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The Sensitive Speaker

It doesn’t matter whether I do basic presentation skills or advanced executive presence training, one question that constantly pops us is “How do I convert my being sensitive of others into confidence in self?”

My experience and beliefs tell me being highly sensitive of others’ presence, their thoughts, and their opinion isn’t a shortcoming but an advantage.

Think of this, that while conversing, when you mind and monitor what feelings run through their minds is inside information. It is unspoken feedback and you’ve gotten access to it. Isn’t that an advantage?

Decades ago, a stern face or a disengaged audience member would scare and disrupt my chain of thoughts. And, when I’d approach them later, I’d be able to assess that most often than not there were other things on their minds and not just my performance. Soon, I began to challenge my own assumptions about their state of mind. Very soon I began to convert my being disturbed and disrupted into a turnaround in the conversation by creatively engaging the person that scared me by a quick question or by pausing and smiling at them. It was, for me, putting the NLP principle of “the map is not the reality,” principle into practice.

My thoughts and actions gave me an inside view of their state and my state changed for the better.  Not only did the technique change our state but also gave a power boost to whole performance with the larger audience in the loop. My being sensitive of others wasn’t and isn’t a disadvantage anymore but is an ace in my hand.

Being sensitive towards others isn’t a weakness.

To see, hear and feel acutely is the trademark of the alive and compassionate leader-speaker.

Raju Mandhyan

From the HeART series available at Amazon

 

Wanna’ become a Good Storyteller?

Wanna’ become a good storyteller? Here, five quick steps. Catch!humor-launch-20062

First memorize it like crazy, then forget it for a while. It will have found a hiding place for itself in your deeper brain.

Second make attempts to tell it from memory in your own words, like a casual chat. You will feel like and become OWNER of the new version.

Third, tell it from the perspective of one of the characters in the story. If there are no characters other than you then let any inanimate object, say a chair, from the story tell the story. It’ll help you enhance the drama when you really tell the story next time.

Four, have someone else tell you or read the original or your new script. You will discover new areas where impact and engagement can be increased.

Five, go all out when you tell it. Live your dream-delivery, model your storytelling hero. Enjoy. Unleash yourself unashamedly. Stories are meant to be told so they inspire and motivate others so why hold yourself back? Go! Fly! Shine!

Five point five, buy the HeART of the STORY from Amazon.

Or, catch me here at the Dubai, HR Summit

 

Master of Ceremonies!

More than a decade ago, I was invited to compére a dinner meeting for a lady presidential candidate in the Philippines. My job was to stay within the theme of the evening, introduce others and keep the transitions lively and contextual.

Days before the event, I gathered the material, read resumes and prepared my lines and timing. On the night before the event, I had everything down to a pat. That night in bed, the challenge of the next day, seemed bigger and scarier than usual.

I tossed and turned restlessly late into the night. Finally, when I did sleep, I had a nightmare. In the nightmare, I was up on the stage next to all the speakers and the lights were strong on my face. Awed by the crowd, I went into a state of shock. From nowhere the lady chief guest walked up to me, handed me the microphone and said, “Raju, it is your turn!”

My turn! I tried grappling with the pages in my hands which began to fly and circle around me in slow motion. The microphone turned into a cobra and stared me down. When I looked down at my finely dressed audience…they had changed. In their place were people of all kinds. I saw fishermen, street hawkers, and gaunt-faced ladies with cigarettes dangling from their lips. On the floor there were hundreds of crawling babies screaming at their mothers to stop smoking and pay attention to them. My wife was in the crowd begging everyone to calm down and please listen to me, the speaker!

The back of the hall had somehow transformed into a runaway, railway compartment with dozens of big, burly men playing basketball in it. Bigger, burlier men with beer mugs in their hands were watching the game and screaming and shouting while the train of my life was hurtling away to hell!

In the nightmare, through the chaos, somehow, I heard someone knock at the door of the railway compartment. Covered in cold sweat, holding back a scream in my throat, I jumped out of my bed to answer the door!

The knocking on my bedroom door was real, and when I opened it there stood my little 7-year-old daughter, crying for her mother. I picked her up and held her against my heart. With her against my chest, I recognized the absurdity of the whole situation. The demons of anxiety and fear had been playing games with my mind. I realized my fears were unfounded, my jitters unnecessary. Slowly but steadily confidence and an inner peace seeped into my whole being.

I went to sleep assured that tomorrow, I was going to perform for a crowd and not go to war with the world. My fears were gone and the material that I had been working upon became mine. The next day I dazzled the crowd and the lady presidential candidate.

Today, decades later, I have learned techniques that can help speakers like us quell our nerves on the night before and be our best on stage the next day.

  1. Eat right. Eat light and soak up on liquids the day before and also sleep early and well. Nothing like a rested body to support the mind when it is anxious.

    Master of Ceremonies!

    Master of Ceremonies!

  2. Work away at the content, the script and your spiel a day or two before and then let it go. Let it go, as in, let it seep into your subconscious by not thinking too much about it. Letting the stress go, for a while, puts the task on the back burner and still stews them well.
  3. Engage in light, happy and refreshing activities like swimming, badminton etc., to de-obsess your mind with details about tomorrow. Maybe, sketch out like an info-graphic or a mind-map key ideas and points you want to remember about your spiel tomorrow. This is to keep a frantic mind, an element of the pre-frontal cortex, at peace.
  4. Remind yourself that your big, hairy goal is to serve, please, entertain, support and add value to the work-life of your audience. Yes, focus on this the most.
  5. Lastly, trust in the fact that things do eventually come together well when our core intentions are good, ethical and selfless. It is then that we become mighty in our spirit and in our performances.

 

Taken from the book, “The HeART of Public Speaking” found at

http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ARaju%20Mandhyan

 

 

the Truth behind Stories: the HeART of STORY

The reality today is very few people in the world want to see or hear the bold truth. In fact, the bolder and starker the truth gets, the lesser attention it receives. It can, more often than not, be despised such that people thwart and rebel against it. And yet, the same beautiful truth when wrapped in color, garnished with flowers, and accompanied by song can become a reigning reality. That is the power of Story. Stories are core Truths wrapped in roses, rainbows and rhythm. That is the story behind storytelling.

 

HISTORY OF STORIES

Eons ago, when man discovered fire, he also discovered the wonder of telling stories around that fire. After a hard day’s hunt, he would gather his tribe and begin to converse and tell great stories. He told stories about the source of life, about the sun, about the moon and the stars. He also told stories about the time and place where the sun was born and how the moon romanced it. He told stories about how the moon pursued the sun and died every month to be reborn to love the sun all over again. He told stories about how every individual had a star of his own up in the teal and midnight-blue skies.

Day after day, night upon night, from one season to another, man told stories –tales about love, courage, adventure, conquest, and wars. Around the fire, he told stories of ferocious Spartan warriors and heroes that battled one-eyed giants. He told stories about birds that could fly into the sun, burst into cinder, and then rise again from the ashes to fly right back into the sun.

Over the ages, stories of tradition, honor, and great courage ruled the air around the fires. There were stories told about great escapes, bold robberies, and giant shipwrecks. Discoveries were reported about new worlds, new wealth, and new people. Narrated with rhyme, repetition, and rhythm, all these stories were etched on the walls of the caves where our ancestors lived and into the hearts and minds of all mankind. Shadows and echoes from the flickering fires left unforgettable legends visualized and represented on the walls of our current homes. Today, many of these stories have become a large part of belief systems, of our culture and our tradition.

 

Taken from the book, the HeART of STORY.

Pause like Pacino

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A week ago, I posted a version of “When Cicero speaks, the world marvels. When Demosthenes speaks, the world marches!” and a lot of people liked it and shared it to their groups. The source and origins of this quote is unknown to me. It could be Plutarch or it could have been former Prime Minister Gordon Brown of United Kingdom. What I know is that I relate to it powerfully, and I like to make everything I put out into the world about communications, about leadership and about unleashing inherent excellence resonate with the essence and the power that lies hidden in this quote. For me, it contracts and consolidates what throbs inside my HeART when i speak. When I speak, thus, I endeavour to stir up thought and churn out massive, constructive and positive action.

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Large Crowd Energizing Techniques

The sight of any large audience can give the heebie-jeebies to the best of public and professional speakers. To get nervous is normal. To be in awe of the energy pulsating from crowds is also normal. There are however, across the world, a handful of speakers who know how to manage and motivate large group energy by using the energy that emanates out of these crowds. These brilliant speakers are conversant with the science and psychology of large groups and have mastered a few techniques to tame and entertain the beast. Here are a three of my ideas and the science behind them.

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I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli! I hate the sight of it. I hate it’s name. “Brocolli?” What is that? It sounds like some tropical disease. Like, “He’s got brocolli between his toes. She’s got brocolli in her armpits.  But then again, we do know its good for us. Its green and healthy for our insides and for our cancer fighting cells. And, some claim, it adds and multiplies brain cells.

Similarly, in my work-life there are things that I know that there are things we must do which will be good for us. Like learning to and keeping proper accounts. Learning to and keeping proper records and files of projects and programs. And, for professionals and small business owners like me, learning to build an active website and sustaining, nurturing it over time.

I hate brocolli!

I hate brocolli!

I knew this. I was told this, many a times, years ago by colleagues and friends in the industry and yet I kept thinking _assigning this to a professional or a professional team would be the smart thing to do. And, boy was I ever wrong! Nearly every other year, I’d look for to outsource this work and they’d come back and pick my brain, have me do the thinking, the brainstorming and making the website work for me and my business. ” At first I was doling out money in spades and getting aesthetically impressive returns. Then I tightened my fist and began to get function but no charm and no ease. All through, in the back of my head, I kept thinking…”I wish I was computer savvy. I wish I understood the internet as well as they do. I wish I were Generation X or Y or Z. I wish I weren’t a late-bloomimg baby boomer baby! Grrr!

Website building, maintenance and the world of internet marketing loomed over me like a huge clump of rotting brocolli.

Yet, a small voice kept telling me, “Go ahead, take a bite and start chewing. Go ahead, roll up and your sleeves, tie a nappy around your neck and dig in!

So, two week ago, I rolled up my sleeves, put a nappy around my neck, put on my reading glasses, plugged in the earphones and hauled my lap top closer to me and began clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, taking a power nap in between, and clicking, punching, rewinding, undoing, doing, highlighting, reading, listening until it began to make sense, until it began to take shape.

What you are browsing through right now is a still a rough draft, a skeleton of what is yet to come and grow. In essence, not only am I learning to eat my brocolli but I am also learning to plant, grow and make it flourish organically. That’s the way to go when it comes to learning and succeeding at something you consider hard and something that you figure you can set aside and a let divine intervention resolve it for you. No sirree! It doesn’t happen that way.

Can this same principle be applied for accounting, book-keeping and or maintaining records. Yes!
Nothing is more empowering and liberating than tackling any and all kinds of huge, ugly brocolli clouds that loom over you and slow you down. Hate that brocolli? Eat it first! It’s good for your soul;)

Inner Sun

An Unbalanced Life.

Most everyone is focused on living a balanced life. What exactly is a balanced life? Twenty fours divided equally between work, play, family, personal needs and service to the world? Or, is it stress at work, peace at home?