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This business coaching episode is about exercising strong and confident communication skills.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Jargonization Translation: Process Engineering: The branch of engineering that is concerned with industrial processes, especially continuous ones such as the production of petrochemicals.
  • Ask Yourself: Why am I speaking to this group and how does it matter?
  • Lesson Nugget: Make sure you know who you are speaking with and why you are speaking with them so you can feel more genuine and appear more natural.
  • Lesson Nugget: Be honest with who you are while you are on stage. Being yourself will make you more genuine.

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-Well, you notice when-- when you asked me that question, I immediately started expanding into all the things I'd like to know about in order to design that speech. I was once called by an engineering company and these were process engineers.


-Yeah, OK, so these are highly sophisticated, linear, and systematic thinkers. And they said, we'd like you to work our company-- our convention theme into your speech. And I said, OK, my speech is on relationships and relationship strategies for dealing with different types of people. What's your theme? She said, optimization and application in process control.

-Well, it's easy. Rolls off the tongue.

-Yeah, and I just-- I just sat there in a fog and I thought, whoa.


-And then, I started reflecting. OK, why am I speaking to this group? How does it matter? OK. What does it mean to optimize, to make it the best but not the most, necessarily? OK, good. Application-- what does that mean? It means to use it, to apply it, to-- OK. Process control-- process-- well, that's a system or sequence. Control means being able to manage it. OK, that's it. I got it.


-And she said, well, fine. So she introduced me. She went to the back of the room. I'm up at the front of the room. I said, thank you very much for that introduction. My topic today is relationship strategies. And I'm not going to talk just about relationships in the philosophical context or strategies in a-- in a tactical fashion. I'm going to talk about, how do you optimize your connection with another person? How do you-- and we're not going to talk theory. We're going to talk to use. We're talking application here, OK? So how do you do that?

And when you think about a relationship, actually, a relationship is a process. It's a-- it's a back and forth and it has a lot of identifiable moving parts. And what you want to do is have the consciousness and the spirit to be able to control that in ways that gets the outcome you want. So really, what we're talking about here is optimization and application in process control. And she's going--


in the back of the room.

-That's awesome. That deserves a boom.

-Thank heavens I was able to think it up, you know, on the spot, but I was definitely nervous before I came to that realization.

-So let me--

-but notice how I had to think in order to find that. I didn't just make up some silly little poem, you know?

CLAY CLARK: Yeah. Well, let me-- let me ask you this. If I want to look more natural on stage, I want to feel more natural, obviously, we know the more you speak, the more you'll get more natural, just like you get better-- the more you do anything, the more natural--

-but the natural starts in here, not out here.

-So you're saying step-- step one, an action item we need to do is make sure you know who you're speaking to and why you're speaking. If you want to appear genuine and you want to look more natural, you have to do that.

-Yeah and tell the truth.

-Tell the truth on Thriv15.com,

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JIM CATHCART: You know, if someone introduces-- forget the speech class things and think, this is not about getting an A. It's about getting across, you know, getting the message across. So when you get up there, be you. Smile and look at them. You know, what I do when I first walk on the stage is I grin and look at the audience and I say, good morning, or whatever, you know, the appropriate greeting is.

CLAY CLARK: Oh, yeah.

-And one time, I was addressing an international audience and I said-- now several languages and countries represented-- I said, good morning. And a few of them said, good morning. And I said, Guten Morgen, Guten Morgen, you know--


you know, ni hao--


you know? And I said, and in my native tongue, hey, how y'all doing? I said I'm from Arkansas, southern part of the USA. And they all laughed and I started into my speech. And it was just a fun way-- you know, now, I couldn't have done that had I not talked with the people and said, how do you pronounce this? Does that mean "good morning?"


-Would it be appropriate to say that at this time of morning or should I use a different greeting, like "good day," you know? And so I had a list and I carried it around in my pocket. And for about a half a day, I was practicing that. And then, I used it and had a lot of fun with them and then went right into my speech.

-There was a guy who I saw-- it was a CEO who recently gave a talk. It was phenomenal. And he is not charismatic. And he got up and he said, hey, today's talk, we're going to talk about such and such. I'm the least charismatic person I've ever been around and I talk slow. So what I've done is I've come up with some little things to keep me entertained, hopefully keep you entertained. And he kind of owned the fact that he's not charismatic and he's not-- but the audience kind of laughed with him, not at him. And as the talk went on, he-- he said, and this is where typically a charismatic speaker would say this, so I'm going to-- and he just had fun with it. But he was natural. He was genuine. He was sincere.


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: Making fun of yourself in a lighthearted way is acceptable in public speaking, but do not say negative things about yourself in a way to lower expectations or make excuses to your audience.
  • Keys to Confident Communication: Structuring Your Speech Properly
  • Notable Quotable: "Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel." Ralph Waldo Emerson (Led the Transcendentalist movement)
  • Lesson Nugget: One purpose of public speaking is to get the audience to take action to improve their lives in a compelling way

-Now I want to ask you this because-- -Well, hang on a second. I want to-- -Yeah, sure. ---make sure to comment on that-- -Yeah, go for it. ---exactly. A lot of people think, OK, if I'm nervous, I should talk about being nervous. If I'm not a good speaker, I should admit that I'm not a good speaker. No, we're going to know. Trust me. Talking about it, making excuses for it, whining, or I'm not worthy, I don't belong up here, you shouldn't listen to me, I'm scum, and you're good-- -That's not a good thing to do. ---that's just basically disenfranchising your audience. What he was doing was very strategic. And he was surgical in the way that he went about it, and it worked. OK? But you shouldn't be making excuses. Like oh, man. I just got here at the last minute. I didn't have time to prepare. And I don't know who you people are, but I'm sure you're important to yourselves. And so I'm going to give you my stuff. And then you just pay me. And I'll get out of your way. No. -So self-debrecation is OK as an intentional move, making fun of yourself, having some fun with that. But bringing down the expectations of the audience and apologizing for being poorly-- -Horrible. ---prepared is bad. -Yeah. -Now moving on to the second question Thrivers are asking us a lot. They're saying, how should somebody properly structure a speech? That's a big question. How do you properly structure the speech? -Lots of ways to do it, but the basic idea is here's why I'm talking to you today. Here are the main points of it. Here's a story or illustration to drive home each point. And in summary, here's what I just told you. Thank you. See you tomorrow. -So let's do that again. Here's why I'm talking today. Then the next is the main-- -Now then here's why I'm talking today is here's why you should listen to me. -Here's why you should listen to me. OK. -But you don't want to say that. Here's what I'm talking about today. Here's why I'm here. They asked me to be here, because this subject is what we're going-- -Here's why it matters to you. ---to talk about. -Here's what we're getting into. -So you're selling the topic, not you. -Then you have the main points. This is what we're going to talk about. -And it should be a few points, not a lot of points. -OK. -Because the more points it is, the more it needs to become a workshop or a seminar and have handouts and have exercises to keep them involved. And it just-- the longer it goes, the more the dynamics and expectations change. -And then as you go from main points, then we go-- OK, we say these are the main points. Then you want to have a story or an illustration with each main point to-- you know. And then you want to go ahead and conclude and tell them what you told them? -Yep. -OK. -And that's the old tell them what you're going to tell them. Tell it to them, and then tell them what you told them. -OK. -Or attention, interest, desire, and action, which is the old sales AIDA. Grab their attention with some point or some reason for being there. Develop their interest by telling them what this means to you is. And that's a good phrase, what this means to you is. And then you're forced to illustrate. And then stimulate the desire to act. We need to take action on this now, because-- and then join me in taking the first action. Get out your pen. Let's write this-- you know, whatever. -Now, Ralph Waldo Emerson, he said the quote, he says, "Speech is power. Speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel." What you're doing as a speaker who's spoke at thousands of events is you are-- I want to make sure we're getting this-- converting. You're compelling. You're getting the audience to take action in a meaningful way to improve their life, it seems like. When you're-- -And a lot of times I am. But there are so many different reasons for a speech, purposes for it. So it'll be a different answer on some of those. -Let's go ahead and break those off real quick though, because-- I'll just give you an example. I get asked all the time to do workshops. Can you give a talk, they say? Sure. So I'm here to give a workshop. I'm here to teach. I teach search engine optimization, or PR, or a skill. I'm teaching a skill. Keynotes-- I'm going to kill my keynote career here-- but I don't like keynotes. I don't want to do keynotes personally. Because I'm more of like getting into the details and the fastidious how to do of something. -I love keynotes, by the way. So we'll make a package. -We won't take all the-- awesome. -There you go. -But the thing is I enjoy watching a keynote, because there's a magic to it. I enjoy watching that-- -Well, it's a performance. -It is. -See a keynote's a performance. Whereas a seminar or a workshop is training or a learning experience. And if you look at it in the terms of-- a keynote would be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, let's say, in length. And it's one way. It's me talking to the audience. It's not much audience involvement. There might be a raise your hand if you're from the western region kind of a interaction. But that's all. Then you go to like a two or three hour session, that's a seminar. And the seminar is me teaching, and you asking questions, and me giving you a few exercises to do that are simple and short. And with a seminar, I probably have a handout. But it's not a handout we're going to work in. It's one you're going to take home. So maybe it's a copy of my book, or it's something like that.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Jargonization Translation: Platform Time - The time spent actually public speaking and training, not just time spent at the conference.
  • Lesson Nugget: A workshop is intended to train the group you are speaking with and is more interactive than a motivational keynote speech,.
  • Action Step: Always clarify the format of the speech you are giving with the event planner such as a workshop, a seminar, or a keynote speech.
  • Keys to Confident Communication: Making Sure Your Onsite Preparation Has Been Done Properly
  • Lesson Nugget: When onsite preparation and all the tools you need for your speaking event have been executed properly, it allows you as a speaker to only focus on the message and the audience.
  • Action Step: Let the event planner know you are in town.

-A workshop could be an all day program. -All day. -It could be six hours long of classroom time. Typically what I do is I tell my clients these are the ways that my fees are structured for a keynote speech, a seminar, or a workshop. And it's up to 90 minutes for keynote-- 90 would be a really long keynote-- up to three hours for a seminar, and up to six hours of platform time. And platform time specifically, so you're not counting breaks and things like that. For a workshop-- now what's a workshop? A workshop is exactly what it says, work. Meaning they're going to do things. -Write stuff down. -So it's more involving. -Interacting. -Yeah, get in groups of three and talk, work this exercise, do a case study among your group. And then come back together and report. So that kind of thing. -I think when people go online, or they call your agent, or they book you, what they're doing though is they're planning an event. And you do this as a career. So I think as a speaker-- everybody watching this who wants to become a speaker or you are speaker-- you really have to educate the event planner by presenting to them the options. So a lot of times I'll say-- -Well you're teaching them how to buy. -Yeah, you say, you know, do you want to do a keynote, a workshop? Or do you want a facilitator? Are you doing a seminar? And they'll go I don't even know there was options. What's the difference? And you really have to clarify who you're speaking to, why you're speaking. And then I would just say you have to clarify what kind of format. -On my own website, cathcart.com, I've got a whole section just for meeting planners. And it's one button you click. And then there's a whole menu items that are all about every element like that that would constitute one of the moving parts of the meeting that somebody might ask about. -Now this is where the-- this next point, this next question, Thrivers ask a lot about. They said what about onsite preparation? So this third area we're going to tackle is the onsite preparation. Now I want to share a story of what not to do. I recently did an event at an ambiguous location somewhere. I won't mention the name, the place, the people. But the point is I was doing it. And I get there, and the people were awesome people. And I asked ahead of time-- I have a checklist, audio, visual, diva stuff, audio, visual. Are we in a room that has electricity? These little things are the little things I want to get into. -So get M&Ms and have all the red ones removed. -There you go, yeah. So I'm going through all the details. And I get through this. And as I'm going through, I get there and I realize the guy says, well-- it's about 10 minutes before I get up-- hey, do you know how to turn this speaker on, he says to me. And I say, well yeah, as a recovering DJ, I definitely can help you. Well, he doesn't have the cables. He doesn't have the cords. He doesn't have the cable. It's an audience of about 250. And there's no audio, period. And then he says, I've got an idea. So he grabs one of those terrible like karaoke things that you buy like maybe like a sixth grader, with the mic. So it's like [INAUDIBLE]. And So I'm trying to talk, and I'm just testing it. And it's like mic check [INAUDIBLE]. And I'm just going homes, I'm just going to go without. So I had to change. Well when I did that though, luckily I've done thousands of events. But it messes with your psyche-- -Yes it does. ---when you're thinking about all this stuff. -Yeah, you're thinking about the audience and your message. And then someone says, do you really need a microphone? -Yeah. -And the answer is of course no, I don't need a microphone. -They go ahh. And I said, but I'm going to hear it all. If you want them to hear it, they need me to have a microphone. -And this is where I want to get into it with you, because I want to set the stage for this. Because I've had events early on in my speaking career where they said, just don't stand here. And here is like right where you want to stand. -I know. -Because oh, the stage, it doesn't-- just don't stand here. Or there's the one where the guy says, hey, just so you know, I know it's a 45. But you only have 14 minutes. You have 14 minutes. It's a 45 minute talk, but you just have 14 minutes left. -This is my life. -There we go. -That's very familiar. -And so I just want to make sure as we're getting into this-- -Or hey, don't step back while you're speaking, because the pool is right behind you. And we didn't have a meeting room. So we're meeting on the edge of the pool. And we had to arrange it so that where you're standing is right by the diving board. And if you step back, you're going in the pool, so be careful. -Just be careful. And I want to say-- -And what do pools sound like? Whaa, whaa, whaa, whaa, whaa, whaa. -Well, I want to mention this because-- I want to mention all this, because I don't people to get the idea that Jim, or you, or other top level speakers are divas. You're not. It's just these are things we need to get in-- -Some of us are. Well, it could happen, a little divaness. -Well, all I'm saying is you want to do a great job to impact the audience. -Right. -So go through, and just rattle off some of the pre-event onsite preparation that needs to happen. -Well first thing, you've got a responsibility to the person who's bringing you there, the meeting planner, the event planner, the chair, the host, whoever it is. They're worried about the whole meeting. They're worried about the catering. They're worried about the attendees, the hotel check. They're worried about the transportation. They're worried about the room decor. They've got the sound guy to work with. They've got everything in the world going on. The last thing they need is a high maintenance speaker. -Right. -So your job is to make their job easier. -Make their job easier. -Job number one, let them know you're in town. So they can go, ahh, I don't have to find a replacement. Good, our keynote speaker is in town. Or I'm in the hotel. I let them know the minute my plane lands or the minute I get to the hotel. So that they can relax a little bit. The keynote speaker's here.

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