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Public Speaking Fear? Drown Out That Negative Voice in Your Head

By Gilda Bonanno

If your stomach churns just at the thought of speaking in front of a group of people, you're not alone. In fact, Americans rate public speaking as their number one fear - even ahead of death (hence the old joke that you would rather be in the coffin than giving the eulogy)!

Think about what's going through your head right at that moment when you're getting ready to open your mouth, whether it's at a staff meeting at work or in front of the local YMCA parents' group.  Yes, I admit that I hear voices in my head - and I bet you do, too.

Take a moment, close your eyes and really listen for that voice - what is it saying?

When I ask clients to share what that voice in their head is telling them right before they speak, they invariably come out with a whiny, annoying voice spewing negatives like "you're going to make a fool of yourself" or "who do you think you are?"

That voice goes by many names.  Creativity expert Julia Cameron calls it "The Censor." I call it the "Joy-Sucker" because it sucks the joy out of your work and your life.  The Joy-Sucker undermines your confidence and makes you less able to convey your knowledge and experience to your audience.  In its worst manifestations, it may even cause you to forget your own name! The Joy-Sucker may come from old beliefs about ourselves or perhaps a comment made by an unhelpful friend, teacher or ex.

Instead of allowing the Joy-Sucker to sap your confidence, I recommend replacing it with a positive affirmation or mantra, a term borrowed from meditation and yoga that means a word or phrase that you repeat to yourself to focus your mind and energy.  Your mantra should be personally meaningful to you and should be a phrase that you can believe.  You can use a song title (Aretha Franklin's "RESPECT" comes to mind), a line from a poem or anything that makes you feel powerful and confident.  "You go, girl" is my favorite (accompanied by a mental fist in the air).

Once you have created a mantra, try it out in real-life situations. When you're getting ready to speak, listen for the Joy-Sucker and replace it with your mantra. Remember that the Joy-Sucker has had years of practice, so it's okay to try several mantras before you find one that is powerful enough to drown it out.

You'll know the mantra is working when you feel your anxiety decreasing and your confidence increasing (a little bit at a time).  As you build your confidence, you'll be able to tap into your knowledge and experience related to the topic at hand - and you'll be on your way to becoming a more polished public speaker!

 © Gilda Bonanno

Gilda Bonanno helps you transform your communication, presentation and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.

Since 2006, Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  She collaborates with them to help them lead more effectively, communicate more clearly and create and deliver more powerful and engaging presentations so they get results.

Sign up at www.gildabonanno to receive her twice-monthly newsletter for practical tips you can use to improve your communication, networking and presentation skills  

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How a Mentor/Protégé Relationship Can Work for You 

By: Kathy Nanowski, CPSM - Director of Marketing & BD, Fuss & O'Neill

Have you thought about finding a mentor to help you navigate through the AEC market? The five key ingredients necessary for a successful mentoring relationship are: exchange of knowledge, mutual respect, clear expectations, personal connections, and shared values.

Protégés join a mentoring program for a variety of reasons. Some are looking for long-term career guidance, while others may just need support with one-time needs. Maybe you just need a connector.  Ideal protégés are enthusiastic, energetic, organized, and focused. People being mentored should be open to feedback and be active listeners. Knowing what you need is the first step; finding the right person is the second.

Good mentors are successful for a reason. They manage their time wisely, often doing multiple things at any given time in order to ensure success. They give protégés insight about setting goals and priorities. Mentors use their personal experience to help their protégés avoid mistakes and learn from good decisions. Most mentors have a network of colleagues and collaborators that could open doors for their protégés, help jump-start their careers, or just explain how the system works.

Mentoring really goes both ways.  When different perspectives come together, this combination of skills can be mutually beneficial. The Mentor Program of SMPS Connecticut is designed to offer members an opportunity to participate in a truly meaningful relationship focused on personal growth and professional development. Please email me if you’re interested in participating as either a Mentor or Protégé. I am confident that you won’t regret it.

Kathy Nanowski, CPSM is the immediate past president of the SMPS Connecticut chapter and the Leadership Committee Chairperson.  If you’re interested in participating as either a Mentor or Protégé, or have any questions abour our program, please reach out to Kathy at knanowski@fando.com.

 

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How to Network at Holiday Parties

It's that time of the year again! Learn five tips from Gilda Bonanno on how to be an effective networker at holiday parties. Gain insight on how to put your best foot forward at any industry party.

© Gilda Bonanno

 

About Gilda Bonanno:

Gilda Bonanno helps you transform your communication, presentation and leadership skills so you can have more confidence, influence and success. She has worked with leading organizations, including GE, Travelers, Praxair, Assa Abloy, Wells Fargo and Yale University, on four continents from Chicago to Shanghai and Rio to Rome.Since 2006, Gilda has delivered thousands of in-person programs, her YouTube channel has received over 1 million views and her digital newsletter has reached subscribers in over 45 countries since 2008.

Gilda has a proven track record of partnering for results with people in a variety of industries and at all organizational levels, from C-level executives to sales teams to frontline managers.  She collaborates with them to help them lead more effectively, communicate more clearly and create and deliver more powerful and engaging presentations so they get results.

Sign up at http://www.gildabonanno.com to receive her twice-monthly newsletter for practical tips you can use to improve your communication, networking and presentation skills. 

 

 

 

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