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Think Fast, Talk Smart: Communication Techniques

welcome Im very excited today to talk about effective speaking in spontaneous situations I thank you all for joining us even though the title of my talk is grammatically incorrect I thought that might scare a few of you away but I learned teaching here at the Business School catching peoples attention is hard so something as simple as that I thought might draw a few of you here so this is going to be a highly interactive and participative workshop today if you dont feel comfortable participating thats completely fine but do know Im gonna ask you to talk to people next to you therell be opportunities to stand up and practice some things because I believe the way we become effective communicators is by actually communicating so lets get ed right away Id like to ask you all to read this sentence and as you read this sentence
Whats most important to me is that you count the number of Fs that you find in this sentence please count the number of Fs keep it quiet to yourself give you just another couple seconds here three two one raise your hand please if you found three and only three Fs excellent great did anybody find four okay anybody find only five Fs and anybody finds six theres six fs
What two letter word ending an F did many of us miss Oh well make sure to get this to you so you can torment your friends and family at a later date
When I first was exposed to this over years ago I only found three and I felt really stupid so I like to every workshop every class I teach with this to pass that feeling I want no no thats not thats not
Why I do this I do this because this is a perfect analogy for
What were going to be talking about today the vast majority of us in this room very smart people in this room were not as effective as we could have been in this activity we didnt get it right and the same is true
When it comes to speaking in public particular
When spontaneous speaking its little things that make a big difference in being effective so today were going to talk about little things in terms of your approach your attitude your practice that can change how you feel
When you speak in public and were gonna be talking primarily about one type of public speaking not the type that you plan for in advance the type that you actually spend time thinking about you might even create slides for these are the keynotes the conference presentation the formal toasts thats not
What were talking about today were talking about spontaneous speaking
When youre in a situation that youre asked to speak off the cuff and in the moment
What were going through today is actually the result of a workshop I created here for the business school several years ago a survey was taken among the students and they said
Whats one of the
What are things we could do to help make you more successful here and at the top of that list was this notion of responding to cold calls does everybody know
What a cold call is its
Where the mean professor like me looks at some student says
What do you think and there was a lot of panic and a lot of silence so as a result of that this workshop was created in a vast majority of firstyear students here at the GSB go through this workshop so Im gonna walk you through sort of a hybrid version of
What they do the reality is that spontaneous speaking is actually more prevalent than planned speaking perhaps its giving introductions youre at a dinner and somebody says you know soandso would you mind introducing them maybe its giving feedback in the moment your boss turns you and says would you tell me
What you think it could be a surprise toast or finally it could be during the QA session and by the way we will leave plenty of time at the end of our day today for QA Id love to hear the questions you have about this topic or other topics related to communicating so our agenda is simple in order to be an effective communicator regardless of if its planned or spontaneous you need to have your anxiety under control so well there second
What were going to talk about is some ground rules for the interact well have today and then finally were going to get into the heart of
What we will be covering again as I said lots of activity and I invite you to participate so lets get ed with anxiety management of people tell us that theyre nervous
When speaking in public and I think the other are lying hey we could create a situation
Where we could make them nervous too in fact just this past week a study from Chapman University asked Americans
What are the things you fear most and among being caught in a surprise terrorist attack having identity your identity stolen was public speaking among the top five was speaking in front of others this is a ubiquitous fear and one that I believe we can learn to manage and I use that word managed very carefully because I dont think we ever want to overcome it anxiety actually helps us it gives us energy helps us focus tells us
What were doing is important but we want to learn to manage it so Id like to introduce you to a few techniques that can work and all of these techniques are based on academic research but before we get there Id love to ask you
What does it feel like
When youre sitting in the audience watching a nervous speaker present how do you feel just shout out a few things how do you feel uncomfortable I heard many of you going yes uncomfortable it feels very awkward doesnt it so
What do we do now a couple of you probably like watching somebody suffer okay but most of us dont so
What do we do we sit there and we nod and we smile or we disengage into the nervous speaker looking out at his or her audience seeing a bunch of people nodding or disengaged that does not help okay so we need to learn to manage our anxiety because fundamentally your job as a communicator rather regardless of if its planned or spontaneous is to make your audience comfortable because if theyre comfortable they can receive your message and
When I say comfortable I am NOT referring to the fact that that your message has to be sugarcoated and nice and for them to hear it can be a harsh message but they have to be in a place
Where they can receive it so its incumbent on you as a communicator to help your audience feel comfortable and we do by managing our anxiety so let me introduce you to a few techniques that I think you can use right away to help you feel more comfortable the first has to do with
When you begin to feel those anxiety symptoms for most people this happens then the initial minutes prior to speaking in this situation
What happens as many of us begin to feel
Whatever it is that happens to you maybe your stomach gets a little gurgly maybe your legs begin to shake maybe you begin to perspire and then we to say to ourselves oh my goodness Im nervous oh oh theyre gonna tell Im nervous this is not going to go well and we spiraling out of control so research ion mindful attention tells us that if
When we begin to feel those anxiety symptoms we simply greet our anxiety and say hey this is me feeling nervous Im about to do something of consequence in simply by greeting your anxiety and acknowledging it that its normal and natural heck of people tell us they have it you actually can stem the tide of that anxiety spiraling out of control its not necessarily going to reduce the anxiety but it will stop it from spinning up so the next time you begin to feel those exhibit anxiety signs take a deep breath and say this is me feeling anxious I notice a few of you taking some notes theres a handout that will come at the end that has everything that Im supposed to say okay cant guarantee Im gonna say it but I youll have it there in addition to this approach a technique that works very well and this is a technique that I help do some research on way back
When I was in graduate school has to do with reframing how you see the speaking situation most of us
When we are up presenting planned or spontaneous we feel that we have to do it right and we feel like we are performing how many of you have ever acted done singing or dancing Im not gonna ask for performances no okay many of you have we should note that we could do next year maybe a talent show of alums it looks like we got the talent there thats great so
When you perform you know that theres a right way and a wrong way to do it if you dont hit your the right note or your right line at the right time at the right place youve made a mistake it messes up the audience it messes up the people on stage but
When you present there is no right way there certainly better in worse ways but there is no one right way so we need to look at presenting as something other than performance and
What Id like to suggest is
What we need to see this as is a conversation right now Im having a conversation with a hundred plus people rather than saying Im performing for you but its not enough just to say this is a conversation I want to give you some concrete things you can do first with questions questions by their very nature are dialogic theyre twoway
What was one of the very first things I did here for you I had you count the number of Fs and raise your hands I asked you a question that gets your audience involved it makes it feel to me as the presenter as if we are in conversation so use questions they can be rhetorical they can be polling perhaps I actually want to hear information from you in fact I use questions
When I create an outline for my presentations rather than writing bullet points I list questions that Im going to answer and that puts me in that conversational mode if you were to look at my notes for todays talk youll see its just a series of questions right now Im answering the question how do we manage our anxiety beyond questions another very useful technique for making us conversational is to use conversational language many nervous speakers distance themselves physically if youve ever seen a nervous speaker present he or she will say something like this welcome I am really excited to be here with you they pull as far away from you as possible because you threaten us speakers you make us nervous so we want to get away from you we do the same thing linguistically we use language that distances ourselves its not unusual to hear a nervous speaker say something like one must consider the ramifications or today were going to cover step step step thats very distancing language to be more conversational use conversational language instead of one must consider say this is important to you we all need to be concerned with do you hear that inclusive conversational language has to do with the pronouns instead of step step step first
What we need to do is this the second thing you should consider is here use conversational language so being conversational can also help you manage your anxiety the third technique Id like to share is research that I actually ed
When I was an undergraduate here I was very fortunate to study with Phil Zimbardo of the Stanford Prison Experiment Fame many people dont know that Zim actually was instrumental in ing one of the very first shyness Institutes in the world and especially in the country and I did some research with him that looked at how your orientation to time influences how you react and
What we learned is if you can bring yourself into the present moment rather than being worried about the future consequences you can actually be less nervous most of us
When we present are worried about the future consequences my students are worried theyre not going to get the right grade some of you are worried you might not get the funding you might not get the support you might not get the laughs that you want all of those are future states so if we can bring ourselves into the present moment were not going to be as concerned about those future states and therefore well be less nervous there are lots of ways to become present oriented I know a professional speaker hes paid an hour to speak its a good gig he gets very nervous hes up in front of crowds of thousands behind the stage
What he does is a hundred pushups right before he comes out you cant be that physically active and not be in the present moment now Im not recommending all of us go to that level of exertion because he s out of breath and sweaty right but a walk around the building before you speak that can do it there are other ways if youve ever watched athletes perform and get ready to do their event they listen to music they focus on a song or a playlist that helps get them in the moment you can do things as simple as counting backwards from a hundred by tough numbers like seventeen Im gonna pause because people in the room are trying yeah gets hard after that third or fourth one I know my favorite way to get presentoriented is to say tongue twisters saying a tongue twister forces you to be in the moment otherwise youll say it wrong and it has the added benefit of warming up your voice most nervous speakers dont warm up their voice they retreat inside themselves and saying all these bad things to themselves so saying a tongue twister can help you be both presentoriented and warm up your voice remember I said today were gonna have a lot of participation Im gonna ask you to repeat after me my favorite tongue twister and I like this tongue twister because if you say it wrong you say a naughty word and Im gonna be listening to see if I hear any naughty words this morning okay repeat after me its only three phrases I slit a sheet a sheet I slit and on that slitted sheet I sit oh very good no shits excellent very good now in that moment in that moment you werent worried about Im in front of all these people this is weird this guys having me do that you were so focused on saying it right and trying to figure out
What the naughty word was that you were in the present moment thats how easy it is so its very possible for us to manage our anxiety we can do it initially by greeting the anxiety
When we begin to feel those signs we can do it
When we reframe the situation as a conversation and we do it
When we become presentoriented those are three of many tools that exist to help you manage your anxiety if you have questions about other ways Im happy to chat with you and at the end Im going to point you to some resources that you can refer to to help you find additional sources for you so lets get ed on the core part of
What were doing today
Which is how to feel more comfortable speaking in spontaneous situations some very simple ground rules for you first Im going to identify four steps that I believe are critical to becoming effective its speaking in a spontaneous situation with each of those steps Im going to ask you to participate in an activity none of them are more painful than saying the tongue twister out loud they may require you to stand up they might require you to talk to the person next to you but none of them are painful and then finally Im going to conclude with a phrase or saying that comes from the wonderful world of improvisation through the continuing Studies program here at Stanford for the past five years I have Co taught a class with Adam Tobin he is a lecturer in the creative arts department he teaches film and new media and hes an expert at improv and weve partnered together to help people learn how to speak more spontaneously we call it improvisational e speaking and adam has taught me wonderful phrases and ideas from improv that I want to impart to you theyre really stick thats
Why Im sharing them with you to help you remember these techniques and again at the end of all this youll get a handout that has this listing so lets get ed the very first thing that gets in peoples way
When it comes to spontaneous speaking is themselves we get in our own way we want to be perfect we want to give the right answer we want our toasts to be incredibly memorable these things are burdened by our effort by our trying the best thing we can do the first step in our process is to get ourselves out of the way easier said than done most of us in this room are in this room because we are typea personalities we work hard we think fast we make sure that we get things right but that can actually serve as a disservice as we try to speak in the moment Id like to demonstrate a little of this for you and I need your help to do that so were going to do our first activity we are going to do an activity thats called shout the wrong name in a moment if you are able and willing Im going to ask you to stand and Im going to ask you for about seconds to look all around you in this environment and you are going to point at different things and I know its rude to point but for this exercise please point I want you to point to things and you are going to call the things you are pointing to out anything but
What they really are so I might point to this and say refrigerator I might be point to this and say cat I am pointing to anything in your environment around you can be the person sitting next to you standing next to you you will just shout and shouting is important the wrong name so in a moment Im gonna ask you to stand and do that please raise your hand if you already have the first five or six things youre going to call out yeah thats
What Im talking about we stock pile you all are excellent game players I told you the game shout the wrong name and you have already begun figuring out how youre going to master the game thats your brain trying to help you get it right Id like to suggest the only way you can get this activity wrong is by doing
What youve just done there is no way to get this wrong okay even if I call this a chair no penalty will be bestowed upon you okay because I wont know
What you are pointing at you could have been pointing at the floor under the chair and you called the floor the chair and you were fine the point is we are planning and working to get it right and there is no way to get it right just doing it gets it right okay so lets try this now were gonna play this game twice again its for thirty seconds if you are willing and able will you please stand up you can do this seated by the way but if youre willing and able lets stand up okay in a moment I am about to say go and I would like for you to point at anything around here including me its okay to point at me I hope its not a bad thing you say
When you point at me but point at different things and loudly and proudly call them different than
What they are ready begin porcupine California saltshaker car library tennis racket purple orange putrid hello time time lets you can stay standing cuz in the mere moments were going to do it again so if youre comfortable standing were about to do it again first thank you that was wonderful I heard great words being called out it was it was fun and some of you in the back were doing it in sync so it looked like you were doing some 70s disco dance it was awesome okay this this was great now let me ask you just a few questions did you notice anything about the words that you were saying did we find patterns perhaps maybe some of you are going through fruits and vegetables a few of you were going through things that ed with the letter A right thats your brain saying okay you told me not to stockpile so Im gonna try to be a little more devious and Im gonna give you patterns okay same problem
When we teach that class I told you about that improvisational speaking class wed like to say your brain is there to help you these things its doing have helped you be successful but like a windshield wiper we just want to wipe those suggestions away and see
What happens okay so were going to do this activity again this time try the best you can to thank your brain if it provides you with patterns or stockpiles and just say thank you brain and disregard them okay so lets see
What happens
When were not stockpiling and were not playing off patterns will do this for only seconds see how this feels baby steps ready begin Kodak bicycle chain skateboard bananas purple Applause putrid time please have a seat thank you again did you notice a difference between the second time in the first time yes was it a little easier that second time no thats okay were just ing these skills are not like a light switch its not like you learn these skills skills and then all of a sudden you can execute on them this is a wonderful game this is a wonderful game to train your brain to get out of its own way you can play this game any
Where anytime I like to play this game
When Im sitting in traffic makes me feel better than I shout things out theyre not the naughty things that I want to be shouting out but I shout out things and it helps youre training yourself to get out of your own way youre working against the muscle memory that youve developed over the course of your life with a brain that acts very fast to help you solve problems but in essence in spontaneous speaking situations you put too much pressure on yourself trying to figure out how to get it right so a game like this teaches us to get out of our own way it teaches us to see the things that we do that prevent us from acting spontaneously in essence we are reacting rather than responding to react means to act again youve thought it and now youre acting on it that takes too long and its too thoughtful we want to respond in a way thats genuine and authentic so the maxim I would like for you to take from this and again these Maxims come from improvisation is one of my favorite dare to be dull in a room like this telling you dare to be dull is offensive and I apologize but this will help rather than street striving for greatness dare to be dull and if you dare to be dull and allow yourself that you will reach that greatness its
When us set greatness as your target that it gets in the way of you ever getting there because you over evaluate you over analyze you freeze up so the first step in our process today is to get out of our own way dare to be dull easier said than done but once you practice in a game just as simple as the one we practiced is a great way to do it but thats not enough getting out of our own way is important but the second step of our process has us change how we see the situation we find ourselves in we need to see the speaking opportunity that we are a part of as an opportunity rather than a challenge and a threat
When I coach executives on QA skills
When they go in front of the media or
Whatever investors they see it as an adversarial experience me versus them and one of the first things I work on is changed the way you approach it a QA session for example is an opportunity for you its an opportunity to clarify its an opportunity to understand
What people are thinking so if we look at it as an opportunity it feels very different we see it differently and therefore we have more freedom to respond
When I feel that you are challenging me I am going to do the bare minimum to respond and protect myself if I see this as an opportunity
Where I have a chance to explain and expand Im going to interact differently with you so spontaneous speaking situations are ones that afford you opportunities so
When youre at a corporate dinner and your boss turns to you and says oh you know him better than the rest would you mind introducing him you say great thank you for the opportunity rather than right I better get this right so see things as an opportunity I have a game to play to help us with this this is a fun one the holidays are approaching we all in this room are going to give and receive gifts heres how this game will work it works best if you have a partner so Im hoping you can work with somebody sitting next to you if theres nobody sitting next to you you turn around introduce yourself great way to connect if not you can play this game by yourself its just a little harder and you cant do the second part of the game so after I explain the game give this gives you a chance to get to know somebody heres how it works if you have a partner you and your partner are going to exchange imaginary gifts okay pretend you have a gift can be a big gift can be a small gift and you will give your gift to your partner your partner will take the gift and open it up and will tell you
What you gave them because you have no you just gave them a gift so you are going to open up the box and youre going to look inside and you are going to say the first thing that comes to your mind in the moment not the thing you have all just thought of or the thing after that remember
What we talked about before that still plays thats still in play okay youre stockpiling look in there my favorite that I said somebody gave me this a gift during playing this game I looked inside and I saw a frog leg I dont know
Why I saw a frog leg but thats
What I said thats the first part of the activity now the opportunity is to fold in this game the opportunity is for you the gift receiver to name a gift thats kind of fun thats an opportunity its not a threat but the real opportunity is for the gift giver because the gift giver then has to say so you look and you say thank you for giving me a frogs leg and the person will will look at you to say I knew you wanted a frogs leg because so
Whatever you find the person
Who has received it is going to say absolutely Im so glad youre happy I got it for you because so you have to respond to
Whatever they say right
What a great opportunity now some of you are sitting you go oh thats hard I dont do it myself others of you or if youre following this advice are saying
What a great opportunity right so the game again is played like this you and your partner will exchange each will exchange a gift one will then the other will follow the first person will give a gift to the second person second person opens the box however big the box is and if the box is big and you find a penny in it perfect doesnt matter the box is heavy and you find a feather in it fine it doesnt theres no way to get it wrong okay
Whatevers in the box is in the Box you can return it and get
What you wanted later okay the person then you will name it youll say thank you for the
Whatever you saw in the box the person
Who gave it to you will say Im so glad youre excited I got it for you because and you will give a reason that you got them
Whatever they decided you gave them make sense all right so very quickly just in five seconds find a partner if youre willing to do this with a partner everybody have a partner okay all right in your partnerships in your partnerships pick an a person in a B person you may stand or sit its totally up to you pick an A and pick a B okay B goes first hahaha all right B give a a gift B give a a gift a thank them and then B will name and give the reason they gave it to them Applause if you have not switched switched please if you have not switched switched please lets wrap it up in seconds please lets wrap it up all right if we can all have our seats if we can all take our seats please I know Im telling a room of many MBA alums to stop talking and thats hard all right ladies and gentlemen did you get
What you wanted pretty neat huh you always get
What you want now for some of you this was really hard because you you were really taking the challenge and not seeing
What was in the box until you looked in there okay was anybody surprised by
What you found in the box
What did you find sir
What was in the box but Wow nice nice if youve got a Ferrari you need a transmission I like it
Who else found something that was surprising
What did you find a live unicorn thats a great gift right how was it as the gift giver were you surprised at
What your partner found in the box isnt it interesting that
When we give an imaginary gift knowing that the person is gonna name it we already have in mind
What theyre gonna find and
When they say live unicorn we go well thats interesting right so the point of this game is to one remind ourselves we have to get out of our own way like we talked about before but to see this as an opportunity and to have fun I love watching people play this game the number of smiles that I saw amongst you and I have to admit
When I first ed some of you looked a little dour a little doubting okay but in that last game you were all smiling and looked like you were having fun so
When you reframe the spontaneous speaking opportunity as as an opportunity as something that you can cocreate and share all the sudden you are less nervous less defensive and you can accomplish something pretty darn good in this case a fun outcome this reminds us of perhaps the most famous of all proposition sayings yes and a lot of us live our communication live saying no but yes and opens up a tremendous amount of opportunities and this doesnt mean you have to say yes and to a question somebody asks this just means the approach you take to the situation so youre going to ask me questions thats an opportunity yes and I will follow through versus no and being defensive so weve accomplished the first two steps of our process first we get out of our own way and SEP can we reframe the situation as an opportunity the next phase is also hard but very rewarding and that is to slow down and listen you need to understand the demands of the requirement you find yourself in in order to respond appropriately but often we jump ahead we listen just enough to think we got it and then we go ahead ing on our to think about
What were gonna respond and then we respond we really need to listen because fundamentally as a communicator your job is to be in service of your audience and if you dont understand
What your audience is asking or needs you cant fulfill that obligation so we need to slow down and listen I have a fun game to play in this game you are going to SP ll e ve ry th ing y OU u sa y t o y ou you are PA r TN ER I will translate you are going to get with the same partner you just worked with and you are going to have a very brief conversation about something fun that you plan to do today I know this is the most fun youre going to have all day but the next fun thing youre going to do today you are going to tell your partner
What you are going to do that will be fun today but you are going to do so by SPE ll ing IT ok so youre going to spell it its okay if you are not a good speller okay the eye youll see the benefit of doing this so with the partner you just worked with person a is going to go first this time you are simply going to tell your partner actually youre going to spell to your partner
What it is of fun something of fun that youre going to do today okay do
What you were really going to do for fun and not do things like f EE D th e CA T right just because you dont want to spell right so you can use big words all right seconds each spelled to your partner something fun that youre going to do today would you like to play yep exc EE L le NT IH ope tha t th ey WI n thank you that was very good thank you if you have not switched switch takes more seconds with the new partner spelling grea t exclamation point tha NK y ou u PL EA se ta ke y OU u r SE a t so
What did we learn
What did we learn besides that were not so good at spelling you have to pause between the words how did this change your interaction with the person you were interacting with
What did you have to do focus and listen and you cant be thinking ahead you have to be in the moment
When you listen and truly understand
What the person is trying to say then you can respond in a better way a more targeted response we often dont listen so we by getting out of our own way we then reframe the situation as an opportunity those are things we do inside our head but in the moment of interacting we have to listen first before we can respond to the spontaneous request perhaps my most favorite maxim comes from this activity dont just do something stand there listen listen and then respond now how do we respond that brings us to the fourth part of our process and that is we have to tell a story we respond in a way that has a structure all stories have structure we have to respond in a structured way the key to successful spontaneous speaking and by the way plan speaking is having a structure I would like to introduce you to two of the most prevalent and popular and useful structures you can use to communicate a message in a spontaneous situation but before we get there we have to talk about the value of structure it increases
What is called processing fluency the effectiveness of
Which or through
Which we information we actually process structured information roughly more effectively and efficiently than information thats not structured I love looking out in this audience because you will remember as I remember phone numbers
When you had to remember them if you wanted to call somebody okay young folks today dont need to remember phone numbers they just need to look at a picture push a button and then the voice s talking on the other end ten digit phone numbers its actually hard to remember ten digit phone numbers how did you do it you chunked it into a structure three three and four structure helps us remember the same is true
When speaking spontaneously or in a planned situation so let me introduce you to two useful structures the first useful structure you have probably heard or used in some incarnation it is the problem solution benefit structure you by talking about
What the issue is the problem you then talk about a way of solving it and then you talk about the benefits of following through on it very persuasive very effective helps you as the speaker remember it helps your audience know
Where youre going with it
When I was a tour guide on this campus many many many years ago
What do you think the single most important thing they drilled into our heads it took a full quarter by the way to train to be a tour guide here they used to line us up at one end of the quad and have us walk backwards straight and if you failed you had to over to this day I can walk backwards in a straight line because of that as part of that training
What do you think the most important thing they taught us was never lose your tour group Im not sure never thats never lose your tour River the same is true as a presenter never lose your audience the way you keep your audience on track is by providing structure none of you would go on a tour with me if I said hi my name is Matt lets go you want to know
Where youre going
Why youre going there how long its going to take you need to set expectations and structure does that problem solution benefit is a wonderful structure to have in your back pocket its something that you can use quickly
When youre in the moment it can be reframed so its not always a problem youre talking about maybe its an OP opportunity maybe theres a market opportunity you want to go out and capture its not a problem that were not doing it but maybe wed be better off if we did so it becomes opportunity solution
Which are the steps to achieve it and then the benefit another structure
Which works equally equally well is the
What so
What now
What structure you by talking about
What it is then you talk about
Why its important and then
What the next steps are this is a wonderful formula for answering questions for introducing people so if Im in the moment somebody asked me to introduce somebody I changed the
What to
Who I say
Who they are
Why theyre important and
What were gonna do next maybe listen to them maybe drink our wine
Whatever right
What so
What now it the reality is this
When you are in a spontaneous speaking situation you have to do two things simultaneously you have to figure out
What to say and how to say it these structures help you by telling you how to say it if you can become comfortable with these structures you can be in a situation
Where you can respond very Abele to spontaneous speaking situations were gonna practice because thats
What we do heres the situation is everybody familiar with this childs toy its a slinky okay you are going to sell this slinky to your partner using either a problemsolution benefit or opportunity solution benefit
What does this slinky provide you or you could use
What so
What now
What
What is it
Why is it important and the next steps might be to buy it okay so by using that structure see how already it helps you it helps you focus get with your partner and were only going to have one partner sell to the other partner okay so get with your partner one of you will volunteer to sell to the other okay sell a slinky using problem solution benefit or
What so
What now
What please begin the Mikey so
When I debrief this you can go ahead and pass him out does that make sense no no after this activity thirty more seconds please excellent lets all close the deal seal the deal I have never seen more people in one place doing this at the same time I love it I teach people to gesture in gesture big its great I love it so if you were the recipient of the the sales pitch thumbs up did they do a good job did they use the structure awesome Im recruiting you all for my next business as my salespeople please try to ignore this but as were speaking the handout I told you about is coming around on the back of that handout you are going to see a list of structures the two we talked about and several others that can help you in spontaneous speaking situations these structures help because they help you understand how youre going to say
What you say structure sets you free and I know thats kind of ironic but its true if you have that structure then youre free to think about
What it is youre going to say it reduces the cognitive load of figuring out
What youre saying and how youre going to say it all of this is on that handout okay so
What does this all mean it means that we have within our ability the tools and the approaches to help us in spontaneous speaking situations the very first thing we have to do is manage our anxiety because you cant be an effective speaker if you dont have your anxiety under control and we talked about how you can do that by greeting your anxiety reframing as a conversation and being in the present moment once you do that you need to practice a series of four steps that will help you speak spontaneously first you get out of your own way I would love it if all of you on your way from here to the football game point at things and call them the wrong name itll be fun if most of us do it then it wont be weird if only one and two of us do itll be weird right second give gifts by that I mean see your interactions as ones of opportunity not challenges third take the time to list and listen and then finally use structures and you have to practice these structures I practice these structures on my kids I have two kids
When they ask me questions I usually answer them in
What so
What now
What they dont know it but
When they go over to their friends houses and they see their friends ask their dads questions they dont get
What so
What now
What so you know you have to practice the more you practice the more comfortable you will become ultimately you have the opportunity before you to become more compelling more confident more connected as a speaker if you leverage these techniques if youre interested in learning more this is
Where I do a little plug ok Ive written a book many of the MBA students
Who take the strategic communication classes here that I and others teach read it its called speaking up without freaking out more importantly theres a website here that I curate called no freaking speaking and it has lots of information that Ive written and others have written about how to become more effective at speaking so thats thats the end of my plug
What Id really like to do is enter into a spontaneous speaking situation with you and I would love to entertain any questions that you have there are two people
Who are running around with microphones so some of us
Who remember the Phil Donahue show were gonna do a little bit of that if you have a question the microphone will come and Im happy to answer it I think if you drawing if you talk about hostile situations hostile situations yes so
When you find yourself in a challenging situation first it should not become a surprise to you it should not be a surprise before you ever speak you should think about
What is the environment going to be like so it shouldnt surprise you that there might be some challenges in the room
When there are hostile situations that arise you have to acknowledge it so if somebody says thats a ridiculous idea
Why did you come up with that to simply say so the idea I came up with was right acknowledge the emotion I recommend not naming the emotion okay so you sound really angry person Im not angry Im frustrated now were arguing over their mental state right emotional state so so I say something like I hear you have a lot of passion on this issue or I hear theres great concern from you so you acknowledge the emotion cuz otherwise it sits in the room and then reframe it respond the way that makes sense so if somebody raises their hand and says your product is ridiculously priced
Why do you charge so much I might say I hear great concern and
What youre really asking about is the value of our product and I would give my value proposition and then I would come back and say and because of the value we provide we believe its priced fairly so you answer the question about price but youve reframe it in a way that you feel more comfortable answering it so the way to do this is to practice all the skills we just talked about the only skill that Im adding to this is the awareness in advance that you might be in that situation first I have to truly listen to
What Im hearing right its very easy for me
When I hear a challenging question to get all defensive and not hear
What the persons asking I see it as an opportunity to reframe and explain ok so again you have to practice but thats how I think you address it are there other questions I see a question back here yes please yes first of all thank you very much great great presentation thank God for a lot of the the speaking I do I have remote audiences distributed all over the country with telecom any tips for those kinds of audiences so
When you are speaking in a situation
Where not everybody is colocated ok in fact right at this very moment there are people watching this presentation remotely
What you need to do is be mindful of it second try to include engagement techniques
Where the audience actually has to do something so physical participation is
What we did here through the games you can ask your audience to imagine something imagine
What it would be like if
When we try to achieve a goal rather and say heres the goal were trying to achieve say imagine
What it would be like if see
What that does to you it pulls you in I can take polling questions most of the technology that youre referring to has some kind of polling feature you can open up some kind of wiki or Google Doc or some collaborative tool
Where people can be doing things and you can be monitoring that
While youre presenting so I might take some breaks I talk for minutes and say ok lets apply this and lets go into this Google Doc Ive created and I see
What people are so its about variety and its about engagement those are the ways that you really connect to people
Who are remote from you okay other questions youre pointing oh Ive got to look for
Where the mic is yes but this may be a similar to the first question but I do a lot of expert witness testimony
Whats your recommendation for handling crossexamination specifically so in any speaking situation that you go into that has some planned element to it I recommend identifying certain themes that you think are important or believe need to come out and then with each one of those themes have some examples and concrete evidence that you can use to support it you dont go in with memorized terms or ways of saying it you just have ideas and themes and then you put them together as necessary so
When Im in a situation
Where people are interrogating me I have certain themes that I want to get across and make sure that I can do that in a way that fits the needs in the moment if its hostile again you the the single best tool you have to buy yourself time and to help you answer a question efficiently is paraphrasing the paraphrase is like the Swiss Army knife of communication if you remember the show MacGyver its your MacGyver tool right so
When a question comes in the way you paraphrase it allows you the opportunity to reframe it to think about your answer and to pause and make sure you got it right so
When youre under those situations if you have the opportunity to paraphrase a so
What youre really asking about is x yz that gives you the opportunity to employ one of these techniques now Ive never been an expert witness because Im not an expert on anything but those tools I believe could be helpful the microphone is back there thank you thank you so much this has been so helpful and enjoyable this morning thank you would you please show the last screen so we can get down the name of the book the children and the information absolutely thank you I think they actually you might even have an opportunity but you know its on the sheet to everything I said is on the back of that sheet but Im happy to have this behind me
While I well I thought other questions yes please I work with groups that from that represent many different cultural backgrounds yes so are there any caveats or is this a universal strategy so in terms of from your perspective as the speaker I believe this applies but
When you
Whenever you communicate part of the listening aspect is also thinking about is
Who is my audience and
What are their expectations so
What are the cultural expectations of the audience that Im presenting to so there might be certain norms and rules that are expected so
When I travel and do talks I have to take into account
Where Im doing the presentation so I Im I help present in the Ignite program and if you have not heard about the Ignite program and here at the GSB its fantastic and I just did a presentation standing in one of these awesome classrooms that have all these cameras and I just taught people in Santiago Chile okay and I needed to understand the cultural expectations of that area and
What they expect and
What theyre willing to do
When I asked them to participate so its a part of that listening step
Where you reflect on
What are the expectations of the audience I think we have time for two more questions and then Im gonna hang around afterwards if anybody has individual questions but some of these folks really want me to keep on schedule I wanted to ask a question now one of the things that youve done effectively and youre talking and Ive seen other effective speakers do is interject humor in their talk how
What are the risks and rewards of trying to do that well first thank you and I appreciate all of you laughing those are thats not the sum total of all my jokes youve heard them I am not funny beyond those jokes so humor is wonderfully connecting its wonderfully connecting its a great tool for connection it is very very risky cultural reasons get in the way sometimes
What you think is funny isnt funny to other people
What research tells us is that if youre going to try to be funny selfdeprecating humor is your best bet okay because it is the least risky there is nothing worse than putting out a joke and having no response it actually sets you back farther than if you would have gotten
Where you would have gotten if the joke would have hit so basic gentles you need to think about with humor is it funny how do I know I ask other people first second
What happens if it doesnt work to have a backup plan right and then third if youre worried about the answers to those first two dont do it right one last question please the microphone is right here and then like I said I will hang around afterwards yes please I am sort of on the opposite side of this since I am a journalist and I frequently have to ask spontaneous questions of people
Who have been through media training yes so so any tips for chinks in the armor way to ask ask a question without being antagonistic but get a facsimile of a straight answer well so let me give you two answers one is I have young boys and the power of the Y is great just ask
Why a couple times and and you can get through that first two layers of training you know
Why do you say that well how do you feel about that the the second bit is to
What I have found successful in getting people to I do this to get people to answer in a more authentic way
What Ill do is Ill ask them to give advice so
What advice would you give somebody
Whos challenged with this or
What advice would you give to somebody in this situation and by asking for the advice it changes the relationship they have to me as the question asker and I often get much more rich detailed information so the power of the Y and then put them in a position of providing guidance and that can really work with that I am going to thank you very much I welcome you to ask questions later and enjoy the rest of your reunion weekend thank you Applause '
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