PART 3 The Strategies - Become a Great Speaker by Making a Plan and Working It Chapter Fourteen Ten Things You Can Do to Guarantee Success Tip 1: You Chose This Book for a Reason− Honor It I do not believe that you are reading this book by accident; whether you received it as a gift, picked it up at the airport kiosk, or bought it online, it found you. It found you for good reason. There is a powerful force at work in your life that will allow you to develop your leadership potential. Pay attention to that force, and honor it. Whether the book was a present or a purchase, it is an investment in your success. If you want to grow that investment, do something more: research and write a speech that truly reflects your beliefs and values; start a story journal; take an acting class to build confidence; hire a speaking coach, media trainer, speechwriter, or wardrobe consultant−anyone who can help you succeed. Whether you are a CEO now or want to be one someday, commit to doing what it takes. That will move you from wishing to becoming. Tip 2: Delegate, Delete, or Delay To make time for this investment, you must put the related actions on your to−do list and put the corresponding appointments on your calendar. You have to make speaking a priority, and you may have to place it higher than other activities currently on your program. You absolutely must create a to−do list and schedule appointments. You know how this works: if you say to a friend, “We’ll have to get together for lunch,” it doesn’t happen; if you both choose a date, and put it in writing, it does. The calendar creates commitment. Where do you find the time? How do you elbow some more activities into an already busy schedule? My answer to that is: delegate, delete, or delay. This is an approach that allows you to reset priorities and feel confident that the items that have moved down your list will get done one way or another. It’s a matter of deciding what you can give to someone else, get rid of, or put off for a while. While writing this book, I used “delegate, delete, or delay” on a few projects at home. For example, although I wanted to plant a perennial garden in the backyard, I didn’t have time over the summer. I deleted going to the garden center because I knew I would be tempted to buy perennials that I didn’t have time to plant. Then, when the weeds in that part of the yard grew to Jack−and−the−Beanstalk proportions, I asked my daughter to help out. Weeding was delegated. We considered hiring a landscape designer to help us create a better environment, but finding and meeting with the designer would take time. We delayed the project and lived with less than perfection. Some weeds look like flowers anyway. I have sat with many clients and looked over their calendars to apply this strategy. These executives are frequently amazed at how delegating, deleting, or delaying projects and activities that are not mission−critical frees up oodles of time. We all have stuff we can dispose of in these ways. You don’t need a coach to do this. Look through your calendar. Choose some items that are not essential or that someone else can do. Once you start applying this system, you will find it is so liberating that you will want to do it regularly. Tip 3: Assemble Your Team There is nothing like a team of people on your side to help you achieve your goals. You do not have to learn to speak like a CEO all by yourself. You are responsible for making it happen, but you don’t have to do it alone. Among the people who could assist you are the following pros: Speaker coach Media trainer Speechwriter Mentor Wardrobe consultant Comedy writer PR person Fitness trainer Voice coach Bring in high−caliber professionals to support you in your growth and to give you perspective in the areas you are developing. The encouragement you get from them will keep you moving steadily toward your destination. You will get there twice as fast if you have the right people working with you. Treat Your Personal Coaching Program like a Fitness Program One CEO I interviewed said speaker coaching is a lot like going to the gym: “You may not enjoy it going in, but you will feel exhilarated coming out.” That’s an appropriate analogy. The feeling of accomplishment in learning to speak well is powerful. If you treat your personal coaching program like a fitness program, you will succeed. Trainers advise clients to pick a goal, make a plan, tell a friend, and track their progress. You can do the same with this program. Every ounce of effort you put in will pay off. Once you start, keep going. Tip 5: While You’re at It, Get into Top Physical Condition, Too Being in great physical condition makes you feel relaxed and more confident. Staying in shape gives you the energy to meet the demands of your job, including public speaking. You sleep better and feel mentally sharp. You appear confident. Your clothes fit, and you tend to buy beautiful clothing that suits you and enhances your image as a leader. Fitness sends a strong message about your self−image; it says you respect yourself, are organized and disciplined, and have the energy it takes to do the work. No matter how busy you are, make time to work out. When you start a fitness program, you are always advised to begin slowly so you don’t injure yourself. Injuries are one of the main reasons people fall short of their fitness goals. If you start slowly, you can avoid a major setback. You can get a great workout in so many ways: going to the health club, playing sports, walking, hiking, or swimming. During the week, park you car at the far end of the lot; take the stairs instead of the elevator. On the weekends, get outside and do something physical. It’s your overall approach to fitness, not the thirty minutes you commit to a routine, that will keep you in top shape. If you have a regular exercise regime, that’s great. Keep it up. If you don’t, I suggest you apply the system discussed earlier: delegate, delete, or delay. Make time to make fitness a priority; make the commitment to your physical health and well−being. Staying fit sets a powerful example for the people who work with you, too. Fitness is good for business. Tip 6: Push Yourself with Stretch Goals in Your Coaching Program As you gain confidence, you will want to set some stretch goals. After you master one skill, try something new. Don’t be afraid to fail. Sometimes it feels easier to play it safe and follow the formula rather than risk looking foolish. But that won’t build your confidence or help you enjoy speaking publicly. Stretching helps you find out what you’re capable of doing. Perfection is not the goal−effectiveness is. Don’t worry about failing. As novelist Anna Quindlen says, “The thing that is really hard−and really amazing−is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.” If you feel stale, shake it up. Try stepping out from behind the podium and speaking without notes. Use a prop. Tell a funny story about yourself. Be candid and say what everybody else is thinking. Accept a speaking engagement at a major conference. Say yes to an interview with a major daily newspaper. There are countless ways to shake things up. Doing so will stretch your mental muscles. Tip 7: Don’t Stop Winston Churchill once said, “If you are going through hell, keep going.” Sometimes you will be disappointed by a speech or presentation. You might be misquoted in the newspaper. You may wish you had said some thing different in a meeting. Let it go. Learn from mistakes. Nobody is perfect. You cannot anticipate every hazard. Dust yourself off and get back out there. Those missteps can provide prime material for your next event! I have made lemonade out of lemons by taking my mistakes and turning them into stories for speeches. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying. Don’t stop, even if it seems hard. Someday, when someone comes up to you and says, “You make speaking look so easy,” you’ll just look at the person and smile. Tip 8: Believe You Can Architect Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen.” We rarely accomplish much before we believe that it can be done. We have few guarantees in life, but we know that if we do not start a journey, we will not reach a destination. Whatever your goal is in this program, you must believe that achieving it is possible. Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith, but on the other side of the leap is action. True belief gets you out of bed. True belief makes you roll up your sleeves and do it. Tap into you belief and you will find motivation. Tip 9: Enjoy I asked one CEO who speaks well what he thought other CEOs should know about speaking. “You have to enjoy doing it,” he observed. “It comes across to an audience.” I know what you’re thinking: speaking well is one thing; enjoying it is another. If you hate public speaking, or can’t imagine taking pleasure in talking to reporters, think again−it can be fun. The secret is to do it well. Doing anything well is its own reward. Plus, you get positive feedback. You may never love speaking or presenting, but you will feel the joy of getting results. Tip 10: Take Time to Celebrate Success Successful talk−show host and actress Oprah Winfrey says, “The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” When you work hard on anything, you should stop to celebrate. You should enjoy the fruits of your labor. I always encourage clients to reward themselves after they have worked hard on a major project. Find some tiny but significant way to celebrate an achievement. If you have worked hard at writing and practicing a speech that is subsequently well received, take an afternoon off. If you make a presentation and win business, go shopping or out to dinner. Rewarding yourself tells your brain, “This is fun!” and motivates you to forge ahead and do more. Your coaching program is not a marathon with a big reward at the end. It’s a journey with milestones that you should mark. Celebrate each success as you become the speaker and leader you want to be. Garner the encouragement from your support team, commit to your goals, and tackle your obstacles. Let the model coaching programs serve as guides when you’re creating your personalized speaking plan. Invest in yourself and you will become a better speaker. This is Bernadette Dunn for McGraw Hill Audio, thank you for listening. This audio book is co−published by American Media International LLC and Redwood Audio Books and is based upon the book entitled SPEAK LIKE A CEO By Suzanne Bates. Copyrighted in 2005 in the name of Suzanne Bates. Published by arrangement with the McGraw Hill Companies Incorporated.
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