Category: Communication


Turn fear into bliss when you speak

Guest post by Rosemary Ravinal

Blowing bubbles isn’t just for children. You may think it’s silly. Yet the deep breathing required to blow bubbles will help you relax and de-stress, all-important for nervous speakers.

When I work from home, I sometimes take calming breaks and blow bubbles as I sit by the lake behind my house. The way the sphere forms on the tip of the wand and how it floats above the water for just a few seconds makes for a small moment of bliss for me. That’s why I came up with the acronym BLISS to help you remember five ways to control your nervousness.

I’ve written often about conquering fear of public speaking, and it remains the most frequent question I receive from my clients. Performance anxiety, stage fright are some other terms for fear of public speaking. The clinical term is glossophobia. More than 70% of human beings on the planet suffer from it. Even experienced speakers feel some degree of fear when they’re in the spotlight.

There are many techniques for managing fear when you speak. Notice I say manage because in truth the jitters or butterflies in your stomach will show up most of the time. The trick is how you deal with them.

Would you like to turn presentation hell into presentation bliss? Here are five proven steps to turn your fear into peak performance.

What constitutes BLISS?

B stands for Breathing

Speaking is simply breath and proper breathing is essential to speaking well. Most of us never learn to breathe properly. We take light short breaths at the top of our lungs, as opposed to deep long breaths which engage the diaphragm. If you sing or practice pranayama yoga, you know what I mean.

When you’re nervous and tense, adrenaline kicks in. Your heart rate accelerates, and our breathing becomes shallower and constricted. You may lose breath mid-sentence or speak faster than normal. Two of my favorite breath-centering techniques are blowing bubbles and straw breathing.

The act of blowing bubbles moves the focus away from your nervousness to your breathing. You take a deep inhale and exhale into the wand to create the bubble. This is the pursed lip breathing technique which increases pressure in the airways and keeps them open and flowing.

Similarly, you can practice the straw breathing technique to calm your nerves and fill your lungs with air to strengthen the volume and quality of your voice. Take a drinking straw in your hand, inhale deeply through your nose, and exhale all the air through it. Do five repetitions in total. You’ll feel energized yet serene.

L is for Love.

If you love your audience, you’ll connect with them on a human level and much of the anxiety will disappear. Ignore the cliché of seeing your audience naked. It’s disrespectful and simply doesn’t work. Besides, talking to a naked audience can be distracting—and you don’t need distractions. Your job is to help your audience do something, solve a problem, and make their lives better. Another way to love your audience is to make eye contact. Select a few people in the front rows and make direct eye contact for just a second. Scan the back of the room and try to do the same, even if people are too far away to see their eyes. On a video call, make steady eye contact with the webcam lens to suggest that you’re looking straight at the virtual audience.

I stands for Imagine.

Imagine your highest achievement. Visualize the success of your presentation. Anticipate the applause that will follow your talk. How will you feel after you ace your keynote?  What are the sensations in your body that come with hitting it out of the ballpark? Stand in the imaginary glow of the spotlight of success. Hold on to those images and sensations as you take the stage.Visualization is a powerful technique used by elite athletes to train, compete, and win. You can do the same.

The first S is for Smile.

A smile is universal. It will put your audience at ease and help melt away your own tension. It signals that you’re happy to be there. Plus, when you smile naturally you use facial muscles that trigger the neurons of happiness in your brain, so there’s a real chemical reaction that induces happy thoughts. Smiling is also contagious. Your audience will mirror your gestures and feel happy themselves. It works on Zoom calls as well. Use a smile wisely and make it your superpower.

The second S and last letter is Service.

Think about your speech, talk, or presentation as a gift you’re bringing your listeners. Keep your ego in check and think about your audience’s interests, not your own. Dave Bricker, professional speaker, and friend says: “Turn nervous into service.” Shifting your focus from you to your audience and what they need from you is a powerful way to develop a winning mindset.

BLISS will help calm your mind and body and remind you of what is important: delivering a talk that informs, inspires, and transforms your audience.

Originally published in Rosemary Ravinal’s The Master Communicator Blog

About the Author
Business leaders and entrepreneurs who want to elevate their public speaking impact, executive presence, and media interview skills come to me for personalized attention and measurable results. I am recognized as America’s Premier Bilingual Public Speaking Coach after decades as a corporate spokesperson and media personality in the U.S. mainstream, Hispanic and Latin American markets. My company’s services are available for individuals, teams, in-person and online, and in English and Spanish in South Florida and elsewhere.

3 Essential Elements in Relationship Marketing

Relationship marketing is a key to success for every type of business and marketing endeavor. To succeed you must make meaningful connections with your target audience – you must create, build, and deepen relationships.

Relationship marketing is about winning the confidence of your clients. You have to know how to talk to them and give them a positive impression that makes them feel more connected to you than the competition.

There are three important components to relationship marketing.

Focus Beyond One Sale

Relationship marketing looks beyond one-and-done sales. The goal is to create a connection that leads to ongoing give and take with customers. “Customer value” is defined in a way that is more faceted than sales volume. Focus is placed on the long-term relationship with each client.

Responsiveness

Relationship marketing is responsive. Questions are invited and are answered. Person-to-person connections are made as brand representatives both reach out and respond to customers. Calls are answered, emails get a personal response, comments are acknowledged.

People choose to do business with people, not companies. So, building rapport with them is essential for creating long-term business relationships and better brand trust.

Honest, Plain Language

Relationship marketing does not involve coming up with dense language that tricks people into doing what you want. It is about straightforward, authentic messaging. Be honest with your customers and tell them like it is. As in our personal relationships, people connect when they feel that they are being treated with integrity.

In order to build loyal customers, you must establish relationships based on trust and confidence. This takes intentional effort. Make the investment and reap benefits far beyond a one-time sale.

Assess Your Approach

Does your marketing approach include these three components – focus on long-term connection, responsiveness and honesty? Now is a great time to reset your marketing approach to capitalize on the benefits of relationship marketing.

If you need help assessing your efforts and developing the right strategic marketing plan, contact me today!

3 Keys to Collect the Cash and Keep Your Business Profitable

Guest Post by Dee Bowden, Business Revenue Specialist

Charging into the last Quarter for 2022, what plan is your business taking to collect those outstanding accounts receivables?  Here are my 3 Keys to Collect the Cash.

1st Impact/Key is to teach that business to business collections involves three components: problem solving, extending customer service, and expressing gratitude.

This busts the myth of how collections in the B2B business space are seen and done. Another concept is bringing faith and gratitude to the workplace. It is a different approach but one that has worked successfully for me.

2nd Impact/Key is to convey to business owners that they can fall prey to thinking that all their customers will pay in a timely manner and what they promised to pay.

The fortune is in the follow-up. They do not want to rock the boat with the customer by asking for the payment. However, I believe that if the product/service was provided in good faith and the work was done as agreed upon, then payment should be processed when the invoice is submitted. Tracking invoices from 0-30, 31-60, 61-90, and 91 days and over is necessary because that invoice may age without ever being paid. If an invoice slips from 30 to, say, 60 days out, then it really is time to get on the phone and follow up on your money.

3rd Impact/Key is to make sure business owners know that the faster they can convert inventory of products to sales to cash in your bank account, the better off your small business will be.

Cash flow refers to the movement of funds in and out of your business. That’s why when I consult with small businesses, I focus on the importance of good cash flow management. If it is managed poorly, you can lose your profits and run the risk of having to shut your doors. Having had that experience personally, I know it to be true.

These Impacts/Keys come from my personal experience working with small and medium size companies. I share a short snippet of my story below:

I worked for a small IT firm outside of Boston where I am from. I was a part-time collections specialist tasked with recovering $8 million in outstanding invoices for sales that were on the books but not in the bank! No one at the company followed up on collecting any of the payments for these sales.

I learned how important it is to follow up on outstanding accounts receivables and to maintain good tracking systems for payments. As a business owner going into the last quarter of 2022, now is the perfect opportunity to review all your accounts and make sure there isn’t money left uncollected.

Remember Collect the Cash! The sale is not complete until the money is in the bank! To learn more, visit http://www.collectthecash.biz/book.