Join Jason Hartman and Jean Hamilton, founder of Speaking Results, for an entertaining discussion on developing and honing your skills as a speaker, presenter, or storyteller. When you’re in front of your audience, you want to feel like there’s no place you would rather be than right there telling your story and inspiring others. Jean shares many NLP tips to overcome public speaking fears and build confidence in your own abilities, offering fun training techniques and insights where you can improve your body language to help your audience see you, hear you, and absorb your message. For more details, visit : http://www.SpeakingofWealth.com/category/podcast/.
When Jean Hamilton founded Speaking Results in 1998, it was the natural next step in her career. Early on, she began to develop and perfect her skills as a performer and artist, working for 15 years in modern dance, mime, and theater with various professional companies that toured extensively in the U.S. and Pacific Rim. After this successful career, Jean pursued a new direction studying Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP). She was soon hooked by what this discipline could accomplish and began using the tools of NLP to make profound, positive changes. She pursued her NLP studies and training with the same fervor and energy she brought to the stage. In 1993, certified as an NLP Master, Jean opened her private counseling practice. As satisfying as she found working one-on-one with clients, Jean realized that she liked being on stage and began to explore public speaking. She started this endeavor through a local chapter of the Toastmaster’s Club. She quickly began winning awards and trophies for both her humorous and poignant presentations, drawing on the rich material of her life. Jean soon graduated into the professional world of keynotes and National Speakers Association meetings, where she saw scores of the country’s best presenters. The more pros she watched, the more she realized how much her current work drew on the performance skills she had honed earlier in her dance and theater days. She saw how she could combine these skills with the personal development tools of NLP to create powerful and profound presentations. Jean recalls with real pleasure the “Aha!” moment when she realized that these skills could serve others as well, and Speaking Results was born.
Introduction: Speakers, publishers, consultants, coaches and info marketers unite the Speaking of Wealth show is your roadmap to success and significance. Learn the latest tools, technologies and tactics to get more bookings, sell more products and attract more clients. If you are looking to increase your direct response sales, create a big time personal brand and become the go-to-guru. The Speaking of Wealth show is for you. Here is your host Jason Hartman.
Jason Hartman: Welcome to the Speaking of Wealth Show. This is your host Jason Hartman where we discuss profit strategies for speakers, publishers, authors, consultants, coaches, info marketers, and just go over a whole bunch of exciting things that you can use to increase your business to make your business more successful, and more and more passive, and more and more automated, and more and more scalable, so we will be back with a great interview. Be sure to visit us at speakingofwealth.com. You can take advantage of our blog. Subscribe to the RSS feed, and many other resources for free at speakingofwealth.com, and we will be back with a great interview for you in less than 60 seconds.
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Jason Hartman: It's my pleasure to welcome Jean Hamilton. She comes to us from Seattle today, and she is the founder of Speaking Results, and she has a varied background that she brings to the speaking business in terms of coaching people and consulting with both individuals and companies on improving presentation skills. I think you will like this interview from a fundamental standpoint, and she has three different sort of angles if you will that you will hear about during the interview, and I think it will be very valuable to you. Jean welcome, how are you?
Jean: I am doing great. Thank you for having me here Jason.
Jason Hartman: Well good, my pleasure so you have a pretty diverse and eclectic background. Tell us a bit about how you get started with Speaking Results.
Jean: Well, originally I was a professional modern dancer, and then I became a mime and this isn't your typical route to public speaking that I thought —
Jason Hartman: No I wouldn't think that a mime would be [laughter] a public speaker.
Jean: I thought alright time to learn to talk so I did a lot of speaking classes and of course got involved in Toastmasters and National Speak Association, and then I also got certified in Neuro Linguistic Programming which is often referred to as NLP, and that helps overcome limiting beliefs, overcome fears, overcome fear speaking, and about it was till 1998 I brought all of my past lives together and I created Speaking Results, and essentially I work with people to help them develop that nice, clear crisp message, tell great stories, and deliver them with confidence than authenticity. You know my feeling is whatever career you are in, good presentation skills have to be even more successful, and if you are speaking a lot, there is always an opportunity to take it to that next level.
Jason Hartman: Yeah so you know you really have three approaches. One that you just mentioned which is the NLP technique which I know I think is very important and we will talk about that. What are the other two Jean?
Jean: Well, I have a theater background, and I do quite a bit of improvisational theater, and that really helps people loosen up to be able to think on their feet, and then of course storytelling, and I think storytelling is crucial to all presentations even one on one presentations as well as formal presentation.
Jason Hartman: No question about it. well, in terms of using these different three areas which I couldn't agree more they were vitally important may be let's start with NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming of course Bandler and Grinder discovered I guess I should say that or invented it, and probably more discovered many, many years ago, and then Tony Robbins popularized it, but certainly many people have benefited from it, both from the platform and in one on one interactions whether they would be sales relationships etcetera. Tell us about how to use it at the platform?
Jean: Well, there is several ways. First of all if somebody is a little uncomfortable in a certain situation NLP can definitely help them really be at their best. I mean and Grinder and Bandler they were looking to when people are doing a really excellent job at something what are they doing, what are they thinking about, and so that's when you want to think how can you be at your very, very best when you are presenting how do you look, how do you feel, how do you sound, and get that very rich and vivid for yourself. And we always make ourselves right, so you want to think about what it is you want to propel your speaking to that next level. There is also of course the whole issue of getting rapport with your audience, and people will learn visually, they will learn auditorily and learn kinesthetically so as a speaker you want to make sure you are tapping into all those different areas of learning, and there is a lot of material NLP that shows you how to do that.
Jason Hartman: Excellent. You know any examples of how a speaker might be using this appealing to the different senses of the audience of the three main modalities I guess I should say auditory, visual, kinesthetic, and the examples you can think of off hand?
Jean: Well, sure just and how you say something you can use visual words that it looks the — how does that look to you for an auditory person would be does that sound good, and a kinesthetic person would be does that feel right, so you are using all of those different words from the different modalities there, and if somebody is very kinesthetic the feel one really, really makes sense to them, and the same with the visual person, the auditory person, so its more like you are speaking their language, and what NLP is great for what I call flexibility of behavior. The more that you are flexible which is a kinesthetic word, and I am more kinesthetic the more that you are able to go into those different modalities again you are reaching that audience so you know looks through your presentation and just be thinking am I using all of those different types of words.
Jason Hartman: Excellent and improv, I mean of course thinking on your feet is a good thing for our trial lawyer, a public speaker, a salesperson anybody. Tell us about how you bring the world of acting into speaking. I mean do you want to cite Ronald Reagan. You know he was a great speaker and —
Jason Hartman: And by most peoples thinking they are great President, built a lot of people his critics especially on the left said well, he is an actor. He never really did much as an actor frankly or a little bit very well at it I should say.
Jean: Well, he was a B actor.
Jason Hartman: Yeah but he sure did well as a President that's for sure.
Jean: Yeah certainly as a speaker he knew how to relate to people and make them feel at ease, and almost like they knew him. I think he had that very engaging style there.
Jason Hartman: He did in, and what's interesting about it is even his opponents like his friend Tip O'Neill who was democrat of course speaker of the house. He was able through his communication skills to really reach across the aisle and get a lot of stuff done compared to his predecessor Jimmy Carter who made like no alliances and just couldn't accomplish much.
Jean: He is doing very well now Jimmy Carter in communicating with variety of people more through at the non-profit. He has had a more successful post presidency I would think.
Jason Hartman: Right.
Jean: But anyway getting back to theater, so you know theater has taught me a lot of different things. First of all as a speaker you talked a lot about pause. Everybody hears the importance of pause, and I have been talking about that for years that the pause would really make a moment more juicy. It will help people really get involved in what you are saying. Recently I was taking a theater class, and I learned it a whole another level.
We were given an exercise is a script very banal script frankly I will say it for you. It was for two people. Hi, hello, what did you do last night? Not much. How about you? Oh, watched a little TV. Anything good? No, not really see you later, okay, alright so that's the script not much to it, right. Well, then you are given situations, and my situation was I was in the hospital. I had a brain tumor, two months to live, and my brother who I had been very close to was coming to visit me at the very first time, and that was our script.
And I first thought there was no way in the world I would say that, but that was the script that's what I had to use. Well, by the end of the scene I am crying real tears. I didn’t try to cry. I am crying real tears, and the reason was the time we took in between what we said, and the time we took in between was so rich and so full of communication. I mean it was very, very powerful, and so it made me think. I mean that so much of what we say when we let something go out there and really open ourselves up to being with the audience in a real way that a lot of communication can happen there if we have the ability to be vulnerable to let that happen.
Jason Hartman: It's interesting though why does the pregnant pause do that? What is it about at that I mean, I guess it gives the audience time to think, right, or time to let it sink in?
Jean: Yeah it gives them time to get involved. It gives them time to connect with you, time to think, let the message think in, but you — but it's not just as a speaker sitting there and counting said okay I am going to do my long pause here now and count. You have to be completely present with what you are saying so it's like you are still talking in some way. You are still communicating.
You are just letting there would be some more space, and like I say it's through the acting class that I learn that more than doing speech training. The other thing this is more about improvisational theater is a lot of people want to feel more comfortable speaking extemporaneously, and within well, how can you practice that? I mean once you actually practice something its not spontaneous anymore, right so its little hard to practice being spontaneous, but I found the very best way is through some theater improv exercises because they teach you how to become more comfortable reacting from the impulse.
They help you tap into that and the more that you are able to do that, then when you are up on the stage that becomes more natural to you as well. It really helps you. They help you become free and loose so that you can really tap more into your authentic style. Nobody likes a speaker that's too contrived or too practiced. You know you want to be real. You want to communicate that sense of trust.
Jason Hartman: Its interesting how this has evolved Jean too because I like to watch old movies sometimes, and in the vast majority within the acting is just its so stilted, and stiff, and —
Jason Hartman: Nowadays the actors are so much fluid. I mean it's just so natural now. Its amazing how that's changed in just a matter of a few decades.
Jean: Yeah you are right. You are absolutely right, and I think the style of speaking has changed too, and public speaking I think that used to be much more formal and stilted of what was considered to be a good speaker, and now people want authenticity. They want you to be real.
Jason Hartman: Right and you know when I say that it almost sounds like you are making it up, but it is acting to some extent. I mean that's the way you get the point across is by delivering it in a certain way.
Jean: Right. And I think its also good as a speaker to be also very present there in the moment so that if something occurs to you that's a little bit different because of the audience you have there that you go with that as well that the audiences love it when people that are speaking also in that process of discovery with them, and you go ooh, ooh yeah that's exciting, so if you let yourselves get into that state of learning while you are also speaking it can become even richer.
I am not saying you go into something and just wing it. I mean I think its really important if you want to persuade people to have a really strong good message that's right under your belt that's in your bones and you are ready to deliver that that's there, and at the same time you are so present and open to your audience that you might discover some other things along the way and that's what I love about speaking. You could always keep learning things. You can always keep growing.
Jason Hartman: Yeah no question about it. Let's may be switch gears here if we can to is storytelling, and storytelling has been of course used for millennia now to make points and back to the days of Aristotle he talked about it.
Jean: I would say back to the caveman day.
Jason Hartman: Yeah sure but we don’t have much documentation of that [laughter].
Jason Hartman: I am sure it was used though. So what are elements of good storytelling in public speaking situations?
Jean: Well, first of all you want to make sure its relevant to your topic so that its — you can have a really great story, but if its not relevant to what you are talking about that the people will wonder or why they had taken the time to say it so that's cheap you know number one that it can make a point that you metaphor it. I mean you can tell a story from when you were a kid, but it could be something that you learned that is relevant to your topic then the best stories have conflict, and Joseph Campbell talks about is that there is hero's journey and that the hero which is usually you and you are telling your story goes through some pain, goes to conflict is on a quest, and then there is a moment of learning which is ah, ah and as a result you are a different person than you were before the conflict, and so a really good story will have this universal type learning that you receive that relates to your topic there.
The other thing it's important is set it up succinctly. A lot of times stories will go on too long and again you start to lose your audience, so you want to think of setting it up succinctly, and jumping into that conflict, and then there is again where some acting comes into you it's more effective when you become the characters, so you bring in dialog. Dialog is the best way to suddenly make a story pop. You become a character that says something a certain way, and you will take on his body. You relive the action, and then it becomes something that has more impacts for people.
Jason Hartman: In terms of elements, so certainly showing the struggle is very important, and its funny because I see that format a lot from the platform, but you know what I also see some great speakers that don’t use that format. Are they just — could they be even greater with it? I mean should have always been used, or are there times when the — and sort of think its like peoples need for drama almost. They need to see ups and downs, the highs and the lows, and the breadth of the discussion, right?
Jean: Right I mean I don’t think every story needs to have this huge drama, but even just a little bit of a moment where you were a little conflicted about what you wanted to do, but there is this moment that you say it can be a small conflict and there is still learning there, but I think essentially is does it work, and I don’t think there is hard and fast rule to every assessment here, and anything that what works well for one person might not work quite as well for another, but I think as a speaker and wanting to grow just keep stretching yourself so you haven't been using stories that have any conflict in moving look for some in your life you do, and basically on times in your life.
Jason Hartman: Or create some conflict [laughter].
Jean: Create some yeah [laughter] there is enough conflict in the world here, and wanting to create some more. Usually it happens. You are right. People, we do like our drama, but a conflict is a — it does, makes things interesting and almost every single movie you see out there it follows this formula. It’s a movie didn’t have any conflicts at all. We probably find it a bit boring.
Jason Hartman: So is it, if speaker listening wants to use more storytelling. Do they always have to use their own stories or is there a place they can go to find good stories?
Jean: Well, the best stories come from your own life because nobody else has read those or seen those, and they are your most authentic stories. They don’t have [unintelligible 0:17:57.9] you as the main character. It cannot so be a story from somebody you know or somebody you have witnessed. The one no-no is you don’t use stories from other speakers without their permission and that's like to dealing their stories, so if there is a story you hear from the speaker you really, really want to use it make sure you get the permission too like that.
Jason Hartman: Yeah don’t steal their signature stories that's for sure.
Jean: No, certainly not, and frankly since its not even a good idea even with their permission because particularly if people know that that’s their signature story so moving into that person that it would seem odd to have you tell it which is really best to look at your own life, and different people within your life, and may be different mentors and teachers that you had. Your families are good for finding stories as well.
Jason Hartman: Yeah I guess my next question kind of moves back to the direction of NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming, but may be let's talk about body language and voice quality, tonality and some people I mean recently in the news we've all heard the story of the golden voice right. I mean it's amazing some people just have a voice that commands attention.
Jason Hartman: The tension, just the room just perks up, and listens because they are talking. [Laughter].
Jean: Right yeah now some people have a real gift of what they were born with, and you know James Earl Jones have a voice that's just so rich that people love. The thing is no matter what just like exercising the body you can exercise your voice and get it better through at least through theater even with some vocal exercises. Usually it starts with breathing.
A lot of times people if they have a stress sounding voice it usually means they are not breathing deeply enough, and that there is tension in the throat. All unpleasant voices result from tension, and so those vocal exercises where you can again breathe hum, make some strange sounds, even make sounds that really fill the room in a nice resonant way. And you can get better as you do it, and then of course using dynamics, coloring your words, not all words are created equal. If you want to think of how can you show which words you emphasize, with how you intone it, how you colored the words, and like I say voice can improve with exercise.
I just recently was taking a singing class, and I have always had this belief I had a terrible singing voice just you know cannot hold the tune, but last week I went to a singing class with singers there, and by the end of the class I actually stood up and sang Three Blind Mice all the way through, and I had so much fun. And some of the notes didn’t sound so good but some of them actually sounded good, and it made me realize with practice if I decided to focus on this I actually could become a good singer. It takes practice. You can work on your voice and change it.
Jason Hartman: Do you want to give an example of may be some voice exercises, and also improv exercises I guess at the same time real quickly for the listeners?
Jean: Oh sure, so like I say the breathing, in and out you are letting your belly. You put your hand on your belly there, and breathing into your nose, and out through your mouth so you just feel the belly going up and down. You want to make sure that the belly actually moved out, and then after you I have done a bit of that just even making some sounds like just ha-ha-ha to letting the sound reverberate through. And if you wanted to do some improv exercises I like to do start something that’s called the sound ball. And this is making any type of sound that awe that just spontaneously wants to come out. And if you want to play with me here little bit Jason —
Jason Hartman: Sure, let's do it.
Jean: Okay, so I'm going to throw you a sound and I actually have never done this over the phone. I usually do it in person. If you think of throwing you the sound you are going to catch that sound, repeat that sound, and then you throw a different sound back at me. And the thing you want to think about is don't try to make the cute, perfect, right sound, the clever sound, whatever just whatever sound wants to come out, right?
Jason Hartman: So I am going to be saying, you are going to throw to me, and I am going to be saying two things, repeating your sound, and giving you a new one, and then you have got to repeat mine and give me a new one.
Jason Hartman: Got it.
Jean: Okay, so I go woo gaa.
Jason Hartman: Woo gaa poooing.
Jean: Buuuun chaau.
Jason Hartman: Tinggg — oh I didn’t say chaau, darn it.
Jean: Chauu yeah.
Jason Hartman: Okay so let's do that again.
Jean: Well, go — you throw one at me.
Jason Hartman: Chow-pinggg.
Jean: Ping poing.
Jason Hartman: Poing Quack.
Jean: Quack chhaa chaa juu juu.
Jason Hartman: Juu juuu kiiii.
Jean: Okay good. Now another thing that you can do after that you do that, and they will say that's just to get you loosened up. Its sounds silly. It sounds crazy I know, but it gets you loosened up. It gets you playful, then there is a word ball, and that's where I throw a word to you. You repeat that word, and then any word at all you throw back to me okay so plant.
Jason Hartman: House.
Jean: Okay so you want to repeat plant, and that you throw how okay.
Jason Hartman: Sorry see I've got to be a better student here. [Laughter].
Jean: [Laughter]. You are doing great.
Jason Hartman: Okay so here we go. Plant house.
Jean: Yeah house bridge.
Jason Hartman: Bridge road.
Jean: Road car.
Jason Hartman: Car airplane.
Jean: Airplane chair.
Jason Hartman: Chair couch.
Jean: Couch pinochle.
Jason Hartman: [Laughter] okay I get the idea. Pinochle, so I don’t know whatever.
Jean: Well, the thing that's really interesting about that is when you play it suddenly there seems like there is probably just about 20 words in the world and that's it.
Jason Hartman: Right that's true.
Jean: Do you get that sense? Uh what do you think of? And that's the thing the more that you just play with the easier becomes in life. Well, we do have quite a few words out there. We can draw from, and like I say its one of those exercises that helps the — develop that spontaneity muscle, and really the key to it is just been relaxed, just been relaxed, and going for, having fun with it, and then by doing these type of exercises it becomes easier to be in that mode when you are up speaking. Another exercise I like its called the ministers taps and this one will be you keep a rhythm, and I would say you would start the letter A, and I would say the ministers cat is an awesome cat, and the next person we go, and then they keep with a — so may be the minister's cat is an aggressive cat.
The minister's cat is an angular cat, and you keep going on and on like that, and so you can't think of one, and then you just move to the letter B. The minister's cat is a bald cat. The minister's cat is a blank cat, and I actually love doing this exercise even by myself in the car while I am driving to a speech because it gets me quick around my feet, and the more that you can just be light and loose with it, and sometimes what's really fun is I am doing the exercise, and I have no idea what I am going to say, and then that word just pops out of my mouth, and I think that's a nice word, so again this exercises are fun for just helping you stretch, learn, grow, and essentially just be more free with how you speak.
Jason Hartman: Yeah I agree, and you noticed what I noticed, and by the you forgot to mention the minister's cat is an alley cat but —
Jean: Yeah. Oh yeah there is a lot, there were a lot more stories. [Laughter]
Jason Hartman: I know. [Laughter].
Jean: I didn’t do it. I could have gone on for a very long time, but the listeners might have got the point.
Jason Hartman: In doing this little and I am going to just call them dorky exercises. You know what I noticed right away.
Jean: It is a dorky cat.
Jason Hartman: There you go. That's for the Ds. Is that we both were laughing and is subtle and may be insignificant is that seems right before taking the stage. Isn’t it good to have just the dumb laugh like that?
Jean: Oh definitely.
Jason Hartman: That just loosens you up because of course you are always thinking as you are taking a platform is the audio visual going to work? How am I going to be received, and am I going to stumble when I come on stage, all of this things go through the speaker's head. I know it's not just me who thinks that because everybody does it.
Jean: Yeah. No look there is obviously a lot of different things to think about, and things that you need to take care of, and all my usually speakers are and like myself are perfectionist there. The thing that I am sure your listeners have heard people will often forget what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel, and the state that you are in, how open are you, how much does it look like you are really enjoying yourself will have a big impact on how you make them feel, and you want to feel when you are up there in front of them that there is no place you would rather be even right there with them, and so like I said the loser you can get, the more present you can get, the better its going to be for both you and your audience.
Jason Hartman: So Jean where can people learn more about your upcoming events and products and so forth?
Jean: Well, people could go to my website speakingresults.com, or give me a call 206-933-6645. I offer private presentation coaching. I also come into companies, and offer small group training.
Jason Hartman: Excellent well, Jean Hamilton's Speaking Results thanks so much for joining us today.
Jean: Well, thank you. It's been a pleasure Jason.
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The Speaking of Wealth Team
Transcribed by: Renee’ Naphier