Issue July 2011
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Cool, Calm & Connected E-news

Email The Goddess
Of Public Speaking
For Help With Your

Geraldine Barkworth


What's New

Northern NSW Only

1 Day Workshop

Sat, 23rd July 2011
Brunswick Heads
$165 / $260

Completion of Confidence & Connection 6 week course.

8 places only. Contact Geraldine Barkworth to register by July 16.

" Physical exercise helps you regain perspective  and breaks obsessive thoughts. Really, life goes on. Will you remember this presentation  in 5 years time?
And, will anyone else?  "


Dear Goddess Of Public Speaking...

Can you suggest some relaxation exercises to help me relax before speaking? I often get a sore shoulder or headache after. And sometimes my heads spins abit, though that might be relief? "  B.B., RESEARCHER & AUTHOR

Dear B.B.,
When we feel emotionally tense, our bodies follow suit and tense up. Tension, particularly relating to stage fright, manifests itself in the chest, shoulders, throat, jaw, head and stomach for many people. This results in a kind of "holding oneself in" paralysis. A bit like a rabbit in the headlights - there you are speaking in front of a group and you think - if I don't move and look like a chair - they'll forget I'm here, syndrome. Doesn't work unfortunately. And you ain't a rabbit, B.B.

Tension also results in "blank mind" and a disconnect from yourself and your audience. And "head spins" can come a from a  lack of oxygen (breathing too quickly from your upper chest and not being grounded, so slow it down and feel your feet on floor). It's interesting that issues relating to the "head" figure so highly when it comes to fearing public speaking. The remedy I recommend is to:

"Get out of your head and into your body". I love this phrase; you've probably noticed I use it a lot. It really is a simple counterpoint to speaking nerves and tension. Try all these techniques to find what works best for you:

Some Weeks Before Your Presentation:
Practice using the Calm Barometer and the Inner Calm Exercise daily  to build a new calm habit - follow the links below to these exercises. (These are not quick fixes but a long term solution to  retraining your body's reaction to tension.)

Some Days Before Your Presentation:
Visualise yourself speaking with ease in front of your audience. Consciously choose to relax your traditional tension spots. See yourself taking your time and using the physical exercises written directly below ...

The Day Before Your Presentation:
Raise your shoulders to your ears, hold, and release, letting your shoulders gently drop. Repeat twice more. Then, hug yourself tightly, just like you are holding yourself in with tension, and release, throwing your arms generously open,  kind of like you are 'hugging the world" - (I know, I know, it sounds dicky in print, it's better at my workshops.) These exercises open your chest, face, airways, shoulders and tummy, releasing tension and awakening intention. Go for a walk and stop thinking about your presentation. Daydream. Physical exercise helps you regain perspective  and breaks obsessive thoughts. Really, life goes on. Will you remember this presentation  in 5 years time? And, will anyone else?

Directly Before Your Presentation:
Take a deep, even breath from the base of your stomach and release evenly. Feel your feet on the floor. Gently roll your shoulders back. This opens your chest , drops your shoulders, opens your throat and magically gives you a confident posture. Imagine the top of your head is suspended by a silken cord and the rest of your body follows effortlessly. (Thank you Alexander technique.) Use your Calm Anchor if you have one and embody your personal strengths.

Directly After Your Presentation:
Rather than go straight back into your head and do a vicious deconstruction of every mistake you made during your presentation - just don't go there right now. Your adrenaline is pumping and what you need to do is reground yourself so that you continue to be fully present with others - answer questions, accept invitations, make decisions, network and so on. Consciously let your breath flow evenly and let your body take care of dissipating your stress hormones.

The Day After Your Presentation:
Make sure you have been for a walk or engaged in some kind of relaxation activity to switch your brain off and reboot your system. When you have surfaced, it's time to evaluate  you and your presentation constructively:
  • How effectively did you handle nervous tension this time?
  • When did your listeners appear more engaged with you?
  • When were you more engaged with your listeners?
  • How might you do the same presentation a second time, based on what you now know?

The big benefit to handling speaking tension not only includes a reduction in stress headaches, sore shoulders and head spins, it also helps you focus with calm clarity, allowing you to captivate your group with authenticity and presence every time you speak.

The "coming soon" Goddess Of Public Speaking DIY e-workbook for Nervous Public Speakers, shows you in greater detail how to make speaking tension a habit of the past. Stay tune.

Results from June 2011 Issue "Suggestively Speaking":
Our previous issue tussled with the characteristics of Australian language and asked subscribers the weighty question: "Should the creatively named "Big Bertha" be renamed with a more literal and safe title such as, "The Large Cornbread"? Thank you for your suggestions and comments. Here are some of your responses as promised:
  • "I LOVE the name "Big Bertha"...but I wonder how it is connected with cornbread?" (It's named after a golf club apparently.)
  • "Why not just call it the "Big Bertha Cornbread"?
  • "Maybe the breadmaker could run a competition for customers and get them to name the breads and cakes."
  • "Australians are shy about language and don't like standing out - they like to shoot tall poppies down. And they don't like to show their vulnerability either. Well, that's what I think."
  • "I would keep the name and commission a fabulous cartoon of "Big Bertha" and position it near the bread to diffuse political correctness... and that becomes the visual symbol for the bread."
  • "Can I have the recipe for the Super Slice?"


Rate between 1 and 10 how cool, calm and connected you feel:

When you speak and lead with natural ease and authenticity, you will be closer to 10. When you feel scattered, distracted or unconfident, you will be closer to 1.


What To Do: If you are above a 7 today, notice what's working well and keep doing it. Accept that daily variations in confidence and clarity are normal and natural.

If you are below a 7 today, practise the 6 minute Inner Calm exercise.


(Serendipidous combination of "terse" and "curt".)
Abrupt, concise, rudely brief, especially in one's speech.

" Sally the Snail was deeply offended by the slug's suggestion that they move in together - share one roof, as it were.  Sally the Snail replied turtly: I'm not that sort of snail.  I need at least a week of romance first.

Email the Goddess your favourite word, define it & put into a sentence.

© 2011, Geraldine Barkworth. Reprintable when full credit is given & whole newsletter is reproduced. Contact Geraldine Barkworth on +61 (2) 6685 1917 or

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