Monday, December 5, 2011

Thanks to Joel

Joel’s coaching has made an enormous difference in my public speaking.  Thanks to Joel, I’m much more comfortable in front of a large audience,  and my feedback ratings have greatly improved. 

Thank you, Joel, – you’re the best!

Richard Cohen
Managing Director
Benco Dental Co                

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Anthony Robles, Champion Wrestler to Champion Speaker, in 37 Days

Just in case you've been held hostage on an alien spacecraft or you've been locked in a bunker at some government facility, and somehow you've missed this story of overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, here it is:

Anthony Robles was born with only one leg. No right leg and no right hip. His mother was only 16 when she had him.  She raised him with the firm conviction that he would always have the ability to do whatever he decided to do--without limitations. And that's what he has done!

Now keep in mind that, according to experts, wrestling requires more strength, agility, balance and flexibility than any other sport. And to be able to wrestle with only one leg is pretty amazing.

But to win the NCAA National Championship is beyond amazing! 
That is the story that has captured America's attention. And what Anthony does as a speaker that's so outstanding is that he uses his wrestling achievements as a metaphor for life.
"We all wrestle with something!" he says. 
He explains his missing leg as just an "obstacle" he had to overcome along the way, just as his listeners have their own obstacles--the loss of a job, an illness, lack of education, a financial setback or a personal relationship challenge. 

His talk is titled:  "Being Unstoppable...How to Release the Champion Within You!" and it helps people of all ages, in all walks of life, see how they can be unstoppable--by not giving in to their obstacles, and not giving up on their dreams.  

Within 37 days of being named the NCAA National Wrestling Champion at 125lbs, Anthony Robles has become a champion as a public speaker with over 47 confirmed bookings for speaking engagements already.

In my entire career as a professional speaker of well over three decades and over 2,800 paid presentations, I have never seen anyone connect the way Anthony Robles connects with an audience, and I've never seen an audience respond to a speaker the way they respond to him.

But here's a hypothetical question for you. Just imagine that you've had a tremendous  goal that you've been pursuing relentlessly for over four years, and now, in front of 17,000 fans on live national TV, you've just achieved it. You've made history. You're an instant celebrity. How would you feel? Puffed up? Self-impressed? A bit full of yourself perhaps? Or would you be gracious, humble and thankful, the way Anthony Robles was.

Then add to that the fact that your amazing achievement is being given extensive coverage on dozens of TV and radio stations, in publications like the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and People Magazine, plus lucrative book and movie deal offers, all in just the first 37 days!

Add to that the fact that you're only 22 years old and still in college!

That is exactly what happened to Anthony Robles. But instead of arrogance, pride and egotism, which so often follow on the heels of such national acclaim,  Anthony has remained gracious, humble, respectful and sincere, and when he speaks, that's exactly what his audience members pick up on.

In my opinion, as his public speaking coach and mentor, and in the opinion of the hundreds of people who have heard him speak so far, it's those specific qualities that make him a champion as a speaker.  And when you combine all those wonderful qualities with a story that's so amazing, even Hollywood couldn't have created it -- you've got an unstoppable combination! 

What about you? When you get up to speak, what do you do to make sure your topic relates to the needs of your audience? Is your message one of real importance to them? Is it clear that you're there to help them, or just to impress them?

Yes, Anthony Robles is a celebrity, and it's a thrill for people to hear his story and to honor him. But Anthony understands that as impressed as they are with him and what he's been able to accomplish, what they really care about is that his message gives them hope, because he shows them how they can apply the principles from his experience to meet the challenges they face in their own lives.
It's been an honor and a privilege for me to help him do that, knowing how many lives are being touched by this champion, Anthony Robles!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Public Speaking: A Conversation Held Publicly

In a private conversation with one to three people...

• You’re relaxed• You look at them
• You react to what they say
• They react to what you say
• You’re focused on them and they on you

In this private conversation you’re most likely not focused on:

• When to gesture    

• What you look like
• What you sound like   

• When to soften or raise your voice

You’re just having a conversation! You’re talking. The only difference between that one-on-one conversation and speaking before a group is that there are more people listening to you—that’s all.

Watch the video here:
Even when you speak to an audience of 8,000 it's still a "private conversation held publicly."

Friday, January 14, 2011

Get a Crystal Clear Picture of What You Want to Communicate

"London Bridge is falling down!" Remember that old nursery rhyme about London Bridge? Well, it hasn’t fallen down—and neither will you “fall down” in your next speech when you use the lesson of the London Bridge.
It all began in 1831 when the bridge was completed over the river Thames in London. After 131 years of daily use it was starting to decay. In comes Robert McCulloch, Chairman of McCulloch Oil Corp, and he buys the old bridge for $2,460,000 in 1962.
OK, you say, “So what and who cares?” Good question. You should care because what Robert McCulloch did with that bridge is just what you can do in your next speech.
When you’re speaking, you have a message in your head and heart—and that message needs to be communicated to the heads and hearts of your audience. How do you do it so that your audience gets the same message? That’s where the London Bridge comes in.
After six years of planning, government red tape, and ground preparation, the job was started in 1968 and it took until October 10, 1971 to complete. Robert McCulloch’s plan was amazing! Bring the London Bridge to Arizona, construct a city around it and sell land to homeowners and businesses. It worked! It’s called Lake Havasu City in northwest Arizona.
The "what's in it for you" portion is how they did it. Oh, shipping thousands of giant stone blocks 10,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean through the Panama Canal and into the Pacific to Long Beach, California was a big job. Then trucking those thousands of bridge stones to Lake Havasu City was long, slow work. But the actual building of the bridge was pretty simple!
Engineers in London made a drawing of the bridge and then numbered each block as they took the bridge apart. That one there was #4,763. This one was 4,764 and so on. Then the engineers in Arizona took those drawings and said in effect, “Who’s got #1?”  By putting each block in its correct position, three years later, the bridge appeared in Arizona exactly as it did in London.
And that’s how your next speech should go—block by block your audience gets the message you've delivered.
Here’s what you can do…
1.    Get a crystal clear picture of what you want to communicate.
2.    Prepare and outline the key points.
3.    Organize your ideas so they fit together just like the blocks on the London Bridge did.
4.    Prepare your foundation. (That’s practicing the delivery of your ideas.)
5.   Deliver your message in a clear, organized and prepared way, and you’ll find that your listeners…get it!
Check out the London Bridge and Lake Havasu on the web—some great pictures and stories. You’ll see it hasn’t fallen down!
Contact me for one-on-one Speech Coaching or information on my "Speak With Impact" Boot Camp

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"77 Steps to Success??"

"Get your pens out and start writing, because in the next few minutes you’ll have 77 steps to success."  How stupid! Yet, haven’t you heard speakers speak on a subject that’s impossible to cover in the time they’re allotted?
So how do you speak on a complex subject in that brief time span, and make it effective and helpful?
In one of my seminars on Values I use this story to help the audience decide on a personal mission statement:
A group of volunteer college students was being paid for a week long experiment. They would be placed in a room for seven days. Food, water and necessities would be provided. Their assignment was to fill a wheelbarrow with whatever they wanted in that room for a week—books, CDs, DVDs, weights, etc.
At the appointed time the college students showed up with wheelbarrows piled high with stuff. Then they were told the rules had changed and they could only take ten items into the room for the week.
After much grumbling they took out lots of stuff and had their ten items. As they prepared to go into the room they were told another change had occurred—they could only take three items. Moans and groans followed until each had just three.
Then a final change—as you guessed, now it was only one item that could be taken in. After a near riot they each had the one item in hand. At that point the facilitator paid the students for the week and sent them home. Experiment over.
What the researchers wanted to know was what was “the most important” item those college students owned. Some took a book, others an iPod, laptop, or exercise equipment.
The researchers knew that just asking what was their number one possession was almost impossible, but by narrowing choices from unlimited, to ten, to three, they could get to that number one item.
So what’s the point here? The point is you need to take the same process with your next complex talk on Success, How To Get Rich, How To Be Fit, or How To Speak Better and boil it down to “the most important point or points.”
If you have 77 steps to success, list all 77. Put them in your wheelbarrow and then reduce them to ten—to three—to one. In a typical short speech, you can’t say a lot, so why not focus on the important things?
“My message today is about what I learned selling my home myself. Actually I learned 17 things. Three of those 17 are the most valuable. What you’ll hear is how you can take just one of those big three and save yourself lots of stress, time, effort and energy. First, here’s my list of 17 . . .”
Read them quickly and keep them short and snappy—two or three words. Then end with your big three, and focus on them.
Forget the 77 Steps to Success. Just give your audience the most important one!

"Dollar Signs" - Using Trivia in an Effective Way

This is a dollar sign $, right? Yes it is. That dollar sign is actually and historically a combination of the letters “P” and “S” which was the official abbreviation for “peso.” Yes, pesos were, until 1794, the principal coin in the United States circulation. After that, we began marketing our own dollars and just kept that dollar sign! Did you know that? Most people don’t.

Well, SO WHAT & WHO CARES? That’s right, you’re busy, successful, intelligent, active and aware. Why waste time with some obscure fact from 212 years ago? It’s a bit of totally useless information…unless you make it relevant to your listeners!

One of the past articles titled: “He Jumped Out Of An Airplane Without A Parachute” focused on how to get your audience’s attention by using a startling statement. This one, “Dollar Signs,” is focused on how to use seemingly obscure facts in interesting or unusual ways.

Let’s say your talk was titled “Dollar Signs” and after acknowledging the introducer and your audience, you made that trivial fact the key to your presentation opening.

You could say: “Right now a real peso, which is still used as Mexican currency, is only worth about ten or eleven American cents. And, you know what? Most Americans earn so little compared to what they should be earning they might as well be getting paid in pesos. During the next few minutes you’ll hear three specific ideas that can dramatically increase your income.”

Or, you could go in an entirely different direction with this as your next thought after the 1794 fact: “Right now in Arizona, it almost feels like Mexico, and our currency should be the peso—not the dollar. With thousands of illegal immigrants flooding our towns and cities, in the next few minutes I’ll offer you three specific suggestions on what you can do to help our state and our nation deal with illegal immigration, so your dollars don’t become pesos!”
OK, you get the point. Now it’s your turn. How can you take these trivial facts and work them into your next speech? Or just work them into an imaginary talk?
It’s great practice to help you move from “Good” to “Great.”
Here are a few examples:
1.    On average, a Twinkie will explode in a microwave oven in just 45 seconds.
2.    A dime has 118 ridges around the edge.
3.    The man who commissioned the Mona Lisa refused it once he saw it.
Go ahead, do it! If you can, some big dollars can be in your future!

"Ten Thousand Mentors" - Learn from Every Speaker You Hear!

“Who is, or was, your mentor to improve your public speaking skills?” That question was asked recently by a friend’s 16-year-old daughter, as she interviewed me for a school project. The answer to that question, if it were asked of you, should be the same answer that I gave that young girl—“I don’t have a mentor, never did.” That’s true, and it should be true for you too!
Actually I have had mentors—not ONE mentor, but at least 10,000 of them, and most likely a lot more! You see, since first studying speaking, I stumbled on to a great truth—a timeless truth—and it was this …You can learn to be a better speaker by studying every speaker you ever hear—the good ones as well as the terrible ones—if you ask yourself these five questions:
1. “Do I like them?” Not in a social or personal way—but in a speaker/audience way. Did they connect with you? Were they the kind of person you enjoyed listening to and would like to hear again? Now that’s a simple no-brainer question. You know in just a few minutes how that speaker is making you feel. So at every business meeting, TV show or movie, where someone is giving a speech, ask yourself that question. Next ask yourself …
2.  Why? Why did you like or dislike that speaker? What did they say or do that turned you on or turned you off in their presentation? If you didn’t like them, what did you feel were the turn-offs? Too boring? Not believable? Talking down to you? Confusing? Arrogant? Self-focused, not you focused? Overbearing? Egotistical? Or, on the flip side, if you liked them was it because they were funny? Sincere? Credible? Passionate? Enthusiastic? Creative? Happy? Focused on you? Down to earth? Again with just a few moments of self-reflection you can answer that “why?” question. Then ask yourself …
3.  What did they say or do that made me feel the way I felt? If turned off by their arrogance, was it their body language? Hands on hip, head thrown back in the “I’m better than you” position? Or just their tone of voice? Now you’re cooking. Now you’re starting to see how you can learn from every single speaker you’ll ever see and hear! They are your mentors! They are your role models for what not to do—or for what to do! If you were turned on and positively impacted by that speaker because of their self put down humor or their passion for the subject material, or by the sheer joy they emoted just discussing their topic—you now have a mentor to help you keep improving!
So my fellow students of public speaking, for over 37 years I’ve been blessed by having at least 10,000 mentors. Yes, studying, as an audience member, every speaker you hear, can teach you:
A.   What not to do! Anything you see or hear that turns you off!
B.   What to do! Anything you see or hear that turns you on!
Oh you’re not done yet! There’s a fourth question to ask yourself as you think of that “mentor speaker” you’re listening to . . .
4.    If I were giving that speech instead—what could I do to make it even better? It’s this fourth question that will move you to the next level. It forces you to keep improving. So let’s say you said to yourself …”Self, if I gave that speech, I’d focus on just three points, not the 18 the speaker talked about.” Or “I’d add humor.” Or “I’d have a handout.” Or “I’d open it up to questions.” Or “I’d have visuals.”
So, are you committed to making every speaker you hear your mentor? And now the secret is out. So often students of speaking ask me “Joel, what do YOU get out of listening to other speakers?” Now you know! They’re my mentors—it’s true!
When I hear some speakers, it helps me be even more creative in my professional speaking. They inspire me to twist and turn my stories into something more interesting to my audience. When some speakers speak, it helps me vary my cadence, speed and rhythm. Their style might be so unique and add such impact to the message, with powerful pauses.
Here’s a specific example: At my recent presentation in Orlando for the leading testing and assessment company in the world—Pearson Assessments—I had my introducer add this line to my introduction …”We gave Joel our Career Path Assessment test and it showed his people skills are so bad he should be a shepherd.” It brought the house down! Before I said one word, that got them laughing.
And after hearing a speaker speak recently, I didn’t like how much material was being squeezed into a short talk. It was information overload, and that brings us to the final question.
5.    Do I do or say anything like that speaker that could turn my audience off or work against me?  I’ve now revised my next seminar after feeling that too much information was being crammed in. And …
     What did that speaker do that was so effective that I should also do? Yes, copy the good stuff—not the specific words someone else says, but the principle behind what they did. I don’t speak like him, but I can take his unique style and add more pauses to my talks—and you can too! 
So get yourself a special “Mentors Notebook” and begin writing down and saving the answers to these five questions:
1.    Do I like them?
2.    Why do I like or not like them?
3.    What did they say or do that made me feel the way I feel?
4.    If I were giving that speech, not them, what could I do to make it even better?
5.    a.  Do I do or say anything like that speaker did that could turn my audience off?
b.  What did that speaker do that was so effective that I should also do?
Do this for the next four decades and you’ll have at least 10,000 mentors helping you become the great speaker you can become!
Contact me for a free copy of my 10,000 Mentors Worksheet"!

One-on-One Speech Coaching

The format of my one-on-one private coaching is simple and very effective. You and I will spend the time focused with laser-like intensity on just two things—crafting the specific content of your message and polishing your delivery of that message.
Being an amazing communicator is a learned skill.  It’s not a natural gift you either have or don’t have. I know from decades of experience, with hundreds of students, that no matter how good you are now…you can be even better! 
First you and I will discuss your objectives, your situation and your present content. I will prepare for our face-to-face time by reading or listening to a recorded presentation of yours, and reviewing the questionnaire you’ll be sending me about yourself.
I’ll then teach you how you can craft a powerful message so it connects to your audience. You will possess information and skills almost no one else has, to help you “Speak With Impact.” Every skill, technique and method we work on will be specific to what you do and what you want to accomplish, based on where you are now in your skill level.  
The feedback from the students who have experienced my “Speak With Impact” coaching highlights three important benefits. In summary, here’s what these top level executives, managers and super sales professionals have said…
1.   “I never realized how vital it is to connect my message to my audience. Joel gave me the secret of how to do it, and now my message connects with the audience every time I speak!”
2.   “I immediately felt so much more confident when I spoke because I was so much more prepared and knew I had the right message for the right audience.”
3.   “I now have a speaking skills tool box of all the materials I’ve received. I can go back to this massive and valuable resource as I progress, and keep getting even better as my skills improve.”
That’s exactly what you can expect to gain from your “Speak With Impact” one-on-one coaching sessions.
Our time together can be scheduled in increments of three half-day sessions, all in one week, or spread out over several weeks. We’ll make it fit your needs and your situation.
You will receive a massive amount of resource material in the form of a 125-page binder, plus CDs and DVDs. These tools will be an invaluable help as you continue to improve.
To decide if this is right for you, answer this question: “Just supposing, you could speak with even greater confidence and calmness, with a message customized specifically for your audience, that included impacting stories, startling statistics, humor, visuals, and participation, how much would that be worth to you?” 
You can call me directly at 1-800- 852-8572 or (480) 948-5633 and let’s discuss your objectives and set a date to get started!