3 Tips to Get Over Your Fear of Speaking Up

We’ve all been there.

You’re in a meeting that has been going on for hours, and yet doesn’t seem to going anywhere at all. You have the answer, or at least a useful contribution. How do you speak up?

Is talking during a meeting public speaking? You betcha. Use these presentation tips every time you speak publicly- even in a room of your peers.

3 Tips for Speaking up in a Meeting:

  1. Prepare a few bullets in advance. One senior executive we worked with was deathly afraid of public speaking early in her career. In order to overcome that fear, she challenged herself to speak up at every single meeting and prepared comments or questions in advance. That executive is now a role model within her organization and is considered one of the most confident and authentic speakers in her industry. Don’t wait for inspiration to hit in the meeting; prepare in advance.

  2. Ask, “why you?” This is a question we recommend people ask before they craft a presentation, walk into a meeting, or even prepare for a networking event. It means, why do you care about what you do, about your organization, or about your role? Answering this question helps you connect with a sense of purpose and builds your confidence. It reminds you that you’re speaking up not to show off but because you truly care about the subject. It reminds you that your credibility doesn’t come solely from your title or years of experience but can also comes from your commitment and passion.

  3. Pause and breathe to build your confidence. Speaking up in a meeting takes courage. You have the ability to affect the trajectory of the conversation, potentially guiding your client towards saying yes to a deal when your colleagues have taken the meeting off track. Pausing and breathing helps center you and strengthens your voice so that when you do speak up, you speak with the full weight of your conviction. While you pause, ask yourself, “If one other person in this room has the same question, am I willing to ask on behalf of that person?” The answer should build your confidence. A client recently shared that she had used this technique to ask a question — in public — at a large conference, and her question changed the direction of the entire panel discussion, shedding light on a critical issue that the panel had been avoiding.

So what are you waiting for? Go in there and rock the room.

Stay Cool,
The Cool Beans Team

5 Phrases to be More Likeable

Leading a workshop or delivering a presentation is not the end of our social interactions. Before you give a speech, after you follow up with a client, and at networking events before a job interview, we present ourselves all the time. In any conversation, use these quick phrases to build rapport and overall make yourself more likeable to others:

  • “I was just thinking about you!“ If something positive reminds you of someone, tell them!

  • “How about you?“ To avoid awkward silences, turn the self-disclosure questions around.

  • “You are so interesting.“ We all want to be liked. If someone says something interesting, let them know!

  • “Being with you has been so great.“ At the end of a conversation, actually finish the conversation on a positive note.

  • “Last time we talked you mentioned…“ The more you can remember about a person, the more likely they are to trust you- you listened to them!

Focusing on the other person is a great way to rack up brownie points and put your best foot forward before you even get to the front of the room. Get your audience on your side before you present!

These tips were shared with us by Vanessa Van Edwards at the Science of People.

Stay Cool,
The Cool Beans Team

Video Presentation Tips - pt. 2

Last week we talked about some important skills for working through video presentation anxiety. What now? In order to feel more comfortable and prepared for any virtual conversation, make sure you’re set up for success with these tips:

  1. Utilize front-facing lighting: Get that Instagram-influencer-glow by facing the sun when you record, buying a ring light, or even using your phone’s flashlight to add an extra shine.

  2. Angle your camera down: By positioning your camera at eye level (or a bit above), you’ll show off your best angles and be ready to rock.

  3. Make eye contact with the camera (instead of yourself!): While it’s very tempting to watch yourself as you present, focus instead on the tiny pinhead camera at the top of your phone, monitor, or webcam. It will give the illusion of making eye contact with your audience!

  4. Pay just enough attention to your surroundings: Like a good wingman, your recording room should support your presentation, not distract from it. Check your surroundings for anything that could draw the audience’s eye, and make sure you want it to do so.

Break down the barriers that keep us from recording ourselves. You can grow your audience or perfect your speaking style with video!

Just like last week, these tips were borrowed from our friends at BombBomb, the masters of re-humanizing virtual communication.

Stay cool,
The Cool Beans Team

Videos aren't Presentations... are they?

Whether it’s a webinar, video message to a client, or even a recording for your own practice, hearing your voice and seeing your face on camera can be intimidating. Don’t worry, Cool Beans is here to help! Handling stress related to video calls is a lot like dealing with presentation stressors.

Here are the 3 R’s to getting over video call anxiety:

  1. Remind yourself that you have value for your audience that goes above and beyond what you look like. Use positive affirmations to tell yourself- You’re worth it!

  2. Don’t Re-Watch videos for things like how your hair looks. Instead, focus on the content of your presentation and how your delivery adds to your message!

  3. Repetition: Practice, practice, practice! The more you present over video, the more confident you’ll feel doing so.

We borrowed these tips from our friends at BombBomb, the masters of re-humanizing virtual communication.

Stay cool,
The Cool Beans Team

Cross Cultural Communication: A Series

Just like your favorite seasonal drink from Starbucks or Dunkin’, we at Cool Beans Coaching want to offer special topic series: on Drip!

This month’s series: Cross Cultural Communication

Tip 1: Enjoy the silence.

In some cultures it’s customary not to speak in public settings- where we’re used to a lack of response signifying dissent or boredom, it may even mean success.

In cultures where reactions or verbal responses are less common, lessen the amount of “audience participation” you incorporate.

Stay Cool,
Cool Beans Coaching

Show me whatcha got

Presenting a demo for a new product or process?

Here are some quick tips: 

  1. Start with a customer story or example that highlights your solution.

  2. Describe their problem. Why do they need your product? “We know that in your world…”

  3. Ask a rhetorical question. “Wouldn’t it be great to have a quicker solution?”

  4. Make it personable by using an name in your example. “If we look at Alicia’s dashboard…”

How do you demo?

Stay Cool,
Cool Beans Coaching

Short is Sweet

Give yourself- and your audience - a break. 

While writing can have beautiful language and helpful punctuation, speaking needs to be short and to the point. Think short & sweet.

Instead of:
While it’s been claimed that all public speaking coaches are the same, Cool Beans coaching has repeatedly proven their high caliber status as the best choice. 

Cool Beans coaching is the best solution!!

What could you say a little sweeter? 

Stay Cool,
Cool Beans Coaching

Bueller, Bueller, Anyone...

We’ve all been there. You ask the audience a question and… nothing.  No head nods, no questions, no response at all. It can be unnerving when you’re the one at the front of the room.

The solution?  Invite them to play early and often.

When you kick off your meeting, presentation, or training, share your expectations with the audience. 

It can be as simple as saying “This will be interactive.”

Then do something that proves it right away.

  • Ask a question

  • Have them work in small teams or using a flip chart

  • Get them to solve a riddle or guess the answer

When you invite an audience to interact, they will. Make it easy for them and thank them after they play.

Stay cool,
Cool Beans Coaching

Positive Thoughts for Positive Presentations

What is going through your head right before you present?

Don’t mess up, don’t mess up, don’t mess up.

If you think about what not to do, you’re a lot more likely to do just that.

The solution? Think positive. 

Tell yourself what you want to happen instead. At Cool Beans we like to use mantras like “I’m awesome” or “I’ve got this” to get our heads in the game and the butterflies in our stomach in formation.

What’s your mantra? 

Stay Cool,
Cool Beans Coaching