This video makes me smile.

As you watch it, you might ask yourself a few questions:

Are these people doing what they’re doing “perfectly” or are they willing simply to do it and have a good time?

Are they polished, flawless and impressive? Or happy, free and focussed?

Do they appear to worry about what people think of them?

If they make a mistake, do they look fretful or do they just move forward and get on with the dance?

Can you approach your next presentation with the same openness and joy these people embrace?

(Answer: yes, you can.)

What have you done lately that expresses freedom, confidence and connection?

Umission: supporting you having a wonderful life

What an honor to have been selected as Umission’s Person of the Week.


Here’s to freedom,


In case you haven’t heard . . .

My Free Your Talents Mini-Course is on its way:

You can feel comfortable, relaxed, natural and confident when you stand before an audience. On Sunday, April 29, 2012, from 4:00 to 6:00 pm., at the Lord Camden Inn in downtown Camden, Maine, I will teach a “Free Your Talents” mini-course. This two-hour session will explore the principles of confident communication and how to implement them naturally and effectively in your life.
If you seek freedom and ease in presenting ideas or abilities to others, come join us on April 29th. Admission is $10 for the public, $5 for Chamber of Commerce members, so bring your friends for a fun and informative session.
Please contact me at 230-0272 or beverly@freeyourtalents.com to reserve your place in this fun and informative mini-course.
Free your talents: be yourself while people are watching.
Hope to see you on April 29th.

“I didn’t quite expect to see someone so articulate.”

Although I don’t advocate air travel in the buff, here’s an intriguing story about a man who is not ashamed to bare all for the sake of protest:


I love his sincere statement: “I’m not ashamed of my body.” How many people are that unselfconscious about their bodies even when clothed?

The anchor’s remark about being surprised that John Brennan is “so articulate” reveals (!) one thing: it is typical in our culture to judge people by the way they look.

With that in mind, I encourage you to learn from John Brennan’s calm focus for your next speaking engagement.

While you’re at it, I also hope you’ll dress appropriately — just a notch up from the way your audience is dressed. (If they’re wearing nothing at all, for instance, please don a scarf or a tie.)

Until next time,




5 Reasons people look at you at the gym

I like this item from my friend Barbara Rocha’s blog so much, that I asked her if I could feature it in mine. You can enjoy her blog here: http://gettingoveryourself.wordpress.com/

5 Reasons people look at you at the gym 

It’s so easy to think everyone is paying attention to us, especially when we’re giving a speech. But what about at the gym? Yes, even there. But is that what they’re really doing?

These are the 5 reasons people look at you at the gym, and the first four are the most likely.

1. They’re staring into space in your direction and don’t even see you.

2. They’re really looking in the mirror at themselves.

3. They’re checking out the exercise you’re doing to see if it’s something they ought to add to their workout.

4. They’re wondering when you’ll be through with that machine.

And a very distant 5. They’re actually interested in you. In which case, make the most of it. (And even there, they’re thinking about themselves.)

So, whether you’re giving a speech or working out, it’ll be much easier once you figure out the audience is more interested in themselves than they are in you. Make the most of it. And set yourself free.

Yours in getting over yourself,


P.S. If you liked this, you’ll also like Barb’s book, Getting Over Yourself – A Guide to Painless Public Speaking . . . and More, which you can purchase directly from her: http://gettingoveryourself.com/publications/index.htm


[For reasons unknown to me, I cannot get the usual spacing between paragraphs in this post. I don't like the way this looks, but here's today's offering, anyhow.]

Is it a word: um? I’ve just visited Webster’s online dictionary and see this:

Definition of UM

—used to indicate hesitation <well, um, I don’t know>
“Um” is an interjection. It doesn’t tell us what, where or how something is, give a sense of action or purpose, nor does it offer clarity. It’s a filler, a place taker, and indicates that we’re lost, confused, puzzled and most likely uncomfortable. When you use “um” a lot, people lose interest. It’s a habit well dismissed.
A pause is more effective than mindlessly “um”-ing and will help you get back on track. Rather than fill the air with “um” (or “uh,” “welllllll,” “aaaaand,” “hmm,” or “y’know”), just be still. Be quiet a second. Breathe in. Pay attention to what you want to say. Then say it. Let the “um” go away. It’s not a helpful utterance.
Start to notice “um” in your conversations and presentations. Then, pause instead before you continue speaking. You’ll feel clearer, and your listeners will follow you much more easily. I think you’ll find that you communicate much better without “um.”
Isn’t that a happy thought?



It’s one of those activities that we simply do without thinking much about it.


Asleep or awake, still or active, sad or happy, rich or poor, serious or funny, night or day, summer or winter. People do it.


The question arises: “Why, when I stand up in front of a group of people, does my breathing get weird: short, choppy, forced, difficult or non-existent?”


The short answer is: “Because your thought has shifted away from your subject and from sharing it with your audience, thus turning your breathing inward. The rhythm of full, natural breathing has stepped aside and self-consciousness claims to rule you. When your thoughts refocus on what matters, your breathing will happily normalize.”


My advice: make a point to notice what your breathing does when you are relaxed (perhaps falling asleep at night). Throughout the day, practice doing it this way.


This is an excellent time of year to practice breathing well!






What must happen for you to feel comfortable in front of a crowd?


Are you laughing (or crying) at that question? Do you think it has no answer?

It’s a great question, actually. I hope you’ll consider it.

Perhaps you may not suffer from sweaty palms, dry mouth, a pit in your stomach, shaky knees, and a distinct feeling that you’d much rather be climbing Mt. Everest. You might love presenting to an audience and feel completely at peace about it. Perhaps you look forward to it with delight, give the presentation with naturalness and assurance, and look back on it with gratitude that it was so enjoyable.

If, however, even the thought of standing up and speaking (or singing, acting, dancing, or playing the bagpipes) with people watching you makes you feel queasy, please pause. Ponder the question. Write down any thoughts that come to you — whether they’re silly, sarcastic or sincere. Live with them awhile. Honor the best of them.

Can you be yourself in front of a group, feel comfortable and natural, and present your talents with grace and ease?

(I know the answer to that one.)


Assuredly yours,







The muscular man strode to the front of the room. His buzz cut hair, piercing blue eyes and no-nonsense manner reminded us with each presentation that he meant business. A Viet Nam veteran a generation older than most of my other university public speaking students, he always seemed a bit distant and harsh. I was a little scared of him; the other students generally avoided him.

On the flip chart he wrote four bold letters in a vertical column:





Looking at each of us before he spoke, he breathed deeply. Then, in military manner, he told us that he was sure we had experienced fear. He affirmed that he, too, had known fear, giving several vivid examples from his time in service. Not clear where his speech was leading, I glanced around at his fellow students and saw unsure, sober faces.

“Now, I’m gonna tell you what fear really is,” he barked:





His tone softened. His voice quieted. He explained that fear cannot govern us if we don’t let it because it isn’t true; we need to look beyond fear to find strength; we can feel loved rather than be afraid.

When he returned to his seat, the silence that had minutes before been one of trepidation had become one of trust and assurance, comfort and amazement.

False evidence no longer appeared real.



The center of the universe?

Some years ago, half-way through day two of a three-day seminar, a student suddenly let out a hushed “Ohhhhh!” I asked if she’d like to share her discovery. (She’d felt terribly uncomfortable and awkward getting up to speak until then, and it wasn’t clear whether or not she was going to shed that fear within the next day and half.) “I just realized,” she told us, with great awe, “I am not the center of everyone else’s universe!!”

It came as a revelation, a marvel, a joy and, above all, an enormous relief. Although I had made this very statement numerous times, she had to see it for herself, as the truth. The next time she rose and walked to the front of the classroom to speak, she carried herself differently. Her body was relaxed, upright, calm, assured. Her hands were restful, not jittery or clinging to one another. Her face was open, joyful, ready. Her voice rang with grateful clarity, without tentativeness or apology. Nothing got in her way; her presentation nourished us all. We finally got to see and hear her as she really was: lovely and free.

So, friends, do you suppose you are the center of everyone else’s universe?