YOUR Comfort Zone
This is an important blog post about you and your comfort zone.
But first I want to share with you one of my favourite quotes on this subject…
“I’ve learned in my life that it’s important to be able to step outside your comfort zone and be challenged with something you’re not familiar with or accustomed to. That challenge will allow you to see what you can do.” – J.R Martinez
A lot of people stay in their comfort zones daily, and I don’t blame them, it’s comfy
But real growth only happens when you step outside your comfort zone.
And that is exactly what a former student of the ‘iCan Bootcamp’ did recently straight after stepping outside his comfort zone.
Let me explain…
Kamal attended the ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamp on 21st March.
He did so because for the last 15 years he’s been haunted by a presentation that he gave.
By his own admission, he tried avoiding presentations and speaking in public whenever he could, but when he had to he’d always been extremely anxious and petrified that he was about to bomb just like he did all those years ago!
In fact he shared at bootcamp that he knows that it has hindered his progression in the finance sector where he works.
But finally he decided to step outside of his comfort zone and speak in public.
This is what he sent me:
So, I ran the finance workshop on Tuesday, and had to present to around 20 non-finance colleagues and explain investment appraisal to them. On top of that I had to do it for 90 minutes, straight after lunch!
I’m pleased to say it couldn’t have gone any better! Even when I accidentally kicked the power cable and the projector turned off….I simply stayed calm and asked my colleague to fix it while I carried on without my slides!
The audience’s participation was amazing; every single one of them was engaged and seemed to really enjoy it. I even over ran by 10 minutes into their break, but they didn’t seem to care, they would have happily sat there for another 90 minutes (well maybe not quite 90 mins!)
I hope you are sitting down, because you won’t believe what happened at the end….I still don’t!! When I finished, and I apologised for over running and said I hope they found it useful…..They all got up and clapped…I got a standing ovation!!! Yes, me!!
There were too many great moments to share with you on email, but I just wanted to share a few and say I couldn’t have done as well as I did if I hadn’t attended the Bootcamp.”
Pretty amazing results right?
This only happened because of two things.
1 – Kamal stepped outside his comfort zone
2 – He followed a proven plan (the ‘iCan’ speak Bootcamp) to help guide him to speaker success.
If you want to improve as a speaker I have two ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamps coming up in Leeds and London.
Here are the details:
When: 24th April
Who For: People who have aspirations to improve as a speaker
Investment: £297 + VAT
Number Of Spaces Left: 7
Click Here To Secure Your Spot On The Leeds ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamp
When: 16th May
Who For: People who have aspirations to improve as a speaker
Investment: £297 + VAT
Number Of Spaces Left: 10
Click Here To Secure Your Spot On The London ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamp
Click HERE to read more or call the office : 0113 2684344
P.S. Don’t sit on the fence any longer…
Step outside your comfort zone, and became an improved speaker who communicates powerfully, authentically and with purpose.
So did you see it? The lunar eclipse on Friday…
I don’t know about you but things were so excited in our house.
With three young children who had never experienced a lunar eclipse before, they simply couldn’t contain themselves.
They may have been so excited due to the encouragement by their school as they were all informed that they would be stepping outside whilst the moon blocked the sun for a few minutes… but unless they were wearing protective glasses they were not going to be able to look at the event as it happened.
So I did what any other father would do and I scoured the web to attempt to purchase said lunar eclipse glasses.
They were SOLD OUT everywhere.
But I persevered. I put a call out to my social network and was advised that Safety Welding Glasses would do the same thing. I ordered a pack of 10 glasses and I informed the children that they could each have two extra pairs to give out to school friends.
Well, despite the description on eBay stating that the glasses would be dispatched for NEXT DAY delivery by COURIER, they weren’t.
If they had been they would have arrived on Thursday in time for the lunar eclipse on Friday morning. They were in fact dispatched by Royal Mail parcel service and didn’t arrive in time.
What a disappointment.
They have lost a sale. The glasses, when they do eventually arrive, will be going back and I will be asking for a refund.
I’m not sure what it is that you do but I was told something many years ago, and I cant be sure who said it, but it was to under promise and over deliver. This way your customers will be getting more than they expected and will see you in a positive light. The suppliers of the safety glasses most definitely over promised and have under delivered. In fact as of this moment they have yet to deliver.
Don’t let your (under delivered) promises eclipse your future success. (see what I did there?)
And in a similar vein I also experienced a nice experience of someone going the extra mile for me.
On top of getting excited about the lunar eclipse I had to prepare for my latest ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamp which was to take place the next day.
While in the office disaster struck with my computer and just when I thought there was no way out for me I had a knight in shining armour show just what he was capable of.
I was so impressed with PCI Computers in Leeds that I made a quick short video to my iPhone and shared it on Facebook.
And finally, on the ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamp on Saturday I decided to over deliver for my delegates by surprising them with a FREE signed copy of my No1 best-selling Book Just a Boy.
I have no idea when you might be able to apply the same approach; you don’t need to be in business to do this. Family, friends or the homeless man in the street can all benefit from this.
P.S. Join me LIVE for the next set of ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamps by clicking the image below for more info.
Well, I thought I had learnt everything there was to know about public speaking.
And you’d think so after having been speaking for over 10 years and having now delivered 1,735 sessions since I gave my very first professional talk on 8th February 2005.
But last week I learned three things in relation to speaking (or at least I was reminded of them) at a Teachers’ Conference in the South of England.
First of all, at the last minute the organiser told me that I wasn’t going to be able to show my slides during my talk.
This meant I had to be even more descriptive than usual.
When I first started speaking this would probably have caused me so much stress that I would have gone to pieces.
Especially as when I first started out I relied on my slides as way of reminding me where I was in the talk and where I was going next. This is something I would urge against.
We should know our talks inside out. Relying on slides as a way of remembering, simply highlights that we haven’t prepared enough. But the first point I want to make is that we have to be adaptive as speakers. Actually we need to be adaptive no matter what we do.
Sometimes ‘stuff’ just happens; the show must go on and if we are willing and able to roll with it then our audience will be none the wiser. Which is what I did and although it wasn’t the same talk that I usually deliver they never knew. Worst of all I never got to show the stunning images of my wife and three gorgeous children. Hey Ho!
Secondly, you can imagine how foolish I felt when I arrived at this venue wearing black tie believing that it was a black tie engagement.
Now there was some breakdown in the communication as I was the only one wearing black tie. It was probably down to me; in fact it was definitely down to me.
The notes in my diary stated business dress but I was so busy rushing around that I had simply got it wrong.
But it did highlight my final point before I sign off.
As speakers, and especially professional ones, we cannot afford to under-dress.
If I had turned up in shorts and a t-shirt I would have had my audience concerned more with what I looked like than what I had to say.
I know there may be people out there who will write to me after this post to tell me that it doesn’t matter what you wear and you should feel comfortable in dressing how you wish. I disagree.
I recall once speaking at the Harrogate Conference Centre for a couple of women who had recently left The Apprentice on TV and one of the women (who frankly should have known better) walked on stage to introduce the day in bare feet. I think her shoes may have been causing her problems so she decided that she would be more comfortable not wearing shoes.
If I had been coaching her I would have urged her to try out her shoes before the event and not back stage moments before she entered stage right. Thankfully I looked smart and hopefully I did not have anyone distracted while I shared my message. Lesson: Better to over-dress than under-dress.
And lastly, this was an after-dinner speech, which meant that I didn’t get on until just before 10pm.
We had arrived at 7pm, which meant by the time the three-course meal had been served along with tea and coffee, the audience had been drinking alcohol for close to three hours.
There was an event back in 2007 that I spoke at, that first highlighted how difficult speaking late can be when the audience has been drinking alcohol.
Some people were the worse for wear and the odd person was being inappropriate. I’m not suggesting any of the teaching staff had been inappropriate…. well, ok I am.
There was one gentleman who was sat with his wife who seemed to be a little uncomfortable as I spoke. So much so that he spoke to his wife for most of the talk. Afterwards I approached him to ask if all was OK only to be told to “Go away” by his now drunk wife.
All a little uncomfortable for me and the organiser informed me that this particular teacher was a just as problematic in school.
So last week I decided that I would no longer speak after dinner and that the only time that I would speak at such an event if I were to be asked, was if it was before dinner and more importantly before people became drunk. Only speak if you are completely happy with doing so.
Of course you may be one of those people who has to speak but is terrified of doing so and I’m not suggesting you turn down every single opportunity to speak because you will undoubtedly be unhappy about speaking.
But if this is you then I urge you to grab the bull by the horns and get along to one of my legendary speaker training events where we will have you feeling far happier to speak than you are now.
Click here to find out more info & to secure a ticket to the Leeds event: on April 24th
Click here to find out more info & to secure a ticket to the London event: on May 16th
Wow! What an incredible weekend. The launch of the ‘iCan Speak’ Academy far exceeded my expectations and is one day I’ll not forget in a hurry. In fact one of the delegates caused the hairs on the back of my neck to stand up. (I’ll explain why in a second.)
Below you will see a group shot of the 50+ people that attended the ‘iCan Speak Showcase’.
And here are a few Facebook screenshots from people that attended:
So back to the opening paragraph, and me telling you about the hairs on the back of my neck standing up…
In the audience at the ‘iCan Speak’ Showcase was a lady called Anna and finally for the very first time she found the courage to overcome her life-long fear and spoke in front of an audience.
And not just a small audience either.
As I said there were around 50 people there to witness something amazing.
Not only did she find the courage after just a few of the ‘iCan Speak’ modules but she blew us all away.
She had some of the audience jump to their feet and give her a standing ovation.
In fact if you take a look at this photograph you can see me pointing at the hairs on the back of my neck, which were also standing!
So how was she able to do this with no prior experience?
In my opinion she epitomised exactly what The ‘iCan Speak Academy’ is all about and that is about creating Authentic Speakers. If you were looking for perfection, she wasn’t that. If you were looking for amazing slides, she didn’t have those. If you were looking for a slick successful businesswoman, she wasn’t that either (although for all I know she might be.)
I speak at events all over the world and I see hundreds of speakers, many of who will be speaking at the same event as myself. And one of the biggest let downs I see – and often from slick successful people from business – is that they simply don’t speak from the heart.
But that’s exactly what Anna did.
She shared her story in just a few seconds and she did it with confidence, passion and authenticity. And she won over our hearts and minds. And for those who were in the room we felt a burst of emotion from a lady who would stand alongside any leader I’ve ever had the pleasure to listen to. She was truly incredible. What you don’t see is that after she finished I actually stood on my chair to applaud because of how proud I was.
When it comes to speaking to any audience: Authenticity is Essential.
This is what Anne had to say after the event ended.
‘I got the courage to stand up and speak, the motivation to be more than I am and the determination to be the best speaker I can possibly be. Thanks so much. Anna’
If you want to learn how to speak authentically, with confidence and passion, I highly encourage you to secure a ticket at our upcoming ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamp in Leeds or Gatwick.
At these one-day Workshops you’ll discover:
- Stand & deliver: How to look the part on stage. Concentrating on your non-verbal communication.
- Start with impact: How to grab the attention of your audience from the very start.
- Spice it up: Learn language techniques that will enhance your delivery and set you apart from other speakers.
- Silence the cynic: How to silence even the most cynical of audience members.
- Vocal variety: Learn techniques that will give your voice the edge and help connect with your audience in ways you may have not considered in the past.
- Involve your audience: Be a stand-out speaker by involving your audience in ways that most speakers are not willing to do.
- Own the stage: The stage is your home and your audience need to see that. Learn how to use it with impact.
- Put it all together: Delegates will be expected to deliver a short presentation by the end of the day which will be far greater than the one they gave as an introduction.
- And much, much more….
I hope to see you at the ‘iCan Speak’ Bootcamp in Leeds (March 21st ) or Gatwick (May 16th)!
We interrupt your day to bring you this from our ‘iCan Speak Academy‘ on the spot reporter. Please be aware there is no flash photography in this item.
On my travels around the UK speaking at various events I get the pleasure of seeing some great speakers: But there is always two sides to a coin and that means I see some who are …well, not so great. Or at least they could make even more impact if only they were made aware of just a few small things. Some may say that I am splitting hairs here but I believe it’s the splitting of those hairs that we grow.
Earlier today I saw a speaker who I had seen before and he was great and I’d say he’s improved since I last saw him. I watched him at work and loved his energy. I won’t mention his name here but he’s well known for his energy levels so at least he’s consistent and the energy in the room was cranked up to the MAXIMUM. Now this is fine and to be honest I’m quite an energetic speaker myself but I simply had to let him know how he could have made even more impact than he did.
Of course I asked for permission to give him a little feedback: After he agreed I then pointed out that his energy is fantastic but at the very beginning when he made his profound statement he really should consider standing still rather than bouncing around the stage.
It’s not important right now what he said but my point is that if you ever find yourself in a similar position, delivering something profound or extremely important then in my opinion, you really should stand still, make your statement, let it sink in and then continue with your presentation.
His response “I get it”.
As I said: I’m spitting hairs.
Whilst I have my hair splitter out I should also mention that he really was a great speaker.Towards the end he almost moved me to tears. I’d have been surprised if there was a person in the room who didn’t feel what I had. And then a few lines later he finished. Then the person who was chairing the event stood up and I almost spat out my popcorn when she didn’t even mention the speaker. She simply said something along the lines of “Ok, what’s going to happen now is we are going to split up and visit whichever breakout room you chose when you arrived this morning……” She was reading this and it was obvious.
Come on people! We can’t ignore what’s going on around us. As my friend and fellow speaker Nigel Risner often says “If you are going to be in the room, be in the room”.
In other news……
I was sitting in my car at my local car park, enjoying a few
minutes on Twitter. As I sat there, I saw a small sports car race into an empty space behind me as though its driver’s life depended on it. Out of my mirror I could see her jump out of the car and SMASH! Her car door went straight into the car to her right. She jumped out and ran from her car without even locking it. Gosh, I thought, something serious is going on here.
But my heart went out to the owner of the car that had just
been whacked. Any driver reading will know how annoying it is to return to your car to find it dented, especially when you discover how much it costs to put these dents right. (As you will read later I am certainly no angel when it comes to these matters.).
I made my way over to the two cars and sure enough, she had caused an enormous dent. I was so angry at this woman and decided I would do what I thought was the right thing. I returned to my car and took out a sheet of paper to write out an explanation of what I had seen along with the registration number so that I could leave it under the windscreen wiper of the damaged car. It felt like the right thing to do. As I was returning to place the piece of folded paper on the windscreen the frantic lady was returning back to her car. I had been caught in the act – it felt a little uncomfortable.
“Hi, you probably didn’t notice, but when you got out of your car you dented this car parked beside you. I know how that feels as it happened to me recently,” I said, trying to sound non- confrontational. She just looked at me as though she was assessing the situation to find something suitable to reply with.
She looked down at the car beside hers and seemed shocked at what she had done. She explained with her rather posh voice that she had wanted to get to the bank before it closed. You see, it was life and death after all. She then tried to rub the dent away without any success. She must have felt as though I was telling her off as she then turned to her own car and began pointing out all the small dents that she had on hers. As if that was a good enough reason for her not to have any thought for the innocent car owner! She got into her car and raced off. I
couldn’t believe her behaviour.
I made my way to my office. As I parked my car, I spotted a young lady I recognised sitting in the car beside me. She was smoking and flicking the ash out of her sunroof onto her windscreen. Classy. She was one of the dance teachers who taught young children how to dance in the building where I had my office. I had recently discussed with the owner the possibility of bringing my two eldest to see if they would enjoy it. When I got out of my car I noticed that the young lady had stopped smoking but there was a half- smoked cigarette on the floor beside her door, still smoldering. I was disgusted (I know I am beginning to sound like a grumpy old man) at what she
had done, so I walked over to her car and asked her to wind
down her window.
“Oh hi!” she said in a very enthusiastic voice, obviously
recognising me from the chat about my children attending
her classes with her boss. After I had replied with my own “Hi” I asked her if she felt it was appropriate to drop a lit cigarette on the ground. Like the older lady earlier she just looked at me while she thought of her reply. I was astonished at what she came up with:
“Yes, cos it’s biodegradable.”
I thought this was a terrible answer and most probably wrong. I wasn’t sure whether or not cigarettes were biodegradable so I didn’t want to get into a debate. I told her that we seem to have different opinions on the matter. I left her surrounded by her smoke and made my way to the entrance. One thing was for sure, there was no way that any of my children were going to be taught to dance by someone possessing such opinions.
Two different incidents – both on the same day – which were examples of individuals acting as if no one was looking or that no one was going to challenge them.
I’m not suggesting that I am an angel and never step out of line. All of us do at some stage. But thinking and writing about those incidents made me think about the things that I do or sometimes don’t do.
When I was younger and driving one of my first cars, I confess that when driving out of a car park I dented a car door myself.
I did exactly what that lady did and although it was an accident I did not do the right thing. I thought no one had seen me so I sped off. I hadn’t been driving for long and I didn’t want my already expensive insurance to be affected. As I write this I am slightly ashamed – I had forgotten all about it as it’s around 15 years ago, but it’s funny how writing can bring back memories that we have locked away. Three days later I received a letter from the police as someone had taken my number plate as I left the car park and I had been reported. I knew what I did was wrong and it was a valuable lesson to me.
More recently, I found four lottery tickets outside my local
shop. I couldn’t believe it. It was around 6.30pm so the lottery was not to be drawn for around an hour. As I put them in my pocket I wondered what would happen if I had a winner. What if I had the six winning numbers: what would I do? Well it was obvious what I would do. I would find a way of giving the winning ticket to the rightful owner. I publicly announced my find just in case I gave in and decided to try to keep the winnings. My wife completely agreed with me that we would hand the winning ticket over should it win. It felt exciting to think that if it won we would hand it back. I imagine that most people would keep the winnings, but of course it would be
wrong, wouldn’t it? I’m sure you would have handed it back –wouldn’t you?
Would you do anything different if you knew that all your
actions were seen by others? Maybe those close to you or those who look up to you, your children or possibly your parents. One day, I decided that whether people were looking or not I would do what I thought at the time was the right thing. Let’s say your every move was being watched and the best bits were going to be played at your funeral. Would that alter what you did – or didn’t do – in relation to your day?
Text copyright Richard McCann: Taken from his latest book iCan: Two Words That Can Change Everything. Order your copy here: http://www.richardmccann.co.uk/shop/ican-book/
You can imagine how angry I was can’t you? You have probably experienced something similar yourself. You return to your car and the wing mirror is damaged or even worse, someone has crashed into your car and driven off.
I’m not sure if you can imagine how angry I was as I wasn’t really. I was disappointed but within a micro-second I did what I usually do when I am faced with some kind of hardship or challenge. I told myself that the situation could have been much worse.
They had not pranged my car and if they had, heaven knows how much that would have cost. It was a wing mirror. No more than a couple of hundred pounds, if the whole thing needed replacing.
What do you focus on when things don’t go well? How bad the situation is or how far worse it could have been? It’s a choice and it was a similar mindset that helped me when mum was killed all those years ago. Ok it couldn’t have been much worse after mum had died but I told myself that her suffering was over and that we were about to start a new life with dad. Naive I know but it helped me and that approach has been with me ever since.
Today I went to my local garage only to be informed that the motor with the mirror was intact so it was only a new mirror. £65 all done. With a motor it would have cost another £200. If I had got angry about it the culprit wouldn’t have known so the only one feeling the anger would have been me.
It’s one of my first and possibly most important messages within my iCan Keynote presentation. There really is a ray of sunshine in every dark cloud.
Have a great week.
Bonus and much deeper message:
If you have read my latest book ‘iCan’ you will know that around 20 years ago I hit a car door as I reversed out of a car park. I didn’t do the right thing and I drove off. Days later I received a letter from the police. Maybe this was Karma paying me back. I think I got off lightly in comparison.
You can order a signed copy of iCan via my shop on this site:
Hoping this week will be a memorable one for you. Speaking of memories: I had one of those events in my life occur last week that will never be forgotten. If you have ever heard me speak or read my books you will know that there is an extremely special teacher in my life who I will never forget. Mr Hill, my English teacher, was the one who thirty-one years ago, encouraged me to enter the public speaking competition at school, which I went on to win. Well, Mr Hill came to see me speak last weekend after making contact with me after me speak about him on the Jeremy Vine show on BBC Radio 2.
It was fortuitous that I happened to be speaking at the iCan Event in Leeds, which he was able to get along to. It was an amazing feeling to have him watch me and also for him to get a massive round of applause from the audience. It was made even more special by the fact that my wife Helen and the three children were able to get there too. All in all a fantastic day and one I wont forget In a hurry.
I’m sure we all have one of those teachers, one of those bosses, one of those members of the public who did something for us which means we will never forget it. But it does raise the question of when did we do something that was so selfless, so amazing, so charitable that whoever benefitted will remember it in 30 years. Or is what we are doing going to be lost in the memories of those we crossed paths with along with all the other meaningless stuff we often found ourselves doing. I’ll leave that with you.
Well its finally happening. After months of meetings, emails and phone calls I can confirm that we are finally moving forward with the film adaption of Just a Boy. We’ve agreed the deal for Tony Klinger to write the screen play and Executive Produce the film. We have a great team involved and in coming weeks I will be announcing more about the film and the exciting community project we will have running alongside the making of it. I always had at the back of my mind when I wrote Just a Boy that one day it may be seen on the big screen around the world. 10 years after it was published it’s finally happening. I’m trying to contain my excitement for now but its certainly one of my most interesting years.
Here I am with Tony moments after signing the agreement.
To celebrate the start of the development of the film we are giving away 2 tickets to iCan The Event which takes place on the 17th May in Leeds. We have a whole day of inspiration with 7 speakers for your empowerment including myself and you will hear just how the universe intervened to make the film happen which is absolutely amazing. All you have to do is take a look at the line up and email us to tell us who you think is the youngest speaker taking part.
Then email liz with your answer. liz(at)icanevents(dot)co(dot) uk You have until Tues at 8pm to get your answer in.
We hope to see you there.
Every once in a while we come across individuals who stand out for doing something incredibly amazing. A few days ago I met one of these people. Natalia attended my recent speaker boot-camp as she has now decided that she wants the world to know her for something other than what she had been known for in the past.
In 1997 her schizophrenic father Bruno murdered her mother Elva when Natalia was just 17 years old. One can’t imagine how painful that must be and how confusing and complicated it would be for a young girl. Remarkably Natalia eventually found the courage to forgive her father before he passed away. She wrote about her journey in her incredibly inspiring book ‘Unconditional Love’ in 2008, which I have read twice now and highly recommend it.
In memory of her mother she decided that she would do something incredible. She decided to save the life of a complete stranger by donating one of her kidneys. I don’t know about you but I find this absolutely amazing. She was nominated for and won her self a Pride of Britain award recently and you can see her being presented with it here.