Friday, March 07, 2008

An update on the east coast broker and a DECISION

Well, clearly everyone's standards are different.

I got an email from the broker whose webinar I thought I had bungled on Wednesday, saying that he thought I did a good job. In addition, after viewing the competitor's product on Wednesday, he still called yesterday to request a quote from us. Yay! We may still not win the game but at least we've got a couple more strikes left to get around the bases!

All of this had made me think about something I've mentally toyed with for a while - getting more practice and learning more about presentations and public speaking.

In the past 5 years I've had plenty of opportunities to put myself 'out there' with public speaking but, since I've taken this work-from-home job, I do spend much of my time mute and 'speaking' through the computer (I don't think yelling down the stairs "Shut up!" to my dogs counts).

Over the years I know that I've lost most of the paralyzing fear I used to have about speaking in public but it's still not my strongest skill. I've tried to take workshops to help me develop my presentation/speaking toolkit but have generally found that I have, at best, been closed-off to their methods (usually because I went to them when I was feeling bad about myself and convinced there was no way I was going to be good at this) and anyway unable to find a forum to consistently practice what I had learned.

Strangely, this morning, as I was preparing to write this post, I found that something had moved for me. Instead of thinking about myself as a naturally bad presenter who hated presenting and needed to learn how to get profficient at best, I found myself thinking that it would be fun (yes, this is the key word here - fun) to get more opportunities to practice and become a really good presenter. Suddenly I felt that, not only was I open to acquiring some new tips-and-tricks, but I was willing to and excited about the prospect of take advice and coaching to get there.

This latter comment is pretty big for me. Usually when I am not good at something and I know I need to get better, I embark upon a pretty solitary process of learning. I buy books, I attend classes and workshops, I take mental notes as I watch people I don't know do the 'thing' I'm trying to do (either well or poorly - both equally as helpful.) But what I have a ego-based, pride-based barrier to is receiving coaching and advice from someone I know. I'll try everything else before asking someone I know to help me.

It's not admitting that I'm not good at something - I'm real open about that - it's allowing myself to be laid open enough to someone whose opinion matters to me (someone I know) that will enable not only the giving of advice but, more importantly, the receiving. (At least I know this. I guess it could be worse.)

I realized this was true for me when the thought occurred to me that I should ask my boss (who is an accomplished speaker/salesperson/presenter) to help me get better with this and I didn't get that tightness in my chest that usually indicates a mental/emotional barrier.

So, while I did go online and purchase a book recommended by the American Management Association today (Speak to Win), I also plan to send my boss an email and ask her if she can help me grow in this specific way. My goals? Present with purpose, with confidence, and develop a rapport with the audience.

I feel good about this.

Yay! A positive post!


Mala said...

Very proud of you. I know you will only get better and your 'boss' will be very helpful. Can't wait to see you.

e said...

That's awesome, this will be great fun! And I acknowledge you for this breakthrough - being coachable is a gift, it's what will have you move beyond what you think you are capable of. After all, if you look at all the greats in sports and in life, they have coaches in some form or other. Olympic champions have coaches. It's a great idea.

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