I have been talking a lot lately. For those who know me that may not be too surprising. It’s rare to catch me without some opinion on a topic. But since the end of March, I’ve been gabbing in front of audiences larger than my clients, colleagues, and friends…at least 3 times per week. And the last time I counted, I discovered that I’ve got 25+ gigs lined up between May and the end of November. That’s a whole lot of Lex hitting the United States!
And every once in a while, I have an off day. The more I speak, coach, and train the less they seem to happen. But as I learned last week, no matter how much you are “on,” sometimes there’s still a disconnect between what is going on in your brain and what is coming out of your mouth. And that’s EXACTLY what happened during my first TV interview for 90 Days 90 Ways: Onboard Young Professionals to Peak Performance.
I had rehearsed my talking points a lot. I couldn’t have been more prepared to speak about how to create a knockout first day experience for new hires, use the communication young professionals can hear and take action from, and so forth, but the lovely hosts of the NBC Vegas Inc. show I was on acted like the great newscasters they are and…actually went off script and started asking me questions based on their genuine interest in the topic of engaging young professionals in the workplace. While subconsciously I was delighted that they wanted to know how to improve their own management style, I was so set on what I planned to say that as I answered their questions I reverted back to my old nasty speaking habits. “So I think” began most sentences. I thew “but” into a lot of my points. At least once I used a word incorrectly. Oy!
The good news about what could have been an all out on-air disaster is that hardly anyone noticed. In fact, some of my friends and family who have sat through a lot of these segments commented, “Lex, you looked more relaxed than you’ve ever looked before. What’s your secret?”
Stepping into your “moxie” isn’t about memorizing material or striving to be word perfect every time you open your mouth. Nor is it about always harnessing courage in daunting situations or consistently getting people to do what you want each time you attempt to move them to action. As I relearned last week, moxie is acknowledging when you are off, forgiving yourself in that moment, and channeling 300% of your energy to demonstrating that you are just fine. It’s a choice that you put into action via effective, easy to perform behaviors. And here are 8 to have in your pocket for when you feel like you are off your A-game.
2. Smile…with your eyes as well as your mouth.
3. Use your hands to take your message from your heart toward your audience. Literally.
4. Up your eye contact.
5. Ask a short, easy-to-answer question to your audience. “What has worked best for you?” “What are you committed to doing differently now?”
6. Repeat back people’s names. “Jim, what you are saying…”
7. Express agreement. A “yes,” “great point,” or “I agree” gives you a moment to reset and shows you are engaged with others.
8. Express gratitude. There’s not much a “thank you” doesn’t make better.
And speaking of moxie, we’re just a couple of months away from the inaugural Moxie Camp in New York City, and those Early Bird tickets are go-ing. If you and/or the emerging female leaders in your workplace and in your community haven’t grabbed your ticket, you don’t want to delay. In addition to our fabulous coaches who will be supporting participants to get up on their feet, speak with confidence and competence, and make bigger impact through their careers and businesses, we have close to a dozen speakers such as Natalia Oberti Noguera (CEO of Pipeline Fund, which trains women entrepreneurs to be angel investors), Sheryl Victor Levy (digital strategist for Phil & Co, which provides marketing and communication strategies for social enterprises and nonprofits), and Annie Escobar (co-founder of ListenIn Pictures, which creates digital stories that mobilize action) who will be on hand during the weekend to share their expertise and give you the tools to build a movement around your passion.