversation 
    • Practice conversationally, use conversational language, and use questions – and you can speak much more effectively. 
    • Time Orientation – not being future focused, but instead being present focused
    • How can you get more present oriented? Do something physical, listen to music, count backwards from 100 by 17
    • Greet your anxiety – give yourself permission to be anxious. This is how you short circuit the loop of getting nervous about getting nervous. This works with any emotion, not just anxiety. 
    • 85% of people report being nervous in high stakes situations – but we don’t share it, we don’t talk about it.
    • The self-defeating beliefs and behaviors that perpetuate and exacerbate anxiety.
    • The powerful learnings from improv comedy that can make you be a more confidence speaker 
    • Dare to be dull – don’t strive for perfection. Do what needs to be done, and by reducing the pressure you put on yourself you increase the likelihood that you will actually achieve a great outcome.
    • Make your presentation about your audience instead of yourself – this reframes the entire situation.
    • The “Shout the wrong name” exercise that can help you reduce your anxiety in real time
    • We are constantly judging and evaluating ourselves – this stifles presence and stifles creativity in the moment
    • We have to get out of our own way. 
    • See communication as an opportunity.
    • The most foundational principle in improv comedy is “yes, and” – seeing interaction as opportunity and not threat 
    • Constraints and structure invite more opportunities for creativity (in life) and in communication
    • Should you take improv classes?
    • The components of confidence
      • Managing anxiety
      • Creating presence & meta awareness – adapt your communication to what’s happening the moment 
      • Convey emotion – confidence speakers convey emotion 
    • Confident speakers adjust and adapt – approach your communication as a series of questions that you want to answer
      • Being present
      • Using inclusive language
      • Connecting with your audience
    • Confidence is a balancing act between warmth and strength (you need both!)
    • How do we add warmth when we are speaking?
      • Inclusive language
      • Pausing
      • Paraphrasing
      • Asking questions
    • You have to tie the data and facts back into the emotions – the implications of the science and the data
    • The “What?,” “So What?,” “Now What?” Structure 
      • The answer
      • Why its important
      • What you do with the answer that’s just given
    • These same principles can be applied to any communication medium – email, text, speaking etc – communication is the transmission of meaning from one person o another 
    • Homework – Take the opportunity too build your skills. Like any skill you’re trying to build –  it’s all about
      • Repetition – find avenues to speak and give presentations
      • Reflection – ask yourself what worked and what didn’t work
      • Feedback – find a trusted other – a mentor, a colleague, a loved one who can give you honest feedback. We are bad at judging our own communication