Blog and Media

Self-Sabotage is Often Presented As Self-Care

If I had a dollar for everyone who has said to me, “How do you do make videos?  How do you get in front of the camera?  Aren’t you scared?!” I’d be a wealthy woman.  I hear coaches, business owners, and entrepreneurs all tell me, “I’d love to do what you are doing, but – I am just not ready yet.” And, I agree- doing something new can be intimidating. But, just not doing something because it seems scary is often self-sabotage that presents itself as self-care.

How you show up online, or in business, is as scary as you make it.  It can be overwhelming and intimidating if you are new to the online space. However, there is nothing scary about showing up for yourself and your business.  It may take a bit of self-talk to remind yourself of why showing up matters.  Let’s break this down a bit. 

Self-Talk Is Mindset Work 

Currently, the idea of “mindset” is very on-trend.  And it is not something I am against. In fact, as a social scientist, we have taught ‘mindset’ work for decades under the name of “intrapersonal communication,” which are virtually the voices in your head. The voices that often have a loud, powerful impact on the choices you make, while other times it is a quiet whisper that is easy to ignore. 

When it comes to showing up online, as an entrepreneur, a professional, or even a friend, a little bit of anxiety that peaks into our heads mean we may tell ourselves, “not this time” or “I am going to sit this one out” or “maybe next time. I’m not ready.”  Anxiety puts us in a fight, flight, or freeze mode.  And when something seems scary, the voices in our heads give us plenty of reasons to ‘opt-out’ and stay in a proverbially safe space of the known and familiar. 

The Premise of Self-Care

The premise of self-care comes in when we decide that ‘opting-out’ is acceptable.  In fact, when we tell ourselves “It’s Ok – you’re not ready yet” or “It’s OK, no need to put yourself under any more stress than is necessary” we are often missing out on experiences that could benefit from us.  Our brains are hardwired to keep us safe.  We make decision and act in ways that align with our sensation of safety.  Self-care tells us we can.  

However, we cannot hide from ourselves, and unknown experiences forever.   I have always said, “You don’t know who you are doing something until you actually do it.”  We have to remember that just because something seems daunting, overwhelming, or scary does not mean that it is something we should not do.  Perhaps we should do it mindfully, carefully and intentionally – but we shouldn’t just avoid it.  You are not practicing self-care if you are avoiding exploring who you are outside of your past experiences.  You are, in fact, sabotaging yourself, your efforts, and keeping yourself away from meeting your own goals. 

It is Time To Stop Hiding From Yourself

It is time to stop hiding from yourself and sabotaging your own ability to succeed.  Self-care is not giving yourself permission to avoid things that make you a bit nervous or make you feel overwhelmed.  Avoiding the very work that may allow you to meet, and exceed, your own goals and expectations is self-care.  Avoid is sabotage. 

Now is the time to stop hiding from yourself and take control of the person you want to be.  This means you have to stop hiding from yourself and your potential. It means you learn how to put yourself in situations, safely, that can help you evolve into space and people you desire to be.  You really do not know how well, or successful, you can be at something until you put yourself in the situation to do it.  

Do The Work – Get Ready to Show Up 

That being said, there are ways to show up and present yourself in new ways safely.  At the Wordwell Group, the goal is to do the work so you can confidently show up in new spaces and overcome the anxiety or fear you might be experiencing.  You show up and do the work in a way that allows you to successfully and confidently show up in a new space with the skills that allow you to show up successfully.  Hence, to overcome the self-sabotage of telling yourself you don’t have to do something scary, you actually partake in the act of self-care by learning something new. 

Showing up online, or even at a face-to-face event to showcase your ideas, services or products, there are simple steps you can take to become more capable.  When you are more skilled, you will be more confident.  And when you are confident, no longer do you feel like you need to hide.  You may still feel nervous – but, nervous is normal.  Hiding from your fears is self-sabotage. Self-care is empowering yourself with the skills you need to get to where you are going.  What are some simple steps you can take to practice self-care when it comes to trying something new? 

  1. Prepare what you are going to say
  2. Practice what you are going to say
  3. Practice some more!
  4. Record yourself.  Watch it.  Assess it.  Make tweaks or changes. 
  5. Practice some more.
  6. Be willing to show up for yourself
  7. Be willing to be imperfect, make mistakes and feel a little awkward and uncomfortable. 
  8. Show up.
  9. Speak
  10. Reassess yourself for what went well and what you want to work on the next round. 

Learn More At the Wordwell Group 

Finding your voice online can be overwhelming.  It can be intimidating to speak to a camera and scary to talk on a live stream.  It can be very difficult when you are not prepared and feel uncertain. However, telling yourself to wait is not self-care. It is self-sabotage.  With practice, you can show up online exactly the way your envision. 

When you are ready to invest in yourself and your business, call the team at the Wordwell Group.  We offer One-on-One Coaching, Group Coaching packages and also offer Masterclasses that give you the tools to elevate your voice, brand, business, products and services online while also boosting your confidence.   Schedule your free Discovery Call today with the Wordwell Group. We also invite you to join our Free Group on Facebook: Speak Well, Write Well, Word Well for Leaders, Coaches and Entrepreneurs.

Practice Doesn’t Always Mean Perfect – Especially When It Comes To Speaking

The main point of this article is to gently remind you that doing something frequently does not mean you are doing it well. The phrase, “practice makes perfect” is commonly repeated throughout classrooms, sporting clubs, and recreation facilities, reminding us that if we practice something enough times, we will become successful at it. And although there is truth to the phenomenon of practice, it is important to remember if we are not practice something correctly, we are probably not going to achieve the results we want.

But, I Do It All The Time!

Communication is one of “those things” that just seems to happen. Like breathing and seeing, we can talk and hear without putting much, or any, effort into it. But, this is where we make an important differentiation. Speaking and listening are very active processes. They do not just “happen.” Hearing and talking are physiological processes. We do them without thinking. They just seem to happen.

But, that is also why we have so many instances of miscommunication. We hear, but we do not listen. We talk, but we do not speak. In fact, because we just ‘do’ these things, we are never really taught how to actively communicate. WE are taught to read and write, but never taught to listen and speak. And perhaps because we are never actively taught these behaviors, we think that because we engage in it, we do it well.

Communication is based on Speaking and Listening – Active Processes that Require Work

Speaking is the same way. Talking are words that just tumble out of our mouths. They are often the socially correct, or completely unfiltered, ideas that come out of our mouths. Speaking, however, is the active process of putting together messages with intention, value, and meaning – the active process of where we attempt to create shared meaning with the person we hope is listening to our message.

Listening is an active process of taking in sounds, classifying it, giving it meaning and interpreting. Hearing is just what we do when there are car horns honking or a bird chirping in the background. Listening requires us to stop, process, and interpret. Add meaning to what we interpret and ask for feedback to clarify what we interpreted is accurate and correct. This is the process of communication. Taking in messages, analyzing them, seeking feedback.

Becoming An Excellent Speaker Requires Practice

The most grounding lesson I can share with aspiring speakers, whether your goal is to live stream on your social media sites or want to become the next John Maxwell in the world of motivational speaking, practice is the only path to success. And not just any practice, but a practice that includes feedback, self-assessment, skill-building, and a willingness to work.
Even the most charismatic people need to learn the tenets of good speaking practice before they can hone their art of engagement. Although speaking from the heart does count, it is more effective when the science of speaking is applied and practiced.

I get people weekly who reach out to the Wordwell Group wondering why their content, either spoken or written, is not garnering the results they desire. The response is simple. They need practice. And not just any practice, but ‘perfect’ practice with the assistance of someone who can help them elevate their speaking and writing.

And let’s be honest. If you do something regularly and you are not doing it well, you are confirming bad habits. As a communicator, that means you are creating content that is not meeting your goals – which means you are not meeting your goals. And just doing something to say you are doing it is an expensive way to market. Doing something that requires an investment in time and branding means you need to allocate resources to ensure you are doing it well.

Elevate Your Speaking With the Wordwell Group

Now is the best time to schedule your free consultation with the Wordwell Group. Finding your voice online, whether it is on paper or through video can be a challenge. In fact, finding your voice in front of any audience can be a challenge. The team at the Wordwell Group has worked in the space of speaking and audience engagement for nearly 20 years. They have the knowledge, experience, and skills to help you overcome your speaking obstacles and elevate your brand.

Schedule your Strategy Session and begin your journey to Wordwell.

When All We Do Is Talk, It Is Impossible to Get the Conversation Going

Social media can be our best friend. Regardless of your favorite social media platform, social media gives you the space to surround yourself with the people, ideas, beliefs, values, products, and adventures that appeal to you. Even more? Social media is a space where we have, historically, have been able to write to showcase who we are, comment on other posts, and have a voice – without actually speaking or having to look anyone in the eye.

This is where the phrase “keyboard” warrior stems from. But, when we begin to use social media as a selling, too – we are finding that our once unhindered ‘voice’ on social media feeds our anxieties when it comes to speaking out. Let’s talk a bit about social media use, anxiety, and some steps you can take to overcome fear.  

A Bit More About Social Media Communication Strategies 

The premise of social media, at one point, was ‘social.’ Early designers worked to create platforms where people could connect without having to be in the same space. The idea was if more people engaged online, they would build broader, deeper, and more robust relationships. However, time has told us that the opposite is occurring. We know now, the more time we spend online, the fewer real-life relationships we have, and often, the less meaningful those relationships are. 

What we see now on social media is that when people are online, we like to talk. We want to be heard. When it comes to our profile, page, and posts, we like to control the interaction. And for the most part, social media platforms make that available. We can filter, block, hide, or delete comments and content we do not like. When it comes to public threads, we become fearless and assertive and push our views on to other people. And when it feels like we are getting nowhere, we walk away. Or block. Or delete. Regardless. We talk when we can control it. And shut down communication when it doesn’t go our way. This control pattern can create anxiety when you begin to put yourself out there in ways that you cannot fully control. 

Why Our Anxiety Rises on Social Media 

Anxiety rises on social media when we begin to put ourselves out there. We know how people interact online. We see the mean comments, haters, and trolls. We may try not to be like them. However, when we post content, create video content, or go LIVE, you are opening yourself up to negativity. That is a trigger for anxiety.  

Let’s think beyond this. 

As users of social media, we are used to using the platform to talk however we want. We don’t take the time to listen to what people are saying because we are so busy typing away at our responses. Social media has trained us to talk – and not to listen. And if you remember, to be an excellent leader, coach, or entrepreneur, taking the time to listen to your audience is going to get you ahead.

If you start to post, Livestream, or comment in ways that may not reflect your brand, you could lose clients before realizing what you have to sell. Our anxiety triggers because we know we have to use social media from a space of responsibility our personal platform may not require of us. For many of us, we unconsciously decide not to show up if we can’t control the situation. 

How Can We Overcome Our Anxiety When We Begin to Speak?

First, remember, when we do not try something new, anxiety grows. If we live in the space of unknowing, we only can build on what we “think” will happen, not actually what will happen. And if we come to the table with anxiety, anxiety will grow.  

Second, remember social media is social. If you are only showing up to talk about yourself and what you can contribute – people might be turned off. You need to talk about what other people are bringing to the table as well. You must engage in the social part of the platform for you to show up on social media. That requires you to comment, engage in conversations, and reach out to other people. Just like in building relationships with people at a face-to-face networking event, you need to connect with the person online. Remember, we like to do business with people we like, and people who like us. The way to get people interested in what we bring to the table is by showing interest in who they are and what they bring to the table. 

This action of proactive engagement will make social media less scary. You will find allies. You will find a connection. And soon, you will see when you post, go LIVE or have a new promotion, people are interested in working with you. No longer is there silence when you post, which feeds out anxieties that we are doing something wrong, you will see interest, engagement, and growth. 

Reach out for More Help with The Wordwell Group  

If you are finding major blocks and obstacles in growing your business online, schedule an appointment with the Wordwell Group. We can help you understand what you are doing online and provide strategies to elevate engagement. We will also work with you through specific processes to overcome your speaking anxiety, so you have the confidence, and the skill set, to show up online confidently and build your business. To learn more, schedule your appointment online or by calling or texting 925-726-9375. 

The Best Leaders Listen Before They Speak

In the U.S., we have historically believed that leaders are powerful – and, by default, are excellent speakers. We also hold on tight to the belief that speakers are leaders and, therefore, powerful. Power, public speaking, and influence are almost always interconnected. However, today we are going to talk about why the best leaders are listeners and how good listening leads to influence. 

Leaders Show Up With A Purpose

When leaders show up – whether as speakers or writers, they show up with a purpose. Even small business owners, coaches, or entrepreneurs just starting in their digital platforms every time you show up, make a post, go LIVE, or write an email; there is a purpose to it. If there is no purpose, there is no sense in showing up. When leaders use words, quite simply, the words are to help meet a goal. But, sometimes, it feels as if those words fall on ears that don’t care. 

When Nobody Listens 

As leaders, coaches, and entrepreneurs, we are often passionate. We have a lot to say – and we think that everyone wants to hear about it. But – that isn’t always the way it works. People want to listen to what they feel is relevant, valuable, and going to help them meet their personal goals. That means when someone doesn’t think that what you have to say is appropriate, they won’t listen. Even if you know it is essential, it will reach uninterested ears until the listener thinks it is valuable.

How To Get People To Listen?

The best way to get people to listen is to listen to them. Yep. Listen to the chatter surrounding your listeners. What are they saying? What problems are they facing? What is motivating? Exciting? Frustrating? Listen to what your audience or your team is talking about – and then use it to engage them. Often, as leaders, we get so wrapped up in what we think is important that we forget to focus on what is essential to our audience. When we integrate what is helpful to them into our content, all of a sudden, we have an active, engaged audience. This is why we should always listen before we speak. 

Recreate Your Messages

As leaders, we know what our goals are. As leaders who listen, we can understand what the goals are of our teams. We can then determine how to present our messages in a way that is relevant to the people we are speaking to. This doesn’t mean you change your message. It means you change how you present your message. It means taking a step back and remembering, your goal is to get people to help you meet your goal. 

You must revisit how you are presenting your ideas so your team will rise, listen, and engage with you. When this happens, you are successful – while helping your audience find value in what you are talking about. 

Lead Through Listening 

Fundamentally, the best way to lead is through listening. It can feel good to talk. It can feel good to have eyes on you. It can feel good to think you are influencing people. However, sensing something and doing something are often quite different. The best way to connect with your audience is to listen to what they are saying – and use their words, emotions, and ideas to connect them to what you are bringing to the table. 

When you want to connect as a speaker or a writer, reach out to the Wordwell Group. Through an assessment of your leadership styling, content creation, and digital presence, we can help you build the online relationships you need to thrive. Schedule your appointment online, or email wordwellgroup.com for more information. 

Social Media Under Stress – Pitfalls, Power and Purpose

There is undoubtedly stress in the air.  In fact, I think that stress has long seeped into our mindset and saturated all of the nooks and crannies of life.  And when we are stressed, if you remember, our brains and bodies kick into “fight or flight” mode.  Rational, logical thinking leaves us to prepare to fight for survival.  It is important to keep in mind, social media is not space where ‘fight or flight’ is necessary.  Let’s briefly talk about the pitfalls, power, and purpose of using social media in times of stress. 

Pitfalls of Using Social Media While Stressed

Quite simply, we use social media to express the emotions we are feeling.  Humans are inherently emotional beings.  And when we feel something, we actively seek connection with other people to feel with us.  We are social in our emotions.  When we are happy – we want everyone to be happy with us. When we are upset, we want the world to sympathize and be upset, too. Social media is the perfect outlet for us to showcase our emotions and seek emotional camaraderie.  In fact, it is because of sharing emotions that social media works at all.

However, there are pitfalls. When we post from a negative emotional space, whether it be frustration, fear, anger or anxiety, not only can we invoke that emotion to people who see our posts, we tend to post things that are not what we would say, do, believe or act upon if we were not under duress.  As business owners, coaches, leaders, or entrepreneurs, that may ultimately impact our success as an online presence. 

The Power of Controlling Our Emotions 

Social media works because of emotional engagement.  Without connecting with people, nobody cares and your posts get minimal views.  But, as leaders, controlling your emotions and engaging with your audiences from an emotionally intelligent, and emotionally responsible position is power.  The question you might be asking is, “Well, how do you do that?” 

  1. Stop and step away: Give yourself a break.  If we listen closely to ourselves, we can determine when we are stressed, anxious, or mad.  If you cannot be that vigilant, you might need a break from social media. Step away long enough for you to determine what your thoughts are when the emotions have dulled. 
  2. Listen: Revisit the post, incident, or image that invokes such a strong emotion.  Review it.  Ask yourself what you think the speaker is really trying to communicate? What is beyond the words?  What is their emotional state?  Check yourself and make sure you are responding to the concept – and not the speaker, the emotion or the context.  If you are not ready to do that — go back to step 1 and stop and step away. 
  3. Draft a response:  Draft a response.  Write it on paper, in your notes, or on your hand.  Write it out somewhere.  Often, we don’t know what we really think or feel until we write it down. This might be messy. It might require edits.  Don’t post it – just write it. 
  4. Wait:  Yep – just wait.  Sit things out.  Time gives us perspective and is a great internal checks-and-balance system. 
  5. Edit: Review what you drafted. Does it need to get changed? Revised? Edited?  Or maybe trashed?  Go back to what you wrote and refine your messaging to make sure you are really saying what you want to say and responding to what the speaker really is trying to communicate. 
  6. Respond — or perhaps choose not to: Post your response.  Or, maybe you choose not to.  

After stepping away, reflecting, writing and reflecting some more – now you should be at a place of emotional control where you can show up as a leader online. 

Use Emotion For Purpose 

As leaders, we constantly have to remember why we are showing up online.  It isn’t to talk.  We are showing up to lead.  Plato once stated, “Wise men speak because have they something to say. Fools speak because they have to say something.”

Be purposeful.  Don’t show up just to talk.  Show up because you have something valuable to contribute to the conversation.  Show up because you can add value to the current library of knowledge.  Remember why you started your business, sell your product, or why you choose the path of leadership.  Work to align your messages to your purpose. 

And, like always – stay in your lane.  When leaders, coaches, and entrepreneurs step into the lane that is not theirs, they lose credibility and lose the trust of their audience.  You can have a purpose and contribute to your purpose by focusing on your mission.  And remember, sometimes silence is power.  Our silence can create space for more meaningful conversations, thought, and new voices. 

Exceptional Leaders Are Exceptional Communicators 

If you have a digital presence, you are a leader – regardless if it is intentional or unintentional.  That makes it your responsibility to show up as a leader every single day.  Part of strong leaders is using emotions in a way that engages and inspires and does not feed into negative emotional contagion.  Monitor your emotions and create powerful, purposeful content to avoid social media pitfalls.  To learn more, work with the team at the Wordwell Group by scheduling your first appointment online.  You can also join a free group online for more resources.

What Is Email Marketing and Do I Need It?

Email marketing campaigns have been a hotly debated, yet an integral piece of business marketing for well over a decade.  Email marketing, by definition, is sending an email to market your product, brand, service, or promotion to a group of people whose information you have collected.  Some social media fanatics might claim that email marketing is an outdated strategy.  However, email marketing has proven to be an effective marketing strategy when the campaign is set up correctly.  This article will touch briefly on email campaigns, how to set them up, and what roadblocks to avoid. 

What Is Email Marketing And Does My Business Need it?

As briefly outlined above, email marketing is when you target your ideal client with a message about your business, product, service, promotion, or event.  The goal is to drive sales, increase customer loyalty, and share important information.  Today, because people can choose to “opt-in” or “opt-out” to your email campaigns, you can trust you have a targeted audience who is interested in you and your business.   Plus, the 2018 Inbox Report by Fluent reported that 80% of Americans check their email daily – this means your clients are going to see what you have to say. 

You should consider email marketing simply because it is capable of generating up to 30 times your initial investment.  That is a great ROI for a minimal amount of work. Every time you send an email out, you are reaching a captive audience who has already demonstrated interest.  You can also control exactly what you want people to see – and with the right processes in place, determine if people have seen the emails.  You can also create different campaigns and ensure that each client, or potential client, is receiving the messages they need to answer to their space in the buying process.  

Steps To Set Up An Email Campaign From Scratch 

Setting up an email marketing campaign from scratch can take a bit of work to set up – but then just entails constant content creation and ensuring your contacts stay organized. Here are the key steps in outlining an email marketing campaign.

  1. Choose an email marketing provider such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or SendGrid.  I recommend checking them all out to choose the platform that is best for you.  My preference is Mail Chimp — it is free, intuitive to use, and allows you to have a robust email list without a ton of up-charges. 
  2. Create a database.  You must have a database to have an email marketing campaign.  Your database will be the people who are going to receive your emails. My recommendation is to organize your database before you get started…and do at least monthly check-ins to ensure it stays organized.  This will help ensure your contacts are receiving the right messages. 
  3. Know your email marketing goals.  Each campaign must have a specific purpose.  You cannot send the same email over and over and expect it to convert.  Different types of emails include a welcome email; content to engage your audience and get them to sign-up for a new promotion or try a new product; nurture existing subscribers by providing something of value; re-engage people who have not been active; segment your audience into different sales paths. 
  4. Know your audience. Your content should be targeted to your audience.  This means you want to provide the content you can trust will be relevant, interesting, exciting, or motivating to them. 
  5. Trust technology to help you.  This is why having an email marketing service is helpful.  You want something that will help you format your marketing campaigns clearly, offer analytics, and create different templates for different segmented members of your audience. 
  6. Plan your Emails and Follow-Ups.  Once you know what your goal is of the campaign, you will need to write out a series of emails and follow-ups to send to your target audiences.  Each email that is sent out should be timely, relevant, interesting and valuable.  When you are planning think about the following:
    1. How frequently you will send out an email
    2. What your goal of each email will be
    3. At least a draft of the content – then sit down and create the copy of each email that will be sent out. 
    4. The main action you want subscribers to take (i.e. sign-up, buy, visit social media, send a referral).
    5. Plan on how many emails you will send in a series before transitioning to a different market campaign. 
    6. Create a subject line that is between 40 -50 characters that invites people to click on the email.  If they are not intrigued, they will not click on the email.
    7. Track your emails. Study your analytics every time you launch a campaign to know what people read and what they ignore.  This will help you creat better campaigns moving forward.  

Road Blocks To Avoid 

There are some pitfalls and roadblocks you should avoid when setting up your email campaign.  Here are some roadblocks you should avoid.

  1. Do not obtain or use email addresses illegally.  You must have an “OPT-IN” option on your emails, which gives you their legal consent to collect their data.  Some research says 80% of website visitors will NOT opt-in – having popup reminders is a good way to work around this. 
  2. Do not send everyone the same email.  Segment your audience into sub-groups.  This allows you to personalize the content specifically for different audiences and ensure everyone is receiving messages that are relevant to them. If the content isn’t relevant, they won’t read your email. 
  3. Keep your email subject “SPAM FREE”  – if the email server thinks your email is spam, your message will go to the “junk mail” and the recipient won’t see it.
  4. Do not forget the “OPT-OUT” option on your emails.  Just as you want people to choose if they receive emails, you also need to give them the choice to stop receiving them. 

Work With The Wordwell Group  

Keep in mind, there is a lot of trial and error when you first begin an email marketing campaign. You must keep with it awhile before you can be confident of what works and what doesn’t.  Also take the time to edit and proof-read each email that goes out.  One thing that turns off consumers are poorly written, grammatically incorrect copy. 

If you are ready to launch an email campaign and have more questions, schedule a strategy session with The Wordwell Group.  A free 30-Minute session can get you centered and ready to take the next steps to elevate your brand and business. 

Fear of Public Speaking Supersedes Our Fear of Dying!

When you hear someone mention “public speaking” you can bet that the reaction won’t be positive.  After spending nearly two decades as a speaker, public speaking educator or coach, when people hear what I do, the number one response is, “Oh – I hate public speaking” and “Public speaking stresses me out” to “I could never do that.” In fact, I have had many clients tell me the one course they need to finish their degree of higher education is public speaking.  However, if you are someone whose blood pressure rises, palms get sweaty and start to feel pressure when it comes to public speaking, remember, you are not alone.   The fear of public speaking seems to be one of the top human fears.  Let’s talk about why. 

What Is Public Speaking?

By definition, public speaking is when you have a speaker who engages with a live audience of 10 or more people.  Some scholars have the number closer to 15. The idea is still the same.  One speaker addressing one cohesive audience at the same time.  This is slightly differently than “mediated communication” or “mass communication” that has one speaker addressing their audience through some sort of technological device that you can tune into at any time.  One important detail is that the speaker and the audience have opportunity to interact in realtime during a public address – something that has not holistically be an option through mediated channels, such as the TV and radio. 

Today, we have technology that allows us to have a speaker address a live audience in real-time AND interact with their audience.  Speaking through means such as Instagram LIVE, Facebook LIVE and YouTube LIVE allows speakers and their audience to interact with only a lag time of 30 -40 seconds.  This is a new space of speaking that bridges live speaking and mediated speaking.  The one thing that doesn’t change is the fear and anxiety that accompany it. 

Why Do We Get Scared?

 In fact, public speaking is a more pressing concern than even death for people throughout the world. A Gallup Poll confirmed that 40% of Americans say public speaking is their greatest fear.  This same poll showed only 25% of Americans named death their greatest fear.  This shows that although public speaking is an inherent part of our culture, people are still fearful.  

There are several reasons why we are scared.  One principal reason is our physiology.  Did you know your body cannot differentiate between actual and perceived stressors? Stressors are things that we perceive as threats…things that can actually hurt us, our family, or our ability to survive. This means something we think is a threat will trigger the same response as something that is actually is a threat.  

Let’s talk about this. What is a real threat to our well being?  A lion attack?  A speeding car in our living room.  A gun-wielding madman in our bedroom in the middle of the night.  Those are all real threats.  Incidents that result in a true life or death situation. 


What is a perceived threat? Something we are afraid of – but is not really going to end in a true life-or-death situation.  These are everyday stressors…such as getting nervous before speaking, anxious before an interview, worried about your kids on their bikes.  These are things that could potentially result in a negative outcome – but, for the most part of not inherently dangerous. 

The problem is, our bodies react to both types of stressors the same way.  So, when your brain hears “Speech!!” and you panic, you are sending messages to your body to react as if you are in danger. That ends in “fight or flight” mechanisms.  That means our bodies get ready to “run” and flee the danger or “fight” the danger.  In reality, if we encounter a lion, we need “fight or flight” — if we have to take a hard test, “fight or flight” will not help us succeed.

What Is The Result of Fight or Flight”?

When you go into “fight or flight” response mode, your nervous system is activated due to a sudden rush of hormones being released into your bloodstream.   The sympathetic nervous system stimulates the adrenal glands to release catecholamines, which include adrenaline and noradrenaline.  These hormones prepare your body to either stay and deal with the threat (fight) or run away to safety (flight). 

This response reflects back to our early ancestors who had to make ‘fight or flight’ decisions for basic survival. Although the environment has changed, and for the most part, we are not living in the same inherent dangers, our bodies have not.  

What happens to our bodies during this stage of fight or flight? Our heart rates increase, blood pressure goes up, as does our breathing.  Your body might become quite tense, your hands might get sweaty, you may tremble, your eyes will dilate, your skin will become flushed or pale and chances are good, it becomes difficult to make clear decisions – thinking is cloudy. 

Will The Anxiety Ever Go Away? 

Fear, anxiety and apprehension are completely normal.  They are perfectly human responses to stress.  These responses prime your body to deal with danger – when danger is imminent.  In fact, we do not want this response to go away because it could truly save our lives. 

That being said, it does beg the question of self-talk and facing our fears.  Scholars call these imaginary fears – things like fear of heights, excessive speed, falling or speaking.  This doesn’t mean they are not scary – but, for the most part, they are not life-threatening.  

It is important to become aware of what “perceived” or “imaginary” threats spark in you.  It is also important to talk to yourself and remind yourself that although something may seem scary, it is still safe.  It might be intimidating, but it is not a true threat to our well-being.  This simple act of self- talk will help your body to calm down.  When you are calm, your body (and brain) will return to your ‘normal’ that will allow you to effectively deal with the perceived threat. 

Work With the Wordwell Group  To Overcome Your Fear of Speaking

A few important take-aways from this short discussion on fear is that first, fear is normal.  It is completely human.  Second, it will never completely go away.  The good news is that the adrenaline that fight or flight triggers can be channeled into a positive space and help you become a better speaker.  

When you are ready to overcome your fear of speaking, reach out to the Wordwell Group.  We we help you uncover what is triggering your anxiety and work with you to apply simple techniques to reduce your anxiety so you can become an elevated speaker.  Schedule your first consultation with Dr. Cross today by email wordwellgroup@gmail.com, clicking the link or requesting an appointment through the Contact Us page.

Three, Two, One – You’re On Camera!

Earlier this week, I promised to provide three simple, yet effective tips, you could immediately implement in any video work you are doing. This short article will briefly review why you should use video and then three simple steps you can take today that will make a world of difference in the overall quality, and engagement, of your videos. 

Why Should I Use Video?

We see tons of video when we scroll through social media. As leaders, coaches and entrepreneurs, we often think, “That looks easy enough – maybe I need to get into videos!” Perhaps you are on the other side of the spectrum and immediately say, “Nope – that isn’t for me.”  In fact, both answers are acceptable and incredibly common.

But, when it comes to video and business, we know that 55% of social media users watch videos every day.  Even better?   Social media videos generate up to 1200% more shares than text and image posts combined!  Those are both impressive numbers.  

So why should you use video?  People watch them and share them!  They are incredibly effective marketing tools!  When it comes to live streaming on your social media sites – you can create awesome video content without spending a ton of money. 

Three Simple Steps To Improve the Quality and Engagement of Your Videos 

Don’t get me wrong, there are more than 3 steps to creating compelling video content that converts. However, these three steps are the foundation of building excellent content that people want to watch. 

Focus on one message per Live video

One of the largest problems I see when people go LIVE is they talk too much.  Is that a thing?  YES!  When there is not a clear purpose to the message, people stop watching and keep scrolling.  When you start to record, make sure you are letting your audience who you are and what your purpose is right out of the gate.

If you chat too much, people might get bored or not see the relevance and tune out.  Then, when you are on camera, stick to your message and make sure the major points of your video are clear so people can walk away with some good information and remember why they tuned-in in the first place. 

Look at the camera

Another pitfall I see when people live stream is not actually looking at the camera. I get it – you are beautiful and are awesome to look at.  But, if you are looking at yourself on your phone- you are not looking at the actual camera that is filming you. 

When your audience can tell you are not really speaking to them, it can be distracting and they will tune out.  If you are not sure where your camera is on your phone, make a little note using a post-it before your hit “Go Live” so you know where your eyes should be focusing.   

Only go LIVE where you have a really strong internet connection 

Ideally, you’d like to be hard-wired into the internet.  That isn’t always realistic.  When it is not, make sure you have an excellent internet connection.  Viewers will not watch video that is unclear. Not only does it give many people a headache, but it can also be uncomfortable to watch.  If people cannot see your video clearly, they will opt-out and continue to scroll.  

Live Stream Video Can Be Compelling Video That Converts

Integrating video into your business is a powerful way to introduce your brand, products, and promotions in a fun and effective way.  Taking the time to explore the foundations of great video work will set you on a path for creating more powerful videos.  

If you are ready to take video work to the next level, schedule a Strategy Session with Dr. Cross.  Fore more tips on how to become an Elevated Speaker, join us at Speak Well, Write Well, Word Well for Leaders, Coaches and Entrepreneurs.

Because Everyone Wants to Go Live

 More often than not, when people approach me for coaching or training for the business, the common question is, “How can I go Live on Facebook.” Facebook introduced the ability for users to broadcast or live stream to their newsfeed back in 2016. Today, video has become an integral piece of marketing for businesses, and a fun way to stay connected to friends. And the simplicity of going Live, paired with easy-to-use smartphones, has people clamoring to create videos.  

However, going Live means a bit of preparation. Although Facebook likes to motivate people to use the tool to broadcast to highlight events or commemorate celebrations, business owners should be a bit more aware of what a live stream entails. Remember, who you are online will determine if customers want to work with you or whether they will turn their heads in the other direction. 

To improve your presence online, here are a few simple tips you should take to before hitting that “Go Live” button on your phone.

Have a Plan

You probably do not want to burden yourself with memorizing a script (we will talk more about scripting video work later), but you must have a plan when you go live. Although many people use the platform as a personal video-journal, you need to be more purposeful if you want people to watch your video when it comes to business. Know your main points – and stay on track. If you are focused and organized, people will stay tuned and want to hear more! 

Look At The Camera 

Unless you are speaking with someone on your live stream, make sure you are connecting with the camera. If you are looking to the side, over or even under – it makes your viewers feel, well, weird. Make sure you are speaking to your camera as you were talking to a friend. 

Breathe

When the camera starts to roll, we have two general tendencies. First, we go silent. Or, we begin to speak so quickly, nobody can understand us. The end result in both scenarios is nobody can understand what we are trying to communicate. And if we are staring at the camera, or racing through our main points, we are probably not breathing. At the end of your message, you should be able to think, “Hmm…I did it!” and not, “Wait, what did I just say?” Remember to breathe. Take a deep breath before you hit “Live” and focus on what your message is.  

Watch Your Fillers

What are fillers? Those are the phrases we use, often without realizing it, to fill space between thoughts. We may say, “Uhmm” or “you know” or “and” and “stuff like that.” In casual conversation, none of those tendencies are too distracting. But, on video, they turn into distractions. Instead of listening to you, your listeners begin to focus on your fillers and lose track of your main points.   

Smile!

Smile! Act like you want to be there! When someone looks friendly and approachable, we are more likely to listen to them and more likely to want to listen to what they have to say. A smile is a sign of welcoming a listener, being approachable, and creating a human connection. You do want to take into consideration the mood of what you are attempting to film. However, more cases than not, a smile is an open invitation for your listens to stop, watch, and engage. 

Prepare For Technology to Fail

Always be prepared for technology to fail. Regardless of where you speak or whether it is a digital or face-to-face engagement, chances are good something will go wrong. And when it does, ensure you have a Plan B in place and so you can keep on speaking. Most technology fails and other errors should not derail the entire speech or presentation. The may be blips in the passing, but will generally be forgotten by your audience.

How to Schedule With the Wordwell Group

With many businesses dedicating more time and more focus on online platforms, taking the time to learn the art of speaking is imperative. Reach out to schedule your free consultation and learn what programs, workshops and seminars you can enroll in so you can speak with confidence. Email us at wordwellgroup@gmail.com or call us at 925-726-9375 

You Can’t Quarantine The Hustle

For those of you who don’t know me personally, it is time I admit that I am obsessed with my Peloton bike.  Whether you think that is for better or for worse is still up for debate.  However, the insight that seems to resonate with me today, from some of the Peloton instructors, is the idea that you “can’t quarantine the hustle.” 

I cannot give direct credit to any specific instructor, because it seems to be a mindset that many are adopting.  However, for good measure, I’ll refer back to the brilliant Robyn Arzon and Alex Toussaint for the credit. 

How Does This Matter To Me? 

I am guessing you are asking how that is relevant to the Wordwell Group or members of our Facebook community Speak Well, Write Well, Word Well for Leaders, Coaches and Entrepreneurs.  Interestingly, it connects directly back to one of the most common questions students, clients, and many of you ask.  “I can’t do it.  I just can’t do it” when we talk about creating video content, blog content or launching a new program. 

I am here to tell you, “you can’t quarantine the hustle.”  Public speaking,  especially in front of a camera for the whole internet to see can be challenging.  It can be downright scary.  And frankly, most of us tend to avoid things that make us feel uncertain, overwhelmed, or nervous.  It is easier to avoid what we don’t love doing and fill our time building our businesses doing the tasks we enjoy.  With the added stressors, burdens, and responsibilities that our current Shelter-In-Place orders have put on many of us, we have just one more reason to avoid doing to the tasks we can’t face confidently. 

What Is Your Quarantine Hustle? 

What I mean to ask is, what have you putting off in your business under the facade of the shelter-in-place orders?  Or maybe it is just fear or uncertainty?  For many of you, my guess is creating content for the world to see.  

Let me give you an example.  In my ‘other life’ in front of the camera, I am spoiled with support. I have an incredible light, sound and video team. I have world class editors. I have a social media guru and a website designer working with me every step of the way. The only thing I have to be good at is the ‘stuff’ I enjoy  and can confidently do.  This means I get to talk to business owners, write, and talk!  The work outside of my zone of comfort is handled by professionals.

Enter Shelter-In-Place. 

That team who I have worked intimately with for the last few years is there -but, from a distance. That means much of the work I depend on them for is now my responsibility.  So – when I say, I understand the urge to avoid doing tasks that are not in your zone of expertise. I get it.

But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be doing them.

Face Your Fears

When I tell you that “You can’t quarantine the hustle” I am telling you that it is time you work past your excuses for not doing the work you need to do and get to work.  Here are some tips to help you get started. 

  1. Figure out what your goal is.  Not everything needs to be video.  Maybe you can start with creating blog content, cute social media posts or a newsletter.  Figure out 1 step you can take to elevate your communication with your ideal client base.  There is not need to tackle it all – start with one task and commit to it.
  2. Commit to it!  And yourself.  If your goal is to write blog content, set a goal for 1 month and hold yourself accountable to create that content for 1 month.  
  3. Be flexible.  Don’t expect to be perfect.  There is no such thing as a perfect communicator.  Extend grace to yourself and don’t expect yourself to be a pro after just getting your feet wet. 
  4. Practice. There is no need to put it all out there.  Practice what you want to try.  If it is video, practice filming yourself a few times until you have a grasp on what you want to say. If it is blog content, write a few articles and see what tone and voice you like.  If is a newsletter, create a free account and test out some templates.   Get your feet wet and your hands dirty. The only way to learn is to try. 
  5. Be willing to put yourself out there.  This is jumping in. At some point, you just need to put yourself out there.  It takes bravery. It takes courage. It takes practice. But – until you put your content out in front of an audience, you will not know how well your audience will receive it. You won’t know what you do well – and you won’t know what you need to improve upon.  
  6. Realize there are days and tasks when you NEED external motivation.  We can’t always do it on our own.  We need people to remind us of our goals, pull us out of slumps and perhaps remind us why we are awesome.  As people, we NEED people. This is why we have this group. THIS is why I have one-on-one coaching. 

Elevate Your Voice With the Wordwell Group 

Have you adopted the mantra “You can’t quarantine the hustle” and want to elevate your business and brand through improved audience engagement, reach out to the Wordwell Group. Schedule your free Strategy Session to discuss your goals, learn what your strengths are, and set up a plan to help you elevate your presence so you can elevate your business.