A line I heard Vitoria Washington say this summer will not leave my head.
You don’t heal your money wounds by staying broke. You heal your money wounds by making money and then dealing with what comes up.
I’m paraphrasing because I didn’t write it down, but damn if that ain’t the truth.
Likewise, You will not gain more confidence, get more comfortable, or become more vulnerable by not putting out content. You gain confidence by posting content and working through what happens.
The great news is, it’s far easier to hit post 100 times this year than it is to make a ton of money. Hitting post is completely in your control.
If you don’t post because you’re afraid of being judged, how will you ever work through that fear by not posting?
I’ll let you in a little secret.
You’ll never not care what people think of you. Ever.
That’s not the goal.
You might stop caring what your brother thinks.
You might stop caring what your college friends think.
You might stop caring what your mentor thinks.
That’s a good thing because it means your growing and evolving.
But you’ll aways care about what someone thinks of you.
The real goal is to identify whose judgement you’re worried about, love the part of you who wants to be accepted by that person, and smile as you take bold action anyway.
Today’s post is about presenting you and your voice on camera and doing it extremely effectively.
I don’t care if you’re James Clear who only ever posts carousels on Instagram and you have found that your best medium for creation is writing… you still want to speak at conferences, on podcasts and I bet… connect deeply with others outside your business.
While I believe everything is a story, I also believe this goes beyond storytelling.
This greatly affects your ability to see others and be seen by others. To hold space for people when feelings are high and emotions are intense.
Last week I shared 2 stories with you to explain the importance of MOMENTS over THE BIG STORY and then we broke down the 6 step strategy to uncover unforgettable stories.
Below I have recorded myself telling the 2 stories. They are not memorized. The attempt is to make them around the same length and to present those stories as genuinely as I possibly can.
The Big Story
The Meatball Shop
🧃 Here are the 5 ways you can improve your speaking presentation (and space holding) abilities.
A lot of them work together as you will see.
This is how fast or slow I speak.
I can speak many sentences really fast altogether and it can give off the feeling of anxiety and hurriedness. I can speak many sentences very slow and you may find yourself leaning in, paying closer attention.
You can also mix speeds by building fast paced momentum in your story and at a moments notice mid sentence slow down…. for…. dramatic…. effect.
Video 1: I don’t really have time for pacing. I’m feeling rushed in trying to deliver this BIG long story that is filled with so much detail quickly. Even though this was 10 year journey, with a lot of pain and struggle, you get no sense of that as I rattle off all these events.
Video 2: I have time to slow down. To take a breath at the same moment I took a break when I was talking to my dad. It allows you to feel the weight of the moment.
You can shout and you can whisper and you can fall somewhere in between.
You can raise or lower your voice to emphasize almost any emotion.
For example it could be effective to shout your excitement – I CAN’T WAIT!! and it’s probably less effective to whisper your excitement, but not impossible.
Likewise you can shout frustration – I CAN’T STAND YOU!! or you can just as effectively whisper it under your breath.
The choice is your storyteller.
Note: If you transition from loud and then get soft (and slow down), people can’t help but to lean in. When you get quieter and slow down, the words actually seem more important.
Video 1: It was hard to really get into the moment. When I finished my bike ride across America, that deserves to be celebrated. But in a rush, I didn’t have time to get excited. I have 2 more years of my life to share with you and (again) I’m rushing to get to the big moment where I quit engineering!
Video 2: Notice how the entire story is quieter. This moment means a lot to me. It would be weird to brush by it in a loud nonchalant voice.
- Tone and Pitch
Imagine me saying sternly, “I won’t stand for it.”
or saying it as a question, “I won’t stand for it?”
Same sentence, different feeling.
If you add speed and volume to the sentence above, notice how it changes.
Slow and Loud, “I! WON’T! STAND FOR IT!”
You may have noticed as you read that in your head your pitch change and volume raise and you got to “stand for it”
I can really feel you taking a stand.
What about slow and quiet, “I… won’t… stand for it.”
or “I…. won’t… stand for it?”
The first sounds tired. Like you’ve had this conversation many times.
The question mark doesn’t really make sense with this sentence. I am having trouble placing the feelings behind this.
Your tone matters.
Video 1: There is tone and pitch here, but not as much as there could or should be. As I continue to state, in feeling rushed to tell the story keeps my voice stays at relatively one even level.
Video 2: There are bigger changes in tone and pitch throughout this story. Even a small emphasis on words like “focused” at 2:54 in the sentence “I kept my eyes focused on that piece of gum.” It brings a feeling of intensity to my focus which stresses just how nervous I was.
Pausing builds suspense. You can hear it in movies right before a major decision is made—everything is still and nobody is saying a word. A timely pause can keep your audience at the edge of their seat with their eyes and ears glued to your next statement.
Video 1: Not a ton of intentional pauses except for when I’m trying to remember the next part of the story (and desperately trying to figure out what to skip over so the story isn’t 20 minutes long).
Video 2: There are plenty of pauses and most are intentional. Actually, I would have loved a longer pause before telling you how my dad responded. Since this is the climax of the story (like a movie), I could have said, “Then my dad said….” with a long pause and I would have smiled and nodded at you with a hopeful face as the tears begin to pool in my eyes… Then dropped his line of approval.
70-93% of communication is nonverbal. You can get a lot across without even using words.
Pump out your chest and lift your chin to show authority, confidence, excitement.
Roll your shoulders and slump your head to show fear, nervousness, anxiety.
You can do a lot with your face too. We all know what faces to make to express an emotion. Use them.
Your hands and arms can be used to show so many things.
Don’t just say you were victorious, raise your arms in celebration.
Don’t just say you were cold, cross your arms and shiver.
Don’t just say you were nervous, run your hand through your hair as you twist your mouth and crunch your nose.
Video 1: It’s hard for me NOT to be expressive. Ideally I would have celebrated my monumental life changing bike ride across America a little more and even raising my arms victoriously. But as I’ve said… no time!
Video 2: I’m wringing my hands the whole time to show nerves. Watch at 1:13 as my head slumps when I say I was worried that I wouldn’t be supported in pursuing a life I love. Watch at 1:49 as I crunch my eyes and place my fingers on my temple as I say, “I can’t even focus.” Finally at 3:20 when I lean in closer to the camera because it’s the most important part of the story.
Practice implementing each one of these one at a time. It’s likely you may already do some of these naturally. Especially if you allow yourself to get into the story. The more you practice these you can begin to add them all together and soon it all becomes a naturally part of storytelling.
Like in the 2nd video I slump my shoulders forward (5) while I lower my voice (2) and slow my speech down (1) while change the tone and pitch of each word (3).
Final Notes on Presentation:
1️⃣ The worse thing you can do is to do none of this and speak in a monotone unchanging voice that gives the sense that you don’t give a shit. Unless of course, the goal is to present a feeling of disconnect, then this would be a great tactic.
2️⃣ The big tip here is that when you tell your big story (or whenever you rush through a story) its hard to do any of this and it leaves a far less emotional impact on your viewer. As we discussed last week emotion is everything when telling a story.
3️⃣ I mentioned last week, “If you want to tell better stories, read (listen to) and write (tell) stories.”
I will also say, if you want to be a great speaker, watch great speakers. They do all these things. You can check out a playlist of the most popular TED Talks. They tell stories. They create emotion from the crowd. They don’t need say MORE and give you all the facts. They never rush. They give the audience space to listen and feel.
4️⃣ Remember that this is a practice. Great storytellers practice their craft. Every person on the TED stage has rehearsed their speech over and over so they can nail it.
Try it with your friends.
Next time someone asks you your favorite color, don’t tell them it’s green. Take them back to your backyard in Connecticut where you play under the giant maple and oak trees. Where you can smell the grass stains on your knees. Where you learned how to play baseball and bond deeply with your brother.
On your next networking call, you can give the same boring intro as everyone else. Or you can share with them what life used to be like for you and why your work is so important to you now.
Humans are natural storytellers. If you simply allow yourself the space to FEEL the story you’re telling, you will crush this.
Storytellers are remembered because when they open up, they give others a chance to feel and be seen. Be the one who opens up.