Episode 15

Do Experienced Speakers Need Ongoing Mastery?

In this week's episode of Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking, Kirsten and Kellie talk about what each is working on now and what’s next to improve their skill, even though both have been speaking and teaching for more than two decades. They also have advice for how to decide what to work on in your speaking and presenting skills.

Key take-aways:

  • Even experienced speakers can improve their craft
  • Plan your progress, rather than trying to work on everything at once
  • What surprises Kirsten’s and Kellie’s audiences when they speak

Join our Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking Skills group on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/14104216/


Rourke Training’s webpage: https://www.rourketraining.com/

Ongoing Masgtery: Presenting & Speaking page: https://ongoing-mastery.captivate.fm/


RSS feed: https://feeds.captivate.fm/ongoing-mastery/

Transcript: https://share.descript.com/view/xj0PvBX4LDh

Video version of this episode: https://youtu.be/g5In_N3s7ho

Looking for a kick-ass speaking group? Use our affiliate link to join Innovation Women: https://bit.ly/innovationwomen


Need a speaking coach or looking for speaking courses? Here's our affiliate link for Kirsten's speaking coach, Tim David: https://bit.ly/3eCUFPy


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kirstenrourke/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kirstenmalenarourke

Twitter: https://twitter.com/kirstenrourke?lang=en

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rourketraining/

Transcript
Kirsten:

Hello, everyone.

Welcome to Ongoing Mastery:

Presenting & Speaking, the podcast, the event,

Welcome to Ongoing Mastery:

the community, the lifestyle.

Welcome to Ongoing Mastery:

I'm Kirsten Rourke, CEO and founder of Rourke Training, And

Kellie:

I'm Kellie Donovan-Condron, producer, writer, and herder of cats.

Kirsten:

Very much so.

Kirsten:

As the cats, yes, I appreciate it.

Kirsten:

Thank you.

Kirsten:

Today we are talking about, shockingly, ongoing mastery, but specifically

Kirsten:

ongoing mastery at different stages of your career when it comes to

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

presenting and speaking.

Kirsten:

Now, this refers to technical trainers, coaches, teachers, speakers.

Kirsten:

Presenting and speaking is a pretty broad area, but it is a very specific

Kirsten:

set of skills that you develop over time.

Kirsten:

Kellie, as a literature professor who has been teaching people for a long time, what

Kirsten:

do you notice is the beginning of people working on their presenting and speaking?

Kirsten:

What are they struggling with when they start?

Kellie:

They struggle to get the words out of their mouth, either with the

Kellie:

"ums" and "ahs,", or they speak so fast it all runs together and five minutes

Kellie:

of presentation takes 30 seconds, or they're thinking while they're talking

Kellie:

and the pace is really uncomfortable.

Kellie:

So just speaking, just literally the speaking part, is often the very

Kellie:

new speaker's biggest challenge.

Kirsten:

Yep.

Kirsten:

And I've noticed that as well.

Kirsten:

And getting past the fear because, you know, the public

Kirsten:

speaking fear is universal.

Kirsten:

Some have it more than others, but everybody has the discomfort.

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

One of the things I've noticed is not only the "ums" and "ers," but

Kirsten:

the hardest part when you're starting, which unfortunately, sorry, doesn't

Kirsten:

go away, it just becomes easier, is that the terror of making a mistake.

Kirsten:

And the good-bad news is that you're going make a mistake.

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

You're going to mess up at some point and you're

Kirsten:

going to mess up more than once.

Kirsten:

And the thing about presenting and speaking is you really only get your sea

Kirsten:

legs after you've messed up a few times.

Kirsten:

But a lot of times when people are doing it, they're doing it

Kirsten:

in a situation where there's not really slack for them to do that.

Kirsten:

They're doing it in front of a customer or their boss, which is why we always

Kirsten:

beat the drum around practice, practice,

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

practice, practice.

Kirsten:

Because you have to be able to mess up and you have to be able

Kirsten:

to mess up in a space that is not going to punish you for messing up.

Kellie:

Yep

Kirsten:

Kellie, how often have you noticed that people, especially on

Kirsten:

LinkedIn will say, "Oh, well, I don't, I don't practice and prep my public

Kirsten:

speaking or, or stuff because it makes me too stiff," and I'm sorry

Kirsten:

I'm being snotty in my tone, but it really bugs me when people say that.

Kirsten:

So how do often have you noticed that?

Kellie:

I notice it a lot and I don't believe it.

Kellie:

People who can do this without running the script in their head, maybe

Kellie:

they don't call that practicing.

Kellie:

So when they say, "I don't practice," they mean, "I don't

Kellie:

stand up in front of a podium and point at a screen and do my thing."

Kellie:

Maybe that's what they mean.

Kellie:

I've yet to meet someone who goes from task for public speaking to doing

Kellie:

that task without any work in between.

Kirsten:

Yeah, the best ones put in the work.

Kirsten:

Now, I know people who wing it, but winging it comes from a

Kirsten:

depth of experience and honestly, as someone who historically

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

would wing it, I really need to do less of that.

Kirsten:

And I'm working on that.

Kirsten:

My ongoing mastery right now that I'm working on is incorporating more

Kirsten:

storytelling and more structured, actual trained improv skills rather

Kirsten:

than my winging it that I've, I've learned to do over decades.

Kirsten:

What is on your ongoing mastery plate right now?

Kellie:

Learning to speak on mic.

Kellie:

My classroom is generally small.

Kellie:

I teach a maximum of 30 students at a time.

Kellie:

I don't need to have a mic in the room to reach the nosebleed seats.

Kellie:

I'm not in theater style, stadium style, large lecture hall seating,

Kellie:

so I'm not used to speaking on mic.

Kellie:

And even when I go to conferences, each panel is relatively small.

Kellie:

And again, because I can project, I'm not used to being on mic.

Kellie:

So between breath control, microphone placement, what the equipment is so

Kellie:

that I'm not sounding like a breathy '50s starlet because I've somehow

Kellie:

forgotten how to breathe and talk.

Kellie:

That's the main thing I'm working on right now.

Kirsten:

And the reason those of you, those of you who are coming to us through

Kirsten:

Apple or Spotify or some of the audio formats will not see my face, but I'm

Kirsten:

cracking up because this is not the first run we've done at this episode.

Kirsten:

And when Kellie says, "the breathy starlet," I cannot help

Kirsten:

but do an impersonation of the, you know, "Happy birthday, Mr.

Kirsten:

President" from Marilyn Monroe, which always makes Kellie a little

Kirsten:

unhappy, so I'm restraining myself physically from doing it right now.

Kirsten:

So

Kellie:

Kirsten:

I'm trying.

Kirsten:

See, I can learn.

Kirsten:

So when you're working, you're always going to have ongoing mastery.

Kirsten:

You're going to have more and more.

Kirsten:

You're never done.

Kirsten:

I've been, you know, I've been doing public speaking for 20 years.

Kirsten:

I got my first actual public speaking coach this year.

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

I got Tim David, and what I love about Tim's work is that he

Kirsten:

is working with me on refining some keynote work and said, "Well, if

Kirsten:

you're done working on your keynote, you've killed it, essentially."

Kirsten:

You're never done because it's a performance, a connection

Kirsten:

between you and the audience.

Kirsten:

And one of the things that Kellie knows and I know and that the people

Kirsten:

who've been doing this work a long time know, it's not about your material.

Kirsten:

It's about your audience, then your material and your material comes second.

Kirsten:

Sorry.

Kellie:

Yeah.

Kellie:

Yeah.

Kirsten:

That's a hard part for people to get.

Kellie:

It is, because your material is what you know, what you can control,

Kellie:

how you present it, and you can know something about your audience, but you

Kellie:

can't always control your audience.

Kellie:

And so preparation feels like it's about controlling everything, absolutely

Kellie:

everything, within your domain.

Kellie:

But sometimes you can't do that.

Kellie:

Most of the time you can't do that.

Kirsten:

Yeah.

Kirsten:

And, and that's one of the things that is, again, part of

Kirsten:

this work is ongoing mastery.

Kirsten:

You are going to mess up.

Kirsten:

You are going to make mistakes.

Kirsten:

You're going to do well.

Kirsten:

You're going to do badly.

Kirsten:

You're going to do a mixture.

Kirsten:

And every single time you do, it is a unique instance, it's a unique

Kirsten:

experience, because you've never been the you in this moment with the

Kirsten:

material, with that audience before.

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

Every single time is unique.

Kirsten:

And I wish that I could go back in time and talk to myself from 17 years

Kirsten:

ago when I was in Boston teaching.

Kirsten:

I think it was at the Federal Reserve.

Kirsten:

I was teaching email through, I don't, Lotus Notes or something.

Kirsten:

And I had the same program, I was teaching the same program, three

Kirsten:

times a day for, like, two weeks.

Kirsten:

And I got to the point where I was literally, "Did we cover this?

Kirsten:

Wait, did we, did we do this already?"

Kirsten:

I got lost.

Kirsten:

And the reason I got lost is because I was running the material and it was

Kirsten:

independent of who was in the room, which was a mistake, but I wasn't

Kirsten:

experienced enough at that point to know that who's in the room or

Kirsten:

on the camera determines the flow.

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

And that you are shaping and steering that.

Kirsten:

You're riding that, but you're not, you know, you're riding the wave.

Kirsten:

You're not controlling the wave.

Kirsten:

The wave is going to do what the wave does.

Kirsten:

You're on the surfboard trying not to fall the hell down.

Kirsten:

That's your job.

Kellie:

Yeah.

Kirsten:

So I wanted to bring up Ongoing Mastery's newest discovery,

Kirsten:

John Chen, Engaging Virtual Meetings.

Kirsten:

John Chen is a really, really fun guy.

Kirsten:

He, now I am a fairly intense personality.

Kirsten:

I know that's shocking to you.

Kirsten:

I find John Chen to be drinking for the fire hose.

Kirsten:

Like, I get on a call with him and I'm like, "Okay, here we go!"

Kirsten:

because he's a very full personality and it's lovely.

Kirsten:

It's wonderful.

Kirsten:

It's also like, "Okay, got it.

Kirsten:

I can take this in."

Kirsten:

And John runs events where he has so much available to you that you really

Kirsten:

want to go back to the recordings.

Kirsten:

You want to go back to your notes.

Kirsten:

You want to take stuff over time.

Kirsten:

And what happens with people like me and people like Kellie is we will

Kirsten:

go, "Oh, I should have known that.

Kirsten:

I should already be doing that," and that doesn't work.

Kirsten:

Kellie, how do you

Kellie:

No

Kirsten:

get past the "shoulds"?

Kellie:

Awkwardly and

Kirsten:

Kellie:

with, with practiced grace.

Kellie:

But when I keep spinning in a circle about what I should have done is the

Kellie:

sign to me that I need to step out of the circle and put that over there

Kellie:

and just do something, whatever the task is that I'm trying to figure out.

Kellie:

But the "woulda, coulda, shoulda," doesn't help me actually do.

Kirsten:

Yeah, I, as those of you who have been following our podcast for

Kirsten:

a while, or have seen me in webinars or on stages, as you know, I have a

Kirsten:

little trouble getting out of my own way and getting my own ego to shut up.

Kirsten:

So when I first went to this event, I was invited to it.

Kirsten:

I went to it with the, "Oh, this will be nice.

Kirsten:

I've been doing this 20 years.

Kirsten:

I'm not going to pick up new stuff, but I'll see people present.

Kirsten:

I'll learn from that.

Kirsten:

I'll see how the audience is.

Kirsten:

It'll be great."

Kirsten:

And I got to check my ego within five minutes of the first presenter,

Kirsten:

which was wonderful because it was a magician and I love magic.

Kirsten:

I just adore it.

Kellie:

You do.

Kirsten:

I had a magician instead of a DJ at my wedding, which tells

Kirsten:

you my husband loves me because he rolled with that completely.

Kirsten:

He was like, "Of course we're having a magician.

Kirsten:

And so," you know,

Kellie:

Kirsten:

he was like, "But of course we are.

Kirsten:

It's totally Kirsten."

Kirsten:

So this guy not only was showing virtual magic tricks, wonderful, showing

Kirsten:

really good connection to the audience.

Kirsten:

He was absolutely adapting in the moment.

Kirsten:

But he also showed his tech and he showed the behind the scenes

Kirsten:

and all the bells and whistles

Kirsten:

And I went completely like, "Squeee."

Kirsten:

I was just was like, "I have to have all of the things and all the toys"

Kirsten:

and had to talk myself down afterwards

Kellie:

Yes

Kirsten:

of "No, we are not buying all new equipment.

Kirsten:

We are not suddenly getting a whole mixer board and all the things.

Kirsten:

Stop."

Kirsten:

But it was wonderful.

Kirsten:

It was

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

really, really good.

Kirsten:

And I'll say that at this event, it's a virtual, you know, for like

Kirsten:

four hours a day, for four days, five days, some, it's a blur.

Kirsten:

There are things in there that I'm simply not going to incorporate.

Kirsten:

Like, they just don't fit my work.

Kirsten:

They don't fit my people.

Kirsten:

But it's still really worth seeing what other people are doing.

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

And also how the audience is reacting to them

Kirsten:

and kind of picking that up.

Kellie:

Mm-hmm

Kirsten:

So for ongoing mastery, I'm going to work on storytelling,

Kirsten:

I'm going to work on my improv, and then I want to go past that.

Kirsten:

I don't know what my next tier is.

Kirsten:

Do you know what your next tier is?

Kirsten:

Beyond the microphone thing, what you want to tackle after that?

Kellie:

I think once the microphone is dialed in, particularly if it's a

Kellie:

headset or if it's a boom mic, gestures.

Kellie:

I don't gesture a lot in this space, in part because I'm worried

Kellie:

about whacking the microphone

Kirsten:

Kellie:

or causing extra static.

Kellie:

I'm usually much more animated in terms of my arm movement as I'm teaching,

Kellie:

so incorporating that more comfortably instead of being as still as I've tended

Kellie:

to be so far on camera is my next thing.

Kirsten:

Yeah, I think, what I have to be careful of is that the next thing in my

Kirsten:

list, I need to, I need to prioritize and not do all the things at the same time.

Kellie:

Yes

Kirsten:

And Kellie's smiling because her, one of her jobs is to keep me

Kirsten:

in track because I will try to do all the things at the same time.

Kellie:

Yes, you will.

Kirsten:

When I did the TEDx in Houston and I was with these amazing women, they

Kirsten:

were all glamorous and beautiful and, oh my God, they were just so together.

Kirsten:

And I put on my work face, which is what you see here on camera.

Kirsten:

I forgot, and I have 25 years of belly dancing experience,

Kirsten:

I should have remembered this.

Kirsten:

I forgot the lights and the distance with the camera was going to wash me out.

Kirsten:

So there's photos

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

of these women all looking elegant and glamorous and me

Kirsten:

like the little white moon going, "Wheeeee" in the background.

Kirsten:

And so I, I'm actually a little stuck because when I first came to do this

Kirsten:

work, I am used to having either no makeup or belly dancer makeup.

Kellie:

Right

Kirsten:

I was the makeup mom for my troupe.

Kirsten:

Our makeup could be seen from space.

Kellie:

Kirsten:

It was very much, like, false eyelashes, the whole nine yards.

Kirsten:

So I went and got a session with Bobbi Brown's makeup artist.

Kirsten:

And if you go to bobbibrown.com, you can actually get consults with the makeup

Kirsten:

artists and then, you know, you buy the makeup afterwards to pay for the session.

Kirsten:

But, oh God, it was so wonderful.

Kirsten:

I need to do it again.

Kirsten:

And I need to go back to the same guy and say, "I have my work face.

Kirsten:

Thank you.

Kirsten:

I now need a stage face for Zoom and for this kind of camera work

Kirsten:

that is not Middle Eastern, Near and Middle Eastern dance, but

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

stage performing."

Kirsten:

Because I was looking at the photos going, "I'm a peach blur.

Kirsten:

Oops."

Kirsten:

So that's going to be one of the things I'm working on.

Kirsten:

I will not be, now that I wear glasses, I will not be putting false eyelashes

Kirsten:

back on because false eyelashes and glasses are not a happy making thing.

Kellie:

It's funny.

Kirsten:

But I will do the rest of it.

Kirsten:

It is, it is funny watching me try to make that work and a lot of times

Kirsten:

you're just sort of, you know, keep moving the glasses away because the

Kirsten:

lashes that I would use, like, actually can cause waves of air in the room,

Kellie:

Kirsten:

But I still have my whole kit upstairs too.

Kirsten:

It's amazing.

Kellie:

That's really funny.

Kirsten:

It's like, I need to bring it out one day on camera and go, "See all this?

Kirsten:

Whoop.

Kirsten:

This is one day.

Kirsten:

This is one face," and see how many people are terrified, go,

Kirsten:

"You put all of that on your face?"

Kirsten:

"Yes, we did.

Kellie:

Kirsten:

And I will give a particular shout out to Tony, nuclear engineer by

Kirsten:

day, Middle Eastern dancer by night, who was a love, over 25 years of letting

Kirsten:

me come and try to put eyeliner on him.

Kirsten:

And he was trying his best not to crawl out of the chair because

Kellie:

Kirsten:

someone's coming at your eye with a pencil.

Kellie:

Right

Kirsten:

It was not happy making.

Kirsten:

So we had fun.

Kirsten:

So, what do you say would be your advice, Kellie, for people who are in their

Kirsten:

ongoing mastery journey, as we all are, and kind of need to figure out what their

Kirsten:

next thing is that they want to work on.

Kirsten:

What if they don't know what they want to work on?

Kirsten:

What would you advise?

Kellie:

I would say to go with the thing you dread most or have

Kellie:

the most negative emotion about.

Kirsten:

OOoooo

Kellie:

Because if you're having that negative emotion, it's getting in the

Kellie:

way of your work and doing something to make that less negative, or even

Kellie:

positive, will improve your work.

Kellie:

So whatever that thing is that you are avoiding, the

Kellie:

monster in the corner, whatever

Kirsten:

Kellie:

it is that you really know would make things better

Kellie:

and you really do not want to.

Kellie:

When I started running, a couple of friends also started at the same

Kellie:

time, and none of us really wanted to, but we're doing it for our various

Kellie:

reasons and we were Team Do It Anyway.

Kirsten:

Awesome.

Kellie:

It's okay if you're scared.

Kellie:

It's okay if you don't like it.

Kirsten:

Kellie:

It's okay if the whole experience is just really

Kellie:

miserable, but do it anyway.

Kellie:

And so that's what I would advise for people who aren't sure what they need

Kellie:

to work on, but have the sense it's something, is look for the thing you

Kellie:

really don't want to and do that thing.

Kirsten:

I love it.

Kirsten:

I love it.

Kirsten:

I think that's great.

Kirsten:

I, my advice will be, that is an excellent suggestion, a secondary suggestion.

Kellie:

Thank you.

Kirsten:

would be, what, what is the thing that you look at and kind of

Kirsten:

go, "Huh, I wonder how?", like, what is it that trips you, that, that

Kirsten:

makes you go, "How do they do that?"

Kirsten:

And for me, that's why it's storytelling because I was on masterclass.com or

Kirsten:

whatever it is, and I was watching the Neil Gaiman storytelling series and I

Kirsten:

got halfway through his lecture and went, "Oh, I'm not, I'm not incorporating this.

Kirsten:

I didn't even, it didn't even occur to me to incorporate it in this way."

Kirsten:

And I haven't even finished his class because I dead-ended there and realized

Kirsten:

that I needed to kind of go on this journey of meeting storytellers and kind

Kirsten:

of starting to pull that into my brain and osmosis that work for my myself.

Kirsten:

And I think the, the following your fear thing is great because one of my concerns

Kirsten:

in storytelling is, going, going too far out there, like, you know, I want

Kirsten:

to make sure that I'm always tying it to the real world lesson for people.

Kirsten:

Well, you don't have to make it real to tie it to a real world lesson.

Kirsten:

It can be fantasy.

Kirsten:

It can be theoretical.

Kirsten:

It can be completely abstract.

Kirsten:

You can still do that.

Kirsten:

And I don't have the faith in my own storytelling skills to

Kirsten:

tie some of those together.

Kirsten:

So I'm definitely going to be going into that part of the, the fear of

Kellie:

Yeah

Kirsten:

"All right, how could I bring this in and still get real world goals?

Kirsten:

Because for those of you new to this, the deal is your work, the

Kirsten:

audience, the two of them together.

Kirsten:

What are you doing?

Kirsten:

What are your objectives?

Kirsten:

You need your learning objectives.

Kirsten:

You need your business objectives.

Kirsten:

That's the goal.

Kirsten:

That's what you're trying to hit.

Kirsten:

The combination of the people, the objectives, and your work together,

Kirsten:

that's all you have to care about.

Kirsten:

Whatever you do to get that done is valid.

Kirsten:

Now,

Kellie:

Mmm-hmm

Kirsten:

it can be as goofy as I, I teach people how to curse

Kirsten:

in Old Norse in software classes.

Kellie:

Kirsten:

It can be whatever.

Kirsten:

So whatever works for you.

Kirsten:

What would you say as we wrap up, Kellie, is the more unexpected thing that your

Kirsten:

students discover when you are trying to teach them in the literature class?

Kellie:

Oh dear.

Kellie:

I think a lot of students don't trust that what they want to say is the right thing.

Kellie:

So, so many students start out with, "I don't know if this is right, but."

Kellie:

I try very hard to stop them with that.

Kellie:

But I think they're the most surprised when I will say the thing

Kellie:

that we're all thinking, and eyes are shifting in the room so I can

Kellie:

tell we're all kind of thinking the same thing, and I'll just say it.

Kellie:

And they're always a little surprised that I actually said it.

Kellie:

Generally, if we're talking about literature on taboo subjects and

Kellie:

it's, "All right, now it's out there.

Kellie:

Now we have to deal with it."

Kellie:

And they're like, "But I, I didn't know that was a thing."

Kellie:

And I'm like, "It's fine."

Kellie:

Right?

Kellie:

So giving them permission to kind of play and go as far out there as

Kellie:

they can with what they're seeing.

Kellie:

Rarely are they so wrong that we just have to abandon the whole thing, right?

Kellie:

And helping them find where reasonable interpretation is I think is their

Kellie:

biggest surprise about themselves.

Kirsten:

Awesome.

Kirsten:

I love it.

Kirsten:

And I, I'm going to leave it on that note because I think that's perfect.

Kirsten:

We are going to, as always, invite you to come onto LinkedIn into the Ongoing

Mastery:

Presenting & Speaking group, which is where we'll post links of

Mastery:

things we've discovered, updates, the podcast links, all of that, and share

Mastery:

with us what you would like to hear more about, who you want to see us interview.

Mastery:

We've got some really great interviews.

Mastery:

In fact, we've got one I'm doing in eight minutes, so we're going to wrap it up so I

Mastery:

can hop into that interview and record it.

Mastery:

And we'll have some really fun stuff coming up for you.

Mastery:

So, we will see everybody next week.

Mastery:

Thanks for coming.

About the Podcast

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Ongoing Mastery: Presenting & Speaking
Presentation and Speaking Skills for Business Leaders

About your host

Profile picture for Kirsten Rourke

Kirsten Rourke