Sound Polished & Professional When You Speak
– Transcript: Episode #186
[00:01:50] Well, hey, friend. Welcome back to another episode. Today we’re diving into becoming more polished and professional when you speak. These two words, polished [00:02:00] and professional. These are words I hear all the time when talking to prospective clients, members of my program. People have this desire to, to sound as good as they know their expertise and content is. On the, the un-pretty way of saying this, one of the number one things I hear from people all the time is, Heather, I just don’t wanna sound like a fricking idiot when I am on the stage, or on a video, or when I have that moment when I’m stepping up to the mic. I just don’t wanna sound freaking dumb. And what kills me and makes me laugh ‘cuz I have these moments too, is these are extremely successful business owners.
[00:02:39] These are women who have had decades careers doing whatever it is in their expertise, right? And you would never think like, oh my gosh, like how on earth would you ever sound like an idiot? No fricking way. But there is this thing that happens when, when you have experience doing what you do, and there’s this moment where you question.
[00:02:58] Well, I know it’s good, but like, is it as good as I thought? Like sometimes when I’m showing up to speak, I don’t know if it’s making sense. I don’t know if it’s resonating with my audience. I like, I, I’m getting the feedback. It seems like it’s resonating, but I’m not entirely sure. And where this comes from, I’m, I would imagine you’ve had a little bit of this too before, if you’ve ever heard a moment where you step up to a microphone and you start talking and you’re like, I, I’m on a roll, or now I’m not or why is it so hard to get the ideas out today, this word of polish? Have you ever had that thought? I wish I was more polished when I speak. I giggle at this ’cause I’m like, what the frick does that even mean, more polished and pairing it with the word professional?
[00:03:38] I wanted to dive into it a little bit because when I talk to business owners, they say they wanna be more polished, but what starts happening with their actions and then their vocabulary, they start solving the problem of, I don’t think I’m polished enough or professional enough. They start solving it with a different strategy, which actually is a total buzzkill for their authenticity so let me break down what I mean by this.
[00:04:03] But, but first, you know that as a business owner, your communication skills are fundamentally important to your success. It is how your clients and how prospective clients and audience members and peers, it’s how they perceive you. It’s through your communication and when you sound more polished and professional, you’re seen as more knowledgeable, more trustworthy, more confident, and this leads to establishing more credibility and attracting more leads, referrals, more business so your communication skills are like paramount in your business.
[00:04:36] You know this, you’re listening to a speaking coach on a podcast like you already know this to be true. But when you don’t know how to communicate effectively and in a polished and professional way, you are losing out on sales because if you can’t clearly communicate the problem, if you can’t clearly communicate your ideas and your expertise, how on earth will other people say, heck yes to giving you money?
[00:05:01] Have you ever had an experience before where you, you have a problem that you want solved and you found somebody who can solve it, and you’re trying to pay them money but they make it hard for you to pay them money. Either it’s like their website’s clunky or there’s no buy button, or maybe in the conversation, this has happened to me before. I’ve done sales calls with some vendors, and the way that they describe their services is talking me out of wanting their services and oh my gosh, just start, stop talking and take my money.
[00:05:27] When you don’t know how to communicate in a compelling way, if you don’t have a little more polished and professionalism in the way that you speak, you’re not gonna command the kind of clients that you want to work with so that’s what we’re diving into today.
[00:05:42] I wanna break down this idea of what is the mistake that people make when they think they’re trying to elevate their polish and professionalism, what they actually do? So number one, people confuse professionalism with formality, and that is the first, like line of distinction I wanna create for you today and see if you’ve been guilty of this too.
[00:06:03] So, professionalism, what is it? I love this definition from Mind Tools. They say that professionalism is about being reliable, setting your own high standards, and showing that you care about every aspect of your job. I believe that when someone is described as professional, they’re seen as more knowledgeable, more skilled, and more competent in their work.
[00:06:22] Professionalism is representative of the work we do and how we hold our work at a high standard. Formality, on the other hand, refers to our language, our behavior, our dress. When something’s described as more formal, it’s characterized by like the structure, the seriousness, and you notice it in the tone. More formal language tends to be more precise, more reserved. It avoids any kind of casual expressions or slang. A lot of times more formal language uses very outdated and big words. Formal dress, you know what that looks like? Formal dresses, you’re gonna be a lot more conservative, a lot more buttoned up.
[00:07:05] Now, here’s the interesting thing. When you’re an online entrepreneur, thinking about who your target demographic is, your level of formality does not need to be super high. Now, if you’re working with C-Suite executives and you feel like you need to be buttoned up all the fricking time, your level of formality might be cranked up. I don’t know. Personally speaking, when I work with C-Suite executives, I have certain elements that are dialed up on formality. But my, I’m professional, I’m not a formal person, like you can tell that through my language. I, last week I talked about, one of my examples was about a, what I thought was a sexy toy. It was not. It was a workout contraption. And also listening back to the episode, I swear I said contraption 73 times. Holy crap. Why did no one tell me? Isn’t it interesting how sometimes we grab onto a word and keep using it over and over and over again? Yeah. That’s one of those things. I’m gonna encourage you at the end of this episode, I’m gonna give you an activity to help you with some of your weird quirks. Evidently, I still have some of those too, but we all do.
[00:08:06] But coming back to a formality, one of the mistakes that so many of my clients are they’re making when they come to me is they think that an in order for other people to see them as credible, to see them as knowledgeable and competent, they think that they have to dial up the formality of their language using super big words and using whilst, therefore, hence, whenever art thou, like language that everyone uses in corporate that is terrible and we all hate like typing an email. Therefore, , thus the something, some, I don’t, I don’t even use it anymore. I had to strip this away. This was the first thing that I did as an entrepreneur, is when I started emailing my audience and realizing that the way that I was typing was just super formal and therefore cold form of communicating, and that was the opposite of what I wanted to bring to my audience. I knew that there had to be a different way, and that’s when I learned the difference between professionalism and formality.
[00:09:08] So first and foremost, friend, I want you to get really clear for you. Understand what is the level of formality that you need to have with your audience. Now, if you are, for example, if you’re a doctor and maybe you coach other doctors to build their businesses. There might inherently become a level of formality that is required because doctors who work in clinic or in hospitals or wherever they work, right, they might have an expectation that professionalism comes with formality. And this is where we have to start understanding not just our preferences, but what are the preferences and precedents set by our audience? What are those expectations? Because formality is not a requirement, but it might be appropriate for some audiences and or for some stages.
[00:09:57] One of my very early episodes here of the podcast linked to it in the show notes. I talk about how you set the dial for how you wanna show up and be seen. I call it your speaking persona. And one of the activities I guide you through is to have you think about the way that you communicate at the heart. It’s, it’s always you, but you crank up your level of formality, like a dial on a radio. Some stages you might need to be a little bit more formal. So for example, let’s tie this back to speaking. I am far more precise when I am speaking on a key note stage. My formality, it’s not super formal, but I’m way more dialed in, so it would be a little more formal when I’m keynoting because my words need to be precise, is less forgiving of filler words.
[00:10:41] But when I’m doing a live or doing a long form like this on a podcast, y’all, I got the filler words. I have the random side tangents. Is it perfect? Heck to the fricking no. And that’s fine because the level of formality is really dialed back because I mean, you’re probably listening to this on your walk or in your car. The kids are in the back seat. Hey, kids, maybe you’re sipping your coffee, you’re listening to this while you’re, while you’re doing your work. I don’t know, right? I don’t know how you consume this information, but inherently the format leads to a more casual nature.
[00:11:14] So first and foremost, what I want you to do in your brain is separate formality from professionalism and polish. Get clear of is what perceiving a lack of, in your mind, is it a lack of professionalism or is it a lack of formality? And then empower yourself with this follow up question. Is it required? So for example, if you are bidding yourself up because you don’t feel like you’re as good of a communicator as you would like to be, or you’re not quite as polished as you want, ask yourself the question, is it really polish or am I seeking a level of formality that’s not needed in my area? It’s not needed in this stage format. It’s not needed in whatever thing that you have in front of you.
[00:11:54] So first and foremost, where we point back to empowering questions for ourselves, let’s make sure that we’re solving the correct problem, and the problem that I wanna address is your professionalism and your polish. I’ll put those two things together. Now, what do I say by with polish? What happens is when we communicate, we all add a lot of extra, a lot of extra. And I don’t mean like, Ooh, she’s so extra. I mean, I definitely am, and I would imagine you might be a little bit too. I don’t mean like extra in terms of your personality or over the top opinions.
[00:12:28] What I mean by extra is literally extra crap when you speak and you dilute your own message. So what I believe people are looking for when it comes to polish is that they want their message to be more like, more potent. That’s a weird word to use. I’m kind of breaking my rule here ‘cuz I say don’t use big fancy words, but by more potent, that’s the opposite of diluted is it packs a bigger punch. Wow. There are a lot of P’s in what I’m saying right here. Let’s just ride this train. Let’s go with it.
[00:13:00] So, so when you speak, if what you’re talking about, you have all this extra filler, all these extra words, all this extra, extra, extra. People have to sift through it to get to your point, and that I think is really the challenge that people have if they’re questioning, oh my gosh, is what I’m saying making sense, my goodness, like I don’t know if this is resonating. I don’t know if they’re like having the takeaways that I intended. When we start adding extra and we’re actually not sure of what our point is, that’s things start going wrong. That’s when we start all of the self-doubt and the second guessing and, friend, when you want to become a credible authority in your niche for people to trust you, you can’t spend all of your time self-doubting. You have to know that your ish is good. Believe in it.
[00:13:51] Sure. There’ll be those moments of like, oh my goodness, like, why the heck did you take five fricking ticks to record a podcast episode? Those thoughts are gonna come in, [00:14:00] right? And you’re gonna be like, ah, why is this so hard and you fricking move on. You are equipped with the right tools to be able to do it better the next time. Communication is a skill, which means we have to continue to practice that skill over and over and over again, and being more polished and being more professional requires practice.
[00:14:20] So let me give you an example here. If you are not showing up to some kind of microphone and speaking consistently, whether it’s on video or on a podcast, or you’re speaking on stages, or you’re talking to your people inside your programs, if you’re not doing that consistently, and by consistently I mean multiple times a week. Your ability to become more polished and professional every time you open your mouth is gonna be limited. How I got really great at speaking and thinking on my feet is I was putting myself on some sort of stage every freaking day for 15 years. You might be thinking, oh my gosh, Heather, I don’t have that kind of time, nor do I have that kind of desire.
[00:14:59] You don’t have to, right? I was physically on stages. I was on giant conference calls. I was teaching virtual trainings, in-person trainings. I was all over the place. I was a trainer and I had like, was a head of a training department, so my job was to talk to people all the time. A lot of those moments, quote unquote on stage were performance management conversations, coaching with my staff. We were doing feedback sessions for presentations. People were doing their pilot of their talks for upcoming conferences. I was giving them feedback. All these platforms for me to be able to practice using my words, using my voice, using my communication skills, I was doing it all the fricking time. That’s how I got so good.
[00:15:37] And the thing for you is, as an entrepreneur, if you wanna become better at your communication skills, you need to put yourself in more opportunities to practice. That does not mean you can just be silent listening to your Spotify list every day while typing things out. You can’t expect to like knock it out the next time you jump on a Zoom call or if you get asked to speak on a stage, you, it’s not just gonna magically fly out of you because you spent your time on a keyboard. It doesn’t work that way.
[00:16:05] If you wanna become more polished and professional, you have to get yourself in more practice. Oh my goodness, this is a lot of Ps in this episode and I kind of fricking love it. I hope you do too. So let’s talk about, let’s talk about how we do this. So I have quite a few things that I wanna share with you today. So this episode is less of a step-by-step and more of provocative episode. And by provocative, I mean there’s another p, provocative. I mean, thought like, I want you thinking. I, I wanna provoke your thoughts, literally what provocative means. So I want you thinking about this. It’s raising your level of awareness.
[00:16:44] At the end of this episode, I’m going to give you a homework assignment. It’s a little mini challenge, and if you’re up for it, it will be a game changer for you, but most people will not. I know that most people will not do it, but I’m gonna give you this heads up right now. I just went off on a whole rabbit hole around the need for you to practice. If you wanna get better, I’m gonna give you the most effective and uncomfortable way to do at the end of this episode. But my goodness, friend, if you can start with that, you will be able to cover a lot of ground, but let’s let’s dive into it.
[00:17:14] So when it comes to becoming more polished and professional, I want you to think about your communication skills and three buckets. Bucket number one, it’s your language, the, the words that you use. Bucket number two is your vocality, meaning how you say those words, your pace, your tone, your pitch. Bucket number three is your body language. Language, word choice, your vocality, and then your body language. Three buckets of communication. Now, if you’ve been to one of my workshops before, I consistently referenced a study done in the 1970s where when it came to communicating some kind of emotional backed message, which that’s marketing for you, but emotional message he talked about when it came to communication. 38% of what you communicate is in your vocality. 55% of what you communicate is your body language, i e, your nonverbals, and just 7% are the words that you use.
[00:18:12] Now, the study has since been attacked and debunked the numbers of what the breakdown is, but I like to reference the study because it is a stark reminder that we spend so much time obsessing over the words we use, but the words are just one slice of the pie. How we say those words and our physical presence in our non-verbals when we communicate that, my friend is where I believe the true polish comes.
[00:18:39] Let me give you an example of this. When you pull transcripts, oh, this is so cringey. Oh, here we go. When you pull transcripts of my videos and my podcasts, they are almost unusable. I I, I have lots of words. That’s no surprise to you. I have lots of words and sometimes they’re rambly. I mean, maybe here and there we go off some side tangents. I use some very casual language. Yes, I use a little bit of slang, like I say wanna and gonna, and I’m not mad about it and I don’t think you are either, but the way that I communicate, it’s not, it’s not formal and it’s not necessarily pretty in typed form.
[00:19:30] Why do I share this with you? Well, I get compliments all the freaking time around how polished and captivating I am and how great a speaker I am. I mean, high five me. I’m a speaking coach, so I’m on the right path here, but what I want you thinking about is the way that I communicate is hands down attributed to the how I sound, my vocality and my body language.
[00:19:55] I am very comfortable when I speak with my weird, long hands and arms, this crazy eyebrow that I have. My whole, like my body, have gotten very, very comfortable in what I look like when I communicate, and I intentionally move my body in a way that adds to my message. If you’re listening to this audio right now, you’re getting just the audio experience of Heather.
[00:20:18] You hear the variation in my voice, you hear the way that I communicate is different pace, different, different cadence, different, I’m popping around with my voice. I have, I have skills that I have done, skills that I’ve grown. I have different exercises that I have done to make my voice do what it does.
[00:20:35] And if you’re watching the video of this, which by the way, all these episodes, there is a video component. You can get that link to YouTube in the show notes wherever you’re listening to this. But when I communicate it is, it is a full freaking body experience. Now, the words that I say, the message matters. The wrong words can screw me over, just like they’ll screw you over.
[00:20:57] Having the right language, that’s like the admission ticket, right? You have to have good content, you have to have good vocabulary. You wanna be intentional with your word choice. I’m gonna talk about that here in a moment, but where a lot of that polish and professionalism comes out, that captivation element that you are really seeking when attracting your ideal client.
[00:21:19] It isn’t just in the words, it’s the, how you say those words in your vocal, vocal, vocality. That was a hard word, vocality, and it’s through your body. It’s your comfort if you’re freaking out going, I hate speaking virtually. Where is the camera lens? I need to see other people. I need to see other people’s face.
[00:21:37] I hear you. It’s awkward and get over it, frigging get over it. It’s just that is the nature of the game. If you wanna do this business, you have to make that camera hole you’re bitch. Like, that’s what this is about. Fun fact. I know that was a little aggressive. Sorry, earmuffs in the car. But I, that was my mission.
[00:21:55] So when I made the transition from speaking on stages, me and my team, we were on stages all the time. We were traveling all over North America and in Europe teaching these seminar sessions, and I was really good live. Well, when I started my online business, I realized that when I looked at a camera, I just became a blabbering idiot.
[00:22:12] I couldn’t get, I couldn’t get the words out. It was like my brain short circuited. So I sat down in front of my camera and said, okay, every freaking day I’m gonna make this camera my B like, you and me baby, like we are going to make sweet, sweet love until this becomes a comfortable thing and I’m able to get my brilliance across in my language.
[00:22:36] That was a very weird sentence that I just said, but you know, here we are. We’re here. But here’s the thing, if you’re feeling uncomfortable about speaking virtually or maybe you’re feeling uncomfortable about speaking physically in front of people, in person, you’ve never actually been on a stage before.
[00:22:50] Well, it’s, it’s just new. It’s just not familiar to you so until you make it familiar, of course it’s gonna be uncomfortable. We just have to start getting over it. But your body language, that shares a huge indication of your confidence level and people buy and trust those who are confident. So if you have any kind of discomfort speaking to audiences, that is okay.
[00:23:15] That is totally freaking normal, and it’s not an excuse for you not doing something about it. If you wanna be seen as a trusted authority, if you want to have more polish and finesse and professionalism when you communicate, you have to address these things like straight on, straight freaking on. Stop hiding from it.
[00:23:32] You’re not an ostrich, like if you just pretend, like if you go, oh, I’m just, I just never watch my videos. I just, I’ll, I do a podcast interview and I never go back and listen. Okay. Don’t gripe. When people aren’t following you, don’t gripe when people aren’t going to, your optin don’t gripe when people aren’t commenting on your video. Until you have the courage to stare at yourself in the face of the camera to go back and review your work, how can you expect other people to enjoy it? Like if you’re unwilling to look at it yourself, it’s, this is not a personality thing. This is not saying you’re a terrible person because you’re uncomfortable on camera.
[00:24:14] This is not like, watching yourself on camera if you’re fumbly or if, if you think you look weird or I mean, goodness, look at, I’ve talked about this all the time. I’ve got a weird eyebrow, y’all. It is a weird eyebrow that has like a mind of its own and I can’t get the other one to lift up, but like very expressive eyebrows. I get those comments all the time on my YouTube videos. This is not a personal attack on me. Looking at my communication skills, thinking about the way that I, sometimes my brain is five steps ahead of my mouth and I say three words at the same time, and it comes out really fumbly. That is, that does not mean that I’m stupid. It does not mean that I’m a terrible communicator. Just means that my brain went fast. It just means that, ooh, I need to be mindful of being intentional when I open my own mouth to communicate. I need to be mindful that when I get really excited, my brain skips [00:25:00] ahead three chapters, and I have to give myself the, I have to be present in what I’m saying.
[00:25:06] What I’m getting at right here, friend, is there are three different ways that you communicate. It is the language, it is the vocality, and it is the body language, and until you’re willing to really embrace where you are in all three of these, polish and professionalism is gonna be kind of a hit or miss.
[00:25:25] But when you choose to look at each one of these three things, the what you say, how you say it, and then what’s going on with your body while you’re saying it, when you start embracing this and looking at your voice and your body as an instrument to convey this message out to the world to reach the people that you wanna help, holy crap. That’s when things start getting really fun, because it’s less about attacking your character and identity, it moves you into this spot where you are, I talk about this all the time, is you have to move from being the actor in the scene. You, you’re the actor cuz you’re stepping up to the mic but you have to put yourself as the producer and or the director where you’re looking at the screen and you’re saying, how can we invoke more feeling?
[00:26:09] How can we, how can we capture their interests faster? Ooh, isn’t it interesting that every time we talk about this subject, we itch our neck? Ooh, isn’t it fascinating in that every time we get to the part where we talk about the money, our voice goes up a little bit higher and we stop breathing in our and our now the throat gets really strained.
[00:26:28] Isn’t it interesting? It’s one of the most powerful phrases that I use for self-critique because it’s disarming. It’s without judgment. It allows us to go, Hmm, interesting. And then you can explore it. Okay, so this first idea that I really want you thinking about is starting to understand that polish and professionalism, we really can boil it down to three categories.
[00:26:50] Now what I wanna do is I wanna tackle the three most common mistakes I see people making that hinder them in these categories. So mistake number one when it comes to speaking, being flighty, being a little spacey, being all over the map. If you start a sentence and get really excited and then skip to the next sentence, and it’s hard to follow what you’re saying. You are not alone in this. You are not alone with this. This has happened a lot of times with very passionate experts who are so excited to share what they have to share. What happens is what I mentioned before, your brain goes like three sentences into the future and forgets about your mouth still trying to complete the sentences at hand and things get a little garbled. So this is one of the number one mistakes that happen. And here’s the thing, it’s not, I’ve gotten questions about this before on my YouTube channel. My number one video is how to articulate your thoughts so other people can understand you.
[00:27:44] It’s one of the first videos I did on a YouTube. It’s just gotten some good reach, but I, I get questions from people, whether it’s English is a second language, or they’re neurodivergent or something else going on, going, like, I just have a really hard time thinking on my feet, or I just, sometimes when I’m thinking and speaking at the same time, it’s just a, it’s a big challenge. And that is very, very normal. If you struggle to be able to articulate as you’re thinking, that is a very, very normal thing. The most important thing that you have to think about here is knowing yourself. If you do not do well thinking on your feet, or it gives you high anxiety or stress to try to come up with things on the fly, know that about yourself. You can work on the skill. There are exercises that we can do to help with that, but rule number one, friend. Don’t put yourself in a position where that’s the requirement. You need to plan in advance. And by plan, I don’t mean script, but if you are doing, let’s say like this, for example, if you have your own podcast or if you are going to speak on a panel or on a podcast as a guest and you’re like, ah, I don’t know what they’re gonna ask me. Doing your prep in advance, anticipating what they might ask, if you are doing your own video or your own podcast, writing out an outline for yourself. Have a game plan. It serves as a safety net so you can fall back on it if you lose your way. Side note, it’s totally fine if you go off on a side tangent, you can say that.
[00:29:08] I’ll say it all the freaking time. You can honor it, recognize it out loud. Now, if you’re doing it every, like think about if you were speaking and it was a transcript, if you’re doing that every paragraph, that’d be a little overkill cuz people be like, whoa. But taking a detour here and there when you’re passionate or it’s gonna be circle back and be relevant to what you’re speaking on, that’s totally okay.
[00:29:29] But if you’re constantly, space cadet in your words, or you’re jumping from thought to thought and you are struggling to make sense of your ideas, your audience most certainly is too. So mistake number one, if you’re having a hard time articulating yourself as you’re speaking, go check out the episode. We’ll link into the show notes.
[00:29:47] I think it was episode number one or number two here on the show where I give you a quick exercise around how to think through it, how to prep, so that when you show up, you are not just winging it on the fly. Okay? Mistake number two, I mentioned this before, diluting your message with filler words. I’m not just talking about ums and ahs and oh, also talking about those pesky ones especially that happened on camera and so making the longest sentence you’ve ever spoken in your life, because there’s no natural break for it to ever, ever, ever end, and so you keep doing it and so is the sneaky filler words of all video and presentations want you to be aware of where are your fillers.
[00:30:36] Each of us have different fillers, but all those fillers does exactly what I mentioned earlier on this episode. It dilutes your message. you lose people when you add in a bunch of filler. Now, you might be thinking filler words. It’s just those ones that I mentioned, the ums and sos.
[00:30:55] There’s also other filler words and there are filler words that people use that they don’t actually know that they’re using. So in the exercise activity I’m gonna give you into this episode, I’m gonna teach you a quick way to get to the heart of this right away and identify your fillers. But I also have a filler word episode dedicated to mixing your fillers. We will link that to the show notes. That was one of my more popular episodes. I believe that aired on New Year’s of 2020 is when that episode first went live, but it is the exact step-by-step process I went through when I was lurking to kill my filler words when I started on video. Remember earlier when I made the camera my mm. That’s what I did there. Part of that was addressing the filler words that I was using and this episode will help you with that.
[00:31:41] Okay. Mistake number three that I see happen way too often and it just, this one is the, it breaks my heart mistake. I see so many experts speaking so meekly about their topic. They are lack of conviction and self-confidence about what they have to say is really killing their mojo. Now this happens in their tone. It happens in their body language and in the fidgeting, it happens in the uptick of their voice where everything sounds like a question. You’ve probably experienced this before when you’re sitting in front of someone and you can just tell they’re not quite confident in what they have to say.
[00:32:25] What happens is a lot of times when people are unsure if the audience is gonna resonate their message. It comes out in very interesting ways. Now you have what I mentioned before, someone who’s a little bit more timid, the timid speaker, a little bit more soft spoken, maybe a little like with the uptick, with the question marks constantly asking, is that okay?
[00:32:49] Did I get on track? Was that what you’re hoping for? A few of those questions are okay, but if you’re constantly asking for feedback from your audience, it sends a subtle, subtle signal of, Ooh, but do you like, do you believe in what you say? I’m, I’m kind of curious here. So, hear when I say this asking, does that resonate with you? Asking, does that make sense? Some people say that’s a terrible thing and you should never say it. I think that’s a little, that’s a little extreme. I think those things were fine. I say those things. If you’re saying them constantly, that’s where the problem is. So that timid is one character around how a lack of conviction or confidence comes out but I actually see a second one that’s a little sneaky. It’s kind of a trying too hard. Someone who is insecure on their topic or maybe insecure with the audience they’re speaking to, this might pay attention, you might fall in this category where you know your expertise, but the who you’re talking to, you’re not as familiar with the audience.
[00:33:44] And what happens is, well, you know, your content’s good. You might not be as confident with that audience, and you don’t have that warm trust build with that new audience that it comes out in the trying to convince, trying to show the expertise. Back when I was in corporate, I was one of the youngest executives at my old company and I was damn proud of that. And if I’m being super honest, sometimes when I went to meetings in our larger parent company over in Copenhagen, sounds very fancy. I gotta fly across over to Europe and go to strategic planning meetings. I felt like a baby child in that room and I knew I was highly competent. I knew I was damn good at what I did, but I felt in a room with men in their fifties and sixties and women who were in their forties, fifties, and sixties, I felt like, I didn’t belong to be there, or I didn’t belong to be there. Yeah. Words, words, ugh. Irony of this episode being polished and professionalism. But in that room, I felt like I needed to sound smart. I felt like I needed to fit in that formality. I cranked it up a bit and I could tell in the tone of my voice that I was trying hard.
[00:34:57] Granted, I would imagine other people picked up on it. I mean, I would like to say that I probably pulled it off, but I don’t know. You know how sometimes when, when we’re trying a little too hard, the tone of our voice changes. It’s like that, that fake telephone voice I’ve laughed about before that my mom had, when I was a kid, she’d be like, hello, this is Clara.
[00:35:15] And it was like, that wasn’t how you were just talking a second ago, that comes out. So when it comes to that conviction, this mistake people make a lack of conviction or a lack of confidence, it comes out in two ways. Way number one is it very clearly is a confidence issue, right? Where we talk a little more like quiet, a little more timid, but it’s another way where it’s inauthentic, where we’re trying so hard, maybe we’re not as comfortable with the audience or with the platform or with the format where it’s totally solid in our content, but we’re not so solid. It’s gonna resonate with this audience, so it comes out in like this, this forced this, this inauthentic tone that might be where the formality level comes up a bit.
[00:35:59] So I bring up this mistake for you because I want to catch you that if you have a moment where you’re not feeling super comfortable when speaking to a group, I want you to pay attention. Is it because I’m uncomfortable with the topic? Is this a new topic? Or maybe I’m speaking on something that is not really in my zone of genius? That could be a Q flag or is it because I’m unfamiliar with this audience and then ask the question of what would help me raise my level of confidence on that?
[00:36:24] Because here’s the interesting thing, what you’re probably looking for is, Heather, gimme the hit list of the specific tools or the specific tips that I can do. Side note, if you want that, I’ve been sitting on a freebie idea now for about two years, where I’ve put together like a hit list of like 10 ways to sound instantly more polished, professional, and credible when you speak. If that would be something that’d be helpful for you, shoot me a DM on Instagram and tell me, and I will put that PDF together, like straight away, friend.
[00:36:51] But when it comes to speaking, when you are able to shift the intention behind your message and you know what to focus on, you will notice that your vocal tone in your body changes with it. So it’s not about like, I’m gonna try to raise my voice like this because Heather said so. That’s weird. Don’t ever do that. What you wanna be thinking about is what is the message I’m trying to convey and the feeling behind it and your tone will shift too. What I want you thinking about today is, am I aware of how I communicate with my words, with my tone and with my body language? And are you making some of those little sneaky mistakes that I mentioned today?
[00:37:31] Now, let me give you, just to wrap this up in a bow, a couple power tips that’ll help you, cuz I know you’re, you’re gonna be wanting them based off those mistakes. So, number one, prepare before you speak, know what you’re talking about. Get your little bullet points into action. You gotta have a prep plan.
[00:37:46] Number two, I want you to focus on choosing clarity over sounding pretty. Clarity over being or sounding pretty. What I mean by that is if you’re trying to wrap something up in a really pretty way to say it, like what is the essence of your core purposed whilst being on a horse?
[00:38:08] No. You’re trying to make what you do pretty. Say it, like, how would you actually tell me what you do? Say things more clearly. Your audience actually appreciates that so much. So, so just lose the pretty way to say it and just say it and then practice saying it more and more and it’ll smooth out and become pretty over time.
[00:38:28] Tip number three, I want you to cut the crap. I want you to cut the crap and make the promise to yourself that you’re gonna finally put a, like a cut to filler words. This one more specifically, explore listening to yourself if you have a bunch of extras too. But the filler words, the as, the ums, the ands, the, so you know what the one is that really trips you up that you do without even thinking about it.
[00:38:50] I want you to commit to cutting it. My friend, are in a world, 2023, video is everywhere. You’re gonna be speaking on stages and yes, I know in video you can [00:39:00] push a little thingy and delete all of your oh’s and ums, but what happens, my friend, when you get selected to speak on a panel and you sound like a different person because you normally speak with fillers, but you cut them using my favorite tool, descript, which is how I edit my, my podcast, but you cut them all, but you haven’t cut the bad habit of using filler words.
[00:39:20] They’re killing your credibility. So I’m just gonna tell you, if you wanna sound more polished and professional friend, you gotta get rid of them. Do you have to get rid of them a hundred percent? No, I still use them but you need to cut the majority of them so that you’re not limiting yourself. The filler words are limiting you.
[00:39:38] Okay, so this brings me to my challenge for today’s episode. This I’m so freaking excited about, and you are gonna love me and you’re gonna fricking hate me for this, but if you want to become a better communicator, I’m gonna give you a 10 minute activity that is going to freaking change your life. It’s actually gonna take 20 minutes for you to [00:40:00] do the activity, but you’ll hear okay in a second.
[00:40:03] The best way for you to get better, becoming more polished and professional is for you to take stock of exactly where you are right now. You have to, you have to know exactly where you’re at. So here’s the activity, friend. I want you to pull out your phone when we’re done with this. I want you to think about what is your favorite topic to speak on. You’re gonna take your phone on the camera setting and you’re gonna hit record and you are gonna speak for three minutes, three full minutes on your topic. Do not break character. Do not start over. Just keep talking and pretend that you were live, right? That you wouldn’t be able to start and stop over and be like, oh, that was weird. Let me just say it again.
[00:40:41] No, just keep speaking for three straight minutes. I’m not worried about the format. I’m not worried about anything other than you speak on whatever topic you want for three full minutes. Now what I want you to do, and this is the part where you are gonna hate and love me. You’re gonna review that recording in three ways.
[00:41:00] Now, remember today’s episode I talked about how polish and professionalism comes out in three lenses. It’s the language you use. It is the tonality of how you deliver that language. And three, it is the body language. So friend, we’re gonna review in all three of those lanes. Woo. So number one, the language.
[00:41:21] I don’t want you to watch your video. I don’t want you to listen to your video. I want you to transcribe your video. You can use tool like Otter ai. That’s what we use for transcripts. If you have a tool like Descript, like me, you are an online entrepreneur, I trust that you can figure out how to create a transcript.
[00:41:37] If not, Google transcribe this video and you will figure it out. You can do hard things. Number one, you’re gonna read the transcript and I want you to understand, what are your language? What are you using? Are you using filler words? What are you talking about? Is it, does it make sense? Read it. You’re probably gonna laugh cuz you, maybe you’re like me. It’s gonna be like, Ooh, this was a rough transcript cuz you’re in speaking language, not written language. That’s fine. But I want you to read it and just take stock. What do you notice?
[00:42:06] Step two. I want you to play the video back, but you’re not gonna watch it. You’re just going to listen to it. You’re just gonna listen to your tonality, listen to it, and pay attention. What do you notice?
[00:42:19] Step number three, you are going to watch it, but you’re going to watch it with the sound off. The sound off. So you’re gonna watch your physicality, fancy words, your body language for the three minutes. What kind of energy are you bringing? What’s it look like? What are you doing, y’all? What do you notice? Words, vocality, body language. Those are the three lenses. I want you to do this exercise and take stock. Where are you at with it right now? What do you notice? What do you see? And send me a note on Instagram and tell me you’re doing the challenge and, and tell me what you noticed. I wanna hear what you see.
[00:43:02] Friend, this was a juicy episode where we definitely got more tangible around how speaking can really be improved with your skillset and and then ultimately have a bigger impact on your business. I cannot wait to see those of you. Not everyone’s gonna do this, but I know if you think like your speaking skills, if you know that they are critical for your success this year. Three minutes to record. What’s that? 1, 2, 3 minutes to review. So that’s 12 minutes of total video and listening time. Plus we’ll give you a couple of transitions in there. So let’s say at tops, this activity will take you 20 minutes, maybe 30 at the very most, if you’re confused about the transcripting.
[00:43:41] Can you spare 30 minutes in the next seven days? And if you were to do that, could that be the game changer to help you start understanding what your audience experiences when they come across you and your message? It really can be a game changer, and I cannot [00:44:00] wait to hear what you do. All right, friend. I will see you on next week’s episode to help you continue making the most of your onstage moments. Talk soon.