#119 How to overcome your fear of public speaking.

#119 How to overcome your fear of public speaking.

Cam Barber invented The Vivid Method to help people like you and I overcome the fear of public speaking. And thank God! I mean who doesn’t (you know what) themselves when they have the opportunity to get up on a stage or present to an audience of more than one?!

But here’s the thing – public speaking is a marketing strategy many more small business owners should embrace. It provides leverage, it positions you as an opinion leader and it forces you to get your message right. All mighty good outcomes when you’re wanting to build both your personal and business brand.

So, in my fireside chat with Cam we explore the key aspects of becoming a better public speaker including:

  1. Why communicating clearly is so hard?
  2. What are some of the myths surrounding public speaking?
  3. What is the underlying premise of The Vivid Method?
  4. What are the three steps that make up The Vivid Method?

PLUS we answer loads of questions that came from listeners whom posted to Facebook and LinkedIn.

Oh, and the kicker? Cam shares his #1 tip for getting any talk off to a flying start. It’s a belter!

Also in this episode of Small Business Big Marketing I share three ways to remove subjectivity when asking for feedback on your marketing and launch my new website that promotes me as a marketing speaker.

BTW my Deep Dive Mastermind is now open, and I’m  interviewing for Group #2.

Episode Transcription

Tim: Now let’s talk Cam Barber. Cam Barber has a business called The Vivid Method for public speaking. He is a public speaking coach to CEO’s, media personalities and sporting clubs including, including my beloved Hawks for those in Melbourne or who know Aussie rules. I got to love Cam for that. He’s going to share with us some absolute gold. Guys I so strongly so, I just know that getting up on stage and presenting is a great way of building your personal brand and your business and I really encourage you to do it. I can’t talk about it enough. I’ve spoken about it previously. It’s a great way of honing your message; it’s a great way of getting in front of more than one person at a time, great leverage, great personal branding and Cam shares some absolute gold with us. He’s also got a process that I’ll share with you afterwards, he shares it with you during this interview but I’ll direct you to a website where he has put together a fantastic product called speech outline in which he shows you how to put together speeches and presentation really easily. It’s all about removing the nervousness and you are about to learn and discover how to remove the nervousness so you can add presenting public speaking to your business’ marketing strategy. Here’s Cam Barber. Cam Barber from The Vivid Method, welcome to small business big marketing.

Cam: G’Day!

Tim: How are you mate?

Cam: I’m good, nice to talk to you Tim.

Tim: I hope you’re not nervous

Cam: No I’m not nervous. I was actually fidgeting again. I was getting something from my desk.

Tim: Because if you’re nervous then we’re all in trouble because what we are here to talk about today is public speaking
Cam: That’s right.

Tim: And if there ever was reason to having anxiety levels increase amongst many of my listeners, it’s those two words but Cam why is that?

Cam: Nerves are normal, this is a really important point and one of the biggest problems or challenges people have is that they think it’s not normal. They think “I’ve been doing this for years, I’m experienced or I’m a confident person and I shouldn’t be nervous” but there are reasons why you’re nervous and they’re observable and when you get comfortable with that, when you understand the nerves, you can manage them.

Tim: Like everything in life, it’s there for a reason.

Cam: It’s there for a reason so let’s talk about nerves then straight up. A simple principle that helps you process this is that all anxiety is the result of uncertainty. Behind all nerves or anxiety, there’s a sense that I feel uncertain about something. When you just understand that basic idea, instead of being lost in the nerves, instead of having your mind clouded with one word which is “cranky, I’m nervous. I wish I wasn’t” you can tell “what am I uncertain about? What can I get more certain about?” and a big part of that when it comes to presentations or public speaking is “what’s my message? How does it relate to my audience and am I clear on the structure and key ideas of my presentation?”

Tim: I love the fact that you’re looking for what is causing the nerves or the anxiety. I found I do a lot of public speaking and I know a number of years ago one of my aha moments was realizing that, and this is kind of obvious on reflection but if I know what I’m talking about then the idea of sharing with others is quite easy. If I didn’t know what I was talking about, I shouldn’t be up there on the first place and I have every right to be nervous.

Cam: Well that’s right. If you’re totally uncertain about why you’re there, there’s not much we can do. It’s like you can’t teach a drowning person to swim. We want to look at a few things beforehand and get really clear. One of the reasons I started this business, my background is in radio. I was with Fox FM in Melbourne, part of the Australia group many years ago as a sales manager and I did a course, a presentation skills course and I came away from this 2-day course more nervous and far more self conscious than before the course and the harder I try to follow the systems and the rules of what was taught in this course, the more frustrated I became. It was such a problem for me that I really started researching and ended up developing a method we call The Vivid Method for public speaking. The big problem and this is not uncommon today, the big problem if I can simplify it down is that this course is teaching us to be someone who we weren’t.

Tim: Yes!

Cam: They’re saying “look we got research that says 6 gestures a minute is the correct number of gestures. Cam, you’re doing 60 so you’re 10 times wrong” and this idea that there’s one right way of doing it is a really bad idea. It’s just isn’t right, we’re all different and what you want to do is get comfortable in your own skin, find a way to relax and breath and then focus your all attention on okay, who’s my audience? What’s my message? Let me get really clear about that.

Tim: Yeah, I love that and there’s so much truth to that. There’s so much power in being able to be yourself and once again, like not brain surgery is it Cam? Like the idea of actually going and say I’m just going to be me. I don’t have to worry about how many slides a minute. I don’t worry about how many gestures. I don’t worry about whether I have my hands in my pocket or out of my pocket or whatever. It’s like be me.

Cam: That’s true but in a way it’s not that simple to do.
Tim: I thought we were wrapping things up

Cam: Well look at what happens; I’ll give you a quick example. Let’s say you’re sitting down at a meeting and there are 10 people around the table and you’re all sitting and you take turns in speaking. Because you’re all sitting, you’re all part of the same group. Even though the spotlight is on you a little bit when it’s your turn to speak or you’re trying to get an idea across, you’re still part of the same group but if I say to you Tim, “okay mate, now it’s your turn to speak. Can you stand up, walk up to the front of the room and now tell us your idea” now what happens is you’re no longer part of the group. You’ve been separated and you’re looked at now. The spotlight on you is brighter and you feel disconnected and so that creates uncertainty. There’s a natural stress response that occurs and so you can’t just tell people “hey be yourself” because they’re up there going “well is this right? I’m not sure” what you need to do is there are 2-3 things you need to get certain about and it keeps coming back to do you know what your message is? Do you feel confident or certain about that? Have you structured it well? In other words do you know how you’re going to start and how you’re going to end or you’ll just keep on talking and hope there’ll be some sort of sign from heaven so you know when to stop.

Tim: Can I just challenge you on that? Part of that is like we’re sitting around the table, 10 people we’re all going around, we’re all sitting down, we’re all sharing ideas and someone says “Tim, get up, go to the front of the table and present.” If I was strong enough of mind, couldn’t I just go “okay I’ll change the location, I’ll stand and I’ll move to the top of the table but I’m going to be myself.”

Cam: Great mate, love it but what is strong enough of mind mean how do you get from, whenever you were in school, it’s normal to be nervous. The first time, if you’re a kid, if you’re a teenager, if you’re an adult, whatever it was, the first time or few times you’re exposed into the spotlight and you’re asked to speak, people are all looking at you differently. They’re all looking at you like “okay you’re in charge, guide us, entertain us somehow” you’ll be nervous. You can’t avoid that. You got to go through some experiences. The question then becomes and I love your question, “how do you get from I don’t know what to do and because I don’t know what to do I feel uncertain and therefore have anxiety to strengths of mind.” This is in fact fundamentally what I focused my attention over the last 15 years, how do you get from there to there.

Tim: As a big leap. It’s person dependent but there is a chiasm.

Cam: Everybody is different but there is a chiasm and you need to understand what’s there and what we’re given again. A lot of what we’re taught is you’re supposed to act this way. Once you do that you’re moving further into uncertainty because you’re thinking what were the steps? How many gestures are we supposed to do? I’ll give you a couple more of these myths, these absolute myths that send us in the wrong direction. How many gestures you’re supposed to have? Are you meant to have open gestures or closed gestures? If you put your hands in your pockets, have you heard of that one?

Tim: Oh yeah, well in fact I’ve just come, I’m literally been filming some videos today from my website and I had that whole discussion like “should I have my hands in my pocket? Shouldn’t I?” and I just keep coming back to be yourself.

Cam: Find a way to be comfortable. I like that better. Be yourself again is a little bit uncertain. Find a way to be comfortable allows for “am I or am I not” and I can process that. You might have heard of this other myth – the first eight seconds forms a lasting impression.

Tim: What a terrible pressure

Cam: What a ridiculous…haven’t you heard that? First impression…

Tim: Yeah, yeah imagine that. I mean when you get to the nine second mark and you go “I stuffed that up, might as well walk off now”

Cam: Correct and that’s absolutely what some people are thinking. They’re thinking “oh I stuffed this up, there’s no way I can recover but I got to stand here for another 20 minutes” and so that’s where people have this terrible experiences with nervousness where they really didn’t need to. If you just tell someone “you’re a pretty strong of mind sort of a guy or girl, why don’t you just stand up and go?” your mind’s spinning with “isn’t first impression everything? Should I have my hand, oh look my hands are in my pocket, is that good or bad?” you do need to process these things.

Tim: One of the things I do, Cam I’d love to kind of pull apart this vivid method that you’re created, one of the things that I do when speaking is – well there’s a number of things actually but I do just take the mindset that it’s a conversation with the audience and conversation is part of my I guess one of my personality traits that I want to get across. In fact, I actually look to Jamie Oliver as a guy who I kind of look to as someone who is just a wonderful presenter/speaker so I kind of often go “what would Jamie do?” and for me it takes a lot of pressure off and I found myself speaking last week, I arrived at the venue sure enough there’s the little raised platform with a lectern and I’m going “oh my God, I’m so not a lectern guy” what I found is when I got up on stage and started speaking, I kind of use the lectern in a different way. I kind of stood alongside it, I leant on it and it allowed me to once again just be more conversational than kind of a keynote presenter/lecturer.

Cam: Well you made two important points here. Be conversational which is where most people are most comfortable then not only will you think more clearly because you’re comfortable, you’ll connect with your audience. Jamie Oliver is a great example and if your personality style seems to fit with him, then simplifying it down to hey what would Jamie do is really a good way to go. It simplifies your process. The second thing though is the lectern. Put people behind a lectern and they’ll think “oh I have to act a certain way” and you don’t. This is a really important point that you the speaker have much more impact or choice about how you want to create the environment in the room then you might think. What a lot of speakers do is they walk into the room and they think “this is the mood, I have to match the mood” and the real problem with that is that most of the people sitting in the room waiting for someone to speak are relatively clog and stiff because they’re waiting for something to happen. If you take on that mood, clog and stiff, then it might really throw you whereas if you got the ability to go “hello” hey do you want a secret? We’ll jump ahead of the method but do you want to know one of the greatest secrets that I developed with a client?

Tim: Mate, bring it on more than one but let’s start with one.

Cam: Here’s a superpower secret – you can eliminate the start of your presentation. You might be wondering what I’m talking about. The start is where the most anxiety is. If you think about it, that starting point, just before and just as you speak is where there’s most uncertainty. You have no rhythm yet, you have no response. A lot of people throw themselves at the start whereas if you start off your presentation with these words, you will eliminate all of that pressure.

Tim: Here we go, insert drum roll, thank you Liam.

Cam: Is everyone listening? Are you sitting down? Start off “just before we get started”

Tim: There it is.

Cam: In other words, just before we get started, you might plan this “just before we get started I thought I’d say thank you to such and such” or “just before we get started, we’re going to be talking about this one idea here today, it might seem complicated but it’s as simple as it is.” It doesn’t matter what it is, when you say just before we get started, everybody takes on the perception that this is a conversation, this is relatively informal.

Tim: I love that. Tell me on that point Cam because what if you go “just before we get started, how’s everyone feeling?” or what if you add a question to the audience. I think it’s a bad thing because often the audience doesn’t want to respond and if you don’t get a response then that puts a real wash on it.

Cam: Great, what you’re doing is you’re opening up another thing which we call direct involvement with the audience. Direct involvement with the audience has some strengths and weaknesses. It has some risks associated with it and you just highlighted one of them. A lot of the time a speaker would do that because it takes the pressure off of them, they don’t like the spotlight and so they go “if I can quickly throw the spotlight to the audience, that will make me feel better” and you must have sit through one of these events where the speaker says “okay everyone get up and shake your hands and greet the person next to them”

Tim: Team hug

Cam: Team hug, now look in some situations that will change the mood of the room, will change the mood of the room but often when that happens to me, it still happens when I watch a lot of speakers, I think it’s a weak effort. I feel like you’re throwing the pressure into us, we don’t know what to do, I don’t know who this person is next to me, isn’t there a better way? You can do that, it depends on how it works and your style and what you got in mind but just simplifying it, taking out the risk and saying “just before we get started here is such and such” if you want to ask a question that’s not a bad idea. Just before we get started, what I thought I’d do today is focus on such and such but I know we got a diverse audience; we can focus more on this or this, what would you prefer?

Tim: I like that, just before we get started, I’ll be introducing that probably at the next keynote. Okay Cam, Vivid Method mate, I want to pull that apart and give my listeners really clear structure, step by step on how to nail public speaking but why the name The Vivid Method?

Cam: Good question, vivid is just a good word. If you think about vivid it means two things, clear and memorable and if you talk about any form of communication, they’re the outcome, they’re the goals. You want to be clear, you want to be memorable. Vivid communication, vivid presentations, vivid public speaking, vivid media skills, these are the branding that we used for all of our training courses and our coaching because we want it to be simple – is it clear? Do you know how to make it memorable?

Tim: Isn’t there a big word missing there, persuasive?

Cam: Yes, persuasiveness and selling ideas are important but it’s not always important, you’re not always trying to be persuasive. We used to push that word a bit harder but I speak a lot of people who were in finance or accounting or legal or they’re doing a presentation that’s an update on a project and they say “I don’t want to persuade them, I really just want to inform them and engage them” persuasion is great but we want to be clear and memorable and if your message is a persuasive message, if your goal is to get them to buy an idea or to take an action, then we got a persuasive focus but we’re still going to make that clear as to why they should take that action and make it memorable to engage them throughout.

Tim: Okay, okay but I would have thought that even a legal presentation or an architect updating on progress of a design, there’d still be a call to action of some sort like persuading people to agree with him or persuading people to let them move on to the next stage. You want someone to do something as a result of hearing you speak more often than not, is that true?

Cam: It is true and whether I’ll use the word persuasion or not is I find a sort of a personality style thing. I’ll give you another example, we also do messaging session so we help organizations and sporting clubs identify what their key messages are as a company or as a department. I was working with a large finance company and they said we want to have passion in there, half of the room basically said “if you’re not passionate, if you can’t say out loud I’m passionate to be here everyday working, why bother coming in?” and the other half of the room were going “what are you talking about? Calm down I don’t know that you need to pound the table and say passionate; what about belief? Can’t we have belief?” What I identified that day is that the extroverts to our personality style loves the word passion whereas the introvert style thinks it’s a bit over the top but they ultimately mean the same thing, belief or passion is the same commitment to coming to work. I think persuasion falls into the same category. People are saying “yeah I want to convince them to hear but I don’t want to trick them, they say persuasion is a bit too saucy” I’m just sort of stepping out of that argument and saying but you just identify and this is part two of The Vivid Method.

Tim: Part two?

Cam: Part two because why not, we got a structure that we can jump in randomly.

Tim: Go for it, let’s just be clear. Vivid method is a method of, it would be best to summarize it saying if you follow the vivid method of public speaking; it will make you a great public speaking who speaks from the heart, is that kind of too soft?

Cam: Again, some people will love that. Probably 50% of any audience will go “yeah speak from the heart” the other half are going to go “what do are you talking about? I’m trying to get them to understand the new strategy or focus” I love it, that’s great, speak from the heart. I wouldn’t use those words; I’d say The Vivid Method is going to help you plan and deliver a compelling presentation.

Tim: Love it, okay let’s get into it, how do we do that?

Cam: There are three parts and just for fun we’re jumping to part two. Part two we call credit speech outline or credit presentation outline and that has two parts to it; one is what’s your message? We’ve got a template that allows you to sort your thoughts, think about your audience and define your message and that’s where, coming back to something you said earlier, as part of that process you either want your audience to think something specific or do something specific. If you don’t want them to think something or do something, then yes why are they presenting? Why are they standing up? It does might be use this process or coming with more passion or whatever it might be, you want them to actually take an action. I think it’s probably more common and it’s where you literally state what you want them to think. For example, this is a fantastic process for preparing and delivering a compelling presentation. That’s what I want you to think. I’m going to define the message in those exact words.

Tim: Feel free to role-play here Cam; I don’t mind a bit of role-play, I’ll be your guinea pig.

Cam: Alright well what do you want your audience to think? We’ve got a great radio show, in just one tight sentence, what do you want them to think? This will save you time, this is going to be fun, this show will help you make more money, it might be all of those but if you’re going to have a message you’ve got to start with a core idea. You can add more later.

Tim: When you talked about a radio show, what are you talking about? How about we go on a presentation I gave last week; see whether it works for that. The presentation I gave last week was all about the power of content marketing.

Cam: Right, love it. What’s your message? Firstly, this is the process, who’s your audience?

Tim: Small business owners in the financial planning sector.

Cam: Great, what do you want them to think or do as a result of this presentation?

Tim: There are two things; I want them to agree with me that there’s never been a better time to market a small business. I want them to think that the way to go about that is through creating a great content that allows them to share the knowledge they have within the financial services industry.

Cam: They’re both really good messages but if I was your coach, as I am right now, I would say pick one. Pick the one you think is stronger and in listening to it, I think your focus is content marketing. There’s never been a better time we might save until later. In a sentence, I think this is a do.

Tim: Yeah I want them to get out there and start…

Cam: It’s a funny thing, most people and unfortunately most processes to plan a speech or presentation, don’t ask you to define the exact words you say. They say “I’ll write your objective statement down” well I want them to agree that I’m a fabulous bloke. No, give the exact words. The exact words would be something like “content marketing is the cheapest and most effective way for you to market your business” is that right? Is that good? Would you modify that?

Tim: Cheapest and most effective? Content marketing is the best way for you to get your thoughts and opinions across, which as a result would be the best way and cheapest way to market your business so I’ll go with what you said.

Cam: Let’s just make it best then, because I said cheapest is it?

Tim: Cheapest and most effective.

Cam: Content marketing is the best way to market your business. In my hand Tim, you can’t see this, I have a red ball. Some people would call it a stress ball, it’s a spongy ball, can you hear it being sponged? It’s not a stress ball; it’s a message ball because one of the principles we’re going to go back in a minute is message transfer is your message of success in a presentation. It’s not your gesture, not your conversational tone, not the pausing that you do- which is wonderful, not the slides that you might have. All of those things have an impact but message transfer is your measure of success. Here’s what we found – 95% of business presenters don’t know what they’re message is.

Tim: Nasty

Cam: I’ll say that again, message transferred is the measure of success but you don’t know what your message is. Guess what that does – fills you with uncertainty. We’re defining this message and what we just defined is half the message. I’m now holding this red ball up and covering the bottom half. You got a great half of a message which is content marketing is the best way to market your business. The next step in this process is to get the other half which is basically because…
Tim: Because?

Cam: Because.

Tim: Ah because, yeah I’m getting this. This is playing right into what happened last week. For example like I’m giving a whole lot of examples of content marketing to these financial planners right? Some of which were financial planning related, others of which are completely different industries but each time, I would always pull it back to the core message which is “it’s all about how good content marketing is as a way of promoting your business even though that wasn’t industry specific.”

Cam: that’s right. Once you got the message, it gives you such freedom to answer questions and keep coming back to the core message to find other examples but then link them to it so we really want to find this message but let’s complete it Tim because we haven’t quite finished yet so what we want to do now, we got the first half which is content marketing is the best way to market your business, what we need is the second half of that message which is the 2 or 3 or 5 reasons why that’s true. You just made a claim, you haven’t backed your claim up yet so what are the three reasons why content marketing is the best way to market your business?

Tim: Okay, it allows you to express that mountain of knowledge that you’re standing on.

Cam: Okay

Tim: It allows for an emotional engagement between you and your audience so it’s more of a pull than push marketing.

Cam: Great

Tim: It is inexpensive relative to advertising or direct marketing. There you go, that’s three.

Cam: Bang, I love it. It’s great! It’s a great message. If I was your coach, let’s say it first, here’s what we got and this is another tip, it’s a really good tip. In the planning stages of your speech or presentation, test your message out loud. When it’s written down and you go “that looks good” but you find that when you say it, it doesn’t flow or it doesn’t really represent the quality, test it out loud and see how it sounds and keep playing with it until you got something that you got to say because you are ultimately going to say it. It sounds something like this and also imagine that you’re wrapping up your presentation, here’s another tip – you should end your presentation with a message. Most presentation ends with a “looks like I’m out of slides, any questions?” One of the worse way to end your presentation. The best way is to end with your message. You go “just to wrap up, content marketing is the best way to market your business for three reasons: it allows you to express that massive knowledge that you have, secondly it creates emotional engagement with your readers and your customers and thirdly it’s inexpensive compared to normal advertisement. How’s that sound to you?

Tim: Spot on! I’m in!

Cam: Right, so that’s great, we have a really good message. If I was your coach though I’d say, having a go at content marketing, the biggest objection I’ve got to because I agree with all that is how long it takes. You’re going to write the articles, you’re going to publish the content so is there anything that you would say to address that concern?

Tim: If you just introduce that, is that an audience question or are you highlighting that as a potential something that people are thinking that I should overcome now before I close?

Cam: No, what we’re doing is we’re still sitting on our desk, planning our message and as part of that planning process; you’re going to go “well what are the thoughts, what are the objections that’s going to be on the mind of the audience?” this is how persuasion occurs by the way. We don’t have to say the word persuasion for this process to address it. If we can guess that there are some objections or concerns in the mind of our audience, we want our message to address those and we probably haven’t got time to do it but this is the process of planning, you get a message, you test it out loud and then you try and shoot holes in it and see if you can fortify it against. You might think it’s going to take you a lot of time, 30 minutes a week gets you started or something like that.

Tim: I love the speech outline Cam, I think it’s it a very powerful thing to be able to have. When you got structure, I mean structure is a structure; it’s something you can lean on.

Cam: Correct and gives you certainty. Now that’s the first part of this speech outline process. Now we’ve got a message. The second part is simply what we call the chunk structure. You want to know how you’re going to start and how you’re going to end. You’re going to start by saying “this presentation is about…” something like that, to keep it simple, you might do a little preamble like “just before we get started.” We talked about you’re going to end it with your message and so what’s in between? Simply, chunks – you’re going to have 2, 3 or 4 chunks. Now that’s a guideline, not a rule. One of the problems is when people tell you this is a rule, you must have 3. No, you might have 2. 2 is easy to remember. You might have 4, if you really want to, you got 5 but the reason we’re suggesting 2, 3 or 4 chunks or sections to your presentation is that 4 is that point where after that people will go “this is complicated” or I could remember two things as your audience, I could remember three things, I might and probably remember four, I probably cannot remember 5 if you ask me two hours after the presentation. Even if you are presenting on brain surgery or something really complicated, you still want to have this opening where you go “we’re going to be talking about content marketing and how you can market your business more effectively and we’re going to have a look at three areas.”

Tim: Got you, so these chunks are the areas?

Cam: Correct

Tim: Okay, and within each of those areas you want examples and stories I’m guessing?

Cam: Evidence, examples, stories, you need to prove your point or to persuade and then at the end of that, at the end of each one you should have optionally a wrap up. The point here is if you’re talking for 5 minutes on how to create content marketing, the key point is 30 minutes of work or something short and simple.

Tim: Yeah I love it, I love it mate

Cam: That’s part two, you want the other parts?

Tim: Yeah, how many parts are there?

Cam: There are three parts

Tim: Okay well give us that final one

Cam: I’ll give you the first one

Tim: Yeah that’s right; we did start at number 2. What’s the first one?

Cam: Very simply, the first part is what we call the clarity first principles. There are 5 principles to help you think clearly and control nerves and we’ve looked at a couple already. Very quickly, all anxiety is caused by uncertainty, secondly message transferred is your measure of success, thirdly we have the closest problem that is the closer you are to an idea or subject, the harder it is to send the perspective to somebody else that’s why we need a planning process in part two, four natural style unlocks your talent which we talked about and finally you can control anxiety by understanding it and in our training courses that’s what we’re going into – what exactly is happening with a stress response? It’s happening for a good reason, it’s trying to help you but it does release adrenalin, it does contract your muscles, it does affect your breathing and when you understand what’s going on, it’s much easier to release those physical symptoms.

Tim: I remember I’ve done few public speaking courses that you were talking about where you’re giving all the different formulae and it does kind of dig your head in. One thing to your point about natural style unlocking your talent, I do recall one of the beneficial things that I did was video myself speaking, or I video myself speaking and watching it back, as much as you kind of sit there and cringe and go “oh my God!” it is quite a powerful thing to see what you’re doing because the internal conversation you have in your head is often so very different to what’s actually being seen by everyone else.

Cam: Yeah, getting video feedback can be helpful in that it gives you objective feedback and you can make an assessment by seeing something objectively rather than guessing in your head but we don’t do as much video as we used to because even though you have that benefit with video, what we’ve noticed in training courses is that a lot of people worry too much then about how they look. They add a few gestures – they’re not perfect, no ones perfect, you don’t have to be perfect. Bill Gates says ‘um’, Richard Branson says ‘um’ when he speaks. Nobody cares; they’re really good at messaging. You don’t have to be perfect and the video for some people was a hindrance in that they wanted to improve 15-20 different things that they saw, we’re just trying to let them focus on the simple stuff, if it’s really simple – the process of planning and delivery and presentation is simple, you’ll use it. You will be happy to take on your presentations. If you think there were 15 or 20 things you want to get right, you put it off and it will be a hot drama.

Tim: Yeah I love that

Cam: Those are my thoughts on that.

Tim: Listeners I’m talking to Cam Barber who is the creator of The Vivid Method of Public Speaking. Cam I went out to my listeners, I whack it on Facebook. I said “listen guys I’m talking to Australia’s leading authority on public speaking” how about that?

Cam: I like that, you’re right

Tim: Alright, well you told me to say that. I’ve got some questions from Facebook followers and from some listeners via email. I’ll hit you with some, quick answers. Terry Delaney asks…

Cam: Sorry, sorry one thing, we didn’t give them the third part, they’ll kill us if we don’t, very quickly…

Tim: Wow I thought we did, there you go so we’ve got clarity, we’ve got speech principles.

Cam: Speech principles which we’ve gone through, credit speech outlines which is message and structure and thirdly is give great explanations.

Tim: I thought we’ve covered that but go on you expand on that.

Cam: We won’t go into much detail, we cover 9 things that you can do but you pretty much know these stuffs – metaphor, analogy, examples, visuals, there’s a bunch of things that you can do and we again suggest that you don’t try and go with all nine, pick one or two.

Tim: Yeah, nothing more. That’s all about story telling and just being able to “it’s all done, tell me you’re funny, tell me your joke”

Cam: Yeah well and it’s different. Some people do that automatically and some people will be more logical and that’s great; whatever works to convince your audience. Just to wrap up that process and go to those questions, what we found is that if you get steps one and two right – that is you can think clearly and you can control nerves and you know about message transfer and then you have a structure, the third part, giving great explanations tends to happen automatically because you’re clear.

Tim: Yeah I love that mate. Now listen, here are some questions. I reckoned we’ve knocked off a few of these. Terry Delaney asks how to control nerves, we’ve done that and she said “should I use beta-blockers?”

Cam: I just wrote an article on that, if you want to go to the website vividmethod.com and hit the blog, you’ll find “should I use beta-blocker for public speaking” and I’ll give you the answer and the answer is up to you but you don’t need to.

Tim: No, I think we’ll keep drugs out of the public speaking world. Amy Jacobson says “what’s the best opening you’ve ever seen?” Well you just shared the old “just before we get started” tip but is there an opening that stands above all else?

Cam: Well there’s so many ways to look at this. If you want to be creative and do something creative or dramatic at the start, do any thing you want but just be sure you tie it back to your message at the end. You don’t want to have this great opening where people go “that’s what I remember” but it’s got nothing to do with my message. Tom Peters is the funniest speaker that I know. I don’t know if you know Tom Peters but he wrote in the 80s In Search of Excellence. He’s written about ten or twelve management books and he’s regularly been ranked for 20-25 years in the top 10 public speakers in the world and he’s a nut. I love giving him as an example because if you try and follow the rules and do the perfect presentation…

Tim: He broke every one of them?

Cam: He breaks them all. I saw him speaking with a few people like Bill Clinton, the guy from the body shop and who’s the guy from General Electric, Jack Welsh and they all of course stood on the stage, many behind a lectern and spoke. When he came out, he took three steps off the stage, walk down the stairs and walk up and down the rows of the seats for the rest of his presentation.

Tim: I love that

Cam: And then he’s shouting “China!”

Tim: I love it, I have to Google him. Now Ted Gedinack, I think that’s how you pronounce this, how does he go about researching the needs of the audience he’s going to address? Well he being you, it should have been you give public talks anyway but how do you research the audience?

Cam: Great question but the question is the best part because a lot of people don’t do enough of this and there’s two you can do really, one is pick up the phone and ask somebody. I do like coaching with senior people and they’ll often ring me and say “I got this big even that’s coming up. I’m speaking with all my industry peers. Hundreds of people in the audience, I need some coaching, money is no object, I got to get it right” and I say things like “what’s the theme of the event? – don’t know. Who else is speaking? What are they speaking on? – Don’t know. I’ll send you an email” you can get on the phone and ask a couple of question to find out, that’s one. The second thing is if you got a process like what we’re suggesting you use, when you think about it, our process has the four views of any audience and if you can think about those you can make pretty good guesses and most of the time when we’re coaching, we’re guessing what our audience cares about but you can do a really good job about that.

Tim: I absolutely agree with that. One question that comes to my mind as you’re saying that and no one has asked this and that’s PowerPoint. What’s your view on PowerPoint?

Cam: That’s a very good question. PowerPoint is a tool. The fashion goes in and out of PowerPoint so to speak. Sometime we love it; sometimes we got to ban its use. PowerPoint is relatively neutral like money. Money can be spent on bad things or good things.

Tim: PowerPoint by itself is a good thing, its how it’s used.

Cam: PowerPoint in keynote on the mat, allow you to put up images or slides, that’s a fantastic thing. You want another super tip? This is a super tip. This is at the level of a super tip.

Tim: Wow the other one was a power tip, so this is higher.

Cam: It could be higher Tim

Tim: Cam, come on.

Cam: Or maybe it’s just that when I get pumped up the points of what I’m talking about seems higher. If you want a simple idea that changes our relationship with PowerPoint, there are a lot of really bad PowerPoint presentations. The problem is not the tool; the problem is our relationship to it. We stand in a one meter circle diameter next to the slides and we click and go “oh there’s some more here, I’ll now talk” I finish talking about what’s on the slide, click, I’ll talk some more and as I said before, the most common ending is “oh we’re out of slides, any questions?” What’s happening there is that the relationship with PowerPoint is its in-charge and you’re the monkey who stands next to it who bloats out some words from time to time. You just got to reverse that relationship. You can use PowerPoint to show one slide. If you want to, you can use PowerPoint to show one image that’s really helpful to your presentation. The super power tip is, the B-key. Do you know what the B-key Tim is?

Tim: As in the letter B?

Cam: It is the letter B

Tim: The B-key, no I don’t know.

Cam: Most people, even people who have done a full day PowerPoint course on all the 400 features don’t seem to know about the B-key. The B-key will blank the screen. If you’re in keynote or PowerPoint and you’re in slideshow mode and you hit the B-key in the keyboard, the whole thing will go blank, as though it’s not there are all and to get your screen back, what do you think you do?

Tim: B?

Cam: B again

Tim: I got a little remote that I use in all of my keynote and it’s got a button that blacks out the screen, I love it.

Cam: Correct, it’s the same thing. In fact, all that button is doing is remotely hitting the B-key and having that on the remote is really powerful because just think about the B-key what its doing, it’s helping you change the relationship. You’re now in control.

Tim: It’s the look at me key.

Cam: Well you can say that way but it’s in our relationship with PowerPoint. Basically PowerPoint has got you in a leash and it’s dragging you along. That’s the problem. When you start to think about the B-key and deciding when you want slides up and you don’t, you’re now in charge, it’s on a leash and you’re in control. For example, you might plan to hit the B-key when you want to tell a story. You want the structure on a slide, that’s a great tool to have the structure of the presentation up there on the slides but then you want to tell a story that you know pretty well, you don’t care about repeating it word for word, hit the B-key, get comfortable, put your hand back in your pocket or whatever and then you go “let me tell you a story that illustrates this point” finish the story and you bring the slides back.

Tim: I love that, that’s good. In fact I’m looking at these questions. Mick Dan did asked a question about PowerPoint. To paraphrase this, he said I’m curious what strategy you small business owners can use to avoid death by PowerPoint which I think we’ve answered that one now but it’s literally a whole discussion about PowerPoint which we wont go now and how to structure slides, I might do that in a future episode. Jorge Blundell says “what’s the best advice you can give someone starting out public speaking?”

Cam: The best advice is two things – clarify your message.

Tim: The Vivid Method

Cam: The Vivid Method, there you go that’s one thing. The second, if I’m speaking to, I’d say your natural style is the right style. You can have rough edges, you don’t have to be Brad Pitt, you don’t have to be an actor. Just find a way to be comfortable.

Tim: Good advice. Hey Cam, let’s bring it mate. Just to finish up, any particular funny public speaking stories come to mind? Giving you’ve been doing this quite a while, you probably have seen some absolutely crackers – I noticed on your website you got a view of none other than President Bill Clinton who’s one of the greats. Any stories where you can leave us just shaking our head?

Cam: No mate, I don’t want to do that. I discourage in every session for that.

Tim: I understand that, tell us why.

Cam: Just think about how troubling that will get me. I’ll tell you what; I’ll give you two stories about Bill Clinton if you want.

Tim: Here we go, Mick Jagger said never drop names to me, but off you go.

Cam: The last time I was chatting with Bill, I did meet him, I did speak to him for 2-3 minutes and I planned what I was going to say because I wanted to ask him a question. Al Gore, who was his vice president for 8 years, then ran for election for President of the United States against George Bush and he lost. It was a close race; it was the year 2000 election. On conceding defeat one evening, Al Gore conceded defeat one evening and the next morning he made a speech. He wrote that speech himself. He told all of his consultants and coaches to get lost and he made that speech the next morning and people said that is the best speech we’ve ever seen Al Gore made.

Tim: I know what you’re going to say

Cam: One of the best speeches we’ve seen on Capitol Hill for quite some time. Hang on, why weren’t you talking like this to us for the last 12 months during the election campaign? There have been a few books that have referred to this. There’s a great article from fortune magazine from a few years ago, you can Google this article, it’s called “first kill all the consultants”

Tim: Yup I get it.

Cam: And what he said was “I should have gone with my natural style. The consultants were telling me to be someone I wasn’t. Telling me to use words that rated well in the research but they weren’t words I would use.” Simply put, Al Gore is a relatively introvert style but when he rolls up his sleeves and tries to punch his fist and look like an extrovert, people look at him and say “he doesn’t look right” and what he’s done now is he’s throwing it all away. He just speaks as himself, he’s more famous, and he’s having more impact in the word than now than he did back then because he’s himself. Pursue your natural style.

Tim: Mate I love that story and that’s an excellent one to finish on. Cam, thanks for I think probably improving the public speaking skills of all the listeners of small business big marketing including myself. Listeners, I’ll put some links in the show notes to some of Cam’s stuffs, if he just stops playing with whatever is on his desk.

Cam: Mate you know what that is? The guy is on the window, cleaning the window.

Tim: You got to love podcasting. I will put links to the show notes because Cam’s got, he’s got a template for the content method that he’s speaking, is it called the content method?

Cam: Speech outline. It’s the planning process.

Tim: Go to speechoutline.com and have a look at that and I’ll put some links to Cam’s website as well. Thanks so much for being on small business big marketing, Cam.

Cam: It’s great talking to you Tim.

Tim: See you mate

Cam: Alright, see you

Tim: What about that folks? How good is it to get those kind of learning for something that’s so important like your public speaking strategy. I hope you learned a lot, I certainly did. I just suggest you go find a stage and it might be at the chamber of commerce, it might be at some sporting association or club you’re associated with. Wherever you can, go find a stage and start practicing what Cam shared with us then. You can also go to speechoutline.com and check out Cam’s great product for outlining speeches. I’ve tried it, I love it, I’m going to be using it going forward in my business and you know what I suggest you do? Record yourself. Turn on your camera, turn on your iPhone. Remember that product we talked about earlier, iVideo hero where you can go and use your iPhone. Just record yourself, it is a good thing to watch you. I know you can kind of cringe, I played back shows when I listen to myself and go “oh my God did I really sound like that?” but there is learning. There is learning in it. Go and record yourself speaking as well. We even have a video camera even just for audio, download iTalk worth 99 cents and save that to your iPhone and record yourself and hear yourself speak. That is a good thing to do.


Links & Resources Mentioned In This Episode.

Netregistry – Check out these three exclusive packages for SBBM Listeners. Each one designed by myself and Netregistry to help get your online marketing sorted.

Check out Cam Barber’s blog on The Vivid Method.

And here’s Cam’s Speech Outline tool that well, helps you outline your speech!

Here’s my new website promoting me as a marketing keynote speaker.

Here’s where to join the Small Business Big Marketing Meetup group.


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