Friday, January 19, 2007

Fear of Public Speaking - Get Rid of the Fear

The chances are fairly high that most of you already know that public speaking or giving a presentation in front of a group is the Number One fear in the US.

Your presentation skills are an important part of you career path.

To take you career to the next level, you need to overcome that fear. You need to master the art and skill of speaking to others.

I'm a "Whys Guy."

Let me tell you "why" so many people fear speaking in front of a group.

I believe this fear started at a very early age. What do parents tell their children?

"Children should be seen and ..."

"Speak when ..."

"If I want your opinion, ..."

From an early age we've been taught that, "... is golden."

Then, when we entered the school system, we met classmates who make fun of us if we gave wrong answers.

Even worse, we faced teachers who chided us for not answering fast enough and ridiculed us for wrong answers.

All this negativity added up to a reluctance to offer answers or become involved in class discussions. This traveled with us through our formal education and became a handicap in the business world.

Do you offer comments or questions in meetings? For years, I kept my mouth shut in business meetings for fear I might "make a fool of myself."

Then I started to realize that what I was thinking or the questions I wanted to ask could have proven valuable in the discussion.

So, I started to contribute my thoughts and feelings at meetings.

Guess what? They were welcomed and sometimes actually acted upon. Not always. But if I never spoke up, none of my ideas would become known.

If you have ever experienced similar feelings, you are not alone. You are good people with good ideas. Let your ideas or questions be known.

And, lose your fear of speaking in front of a group or giving a presentation.

My friend, Mike McKinley's father used to tell him, "Nobody knows your script."

That's true. No one is going to know you made a "mistake" except you.

Think about it this way.

If your are giving a presentation, the chances are very high the people that attend your presentation are there because they are interested in you or your topic.

So, get rid of your fear. Welcome and even look for opportunities to speak in public or at meeting.

Watch your confidence and career grow.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007

The Next E-mail You Send Could Cost You Dearly!

Carelessness, emotional excess, and haste can result in e-mail disaster.

One town official learned this lesson the hard way. Check out this series of events.

On June 30, my wife e-mailed this municipal official with a request to have the town perform a specific service that was under his area of responsibility.

She received a prompt e-mail response that someone from his department would look into the situation.

On August 9, after not hearing from anyone in the town about the situation, my wife sent a second request for someone to review the situation. Again, she promptly received a promise from the official to check into the matter.

On August 25, after speaking with the official, she sent him a reminder e-mail as he had requested.

Again, on the same day, she received a response indicating the official understood the situation and would direct someone from his department to take care of it.

On September 20, concerned that the service had not yet been performed by the town, my wife sent another reminder e-mail to the official. With winter coming, the situation could get worse.

On that same day, my wife received the following response.

“Rudy, shoot me! Please put this pain in the ass on the schedule. Thanks”

Because this article focuses on e-mail etiquette and the proper use of e-mail, I will not go into the series of classical managerial blunders this official committed as a result of the above message.

My wife received the last e-mail because the city official hit “Reply,” which meant my wife got the message, not the municipal employee for whom the e-mail was intended.


Before hitting the "Send" button, check your emotional temperature. If you're angry, frustrated, upset, or ready to explode, walk away from your computer.

After you create an e-mail that displays any emotion, save it, and look at it 24 hours later.

The chances are that 24 hours later you will probably revise your message.

Your image, your job, and maybe your career are riding on your communication skills.

The next e-mail you send could cost you dearly!