Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Ready - Set - Jump

A Flying Finch
What a beautiful fall it has been. Once again, the Northeast has been alive with a vivid array of colors, both on the ground and in the air. I’ve always loved watching clouds.
As a Keynote speaker and presenter, I’ve flown over the tops of the clouds many times. I’d look out at those big fluffy puffy clouds and imagine what it would be like to be in them. They just looked so soft and inviting.

After years of hearing me talk about clouds, my husband surprised me with a gift certificate to go skydiving. Since I am beyond young and daring, I did a tandem jump and was completely hooked. I trusted my guide, so it was nothing but exhilarating and exciting when we stepped out of the plane,leaping into the air. We went into free fall at about 120 miles per hour, feeling the impact of both gravity and the wind. As soon as the rip cord was pulled, everything changed. It was quiet, and I had time to marvel at the landscape below, brimming with color and beauty. The whole experience reinforced my love of nature and life, but it also reminded me how different our views of an experience can be. When I told people what I’d done, many said, “I could never do that.” But what’s fearful to you may not be fearful to me, and vice-versa. 
It’s been proven that the number one fear is Public Speaking—not skydiving. The number two fear is meeting strangers. Maybe that’s because we were taught not to talk to strangers when we were growing up. For speakers, that means conquering the two biggest fears known to man—at the same time! Before my jump, I learned that proper preparation is the only way
you can jump with confidence. If you don’t prepare well, it truly is like jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Likewise, taking the time to properly prepare for your speech will increase the confidence you need to jump on stage.

It starts with a proper pre-assessment of your audience. Reach out to your event contact and ask for an introduction to 2 or 3 members of the audience so you can contact them ahead of time. Getting an idea of their expectations will reduce the fear of jumping into a new experience with an unknown group of people. Prior to the event, schedule a few minutes to stand on the platform you will be speaking from. Without the audience there, you will be able to get comfortable with the space you have to work with. Some speakers prefer quiet time before they speak, while others enjoy connecting with attendees, event planning staff, and other speakers before they take the stage. People always feel privileged to meet the speaker ahead of time. As a speaker, the more connection you have with your audience beforehand, the more likely you are to feel comfortable and confident when you stand in front of them.

One must be clear, precise, and active when  jumping out of a plane. Make sure you are clear, concise, and active during your speech. Make sure you have command over the ideas, knowledge, insights, and wisdom you will be sharing. It is a choice. You can let your fears interfere with your ability to jump onto your platform, or you can confidently prepare yourself to jump with both feet. When you chose preparation, you’ll experience that rush of adrenaline and feel free as a bird. 
Carolyn Finch is the CEO of Electrific Solutions Inc, the author of Oops! Your Body Language is Showing! and Universal HandTalk, and is a Body Language expert. You can email her at carolyn@carolynfinch.com or bodylanguagexpert@gmail.com. You can also stop by www.carolynfinch.com.

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