Tag Archives: Speaking

TELL ME THURSDAY: Your Public Speaking Fears

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m working on a talk I’m doing next week and I could use your help!

Research has shown that most people would rather die than speak on stage. I can see how that’s possible!

Tell me: What are the challenges you face when speaking in public?

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5 Reasons why Teaching & Speaking are like Kayaking & White-water Rafting

“You never paddle the same river twice.”

My uncle–the adventurer extraordinaire Anton Carag, Jr.–was in the middle of briefing our family about kayaking and white-water rafting when I stopped to write what he had just said. I had a feeling there was a deeper lesson in there somewhere.

Fast forward to today. I was busy developing a workshop that I’m giving next week to some students from the De La Salle-College of St. Benilde. As I was working on the talk outline, I realized that public speaking and teaching are both a lot like kayaking and white-water rafting.

1) Every river experience is different, just as every speaking opportunity is different.

If you’re someone who teaches and speaks on a regular basis, it’s easy to lose your passion and just go through the motions. And when I lose my passion, I often end up preparing less and I’m tempted to simply “wing it.” But just as every river explorer has to enter the river alert, focused, and ready, a teacher and speaker needs to enter every teaching space with the same attitude.

2) Preparation will be your best friend.

Practicing the fall

Before we started kayaking, we were given life vests and helmets to wear. After we put on our gear, Tito Anton briefed us on safety measures, then we were placed on kayaks near the river bed where we each had to practice falling.

To tell you the truth, I was relieved at this exercise. For starters, getting dunked into the river helped me get used to the cold water temperature, and it helped me simulate the experience and realize that it wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be.

In the same way, preparing and practicing a talk or a lesson can help lessen fears and help you prepare for possible obstacles. Am I boring myself in this portion of the talk? Then chances are my audience will start yawning, too. Do I need to insert a video or an activity to keep them engaged? Practicing and simulating helps me anticipate possible roadblocks and adjust as needed.

3) When you hit obstacles, you have to keep digging.

The river has a lot of rapids and boulders that can cause the raft or kayak to stop, fly, or flip. My first instinct would just be to stop paddling and grab on to whatever I can until the obstacles pass.

However, we were taught that when those rapids come, all the more we need to paddle harder. Or sometimes they would call out, “Dig!” because the intensity of the paddling that was required looks a lot like digging.

In the same way, it’s easy to just trail off and change the topic when you hit roadblocks in teaching or speaking. Your students or audience look like they’re tuning out, their eyes glaze over, and blank looks or confused faces stare back at you.

Instead of getting discouraged or resorting to rushing through the material, all the more we need to seize the opportunity to keep digging. It could mean asking questions to try to untangle what’s confusing the audience, or it could mean thinking of metaphors or analogies that will help the audience grasp your point better. Of course, the best time to do this would be during the preparation process, but in case you encounter obstacles in the middle of the action, don’t stop and don’t give up. Just keep on digging.

4)  Speaking and teaching can make you nervous and anxious, but it can be fun and exciting. Although you won’t get to experience that until you put yourself out there.

If you read my blog last week, you know that I wasn’t very excited at the thought of white-water rafting. I’m not a fan of open water, much less raging rapids. But now that I’ve tried it, I can say that I’m really glad I did. I had a lot of fun and I enjoyed going through the adventure with my family. It was definitely an experience to remember.

The Happy Survivors!

In the same way, I’ve often found myself absolutely dreading upcoming talks and workshops. But I’ve pushed myself to keep on doing it because, for starters, I’ve been blessed to be able to learn from teachers, mentors, experiences, and books, and my heart is to share the knowledge to help others. And I can’t help but feel joy when a student tells me that they learned a lot (or something like that). It makes every moment of anxiety and every hour spent preparing worth it. Besides, I’ve also learned that feeling nervous is normal. It helps keep me grounded, too!

5) You’ll want to pray all the way.

I’ve realized that it’s all the same with kayaking, white-water rafting, teaching, and speaking: the Lord will be my strength through and through. I stake my confidence on Him more than anything, because my skills and preparation could possibly fall short, but He never will. :)

Are you a teacher/speaker/adventurer? Is there anything else you can add to this list?

Special thanks to Tito Anton Carag and his awesome team from Adventures & Expeditions Philippines, Inc. (AEPI). If you’d like to know more about having your own Cagayan Valley adventure (kayaking/caving/rafting/watching the circadian flight of bats), you can contact AEPI at (078) 844-1298, 0917- 532-7480, or aepi@whitewater.ph. We had a great time taking in the beautiful sights, eating the delicious food, and experiencing the life-changing adventures! We flew to Tuguegarao via Cebu Pacific Air, but our flight home was canceled due to bad weather, so we took a 10-hour bus ride back to Manila via G.V. Florida Bus Transport. Despite the long trip, the ride was very comfortable. Their buses are new, the restroom was clean, and we got to recline and watch movies on-board. If you’re looking to save money, it’s a great alternative. Here are some other photos from the trip:

 

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How to make an impact when teaching, speaking, or simply sharing

I have two more talks lined up this month, and when I prepare for a talk, I put a lot of thought into my outline or mind map for the talk. I don’t get too picky about every single word that I’ll use as I speak, but I do make an effort to make sure that my outline or mind map makes sense, and has some “flow” in it. I put myself in the shoes of an audience member, and I wonder if the information I plan on giving is sufficient, relevant, and helpful. I think about how to use creative illustrations and activities, and then I go back to what I have to edit some more.

In other words, as much as possible, I try to put a lot of time and effort into it. While the methods may differ, I know that most teachers or speakers would do the same thing. And whether you’re a seasoned speaker or you’re someone who makes presentations once in a blue moon, I think you’ll be able to relate to this.

Yesterday, as I was looking back on my old journals, I came across an entry I wrote after attending a talk by a man named Dr. John Ridgley. I don’t remember exactly what he does, but I know he’s a speaker and he talks about sharing an unchanging God with a changing world. He’s an Australian man who looks like he’s in his 60s, and he lived (or still lives) in India. One of the experiences he shared with us was when he came face to face with Mother Teresa, he was so blown away and speechless, that all he could say was, “God bless you!” (I think I would’ve done the same thing!)

I remember that he was a powerful speaker with a lot of funny anecdotes, but there was one thing he said that really stood out for me, and it was this:

“You can make an impact without saying a word.”

As I look back on this, it got me thinking that we can spend hours, days, and even weeks preparing for a lesson, talk, speech, or presentation, but sometimes we forget to factor in the most important part: what we do when we’re not in front or under the spotlight–what we do before we even begin.

There are many different things to think about: do we show sincerity, openness, humility, politeness, integrity? Do we practice what we preach?

I think those are all extremely important, but for today I’ll focus on one that I think is difficult to fake when you don’t have it: PASSION. I’ve found that people respond to passion. If you’re not passionate about the topic you’re talking about, then chances are, your audience won’t get passionate about it either. When you stand in front and you share and show your passion, you get the audience excited about sharing that journey with you.

So let’s say I have a topic I’m passionate about…great! But admittedly, there are days that no matter how much I love the topic, I can’t seem to come up with the passion I need. Do you ever have those days? Here are my two tips on what to do when faced with passion roadblocks:

1) Take a break. A car has to stop for gas, it just doesn’t run forever. Every so often you have to check on the oil, the brakes, etc. We kind of run the same way. Without stopping for a break, you won’t be able to check what needs attention until it’s too late. Take a break–the length differs, but do yourself a favor and take a step back, assess yourself and your life, and fill yourself up with what you need. Alone time? Family time? Vacation time? Sleep? Acknowledge it and go for it.

2) Pray. It may sound simple but it’s the one thing I can do that can make a huge difference. There are times when I feel like I’m beyond repair, and no amount of break time seems to bring back the fire and passion I once had. When this happens to me, I pray and I ask God for help. At the end of the day, I want the students to walk away with something that helped them or added value to their lives. They should not have to ‘suffer’ because I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. So I pray for strength, energy, clarity of thought, and I pray for excitement and joy to rise up within me so I can share that excitement and joy with others. When I acknowledge that it’s not about me and I invite God into the process, His grace more than makes up for what I lack.

Writing this all down helps me remember, and God knows I need the reminder! I hope this helps you in some way too. :)

Four websites to read through

If you’re looking for new places to visit on the Web, here are some sites that I’d recommend. Why only 4? Because I couldn’t come up with 5. :D

1) MICHAEL HYATT’S BLOG

I’ve been a Michael Hyatt fan since I’ve started reading his blog 2 months ago. He’s smart and witty, his writing is simple, informative, and straight-to-the-point, and he’s the CEO of one of my favorite publishing houses, Thomas Nelson Publishing (the company that gave us the books by Billy Graham, John Eldredge, Stasi Eldredge, Max Lucado, John Maxwell, and more). They’ve got good taste!

His site is a goldmine of great articles and references for writers, speakers, communicators, and leaders, in general. And he’s really generous when it comes to sharing his resources and tips! I’ve learned a lot from him and I’ve bookmarked dozens of his posts. Check out two of his latest posts: The One Thing You Need to Create WOW Experiences and 6 Steps to More Courage.

2) SPOT.PH

Spot.ph has been around for a while, but the editorial direction was recently taken over by my friend and one of my publishing mentors, Myrza Sison. I like their “50 Things to Do in Manila” list. Gave me new ideas! Lots of good stuff in there, especially if you’re looking for good restaurants to check out.

3) SETH GODIN’S BLOG

Just started reading this today. Seth Godin is a marketing expert and author of the best-selling books Tribes, Purple Cow, and Permission Marketing, among others. For those who haven’t read his books (like me), reading his blog is a good start. :)

4) PRESENTATION ZEN

A great resource site for speakers and presenters….

…which I really need to browse through right now as I prepare for a couple of upcoming talks. :) Happy browsing!

Praise report!

REPUBLIKHA, the NGO we put up that we’ve been working on since September, is up and running! We’re so happy and thrilled that Gino de la Paz, a great great great writer and a huge supporter of our cause (and one of my favorite people in the world) decided to write about us in his column today. Do check it out! Philippine Star, Supreme section, pages J1 and J3. Here’s a preview:

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Please please go and find a paper a read it! I’ll post the bigger versions tomorrow, I just want you to go and see the real thing first. Haha!
THANK YOU to TEAM SUPREME and GINO DE LA PAZ (you are instrumental!), JC VALENCIA for the photos (thank you so so so very much), RED LOGO for the shirts, and Rivermaya, Salamin, Julianne, Barbie Almalbis, Gloc9, Joey Ayala, Brigada, Coffeebreak Island, Bituin Escalante, Peryodiko, Itchyworms, Radioactive Sago Project, Cynthia Alexander, Michael V, DJ Benjo Marquez, and all the other awesome artists who are going to be part of our first project/album (more names to be announced in the coming weeks)!

So please read the article, and please do spread the word…we’re looking for all the support we can get! :)

Join our Facebook group: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=76538927672&ref=ts

Check out our website: http://www.republikha.org

Or just say a prayer for us. We’d love that, too. :-)

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It doesn’t stop! We want to thank Ron and Owie of THE EDGE radio, too, for having us over as guests last night.

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You guys are…AMAZING. ;-) You really really are. Thanks again for having us over and letting us talk about our project…we’re really grateful for the support. :)

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In other news (not RepubLIKHA-related), this week, Trina, Jose, Camille, and I started a training program at the Young Focus Student Center in Tondo. It’s difficult to describe in one sentence, but we’re doing something like a life coaching program for high school and college scholars from the Smokey Mountain area–basically, helping them discover their talents, gifts, strengths, passions, etc., in order to encourage them to live more purposeful and passionate lives. :)

IMG_2603THE COLLEGE SCHOLARS

IMG_2633HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES!

These are awesome people. Kwela. Masaya. Makulit. Smart. Wise. Talented. I’m eager to get to know them more. :-) We’ve got weekly training sessions with them for the rest of this month, so do keep praying for us!

Thank you to Alex and Ben Compton for opening that door and introducing us to Young Focus and thank you to the dedicated and inspiring Young Focus team (Sir Ronnel, Kuya Manuel, Grace, Mark, Tina).

Tondo is the place to be! :-)

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And through it all…it’s God that makes all things possible. :) Thank you, Lord! :)

Counting the blessings.

Busy times. But God has been good, and His grace really abounds, so I can’t complain. It’s a good season. :)

Counting my blessings this week:

1) I preached in a service for the first time EVER (never thought I’d actually do it in this lifetime)!  My friend and small groupmate (?) Roxanne Barcelo was also there to give her testimony. She’s an awesome speaker, and she’s really someone I’m so proud of. She has a HUGE heart and her resilience is topnotch. Thank you to the awesome people of Generation Congregation of the Church of the Nazarene for having us over. GenCon rocks. :)

2) I had a good meeting with the Young Focus team at their student center in Tondo (I didn’t get lost on my way there either! Woohoo!). Young Focus aids the children and teenagers from the Smokey Mountain 2 area (for more info, check out http://www.youngfocus.org). They’re doing such a great job. I’m conducting several programs for them next month and I’m really looking forward to that. I can’t wait to meet the students!

3) We celebrated the birthdays of my mother and my brother with a nice family dinner at Power Plant. My 5-year old nephew even walked me to my car when I had to go back because I forgot something. Sweet. :)

4) I graduated from the Every Nation Leadership Institute (Year 1). I love my classmates and I love our church! It was just so cool how they made us all feel special. Special shoutout to Pastor Dennis Isleta! He was such a good “daddy” to our class, and we appreciate him a LOT. Another special shoutout to Ramir Mallari for putting up with us and managing to get us organized, because our class can get pretty rowdy. Haha.

5) We had a great afternoon with “supersiblings” Lea and Gerard Salonga last Wednesday. They’re really nice and down-to-earth, and I’m glad that they’re excited about our project. Awesome stuff up ahead!

6) I managed to have time to eat dinner at Taco Bell (one of my favorite eateries!) AND watch John Legend with two of my best friends, Camille and Carisse. John Legend was definitely in my must-see concert list (I’m still praying to be able to watch U2, Tony Bennett, John Mayer, and Coldplay in my lifetime!), so I’m glad we got to watch the concert. It was fun!

Tomorrow (or later, rather), I’m off to Nueva Ecija to speak at a high school graduation. It’s going to be quite a long trip, but I’m hoping that it’ll be a relaxing and peaceful one. I’m actually looking forward to the free hours in the car to be able to do nothing but think, listen, and pray. I believe it’s going to be a good day. :)

Living an “Out of Control” Life

WOW, WHAT A NIGHT. We just had the first Thursday session of our One Life to Live seminar series and it was just…WOW! God is so good. We had lots of fun–the people were so ‘game’, Pastor Paolo‘s message was great, and we were blessed by Alexis Edralin’s testimony. Rob Johnson and I had the honor of hosting the event and I tell you…God has a sense of humor, and He really loves a good laugh. :-D

Rob and I are not hosts. We’ve never hosted before (at least Rob claims he never did!). Okay, on second thought, I take it back. I hosted my first Kids Church session a month ago, but that’s it, and that was a whole different ballgame. So when Rob and I met up a couple of hours before the seminar started to “get our act together”, we must’ve burst into laughter several times. Then we’d shake our heads, and sigh. Then try again. Then laugh some more.

*Sigh*

Did I mention that I’m supposed to be a professional trainer and motivational speaker?

Someone once asked me if I enjoyed public speaking, and I laughed. The truth is, unlike most public speakers who get a thrill out of being on stage, I am PETRIFIED of public speaking. Right before I do a speech or a talk, I feel my heart palpitate. I KID YOU NOT. Some people might think I’m just doing that false humility thing BUT PLEASE PLEASE TRUST ME I really really am PETRIFIED!  And yet…I do it anyway!

Over the last 9 months since I’ve left a full-time job to pursue the vision of becoming a teacher, I’ve been doing talks here and there, sometimes in front of 3 people, one time in front of 3,000. I do all sorts of talks geared towards the youth…I do career talks, leadership talks, talks for True Love Waits, etc. Whenever I get an invitation, I pray about it, and if I feel I’m being led by God to go, I go.

I feel that at this point you might be either rolling your eyes in disbelief OR scratching your heads, confused and wondering why on earth I keep doing it and how I get away with doing it if I’m really as nervous as I say I am.

Hold on…I’m getting there…

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