Podcast

Episode: 564 |
Melanie Espeland:
Executive Presence Presentation:
Episode
564

HOW TO THRIVE AS AN
INDEPENDENT PROFESSIONAL

Melanie Espeland

Executive Presence Presentation

Show Notes

Melanie Espeland, a TEDx speaker and executive coach with 17 years of experience in strategy, operations, and coaching, she’s former McKinsey, and in this episode, she discusses the importance of executive presence and how to achieve it.

 

Communication in Executive Presence

In this workshop, Melanie explains that executive presence is important because it provides access to insider discussions, meetings, events, and happy hours. Access is crucial for success, and influence is essential for those with a purpose or vision. Executive presence allows for a balance and integration of power, authority, respect, trust, warmth, and likability. Melanie also discusses the concept of compassionate authority, which she sees as a combination of power, authority, respect, trust, warmth, and comfort with the people you are speaking with. This external communication and ability to share thoughts and feelings are key to achieving executive presence. By understanding the value of executive presence and its impact on success, individuals can better navigate their roles and achieve their goals. Melanie explains that executive presence is a complex concept that varies across different personalities and people. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for expressing presence, as there are different ways of expressing it. Steve Jobs and Michelle Obama are examples of individuals with different styles, each with their own unique qualities. However, there are common threads or levers in executive presence that can help individuals build their personal and professional style that aligns with their strengths and personality.

 

Building Executive Presence

A structured approach to building executive presence consists of two pillars: the literal (physical, tangible) and the figurative (mental, emotional). Under each pillar, there are three common threads or levers: voice, body, and appearance. Voice refers to the speaker’s voice, verbal communication, body language, posture, and physical presence. Body language, posture, and physical presence are also crucial. Application is the first impression, and it is important to consider how our appearance may impact our professional image and relationships. By understanding these common threads and levers, individuals can develop a unique and authentic executive presence style that aligns with their strengths and personality. The figurative pillar of executive presence is relevant for mid to senior level professionals as they move up the ladder. Authenticity, confidence, and vision are important for connecting with others and understanding one’s strengths, weaknesses, wants, intentions, and motivations. Authenticity is crucial for connecting with others and making them feel comfortable. Confidence is different, as it involves feeling confident in oneself and being clear on one’s goals. Vision is crucial for building an executive presence, especially as you get more senior.

 

Effective Communication for a Large Audience

To communicate effectively in large audiences, it is essential to understand media skills, such as how to talk to the media and communicate ideas consistently and coherently. As you become more senior, you will be thrown into meetings and need to control what people leave with. These six common threads or levers of executive presence can be divided into two pillars. By measuring up in these areas, you can identify areas where you have more opportunity. Exercises can be done together to practice these skills at home, starting with voice and body exercises. By focusing on these areas, you can develop new skills and improve your executive presence.

 

How to Improve Verbal Communication 

Melanie discusses the importance of voice and body verbal and nonverbal communication in executive presence. One technique that often surprises people is tongue placement exercises. She believes that the body is an instrument that needs to be controlled, rather than controlled by it. They encourage participants to try these exercises at home and see if they stick better after practicing with them. Tongue placement exercises help improve diction, projection, and warmth in speech. For example, in American English, the tongue tends to be in the middle, which can lead to a more accurate and clear voice. This is particularly beneficial for those who may be uncomfortable with their accent or question their pronunciation. Projection is the distance sound travels from the mouth, which is different from volume. This helps give the voice gravitas and resonance, giving it authority and warmth. Melanie provides various exercises that can improve diction. In conclusion, voice and body exercises are essential for improving verbal and nonverbal communication. By practicing tongue placement exercises, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of their voice and body, ultimately leading to improved communication and overall performance.

 

Breathwork for Executive Presence

Breathing is crucial for a great voice and overall executive presence. Proper breathing is essential for delivering sound effectively and enhancing one’s overall appearance. To achieve this, it is essential to focus on two aspects: maintaining proper breathing and mouth position during speaking. Filler words, which can be annoying or insincere, can be a common issue. To avoid these, it is essential to have more air coming in and out of the body, allowing for more air to be absorbed and not gasping for air. Melanie explains breathing exercises that help individuals can develop a better understanding of their breathing and voice, ultimately improving their overall communication and overall presence. She emphasizes the importance of proper breathing in order to maintain powerful, engaged, and present speech.  encourages practicing this exercise at home, aiming to breathe in through the nose on 123 counts. If the exhale is short or uncomfortable, it may indicate that the speaker needs to work on their breathing technique. This can be likened to going to the gym to train your body.

 

Understanding the Confidence Flywheel

To gain more confidence, it is essential to have a sense of ease within oneself. People who have presence tend to appear grounded and confident, having clarity and ease about their actions. To achieve this, one can trick their physicality into ease, which affects their mental and emotional state. Techniques like breathing techniques can help reduce cortisol, heartbeat, and adrenaline, making the body think they are at ease. This change in mental and emotional state leads to increased confidence. The confidence flywheel can be used to showcase confidence, which in turn uplifts the confidence of the audience. The more confidence the audience has in you, the more confident your audience will be in you. However, the flywheel can also go in the opposite direction, making you appear nervous or unsure, which can lead to subconscious feedback and doubt.

 

Tricking the Body into Confidence

Melanie discusses the concept of tricking your body into confidence and using code words to trick your brain into bringing up past feelings or emotions in the present tense. This exercise involves thinking about a specific experience where you felt grounded or at ease, and thinking about your life as if it were a movie with a screenshot of that moment. The exercise involves walking through all five senses, including sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch. Write down this information and create a code word cheat sheet for future reference. Once the memory is created, name it or give it a name, such as “Thailand.” When applying the exercise in real time, remember the code word and the feeling of being at ease. The more specific the code word, the more powerful it will be. It’s important to have nuanced language in your speech to avoid overtaking the activity or presentation. Try using different code words or memories for the same feelings, and record yourself on Zoom or with a partner or friend to see how it works. An additional tool for using code words leading into confidence is using physical objects that remind you of the code word. For example, a cool stone on the beach can be placed on your desk, in your hand, or in your pocket before a big presentation. Pictures can also be helpful in remembering a day.

 

Pacing for Public Speaking

Melanie discusses the importance of pacing in speaking, particularly when someone is nervous. This can be achieved by having water next to you, as it is an elegant way to pause and recalibrate yourself. Breathing exercises can help slow down speech speed, as people often use filler words or keep talking quickly. Breathing exercises can also help slow down speech by taking deep breaths while taking a sip of water. To slow down, she encourages reading slowly and even more slowly than usual. This allows the body and mind to connect and understand that they can speak more slowly. Recording yourself reading at different speeds and practicing at different times can help determine the best pacing for your speech. Lastly, Melanie suggests verbally numbering points to help your audience follow along. For example, if you have three points to make, you can use data to make it easier for your audience to understand what you’re trying to say. This helps give your audience a structure to follow along. Melanie moves on to share certain techniques to communicate  well with others, including how to politely interrupt, how to indicate engagement, dealing with verbal fillers, and how to encourage conversation. This is followed by a Q&A session. 

 

Timestamps:

01:23 Executive presence and communication skills

04:43 Executive presence and its components

10:24 Building executive presence through voice and body exercises

16:16 Improving English pronunciation with tongue placement

18:41 Tongue placement for clear speech

24:39 Proper breathing techniques for clear communication

30:06 Proper breathing techniques for clear communication

35:03 Voice and body exercises for executive presence and confidence

37:43 Using ease and code words to boost confidence

43:07 Using code words to enhance memory and relaxation

47:09 Using physical objects for memory recall

49:43 Speeding up speech and managing pace

 

Links:

Website: https://www.melaniesespeland.com/

Website: https://espelandenterprises.com/

 

One weekly email with bonus materials and summaries of each new episode:

 

564.Melanie Espeland

SPEAKERS

Melanie Espeland, Megan Stotts, Will Bachman

 

Will Bachman  00:05

Hello and welcome to Unleashed. I’m your host will Bachman. Today’s episode is a recording of an event that Melanie s blonde lead for the Umbrex community on executive presence. Melanie is a voice coach, a voice actor, and a former McKinsey consultant and member of Umbrex. Here is her presentation. Welcome everyone to this talk on executive presence. I’m so thrilled to have Melanie s blonde back with us again, she led a session back in September, which was very, very popular got huge positive feedback from that Melanie is a TEDx speaker, she is on executive presence. She has led, like I said, multiple events for Umbrex and Veritux. She is an executive coach and has 17 years of experience in strategy, operations and coaching. She’s former McKinsey. And she’s been featured on NBC, ABC, CBS, Forbes, Business Insider, and more. So without further ado, I’m going to turn it over to Melanie spotlight her, we’re gonna take some questions at the end, but Melanie has a lot of content for us to get through, including some slides. So here we go. Melanie, over to you.

 

Melanie Espeland  01:22

Thanks so much well, and Hi, everybody, thank you so much for taking time out of your precious days to be here with me. So my goal is for this to be valuable for you. And for you to have some actionable takeaways. I’m going to go ahead and share my screen. I have some slides for you today. And I also will go off of the slides as well at one point in order to share some exercises with you direct from camera. So one thought I want to share with you before we really dive in today is this quote that I really love. And I think it sets the stage for thinking about how you communicate in your executive presence. The quote is, speech reflects our identity, our sense of self. Learning new ways of speaking means learning new self concepts, stay open minded to all the possibilities, and all the many potential identities living inside you. So I like to start with this because I think it gives us a good sense of what could happen. And I think that that’s a great way to be entering any type of professional or personal development. This is just a quick shot of what we’re going to be talking about today, I’m going to briefly go over what is this workshop? Who am I and then really dive into defining executive presence, showing you what my proprietary framework is going through some exercises. And then we’re going to have a good I would say about 10 minutes, maybe a little bit more for q&a at the end. Just a couple of housekeeping. We’ll win over this. But you know, please just stay on mute, hold your questions until the q&a, you’re welcome to share them in the chat as well. We’re going to do our best to get to those at the end. If you have to leave early or your question doesn’t get answered, you are absolutely welcome to email me, my email is here. So I absolutely welcome that. After our session today, you will also get this deck. So this deck will be available after our call. And this is just quickly mentioning again, what we’re going to be doing today, we’ll have the deck lecture a little bit and we’re going to have some interactive exercises as well. So who am I you heard a little bit from will here gave a very sweet introduction. So thank you for that. Basically, I’m an executive coach on the founder of Escalon enterprises, which is a boutique coaching firm X McKinsey, currently living in LA but still a New Yorker at heart. And I have been coaching people on executive presence and speaking and voice for multiple years now. So that’s what brings me to you today. So now that you have a little bit more of a sense of who I am and what we’re doing today, I want to jump into why executive presence is important. And there’s really two key things I want to tease out here for you. One is that I feel so important because it provides you access, access is very important. You want access to that insider discussion, or to that meeting with your C suite or to that event or that happy hour. If you’re not included or you don’t have access, it doesn’t matter how great an idea you have or how fabulous you are right it will never come through. So I think access is key. And then secondly, influence is one of the main reasons why I feel executive presence is so important. If you are trying to get something done if you have a purpose. If you have a vision you need to be able to influence others And so to me access and influence are the two key reasons why anybody should want to get executive presence. And you know what other what also people ask me a lot about is what the heck is executive presence, okay? So it gives you access it gives, you know, this influence, what is it? And I’ve heard it be called gravitas, charisma and it’s a qualm. But overall, the way I like to think about executive presence is that it allows for this balance and integration of power, authority, respect, but also trust, warmth, and likability. Another way that I’ll word it is compassionate authority. And so I see it as almost two different sides of the coin that actually meld beautifully together, when you’re able to create that sense of authority, but also that sense of warmth, and comfort with the people that you are speaking with. And it’s all about your external communication and the ability to externally share these thoughts and feelings. So that’s what I think of when I think of executive presence. And certainly, there’s lots of different ways of defining it. But I found that that is the most simplistic, most helpful way of explaining it to others. And then the next question is kind of, how do we get it? Right? So now we know it’s important. We know what it is, how do I get it. And this is something that I like to explain is that in my experience, there’s no one plus one equals two formula for executive presence, there’s no one correct way of doing it. And the reason for this is, there’s a lot of different types of personalities, lots of different types of people in the world, and therefore different ways of expressing presence. And I like to give the examples of Steve Jobs, and Michelle Obama, very different executive presence styles. Steve Jobs, wasn’t the warmest guy, but very passionate, really had an ability to walk on a stage and immediately get people to go, Oh, this guy knows what he’s talking about. He has a lot of authority. And he showed a lot of passion when he spoke, even though maybe he wasn’t the warmest person. And then you have Michelle Obama, someone who I would say is a bit of a chameleon, able to actually crack a joke and have it land, which is very difficult to do, but then also able to switch into a more serious mode when needed when she really wanted to make a point about an important issue. So when you look at people like this, who are typically considered to have strong presence, good speaking skills, but they’re so different. What does that mean? What it means is that there’s common threads, or common levers in executive presence, that can allow anybody to build their personal and professional executive presence style that works for them, that aligns to your own strengths and your own personality. And so that’s how I’ve thought about my structured approach is that it’s a framework of all these common threads or these common levers. And it allows you to have a little bit of that space to develop it specifically for yourself so that it stays authentic for you. But it still gives you that structure and that clarity of how to actually get there and build your presence. So here, this slide really shows you a very simple way of thinking about what is my proprietary approach. I like to keep it super simple with the visuals. And I can walk you through this. Now. We’re not going to get through every single thing today in terms of going through exercises, but I like to be able to show you this so that you can at least walk away from this conversation, understanding how you can actually go home and do your own due diligence on all of these different levers. So my thought process here is that there’s two pillars, the literal or the physical, the tangible. And then there’s the figurative, more so mental, emotional things. And under each pillar, you have three common threads or levers. So with the literal pillar, I like to think that this is a little bit more table stakes, things that are a little bit easier to understand where a lot of people I would say get the biggest ROI from working on these areas. And typically where I might start with somebody, if I’m working with them. You have voice body and appearance, voice. It’s your speaking it’s your verbal communication and body tends to go in tandem with that where this is the nonverbal cues, your body language, your posture, how you’re using your body to create space, and showcase how you’re physically entering a room. And then lastly, is appearance pretty straight. Word, we have to admit that when somebody sees you, when you walk into a room when you jump on Zoom, the appearance is the first impression before you ever really share any verbal or nonverbal communication. So it is helpful to include that in our thought process of how are we showing up, especially when we’re considering who our audiences are maybe what industry we’re in. So then we move to the figurative pillar. This is now moving into a space that is a little bit more I would say, relevant for someone more mid to senior level in their career as you’re moving up the ladder. And as you go from really table stakes skills to really needing to show up in a very nuanced matter in every situation that you’re in. And here I have authenticity, confidence and vision, authenticity and confidence, I consider these to be quite different. Authenticity, I find to be important for your executive presence, because you are trying to connect with others, right, you have to make someone feel comfortable with you, you have to have that warmth, that likability and you have to be able to be connected to yourself if you want to connect with other people. So I find that authenticity is important in really being connected to yourself, understanding yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your wants, your intentions and motivations, in order to accurately and consistently share that externally with others. And then confidence I find to be a bit different. You can be super authentic plugged into who you are, be clear on what you want, and feel that lack of confidence, feel that impostor syndrome. And then on the flip side, you could have a lot of confidence, and say, Oh, well, I actually am really not sure what I’m doing here, I’m just you flying by the seat of my pants. So they’re a little bit different. And both are important. With confidence. This is really the idea of I’m buying what I’m selling, I am the first person to believe in myself. And certainly, again, that’s very important. If you are trying to communicate something externally, you have to feel confident in yourself internally first. And then lastly, I’ll go over vision real briefly. This one I feel is almost the last year or the last thing that I would think about when it comes to building your executive presence, especially as you get more senior. The vision to me, I built this as part of the fact that we are now speaking to large audiences not only at work, but in our daily lives through social media. Everybody literally has an audience all the time doesn’t matter who you are or what your job is. So it really is important to understand some of the basics of your media skills. How do you talk to the media? What do you have media training? How are you communicating your ideas, or your goals or your vision, consistently and coherently no matter what situation you’re in. And so I find that this becomes really important, as you get more senior, you’re going to be thrown into tons of meetings where you can’t prepare as well, maybe you have to ask or answer questions on the fly, you have to be able to always go back to your core points, your core vision, so that you can really control what somebody leaves the conversation with? What’s that idea that they leave with? So with that being said, those are all six common threads or levers of executive presence split between two different pillars. So that right there already can give you a sense of how you can tactically leave the conversation today and go home and say, Okay, how am I measuring up in these six areas? Is there a particular area where I have more opportunity. And now we can get into some of the more fun parts of today, which is actually doing some exercises together. And my hope here is that these exercises are going to start to give you a sense of oh, okay, I can actually do this at home. This is a new tool, a new skill that I’ve learned that I can use going forward. I typically like to start with voice and body. And I’ve done some of these exercises previously with the with the Umbrex cohort. And I think a few of these are a good place for us to start today. And then we can see how we’re doing, how time is going. And then maybe we’ll pull in a few more today. So I’m gonna go ahead and stop sharing the slides for a moment so that you can really see me we can see each other and I can go over some of these first voice and body based exercises. So as I said earlier, voice and body verbal and nonverbal communication, pretty much like that foundation level table stakes of executive presence, where a lot of people get that big ROI. So something I want to for you guys today that typically really kind of surprises people, is a tongue placement exercise. And let me explain this. If you think about your body, this is your vessel, this is your instrument that you need to play. If you think about it, when you think of a singer, for example, they are literally using their body as an instrument in order to create sound. And you are using all the same pathways in order to create your voice, you’re using your body to create your nonverbal expression. So it’s really important to understand how to control your instrument instead of it controlling you. And I find that a lot of the professionals that work with me haven’t really thought about this before. So one really cool tactic is really tongue placement. So I’m going to show you guys what that means you are more than welcome to follow along, try the exercises at home. While I’m doing this with you, I find that if you do try to do them with me, it’ll probably stick better. After our time together, some of these might seem kind of silly. And so I encourage you to get into the silly, and you know, not be afraid to be a little silly with me. So with tongue placement, let’s talk about that. So you’re telling me is sitting here in your mouth. And for a lot of people that speak American English, your tongue tends to hang out in a mid placement in your mouth, so tends to kind of hang out in the middle of the mouth, it does move around in order to create all the different sounds in the English language. However, it tends to hang out in the middle, what we actually want to do is we want you not only gain awareness of where your tongue is in your mouth, but then also start to build it and move it a little bit more forward, it is still going to have to move around to make all the sounds you need to make. But we want it on average just be a little bit more forward in the mouth. And there’s a few reasons for this. One is that it’s going to help you to have better diction, so diction in terms of your precision, your clarity people understanding the words you’re saying. And in particular, I find this is really helpful for people that may be uncomfortable with their accent or question it. And I say, it’s actually more important to have better diction or precision than to worry about an accent. So that’s one thing that you’re going to gain if your tongue placements a little more forward. The second thing is that you are going to have better projection. Projection is how far your sound is traveling, which is different from volume. This is important still on Zoom versus being in the real world, because you want your voice to have that gravitas that heft that resonance we’re in moves forward, and it actually leaves your mouth, you’re getting sound to push forward, it’s going to give you more of that authority, and that Genesee quoi. And then lastly, the third thing that you’re going to gain is you’re going to be a little bit more warm sounding, it’s going to allow your words to have a little bit less bite to them, and a little bit more warmth. So overall, you’re going to gain a lot of really great assets from moving the tongue a little bit more forward in the mouth. As a disclaimer, this doesn’t work in every language. If you are speaking Russian, for example, you would sound pretty crazy trying to move your tongue super forward. So this is really about American English. So of course, for those of us that are working in the US, it also could work too with British English, but just it’ll be just slightly more challenging. So let’s actually show you what I sound like when I move my tongue back, middle and forward. And something I find for you at home, if you want to try this, I actually find moving your fingers to the back, the middle and the front of your mouth while you try to move your tongue placement actually can really help you. Because you’re allowing your mind and your body to connect, you’re actually telling your body okay, I want you to go here. This is behavior that is very subconscious for a lot of you right, you’re not really thinking about your tongue placement. So sometimes giving yourself these cues can be really helpful. So I’m going to speak with you back, middle and front, I’m going to sound really silly at points I’m going to sound really different. I want to illustrate to you how impactful the tongue placement can be. So round, we’re going after back, my camera’s polar all the way back. I found pretty crazy or you don’t want to talk about your shoulder charm. And then this is me speaking by tongue in the middle of my mouth, you can hear and understand me but I just sound a little more muffled. It doesn’t sound as crisp and clear. Sounds like kind of mumbly and my sound isn’t really moving out of my mouth. And then this is me speaking with my tongue forward as I’ve been speaking to you pretty much this whole time. You can hear a huge difference in between three The reason for this again, is I want to show you how impactful this tool can be, I don’t really want you actually moving your tongue backward. But I want you to practice doing that. So that you can actually hear yourself and see how impactful this tool can be. So if you’re at home and you want to try this, you can have your fingers all the way back, I have them basically at the end of my job here, you can pull your tongue back by using the R sound, which is red rouge, you’re going to feel your tongue pull back red rouge, you can even use the pirate sound, which I find is really fun our our are, you going to pull that tongue all the way back. So I find that’s a really helpful way of starting to gain that awareness. Because if we don’t have awareness of what our body or instrument is doing, then there’s no way we can actually start to control it or change it. And we really need to start building that awareness. So are your tongue is moving all the way back, then if you want to start to kind of consider what does it feel like to move my tongue forward, you’re going to use the TH sound, that’s this, the that then you can say those words out loud, this, the that then, and you can see my tongue is moving quite forward in my mouth, it’s not leaving my mouth, it’s not moving beyond my teeth, but it’s pressing up against my teeth. Again, you can see this the that then it’s quite forward, you can actually see it moving forward as I’m making that th sound. So again, you don’t want your tongue going beyond your teeth or outside of your mouth, that’s going to create a list. So you do not want to do that. So that is one way of knowing Oh, I’ve gone too far. Another way of really creating that forward sound that I find is really helpful, is using a tongue twister, they thought the thesis was thorough. And a lot of the times people actually find this very difficult to say. So go ahead and say that out loud at home, they thought the thesis was thorough. And it’s okay if you have a little trouble, make sure that you’re being careful to of not using an F sound instead of a th sound. Right? There’s thought versus thought, I thought with my friend versus I thought about the thesis. So keep that in mind as well and really listen to yourself and see is this actually difficult for you. I’ve had a lot of native English speakers actually have trouble with the TH sound. So this is also a great area of growth. If you find that there’s certain sounds that are difficult for you, you can practice them. So now home, I want you to go ahead and practice again moving your tongue to the back, the middle and the front. If you’re at home, you can go ahead and say your name while you do all three of these. And you can try to follow along with me from our Kong or from our Urbach. Our, our Maori are for blonde. My tongue is now in the middle of my mouth. Hi, I’m Melanie is blonde. My tongue is now at the front of my mouth. Hi, I’m Melanie is blonde. So again, you can hear those differences. It’s very powerful. And I like using this tool because I think it is a bit surprising and something anybody can do. It may feel weird at first, it’s okay. If you feel like it’s a little stranger first. A lot of this will feel a little awkward at first, it’s your first time really working on these behaviors, it is going to feel a little strange. So that’s okay. The key here is just practicing at home. And what I would also encourage you to do is if you want to really work on moving that tongue placement forward, as you can use TH sound in order to prep yourself so that you can try to keep speaking with a more forward placement. So for example, I could say out loud in the mirror, they thought the thesis was thorough. Hi, I’m Melanie, it’s nice to meet you. So you can continue to speak after using that th sound kind of get you going or get your tongue into that right placement. So I find that that can be super helpful. Okay. So we can always ask questions at the end. But I think that this is really helpful. I would love for all of you to be utilizing this when you are home a great way to prep for any meeting. So now I want to go to a new exercise. So this one is great because this is all about again, voice body really understanding how to use this body as an instrument for you. And it can also connect a little bit to what I like to call the confidence lever. So I’m going to explain that at the end. But we’re first going to start with the voice and body lever basics of breathing or breath for your voice and your executive presence. So if you want to have great voice, you need to make sure that you are breathing properly. And the analogy I like to use is breath is the fuel to the fire. So breath is the fuel for your voice. If you are not breathing properly, this is going to affect your voice and therefore your overall presence because you’re going to have a challenging time actually getting the sound out. And it’s going to affect the way you come across and your overall presence. I like to help you understand how to breathe properly, in order to make sure that you are communicating in the best way possible. So something that I like to think about here is two things. One is you want to start thinking about your breathing and when your mouth is open and closed when you speak. Because a lot of people ask me about filler words. They say How the heck can I get rid of these filler words? I mean, they’re driving me crazy, I sound dumb. A lot of people say that they feel like they sound they’re there, they sound silly, or they sound dumb or not authoritative when they use filler words. So common, this affliction. One of the issues is that when you’re breathing, there’s probably two things happening. Either you are breathing too shallow, and allowing your air to leave your mouth too quickly on your exhale. And therefore you don’t have enough air to actually continue to get your thoughts out. And so you put a filler in there or a filler word as you’re breathing and trying to get more airflow. The other thing that can happen here is that you are opening your mouth too much when you do not have an idea or you’re thinking about what your next word is, your mouth is open. And therefore you’re making involuntary sounds ie filler words or tics of some nature. So there’s two different ways to think about this, you not only want to have more air coming in the body and more air leaving so that you can actually feel your voice, you’re not gasping for air, you don’t have to worry about filler words or having any awkward pauses or running out of air at the end of the word. You also want to think about making sure your mouth is closed when you’re not actively speaking. And so this is also a part of how you’re thinking about breath. So one thing we can start by doing is we can actually talk and think about whether or not your mouth is closed. So if I’m thinking and I say Hi, I’m Melanie, it’s so nice to meet you. Oh, that’s an interesting question. Well, I think my idea is XYZ, you can see that I closed my mouth while I was thinking about how I wanted to respond next. Sometimes someone might go, oh, that’s an interesting question. Well, I think my ideas, and you can see my mouth was still a little bit open, perhaps I was trying to work on getting a little bit more air or you don’t have a lot of air coming in. So your body’s kind of grasping for that airflow, you can use your nose to get air in and out of the body. And it’s really the best way, anatomically, to get air in your body. So you want to make sure that that mouth is closed. So with all of you, if you want to try this at home, you can go along with me, you can go ahead and say, Oh, that’s a really interesting idea. Well, my thought for the idea is XYZ, and actually practice keeping your mouth closed, and not breathing. If you want to challenge yourself even more, you can have an even longer pause where you’re thinking about it. And you can really see if you feel comfortable keeping your mouth closed, where you don’t get lightheaded, or there’s no issues with your airflow. This is really training you to not only keep the mouth closed, but also to breathe in through your nose. You can even hold your mouth closed if you need to. So I could say oh, that’s a really interesting idea. I haven’t thought about that. Well, I think my idea is XYZ. So if you really need to, you can even hold yourself closed. Sometimes again, making that mind body connection, allowing yourself to remember what you’re trying to get your body to do and actually telling your body what to do giving it that feedback can be really helpful. So I encourage you guys to try some of these exercises at home, practice in front of a mirror or practice recording yourself on a zoom and see how that feels. See if any of these things feel really difficult. If something feels really challenging, then we’ve actually found a really great point of opportunity for you. So these are a few things to think about. Now, lastly, what I want to talk about is actually breathing in correctly. We talked about getting good airflow, enough air in and enough air out to really fuel your voice not only helpful for your filler words, but also in general. If you have more airflow you’re not going to have your words fall off at the end of the sentence, you’re going to see more powerful, more engaged, more present, right? It’s called executive presence. So your breath can really make you feel super present in a moment. So I just want you guys to do a quick exercise with me, I want you to practice really breathing deeply and using your diaphragm. If you’ve done any kind of singing work, or perhaps played a wind instrument, you may be familiar with this, or even some yoga as well. But just take a moment to try this with me because I want to get a sense of how well you’re also exhaling, The exhale is just as important as your inhale, because you need air on your exhale to actually communicate and speak properly, right and to be present in the moment. So when you to go ahead, you’re going to put one hand on your chest, and you want maybe your top finger here to be around your collarbone. And then you’re gonna have the other hand on your belly. You want to be seated in a comfortable position, you don’t have to be super erect, but you’ll make sure that you’re not hunched over if you need to just go ahead and like shake it out. Sometimes I like to shake it out in the middle of my workday, because I’ve been sitting in my computer, it’s a great way, by the way to just check your body language and your posture. And what you’re going to do here is you’re going to be breathing in through the nose, into the belly, the belly is basically your proxy for the diaphragm. A lot of the times people say, Well, I can’t actually feel my diaphragm, it’s like asking you to feel your liver, it’s very difficult to do externally. So the belly is your proxy. If you’re breathing into the belly and feeling your hand move, you know that you’re breathing in deeply, and you’re activating that diaphragm. So that’s the proxy for you, the hand on your chest, as well as a double checking point, to make sure that you’re breathing in deeply and not just into your chest. It’s okay for this hand to move, but you want to make sure you’re getting that air going all the way down to the belly. So breathing through your nose, we’re going to pause, and then we’re going to exhale slowly, but consistently. So what that means is you’re going to purse your lips, like this. And I want you to exhale consistently. But slowly try to have a nice long exhale. So I don’t want you to be inconsistent like this. I want you to be consistent. And I want you to try to take your time. So instead of I want you to try to take your time. The reason for this is again, we’re not only working on getting air in the body, but we’re thinking about that exhale, you need air to work with as you’re speaking. So this is going to really help you to make sure that you actually have air to work with. Alright, so the hands on the belly, hand on chest, and go ahead and follow me along at home. We’re going to breathe in through the nose on 123. Okay, so thank you for doing that along with me. For some of you, you may have thought, Oh, that wasn’t so bad. And for some of you, you might go, oh, wow, my exhale was really short or melodies was a lot longer than mine. Why did that happen? So for some of you, if your exhale was on the shorter side, or maybe you felt a little lightheaded or felt a little uncomfortable, this is a really good sign that you need to work on your breathing technique. You’re not giving yourself enough air to actually communicate appropriately, externally. So this is a great way for you to go Hmm, okay, I need to work on my breathing technique. Again, getting air in and getting air out and just working on that. So let’s just try it one more time, just in case you didn’t get a chance to fully do it. Sometimes it’s easier the second time around. So again, hand on belly, hand on chest, you’re going to breathe in on the count of 3123. Okay, good job, everybody. So, if you feel that this was difficult, if the exhale was short or you felt a little lightheaded, or you felt a little uncomfortable I would encourage you to just practice this at home. Again, this is just getting your body to do the work you want it to do, think of it like going to the gym, right? If you wanted to run a marathon, you wouldn’t just go run a marathon, the next day, you would actually have to go to the gym and work your way up, train your body, you’re doing the same thing here with some of these physical exercises for the voice and body levers of executive presence. This is your instrument, this is your tool, you’re training it. So it can take some time. So I encourage you to try this exercise at home. Additionally, I would think about the fact that you can work on this, but it’s not going to literally be what you do when you speak. So of course, if you’re in a meeting, you’re not going to say give me a minute. And take your along one minute breath. So sometimes people ask me, Well, how does this actually help me then in a real world context where actually speaking or actually presenting and trying to have great executive presence. So these tools, sometimes they are a little bit, they are really showing you an exaggeration, right, these tools are helping you to be aware of your body and then to start training it. So they’re a bit exaggerated, right, you’re not going to literally take a breath like that, when you are actually speaking or presenting. So they start to train you over time to breathe in a little bit more deeply, to exhale a little bit longer. So that’s the idea is that this becomes a little bit more automatic for your body. It also can be helpful to do right before a major meeting or presentation, because you are kind of recalibrating your body, you’re resetting your homeostasis, you’re saying, oh, okay, that’s right, I need to have a lot of air today, because I have something really important that I need to really be present for. So that’s how I would think about using these exercises and more of that real world application or context. And then over time, you’ll start to feel a little bit more comfortable with actually doing these things on the fly, so to speak. So the other thing now that I want to talk about, because we’ve been chatting about voice body levers under the physical pillar of executive presence, I also want to tie this back to the figurative pillar, and specifically to confidence. And this is something that I’ve been thinking about for a long time and talking about it with my clients, is that people always say, How do I get more confidence? Right, of course, we wish we could just press a button and go more confidence, please, that would be great. Thanks. And unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. But what I like to say is there’s a back door to confidence, which is ease. So I like to say ease, equals confidence, or is your back door, or kind of your trick door into confidence. And let me explain that. You want to appear at ease. And if you think about people who have presence, they usually seem very much in their body, they’re grounded, they know what they’re doing, they’re there to get something done, they have that clarity, that groundedness that ease about what they are doing. So in terms of ease, how can you start getting there, because if you want to appear at ease, or grounded, and confident well, you also need to actually have that internally inside you. So that’s really the best place to start. One thing you can do is to actually start tricking your physicality or your body into ease, because that will start to affect you on a mental and emotional level. And actually make you think, Oh, wow, I am actually at ease. What I mean by that is if you’re changing your body or your body’s chemistry, your mind and your emotions will follow. So you can use, for example, the breathing technique that I just showed you, in order to actually reduce your cortisol, reduce your heartbeat, make it slower, make your breathing slower, your adrenaline should go down. All of this can actually trick your body into thinking, Oh, I’m super grounded, I’m at ease. And that in turn will start to change your mental and emotional state and therefore make you think, oh, yeah, I’m grounded. I’m at ease. I totally got this. And therefore that shows up externally as confidence. And then you have what I like to call the confidence flywheel. The more you are showcasing confidence, the more confidence your audience will be in you. And as you’re receiving that reaction from them and then believing in you and then being confident in you that will just uplevel your own confidence and therefore the flywheel continues to move forward, it also can go in the opposite direction, which is not what we want, which is, you seem really nervous or kind of unsure, or you’re struggling a little bit, you’re not at ease, maybe feel a little manic or anxious. Your audience goes, hmm, I don’t know about this guy. I don’t know, if I believe them. You receive that feedback, even subconsciously. And you go, Oh, my gosh, I’m totally screwing this up. So we want the flywheel to go in the right direction here, where you’re showcasing that ease that groundedness. And now your audience is believing it, you get that feedback, subconsciously, and so on, and so forth. So again, remember that if you want to get to confidence, think about ease, being grounded, having that sense of assuredness and the breath work is a really nice way to trick yourself basically, into getting into that frame of mind. One other thing that I want to share on this confidence, excuse me, this confidence lever is that we can think about the fact that you can also trick your brain into being more confident. So we were just talking about tricking your body into confidence, we can also trick your brain, the way we think about this, and I have a much longer version of this exercise, but I think I’m going to go with a shorter version for our group here you can always email me about it is I like to use something called code words. code words is about utilizing actual experiences from your life in order to trick your brain into bringing up that past feeling or emotion into the present tense so that you can authentically communicate it and have it show up in your executive presence style. So this is based on the fact that we all have felt every single emotion under the sun at some point in our lives, right, everybody here has felt super confident and grounded and at ease at some point. And you’ve also have felt the opposite feelings. So the idea here is we can use what I like to call code words or the code word exercise to allow yourself to authentically find that moment where you felt that emotion and bring that into the present. So again, tricking more so your brain versus the body into believing, oh, I’m at ease, I’m grounded. And then that shows up as confidence externally. So how do you do this codewords exercise, the way I would think about this is you want to first think about a specific experience where you felt really grounded or at ease. Those are the those are the words we want to consider. And you want to think about your life as if it was a movie. And in that movie, you have a screenshot of a very specific moment. So again, specificity is really really helpful here. This is going to help you trick your brain. If you’re more vague and say for example, oh, I felt really grounded when I was on vacation in Thailand. too vague? Oh, well, there was one particular day we were at the beach better. But what was the exact moment? were you holding a margarita in your hand? Were you next to a partner, where you looking at the ocean was at 12 o’clock versus two o’clock. Really getting specific about what is that screenshotted moment of your life that you can attach to? And then you want to walk through all five senses. And really think through? What was I seeing? What was I smelling? Maybe smelled the seawater, or maybe smelled suntan lotion? Taste bring you tasting a drink? Was your mouth dry? Did you just eat something recently? Maybe you didn’t taste anything? You want to think about what you’re hearing was there a bird was there a person speaking was there music waves crashing etc. And with touch even, even if you weren’t literally touching something, maybe you were sitting on something, maybe you were on a plush Chair of some sort. So just try to really think about all these different five senses and engage them to really remember that moment with a certain level of specificity. I encourage you to write all of this down, you can create a little code word cheat sheet for yourself so that whenever you need to pull up these particular feelings or emotions, you have a cheat sheet ready to go. This can be a Google Doc that you save. Once you have all of this thought through, you’re going to want to name it or give this memory a codeword thus the name of this exercise, and I usually like it to be just one or two words and something that you will immediately remember what it meant. So for this one, it could be Thailand or it could be you know, it could be blue ocean whatever you want it to be whatever means something to you so that you immediately know in your brain. Oh, yeah, Thailand. Oh, yeah, I know exactly what moment that was. And then when you are actually applying this in real time, what you want to do is actually remember your code word. So let’s use Thailand, for example. And this is going to allow you then to start remembering all of those five senses, everything that you would have written down, you’re going to remember all those descriptions, and it’s going to help to bring up authentically, that feeling of being at ease of being grounded, you’re tricking your brain into going back there, your brain goes, Oh, yeah, I know exactly what it feels like to be grounded. And at ease, you’re helping your brain, remember, and now all of a sudden, that will start to come through in a nuanced way, externally. And I use the word nuanced for a reason. Typically, it is a little bit more nuanced. When you use this code words exercise, it’s not going to be very, very obvious. But that’s actually typically a good thing you want there to be nuance and how you’re speaking, so that it doesn’t overtake the activity or the presentation. Or that moment, it just gives it that flavor of ease and groundedness. This will be easier, the more and more you do it. And I also encourage you, the more specific you are, the better this will work. If you’re not that specific, it’s not going to be very powerful, your brain is not going to really attach to it, or it’s going to be hard to trick yourself, so to speak. So try it at home. Also try using different code words or different memories for the same feelings such as being at ease and grounded, one may work better than the other. And you may not know until you actually try it out. And you can always try this out by recording yourself on Zoom. Or if you have a partner or friends that you want to do it with. That can be a great way where they go, oh, yeah, you actually seemed way more at ease with the second code word or the second memory that you utilized. And I will say a last comment before we can start to go into some questions and answers. Something that can also be really cool here as an additional tool for the code words leading into your confidence is you can use a physical object that reminds you of your code word. So again, using the Thailand example, say you had picked up a really cool stone on the beach while you were there and you took it home, you could have that stone on your desk, you could have it in your hand, you could have it in your pocket, or you can hold it right before you go on stage for that big presentation. So sometimes that physical item can be really helpful in remembering a day. Oh, and frankly, pictures. If you have pictures that can also be super helpful. If you have the picture on your iPhone, I would encourage you to actually get it printed, the physicality of holding it or having it on your desk or in your pocket really can be helpful for tricking your brain into going into that at ease grounded state, ie that confidence date. So with that, that’s pretty much everything that I think we have time for in terms of exercises today. I want to make sure we have time for questions, because I’ve seen the chat lighting up. And I do just want to share real quickly with you. I want to show you this is all going to be emailed to you guys, I’ve given some suggested homework, there are some exercises we were not able to go through today that you will see in this packet. And I also included in here a couple of different exercises for the physical exercises you can do. Again, we didn’t get through everything. So if you take a look at this at home, and you are like what is this, I’m not sure how to do this, you are always welcome to email me. And let’s see, I think I have my contact info all the way at the bottom. So again, this is my email just hello at Escalon enterprises. Also my website. So again, feel free to get in touch if we haven’t had time to answer your question, or you take a look at this deck afterwards. And you’re unsure of some of the directions or the exercises. So I’m going to go ahead and stop the screenshare and now we are welcome to entertain questions. I think Megan or will if you want to help me with the questions or call them out. That would be awesome.

 

Megan Stotts  49:41

I have some from the chat. We have a lot of questions about speed. So what tricks do you suggest if you find yourself speaking too quickly, or to avoid talking too quickly in the first place and also to that recommendations for recommending pay or managing pace and speed?

 

Melanie Espeland  49:59

Got it pace Since speed, thank you. This typically happens when someone is either a little nervous, right? If we are nervous, typically what happens in the body is you have your adrenaline increase your heart rate increases, your breath, increases in speed, and therefore your vocals, your external vocals are going to increase in speed as well. And typically, we don’t want that because it’s harder to understand someone if they’re speaking really quickly. Or if you’re explaining a complex idea, you don’t want to go too quickly. So there’s a couple of things that you can do. One trick that I always like to have is always have water next to you. It’s funny, this is disappearing into my Zoom background, you can always have a water next to you. Why do you want this, it is a great, elegant way to pause. If you find yourself speeding up, or losing yourself a little bit or getting a little nervous, you’re talking really fast. Take a moment, take a sip of water, as a nice, elegant way to give yourself a couple of seconds to go. Okay, I’m resetting, I’m recalibrating, you can always recalibrate yourself. So that easy tool always have that it’s a great way to elegantly take a moment. Another thing that I would consider here is we talked a lot about breathing. Right, so we talked about breathing exercises, we talked about actually not having your mouth open when you don’t have something to say. Sometimes people use filler words, or they just keep talking really quickly. Even if they’re not sure where they’re going. You want to actually get more used to closing your mouth when you need to take a pause or when you need to think about your next idea that might help someone if they find that they ramble. And they’re not quite sure exactly where they’re going to next. So I find that that can be really helpful. Work on that exercise in order not to speak so quickly. I would also say continue to do breath work, where you actually slow down your breathing and take in that deep breath, you can even take a nice deep breath. While you’re taking that sip of water through your nose in order to help you just slow down a little bit. Another thought here, if you want to slow down and you find yourself just being a fast talker in general, is I would actually encourage you to go to the extremes. What I mean by this is to read something at home, and to actually go to extremes where you’re reading it slowly and even more slowly and even more slowly, even more slowly than you would actually want to normally. The reason for this is you are allowing yourself to have awareness of how slowly and how quickly you can actually speak, you’re pushing the boundaries and allowing your body and your mind to make that connection of oh, I can actually speak more slowly. So you do want it to be a bit exaggerated, where you’re going to go so slow, that it sounds a little silly. But again, you want to push yourself so that your mind and your body make that connection and go, Okay, I actually can do this, I can be slower. So I would encourage you to do that. What you could do for that type of exercise is record yourself on your phone on Zoom, whatever is handy. Have some sort of a paragraph or passage that you want to read. Read it at what you would consider to be your normal speed. Time it. Okay, that took me 30 seconds, can I get to 40? Can I get to 50? Can I get to 60? And then continue to practice in such a way? Again, this will help you to get more clarity on how can I actually reduce my speech? And you’ll start to get a sense of which one did you like the best. So for example, if your normal speed was 30 seconds, but when you listen to the recordings over, you actually really liked how you sounded at 50 seconds. Wow, that’s actually a really big difference. It gives you a better sense of actually how much you need to change your speech and how much more slowly you need to go. So that’s another way of thinking about it. One last thought I’ll give on pacing, I find that it’s really helpful to verbally number your points. If you have a couple of points to make. That way. If you are speaking a little quickly, it’ll still help your audience to follow along. So if you’re like Okay, great. This is really exciting. I have three points to make. The first one is data. The second one is data. All of a sudden, it’s a little easier to understand what you’re trying to say because you’ve given your audience that structure so that they kind of know what’s coming their way. So verbally numbering things super helpful if you tend to be a faster talker. So I’ll pause there, I kind of threw a bunch of things out there, buddy.

 

Will Bachman  55:12

So before the next question, and I’m mindful here, I’m speaking at 0.8x. We’re getting to the top of the hour. And before people drop off, I’m thankful I understand that you’re open to staying a few minutes past before you drop off, and I see there’s 47 People still with us. Please, it is so helpful for a speaker, pop in the chat. What was one thing today that was surprising? You disagree with that was helpful. Sometimes it’s an aside that a speaker says that really is impactful. So drop that in the chat before you drop off. And that was my one point. So numbering my points. One point that again, I get over to you. What was the next question?

 

Megan Stotts  56:06

The next question, but thanks. Well, the next question that kind of dovetails into this a little is, what techniques do you suggest to keep your mouth closed when you’re speaking, but still indicate to the other person that you still have thoughts to share and would prefer not to be interrupted.

 

Melanie Espeland  56:25

This can be a little awkward sometimes right? Where you want to jump in, but you don’t want to be aggressive, but you’re not sure how to get that person to stop talking. That can be a little bit of a challenge. And I find this also depends upon, frankly, the industry that you’re in, and the types of people that you’re working with. If you think about disc, or Myers Briggs, what types of personalities are you working with different techniques will actually be received better by different personality types when it comes to interruption? So if you haven’t already asked your colleagues about their disc type, or Myers Briggs, that can actually be really helpful and understanding how can you actually externally communicate, and have that back and forth or that nice or polite interruption. So I would try to keep your mouth closed, when you are about to try to interrupt or interject. Sometimes giving the head nod can be really helpful. And kind of leaning in a little bit can be helpful, a little bit of that nonverbal body language of Hmm, where you’re letting them know, yes, I’m engaged, I’m here, there’s something else kind of percolating here for me. So I think the lien and can be helpful. Sometimes even using a hand gesture can actually be really helpful too. This again, also kind of depends upon the situation that you’re in, sometimes a little hand raise can be helpful, especially if you’re in a larger group of people. Especially if you are maybe one of the more junior people in the group, that can be an appropriate way of just letting people know, I have a point to make. I would also suggest, this can work sometimes a little bit better in a one on one or smaller setting, to actually say, Oh, that’s a really I hear you that’s super interesting, or wow, I never thought of it that way. Even if they are finishing their thought, that can be a helpful way to get going to get yourself starting to speak. But also being really thoughtful, letting them know, literally, I’ve heard you. That’s interesting, I appreciate your point, that can be a helpful way to allow you to segue without upsetting the other person. Everybody just wants to know and feel that they’re heard, right. So that can sometimes be an appropriate way of getting your foot in the door to let them know that you want to move forward. So those are a few quick things I would think about. Again, it can be dependent upon the industry and your personality types. So highly recommend if you have not done that with your teams, to please ask them to participate. There’s tons of free disk and Myers Briggs assessments online. So you don’t even have to pay for it if you don’t want to. Sometimes they’re a little less accurate if they’re shorter tests. But still, I think they’re super helpful for these situations.

 

Megan Stotts  59:23

Wonderful. Thank you. We have two final questions that I see in the chat. How do you have tips on sharpening the S sound specifically?

 

Melanie Espeland  59:33

The s sound. So the S sound can be tricky. If you sometimes say it with more of a list. So I’m wondering whoever asked that, would you mind coming off from you and just sharing with me a little bit more about what you mean by sharpening it. If you’re still here. I don’t know if that person is still here. I just wanted to hear oh,

 

Megan Stotts  59:54

she she is I’m going to ask her to unmute.

 

Melanie Espeland  59:59

Yeah If she’s comfortable, I would just be curious to hear directly from her. Yes,

 

1:00:04

yes, it’s for folks who have some degree of a list, but I wouldn’t be one of those people. So

 

Melanie Espeland  1:00:11

awesome. Awesome. Thank you. And so helpful to hear you speaking. So thank you for that. So interestingly for you, we talked a little bit about this actually earlier, where, when we were talking about tongue placement, if your tongue is moving out of the mouth a little bit, then you’re going to start to have a list where we don’t want to do that. So for you, I actually think that there’s a few things we’d want to think about your which is actually strengthening your tongue, and making sure that you feel really comfortable commanding it, and moving it around in your mouth. So couple of different ways to do that. Certainly, the tongue placement exercise that we worked on could be helpful for you, I would recommend that. I also think that with the S sound specifically, I would want you to really lean in to tongue twisters. And I know that’s going to be a little painful, it’s going to be frustrating. But I want you to do that religiously with that sound. And also throw in similar sounds like the F sound. So as an F, that can be a challenge to if someone has a little bit difficulty with the s sound, have words in a string that are s and F sounds, so that you can really become much more clear on getting those two things to sound, clean and clear. The other thing I want you to do, I did not go over this exercise today, I’m going to really quickly go over it now is what I call the pen and mouth exercise actually learned this from friends on Broadway, fabulous exercise. This is great if you are having some issues with diction. For some of you, I can tell for you some of your diction, I can tell you need a little bit of work on that. And honestly, this is great for really anyone. I don’t have a pen on my desk at the moment, but I can explain it, you want to take a pen or a marker or something with that type of shape. Put it in your mouth, you’re going to put it on top of your tongue. So it’s going on top of your tongue, you’re closing your jaw on it. So you’re holding the pen in your mouth closed with your jaw, therefore immobilizing your tongue and your jaw, and then you’re going to speak. So what happens here is it’s allowing all these other kind of lazier muscles and articulators inside your mouth and in your face to actually get fired up. Because your tongue and your jaw aren’t handling the majority of your verbal communication. So that can actually really help you with diction. Because as I said earlier, I want you to strengthen your tongue. But this also gets all these other kind of lazier articulators and muscles to get fired up and to get stronger. So you will have just more strength and capability in all of these different areas of your face and your mouth in order to speak clearly. So I would highly encourage you to try the pen and mouth technique. Work on your tongue, estranged, use the tongue placement exercise, and also play with the S and the F sounds religiously, but have a couple of tongue twisters or words that you read out loud every day. I think it’ll really help if you if you do that every day for 510 minutes. Thank you. Yeah, you’re welcome.

 

Megan Stotts  1:03:40

Hey, I have one last one from the chat. Awesome. So we’ve talked about some ways to manage and get rid of verbal fillers like the, you know, are there others that you’d like to share?

 

Melanie Espeland  1:03:53

Hmm, I actually have on my website, a free download that has a bunch of different filler word exercises. So I would encourage you guys, you’re more than welcome to check that out. It’s totally free. I would say that the best thing and of course, I just use the word. This always happens to me in a client meeting where we’re working on filler words, and it’s like contagious, it’s the funniest thing. So I think that the best thing to do would be look at that packet, but also really be aware of really closing the mouth, really making sure that you are opening your mouth with intention. It is really funny to watch people when they’re thinking basically keep their mouth open. It’s the well, yeah, I think well actually, my thought is, you really want to keep it close. So really even holding your mouth closed if you need to while you’re practicing. The other quick thing I can mention, I think I have this in the packet on my website, but it’s almost as if we’re using a Pavlovian exercise to help you Stop using filler words. So with this exercise very simple in nature, do it with somebody that you trust in a low stakes situation like a friend or a partner for 30 minutes an hour at a time, you want to have them call you out and use a particular word if you use a filler word. So for example, if you are talking and you say, well, like, I think they can call out a word such as pineapple, you can decide whatever the word is that you want to use, it can be something silly like pineapple or whatever you want. And then you actually have to start your sentence over again, without the filler word. So that can be a great technique where you’re using, of course negative feedback to get you to stop using those filler words. You could also consider working on one filler word at a time. Everybody has one or two favorite filler words that they use. So if you identify which one that is, it can be helpful for you to just focus on that one at a time. There’s a little bit more about that exercise in my in the packet on the website. So you can either check that out or you can email me. And I think I do actually need to go I’m glad that we were able to get a few extra minutes in. This was awesome. Thank you, everyone for all the questions.

 

Will Bachman  1:06:23

Melanie to close this out. We would like you to share for those who are listening to this as a podcast episode. Where can people find you online?

 

Melanie Espeland  1:06:33

Ah, yes. So again, my name is Melanie, US blonde, my company is s blonde enterprises. So it’s s blonde. enterprises.com s blonde is E S, P E, le nd and that’s the best way to find me. My email is Hello at esperando enterprises.com. I welcome people to reach out from the Umbrex community. And yeah, I hope to talk to some of you soon after this call. And

 

Will Bachman  1:07:01

we will include those slides in the show notes a link to download those slides, as well as a link Melanie to your website. Thank you so much for this session. Thanks for everyone for your questions and for joining.

 

Melanie Espeland  1:07:12

Awesome thanks everybody. Have a great day.

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