“It was uncomfortable, so I stopped.”
There are situations in which this is absolutely the right decision. On a date with someone who’s creeping you out? Listen to that discomfort and get out of there. Realize you’ve started a fight with your partner right when other people are coming into the room with you? Put on the brakes and save the situation.
But there are other times when “discomfort” is the perfect signal that we are making progress, that something is difficult and unfamiliar because it’s new. Discomfort rears its head when I’m practicing a new presentation or speech; I’d rather be doing something familiar and easy. Discomfort shows up in a tough work-out, when maybe I’d like to just quit and not feel out of breath and muscle pain. Discomfort is resistance–it keeps us from getting better, from trying harder, from standing out.
The big game is on the line, and it’s come down to two free throws. The basketball player bounces the ball, looks up at the basket. What is going through her head?
Is it “I have to make these two shots for my parents who sacrificed everything for me to be able to play this sport” ??
Or is it nothing but “Bounce, look, set my feet, shoot” ?
We don’t know, of course. But for her to be successful, I think the answer has to be the second one.
It can seem like a good idea to remind yourself (or your team) of what is at stake, of how hard you worked to get here, what was spent or sacrificed, to psych yourself up to perform. But then that’s what you’re thinking about—not about what you have to do.
You get in your own head, and it’s way harder to focus on the mechanics of the task.
The Ignite CSP team has been on the hunt for some specific software recently, and that led us to a recorded webinar that promised to fill us in on the benefits of one potential solution.
The format of the webinar was the host interviewing the person whose product it was. We tuned in, hoping this interview would give us exactly the answers we are looking for.
Instead, the host wasted time setting up the conversation, talking about how long he and the other guy had known each other and where they met, and providing the credentials of the guest–for nearly nine minutes. This is a prime example of forgetting what something is for—the only reason to create this webinar is to passively and proactively answer the questions of buyers.
Do buyers care how long you’ve known each other?
Do buyers need to know where you met?
Do buyers want a nine minute wind-up to the (one hour) pitch?
No, no, and no.
If I met you in person and were chatting, I’d love to know how you met your old buddy. But in the middle of my workday, when moments are precious, you are forgetting the number one rule: how can I serve my audience?
It’s natural to be nervous in a high-stakes situation. Our adrenaline goes nuts, the butterflies start flapping, and the next thing you know we’ve got full-on flop sweat (or maybe that’s just me.)
Ignite CSP senior coach Vivian Smith talks you through creating relaxed readiness–acknowledging your nerves but staying available to the situation you’re in.
This is one of my favorite misleading phrases. It’s rarely followed by a description of something truly simple and uncomplicated, like “pick the socks up off the floor.” No, typically “All I’ve got to do” is the precursor to a general summary of an activity the speaker sees as easy, but that contains multiple stages and steps, lots of which are hard to know about until you’re in it.
I’ll give you an example. I was talking with a friend recently who’s going to start a series of live webinars. She’s excited about her idea, which is to interview various guests around a single topic. So far so good. “All I’ve gotta do is line up the first few guests, and we’ll just talk.”
Hmmmm. Yes and no. Here are some questions I’d like her to think about before she presses “record”—
It’s easy to start something. We all have the technology. What’s harder is to choose the standard you’d like to set; to be explicit about how you will serve your audience.
My team and I had a video call this week, and on the screen looking back at us was Felicia, a member of a sales team for a software product we’re considering.
Felicia was knowledgable, and she answered our questions and anticipated ones we didn’t know to ask. The product itself seems fine, if maybe not exactly what we need.
But here is what we remember about Felicia.
She conducted the call on her couch, which swallowed her up and put the web cam at a strange angle to her face. We could see her personal things scattered on the top of the couch.
She touched her face often, brushing hair out of her eyes and scratching her nose. In addition, she was a bit too close to the camera, giving us the feeling that we had stepped into her personal space.
Some tips to remember when you’re preparing for a business-related video call:
* It’s great to work from home, but it can feel too much like your home to the person calling in. Prep your space to reflect your professionalism.
* Check out the space behind you. Is there an open door that shows your bathroom? A throw on the couch that seems like you may have just emerged from underneath it? A lamp whose light dominates your screen?
* Test the ideal height for your screen. Propped on your lap is not a good height.
* Sit in a way that gives you some distance from your camera. We’d like to be able to see you from about the middle of your chest, or perhaps shoulders up.
* Try not to touch your face or hair.
Go forth and video chat!
There are risks in being a great speaker. The standard for what we generally see is so low that we have accepted mediocre-to-poor speakers and presenters as the norm.