What lessons can “Sully” Sullenberger teach us about the fear of public speaking?

by Terry Gault Capt. Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III relied on countless hours of practice making decisions in fear-inducing situations when he successfully ditched US Air flight 1549 in the Hudson River , saving everyone aboard.  It’s the very process that I teach clients about how to stay calm during presentations when things start to go awry.  It’s called metacognition defined by Webster’s as “awareness or analysis of one’s own learning or thinking processes.”  It...

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Receiving Feedback: Communication Skills

Receiving frank assessments about ourselves from others is often not easy and can be an emotional experience. Here are a few tips on how best to prepare yourself to receive feedback, to be receptive and to leverage the value of the comments you receive from others. ·  Relax:  Feedback is an adventure of discovery into yourself. Be willing to entertain new ideas about yourself.  Some of the comments you receive might be useful, others not. Even...

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The Three C’s of Credibility

Editor’s Note: This is guest post from Jonathan Bernstein of Bernstein Crisis Management, Inc. In Keeping the Wolves at Bay: A Media Training Manual, I have a section called “Attitude is Everything.” It explains the importance of non-verbal communication in ensuring that your audiences receive your messages effectively. Since the last draft of that publication, I’ve started to emphasize this point even more strongly while media training my clients. I was taught, back when we all still...

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The Henderson Group Announces the Complete Communicator Workshop in San Francisco, Aug. 14-15

We’re issuing a press release for our upcoming By Invitation Only Complete Communicator workshop.  I am including a copy here for any of our readers who may be local and interested in experiencing our work firsthand: Terry Gault, VP of Services for The Henderson Group, defined this workshop as “combining several programs into one intense skills-development program, where employees learn to communicate effectively one-on-one, leading small groups, standing before intimidating executive audiences, and facilitating meetings.” ...

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Public Speaking enhances leadership of famous African refugee, Valentino Achak Deng

This last Saturday, June 21, I finished reading “What is the What” by Dave Eggars. It is billed as a novel but is essentially a biography of Valentino Achak Deng, one of the “Lost Boys” of Sudan who fled a civil war in Sudan. Thousands of boys died during their 1,000- mile walk to Ethiopia, most from starvation and dehydration, some from man-eating lions, and others from attack by the murahaleen; Sudanese government-armed Arab militias....

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How to deal with the “Stump the Chump” dynamic in Public Speaking

“Stump the Chump” refers to an audience member who may be disruptive or hostile; often expressed through repeated questioning meant to challenge a speaker’s authority and possibly steal the spotlight.  Here are some tips on dealing with this demanding dynamic: 1) Keep a very warm, friendly “interface”. This allows you to maintain control over your state of being and will keep the rest of the audience on your side. 2) Play the role of “helpful facilitator.” ...

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Public Speaking and The Value of Freaking Out

Some of us think holding on makes us strong, but sometimes it is letting go. Herman Hesse What are you most afraid of? For most people, it’s public speaking. And for some, the fear of public speaking is so dramatic that it’s right up there with the fear of death. People are often terrified that the panic and the anxiety they feel will overwhelm them, render them speechless and weak-kneed. So what could possibly be...

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Stage Fright

That well-known dramatic fear of public speaking (40% of American adults suffer from it) is also called stage fright. Your hands shake, your mouth dries up, your heart pounds loud enough (you’re sure) for the audience to hear. You’d like to escape but your knees are shaking or too weak for you to run. You’ve heard of panic attacks and now you’re having one. Join a very large segment of humanity who have this phobia,...

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Remarkable presentation on the nature of the brain and consciousness

This video was sent to me by my meditation teacher. It’s a talk by neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor. Having a stroke the thought hits her, “This is so cool.” As the caption reads on the TED Talks page: Neuroanatomist Jill Bolte Taylor had an opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: One morning, she realized she was having a massive stroke. As it happened — as she felt her brain functions slip away one by...

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Vanquishing the Chaos Monster

  When you start to think about your presentation – what to say, how to say it, the dynamics of your words, movement and body language — does it all seem like chaos? Let’s examine a few ideas to help you create an effective presentation. For an effective presentation, you need to face your own "Chaos Monster" and create order out of chaos. You need a structure. Make it simple. Start with three basic parts:...

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