Category: Getting Started
We’ve explored motivators at length already so let’s move quickly through this step.
Since you indicated earlier in your assessment answers that you have to present in public because a situation is requiring you to do so as opposed to you choosing to do so, let’s make sure you have the right motivators at your disposal.
It’s important to try and shift your sense of being in control as opposed to allowing this situation to make you feel that you are not in control.
To do all of this, we are going to help you shift your reasons for speaking, and your attitude towards speaking.
At the moment, why are you being forced to give a presentation you really don’t want to deliver? Most people fall into one of a few categories:
1) Work: Whether you’re up for a promotion that comes with new responsibilities, a client asked you to present to the team, or the boss decided to have you speak at the next meeting, your job just went from comfortable, don’t-have-to-speak-in-public to “Uh oh”.
2) School: You’re a student who has to get up in front of the class to give some kind of presentation or report.
3) Award: You’re being recognized for an award and will need to give an acceptance speech.
4) Honor: You have the privilege of giving a speech to honor someone else. A common and often terrifying example is the infamous wedding toast.
Consider your reason for having to present unwillingly. Say it out loud if no one’s around, or write it down if you’d like. Take a moment to think about it.
Next, even though you are so far unwilling to give this presentation or are doing it for reasons out of your control, odds are that there is SOMETHING quite beneficial about the situation that you haven’t focused on yet.
Here’s what we could see being a positive from each one of the categories above (skip to yours):
1) Work: A promotion usually means more money, more power, more self-satisfaction. Does your promotion represent any or all of the same things? It also means that your boss feels you’re ready for the responsibilities that come with this promotion. Who knows, maybe your boss is right!
2) School: If you learn to speak in public NOW, you can take that with you for life. You may achieve an excellent grade in the class if you do well, which may begin as an extrinsic motivator, but may lead to a better college or grad school down the road, which may mean a better life. Best of all, the confidence and satisfaction of overcoming the resistance to public speaking and earning the respect of your peers will ultimately lead to intrinsic motivation that will stay with you forever.
3) Award: Being recognized by others means being appreciated by others in a public setting, which is an honor that doesn’t happen too often in life. If you’re being recognized, chances are you’re something of a role model, which can be one of the most intrinsically satisfying feelings in life.
4) Honor: The chance to honor another person is an honor in and of itself, and a great responsibility and opportunity that can be just as memorable for the speaker as it is for the person being recognized. If you were asked to introduce or speak about someone, chances are you have an emotional connection to that person and you want to do something nice for him or her. The opportunity to share something positive about another person can be amazingly intrinsically satisfying.
Whatever the reason that brought you to this point, find something about the situation that is a positive; find something that feels good to you; find something within the situation that motivates you in a positive way. There is almost always a “silver lining” in any situation. It’s almost impossible for there not to be.
If no matter how hard you seek, you still can’t find a positive, anxiety may be blocking you from seeing the upside.
Try talking to someone you respect about it. Tell them that you’re trying to find a benefit to giving the presentation but are having a hard time. Someone who isn’t emotional about the situation may have a different perspective on it.
Find an intrinsic motivator
Once you’ve found your positive reason for giving the presentation it’s time to focus on your motivation.
Consider the positive. Is it strong enough to change your entire attitude right away?
For example, if you never thought of giving a wedding toast as being a way to honor someone and are now totally motivated by the idea of doing so, then you’re done. Go back to the Skill Building Area to work on your next step. But be sure you really are psyched--we don’t want you to lose the motivation later.
If you haven’t found yourself suddenly compelled to give this presentation, let’s look at how these positives may have excellent results for you and the people around you. Here are some very compelling outcomes using the same four examples.
1) Work: As we discussed in the Motivations section, public speaking is a skill often utilized by very successful individuals, yet most people shy away from it – and even the rewards that it may bring. If you receive a promotion that you want, focus on how much your life can improve from speaking in front of a group. Sure, you may be a little nervous the first couple of times, but once you’re past that you’ll be more focused on the benefits your new position is bringing at work and at home. If you’re required to lead a sales meeting, this may lead to improved sales, a promotion, better relationships with your clients and your boss, more self satisfaction…the list is endless. There’s almost always a distinct, real life benefit that comes from speaking well in front of a group at work that can have broad positive impacts on your life in other ways. Focusing on these aspects should make you feel very differently when it comes to how you are being motivated. Do it for you.
2) School: Your whole life is ahead of you. Will you be one of the many who avoid public speaking and never experience its benefits? Or will you be brave and build skills that most people only wish they had? Will you have better relationships in your life because you believe in what you have to say, have better career results, perhaps even get closer to the proverbial “dream life” that most others only – you guessed it – dream about? Will you start now? It should be getting easier and easier to shift your motivations to I am doing this for me regardless of who told you to get up in front of the class in the first place.
3) Award: This one is a little trickier when it comes to making it an intrinsic motivator when the situation is paradoxically extrinsic – others giving you an award. You might just bask in the moment and enjoy the fact that the hard work you did paid off and feel great that others want to publicly say thank you. Still not working? That’s probably because you are more intrinsically motivated when it’s not about you. Here’s an easy way to help that: Think about what the award is for, then think about how your experiences in that field can help others in their lives. If you share your views on that subject, others might follow in your footsteps, experience the same successes, and one day be receiving their own award. There’s something remarkably intrinsically motivating about being a positive extrinsic motivator for others!
4) Honor: This one is probably the easiest to become intrinsically motivated about if you truly care about the person. If you really don’t like them, it might be tricky! But if you’re somewhere in the middle, it shouldn’t be hard to create an intrinsic motivation. Think about what that person does in his life. Do you admire it? Is there something about what he does that you find worthy of recognition? If so, consider how you can help others in the audience by sharing that information. You can turn the speech about an individual into a conversation about the impacts of that individual’s actions, and how people in the audience may be able to use that information to change their own lives or the lives of others for the better. Turn it into something bigger than that person, which will make it much more satisfying, which means your focus shifts from being asked or told to make a speech to being intrinsically motivated to share positive energy. Just by focusing on what that person has accomplished and the impacts they’ve had on others, you may have already started to admire her more than you did before.
Hopefully by now you are feeling motivated to give your presentation for much more satisfying reasons than you were way back when you first answered that question in the assessments area!