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How Do Speakers Manage Their Energy?
Episode 52nd August 2022 • Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking • Kirsten Rourke
00:00:00 00:19:16

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In Episode 5 of Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking, Kirsten talks about the concept of managing your energy vs managing your time. Like team leads looking at what each team member needs to produce their best work, effective speakers manage their energy when giving a presentation.

Kirsten talks about why you need to bring your audience on a journey throughout your presentation rather than maintaining top-level energy for the whole time. She shares tips for how to be energetic and engaging during online presentations and for re-directing nervous energy.

Key take-aways:

  • Why should speakers take their audience on a journey?
  • How can speakers be engaging when presenting online?
  • How can speakers effectively re-direct nervous energy?

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Read a transcript of this episode: https://share.descript.com/view/KD5HwRYIvyY

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Transcripts

Kirsten:

Welcome to Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking.

Kirsten:

It's a podcast and a community.

Kirsten:

I'm Kirsten Rourke, speaker, presenter, and founder of Rourke Training.

Kirsten:

And this is Kellie.

Kellie:

Hey there, I'm Kellie, producer, writer, and herder of cats.

Kirsten:

Oh, so many cats.

Kirsten:

After over 20 years of speaker and presenter, I've seen it all

Kirsten:

and I'm sharing it with you.

Kirsten:

Ongoing mastery is about continual improvement of your craft.

Kirsten:

You'll learn tips and hear from industry leaders.

Kirsten:

I'll tell you straight up what works and what doesn't, so you can thrive.

Kirsten:

Let's get started.

Kirsten:

Welcome to episode five.

Kirsten:

Last week, we said we were going to talk about energy and time this week.

Kellie:

So we're gonna have a physics conversation.

Kirsten:

Sure.

Kirsten:

It's going to be mostly you talking then.

Kirsten:

I know nothing about physics.

Kellie:

Yeah, I don't actually either.

Kirsten:

All right.

Kirsten:

So then let's talk about energy and time as relates to presenting and

Kirsten:

speaking, and in this case, teaching

Kellie:

Right.

Kellie:

I teach college students.

Kellie:

Mostly I teach first year college students.

Kellie:

I teach three sections, 90 minutes each, back to back to back.

Kellie:

So I have to really think about my own energy so that every section

Kellie:

gets the same me, that the third section of the day doesn't get the

Kellie:

exhausted, " Let's just get this done" me.

Kellie:

I have to think about the energy of my students.

Kellie:

When I teach the 8 a.m.

Kellie:

section, I have a class full of athletes because they need

Kellie:

to finish their day early.

Kellie:

When I teach the 2:30 section, the 3:00 section, I have a room full of

Kellie:

students who maybe have a morning work commitment, or it's just

Kellie:

after lunch that they want a nap.

Kellie:

So I have to think about how we're talking about our topics, in what order.

Kellie:

Am I going to have them stand up and do some stretches?

Kellie:

Move around to small group work, change the energy a little bit in the

Kellie:

room, and also how I am moving in the space so that I'm not just standing

Kellie:

in one space the whole time, but I'm not exhausting myself while I do it.

Kirsten:

And this also relates to those of you that are doing presenting

Kirsten:

and speaking by yourselves, because you're not just managing your energy.

Kirsten:

You're also managing the energy and attention and the

Kirsten:

journey of your audience.

Kirsten:

So, like we talked about last week, it matters the journey you take people on

Kirsten:

and it matters the journey that you're on.

Kirsten:

So last week, it was talking about going to a speaker convention and how

Kirsten:

emotionally and energetically taxing that can be, both in a good way and a bad way.

Kirsten:

And, in my case, I manage a small, diverse team that is remote, it's hybrid,

Kirsten:

because Kellie's often over with me physically in person, whereas Jim and

Kirsten:

Dani are coming in via either Teams or Zoom or Skype, depending on our moment.

Kellie:

Which tech is working that day.

Kirsten:

Yes.

Kirsten:

And how we're feeling and whether we're like, "Oh, do we want to be on video?

Kirsten:

Nah.

Kirsten:

Hey, make a phone call."

Kirsten:

So when you're thinking about your energy and time, I'm just

Kirsten:

going to bring it up from a management perspective for a moment.

Kirsten:

Historically, managing a team, you'd manage the time.

Kirsten:

You'd have people in the chair, butts in chairs, 9:00 a.m.

Kirsten:

- 5:00 p.m., blah, blah, blah.

Kirsten:

Only, I manage hybrid teams and I've done that for a while.

Kirsten:

And honestly, the amount of time it takes somebody in a chair to

Kirsten:

do their job is not my issue.

Kirsten:

My issue is the results.

Kirsten:

My issue is their energy.

Kirsten:

When I was managing e-learninging teams, I would have creatives on my team, such

Kirsten:

as animators and graphic designers.

Kirsten:

And one of the things that I needed to do was keep an eye on their creative

Kirsten:

energy and their physical energy, because once the creative energy either

Kirsten:

was not getting renewed or was tapped out, I needed for them to recharge

Kirsten:

that in order to have the full use of their talents for the next piece.

Kirsten:

And that's the piece that it feels like a lot of managers

Kirsten:

stuck in a more traditional model have not really grasped yet.

Kellie:

So, can you give an example of how that might work if you're managing

Kellie:

for energy versus managing for time and thinking about a creative's day?

Kirsten:

So, I worked with many, many, many brilliant people, but

Kirsten:

there was Josh and there was Dan.

Kirsten:

And Josh, what I noticed in working with him, was that what he really needed

Kirsten:

for his brilliant graphic and animation design was he needed a chance to explore

Kirsten:

and recharge and look at new styles and try new things and not just be doing

Kirsten:

the exact same thing all the time.

Kirsten:

He needed variety and he also needed a chance to do exploration.

Kirsten:

Whereas Dan would have a tendency to work himself right up to that wall,

Kirsten:

slam into the wall, and then would be asked to do something else and he

Kirsten:

would pick himself up and just go.

Kirsten:

And because Dan and I are a lot alike, I would step in and go, "No, why don't

Kirsten:

you stop for the day," or "Why don't you take a couple hours and just step

Kirsten:

away and take that recharging time."

Kirsten:

And what happened early on when I did this with them is they both

Kirsten:

were surprised because it wasn't a traditional way of managing people.

Kellie:

I would be skeptical the first time someone said that to me.

Kirsten:

I remember when I asked Josh to please take some time off and

Kirsten:

he said, "I thought you were going to ask me to do something new when

Kirsten:

you asked what was on my plate."

Kirsten:

And I said, "Yeah, I was asking what's on your plate because I want you to stop."

Kirsten:

And he said, "Well, I actually don't want to stop.

Kirsten:

I'd rather do X."

Kirsten:

Okay.

Kirsten:

That's fine.

Kirsten:

You know, your talents, you know, your energy, but one of the things

Kirsten:

about managing people and managing projects is the end result is to get

Kirsten:

the project in, on budget, on time, without burning out your people.

Kirsten:

And it seems like, that, what is completely obvious about that, is that

Kirsten:

your people are going to need to manage and dance with their time usage in order

Kirsten:

to have their energy flow properly.

Kirsten:

So if somebody is working at three o'clock in the morning, because

Kirsten:

that's their best time, I personally to not give any damns at all, as

Kirsten:

long as the project is getting done.

Kirsten:

If that's their best time working, that's their best time working.

Kirsten:

When you're managing remote teams, especially international teams, you've

Kirsten:

got to give up the standard clock.

Kirsten:

You just do.

Kellie:

And keeping an eye on the clock adds a layer of anxiety and apprehension

Kellie:

that impedes the work you're trying to do.

Kirsten:

So, let's now bring this back to you.

Kirsten:

You might not be managing a team like our small, but mighty team that we have.

Kirsten:

It might be you as a solo person.

Kirsten:

Well, you're managing yourself.

Kirsten:

What do you need to do to get that presentation to work?

Kirsten:

How many times do you need to practice?

Kirsten:

Do you need to just stop and go listen to music or take a drive and clear

Kirsten:

out your headspace to be able to get the energy to do the delivery you

Kirsten:

need to do, because you've got to practice your energy level as well.

Kirsten:

Back when I was doing dance, if our rehearsals were, "And now I lift my

Kirsten:

arm, and now I step to the left," our performances would have sucked out loud.

Kirsten:

You have to practice the way you perform.

Kirsten:

And that's the same for presenters and speakers.

Kellie:

It is one of the things I will tell my students as they are preparing

Kellie:

to give a presentation in class to practice wearing the clothes, often for

Kellie:

college students wearing the dress shoes, wherever they're going to be, in whatever

Kellie:

clothes, with whatever props, practice all of it so that they can marshal their

Kellie:

energy throughout the whole time and not stumble or otherwise be uncomfortable.

Kirsten:

I am so glad you used the word "props" because if you are ever

Kirsten:

going to use products, dear God, practice your talk with them and

Kirsten:

practice your talk without them.

Kirsten:

Because if your prop breaks, or if the technology fails, or if you have

Kirsten:

to have your deck to give the speech, you are going to get hurt, you will.

Kirsten:

It's going to fail.

Kirsten:

At some point, technology does.

Kirsten:

Things break.

Kirsten:

So you've gotta be able to do it without.

Kellie:

And if your prop is not a tech prop, but if your prop is, say, a

Kellie:

marker for the whiteboard or a pencil that somehow feels more comfortable

Kellie:

just to have something in your hand, you have to make sure you're not

Kellie:

stabbing the air with it, or trying to put it behind your ear and missing.

Kirsten:

And this goes back to a long time ago.

Kirsten:

I was doing my certification for technical trainer and we were all videoed

Kirsten:

and there was a lovely, lovely kid.

Kirsten:

A bunch of us were of an age and there was a kid in his twenties and he was

Kirsten:

brilliant, and talented, and all of that, but we had to explain that his

Kirsten:

use of the word "whatever" in his presentation meant to those of us

Kirsten:

who were older as offensive and rude.

Kirsten:

And he was using it as a carrying word.

Kirsten:

It was just a connection point between sentences.

Kirsten:

And we had to say, "Um, not if you're talking to people over

Kirsten:

30," and he was baffled by that.

Kirsten:

He was also surprised when he did his recording and we all stopped him and

Kirsten:

said, "Um, please take your hands out of your pockets and don't rock, because

Kirsten:

you're waving your crotch at the camera.

Kirsten:

Please don't do that."

Kirsten:

We were all trying not to die laughing because it was MC Hammer crotch waving

Kirsten:

time, and we're all going, "Oh honey.

Kirsten:

No."

Kellie:

Oh, that's unfortunate.

Kirsten:

It was, it was hysterical.

Kellie:

I demonstrate for my students what I call the one foot square dance where you

Kellie:

basically slide from foot to foot because you're trying to do something with your

Kellie:

nervous energy, but you're not walking.

Kellie:

You're trying to stand in one space.

Kellie:

And so you put your weight on your left foot, and then you slide it over and

Kellie:

you put weight on your right foot, or it could take the effect of cocking your

Kellie:

hip out one side and then the other.

Kellie:

And of course I exaggerate for comic effect, but everybody gets a little

Kellie:

bit nauseous with all of the motion.

Kellie:

And they don't realize they're doing it until they see themselves on camera.

Kellie:

And then they're "oh."

Kirsten:

And let me be perfectly clear, seeing yourself on camera is

Kirsten:

never, except for very, very few people and I'm not one of them, it's never

Kirsten:

fun seeing yourself on camera, but

Kellie:

it is necessary.

Kirsten:

It is absolutely crucial.

Kirsten:

And when you watch yourself on camera, you really need to follow a pattern.

Kirsten:

This is what we do with our clients.

Kirsten:

We go and get a recording and we have them go through it three times.

Kirsten:

Now, bear with me, I know that sounds awful.

Kellie:

It's a lot.

Kirsten:

It's a lot.

Kirsten:

The first time is just an audio pass, no visuals, listening and just making notes.

Kirsten:

What the carrying words are, the "ums" and "ers."

Kirsten:

And generally, if somebody's been doing it a while, the "ums," and

Kirsten:

"ers" are gone, but are replaced by different connecting words.

Kirsten:

And sometimes those connecting words happen so often that you don't

Kirsten:

realize you've essentially caused an audio tic in your audience.

Kirsten:

And it's almost to the point where that word comes up again and your

Kirsten:

audience will wince a little, so you need to pay attention to that.

Kirsten:

Then you do a pass with just the video.

Kirsten:

No sound, looking at your face, looking at your hands, looking at your shoulders.

Kirsten:

If you're standing, you have more use of your body.

Kirsten:

You have your diaphragm, you have your shoulders back, you have all of that.

Kirsten:

But if you're sitting in the chair, you can still do that.

Kirsten:

You can lift in the sternum, drop the shoulders.

Kirsten:

You can have open hands.

Kirsten:

Don't rest your elbows on the chair.

Kirsten:

Have your arms up in front of you, basically nose to belly button.

Kirsten:

That area is the gesture area.

Kirsten:

Why is it not a higher area, Kellie?

Kellie:

Because you look panicked and screaming like your arms are

Kellie:

up on a rollercoaster, ahhhhhhhh.

Kirsten:

Oh my God!

Kirsten:

Oh my God!

Kirsten:

My speech is on fire!

Kirsten:

It gets frantic.

Kirsten:

Once it gets kind of above, like the mouth or nose, when your

Kirsten:

hands go higher than your head, your entire message is different.

Kirsten:

It's going from "I'm telling you a story," to "I'm telling you a story.

Kirsten:

Oh my God!"

Kirsten:

And it's a completely different message.

Kellie:

You don't want that.

Kirsten:

You don't want that.

Kirsten:

And it doesn't mean that your voice changes like that, but really

Kirsten:

that's the visual response to it.

Kirsten:

So think about when you're practicing, and you always want to practice.

Kellie:

Always

Kirsten:

Always.

Kirsten:

If you are not practicing, you are not respecting yourself

Kirsten:

or your audience, period.

Kirsten:

Practice is no fun.

Kirsten:

It's absolutely crucial.

Kellie:

And practice is how you manage your energy.

Kellie:

If you come in hot, really, really amped at the start of your talk,

Kellie:

you've got to be prepared for how you're going to come down and then

Kellie:

come back up for a rousing close.

Kellie:

You can't just peter and run out of gas.

Kirsten:

Now we've all heard or seen those presenters that, they don't

Kirsten:

even look at the camera online.

Kirsten:

They have their head tilted to the side, and they've turned on their deck, and

Kirsten:

they're reading that "It's about what's happening on March 5th in the gallery

Kirsten:

and we're" and you just want to die.

Kirsten:

Well, watching yourself on camera will help that, but also managing the energy

Kirsten:

that you're bringing, because you have to come in with enough energy to help

Kirsten:

people get over the fact that it's hard to attend things online, but you

Kirsten:

can't be full tilt boogie all the time.

Kellie:

There is a third step.

Kellie:

What is that third pass?

Kirsten:

What is that third pass?

Kellie:

Look for what you did well.

Kirsten:

Oh, right.

Kirsten:

Is that the one I forget all the time?

Kellie:

It's the one you forget all the time.

Kirsten:

Recently, I asked Kellie to go through and review one

Kirsten:

of the speeches that I gave.

Kirsten:

We talked about it last week, where I was wincing because I

Kirsten:

was speaking much too quickly.

Kirsten:

And she said, okay, it actually wasn't too quick.

Kirsten:

Here were the areas.

Kirsten:

But I'd asked her to note the three things I did well,

Kirsten:

because that is the third pass.

Kirsten:

First pass is audio only.

Kirsten:

Second pass is visual only.

Kirsten:

Third pass is you watch the whole thing and the only thing you note down is

Kirsten:

at least three things you did right.

Kirsten:

Why is that important?

Kellie:

Because you can also grow by leaning on your strengths.

Kellie:

And if you're only picking out the hard parts or the parts that

Kellie:

didn't go well, it is difficult to continue to work with that material,

Kellie:

that's a difficult emotional space.

Kellie:

So if you also have some positives, you have a more balanced response.

Kirsten:

And the energy that you bring to your practice is also an emotional energy.

Kirsten:

And if you're used to just beating yourself up, like I am,

Kellie:

like some people

Kirsten:

like some people, then what happens is that tamps down your emotional

Kirsten:

reserve for being able to do the work.

Kirsten:

You have to end on what you did well, and I am not great at this, which is why I

Kirsten:

asked Kellie to help me find those things.

Kirsten:

You need to have somebody help you, if you're not great at it.

Kirsten:

Find the things that you did well in your presentation or in your speech, because

Kirsten:

it matters that you're carrying your energy forward from a place of growth.

Kellie:

And growth happens not just from a place of disaster, but

Kellie:

also from a place of confidence.

Kellie:

You know what you need to do, and you're going to work on it.

Kirsten:

So what I'm going to ask you guys to do this week is, please come

Kirsten:

to the LinkedIn group, Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking, and join us and

Kirsten:

tell us what you do to manage your energy.

Kirsten:

How do you get yourself ramped up?

Kirsten:

How do you get yourself calmed down?

Kirsten:

Do you listen to specific music?

Kirsten:

Do you go throw medicine balls at the gym?

Kirsten:

What is your thing?

Kirsten:

And do you practice a flow of energy in your work so that you're

Kirsten:

taking your audience on a journey and it's not constantly 11 all

Kirsten:

the time, so that they're tired at the end or worse, "Hello, Bueller.

Kirsten:

Bueller."

Kirsten:

That's a call out for people of a specific age.

Kirsten:

We'll put a link in the show notes for those of you that aren't as old as we are.

Kirsten:

I think that's about it for today.

Kellie:

I think that's about it for today.

Kellie:

My energy is now definitely up because I am giggling madly.

Kirsten:

All right.

Kirsten:

Make sure you check out the show notes.

Kirsten:

We'll see you guys next week.

Kirsten:

That's a wrap.

Kirsten:

Thank you for joining us for Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking, the

Kirsten:

podcast for everyone who wants to work on their own skills and lift up others.

Kirsten:

If you enjoyed this episode, continue the conversation on our

Kirsten:

Ongoing Mastery LinkedIn group.

Kirsten:

The link is in the shownotes.

Kirsten:

Share the love on social media and tell your friends about the podcast.

Kirsten:

Be sure to catch our next episode

Kellie:

and hit the subscribe button.

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