In this week’s episode Mary Cheyne and I talk about finding your voice, speaking with confidence, and how to bypass your inner critic. Even if you have no interest in speaking from a stage, Mary has some great tips for speaking confidently in any situation.
Speaking with confidence–and cultivating your environment for meaningful productivity
Mary Cheyne is a Transformational Public Speaking Trainer & Coach who has trained over 15,000 people in 30 cities internationally. She’s the 2009 World Champion of Public Speaking first runner-up, out of 25,000 contestants from 14 countries, and is also the author of the book “Present” Yourself in Public Speaking – Tell Your Inner Critic to SHUT UP! And the Real You to SPEAK UP! Mary holds a Karate Black Belt rank and plays the ukulele. Mary was born in Hong Kong but was raised in Australia. She moved to the United States in 2001 and currently lives in Boston.
Mary’s first job out of college was as a computer programmer. She was shy and reserved, never eager to speak up in meetings. She was never open to sharing unless directly asked. Over time, she realized if she wanted to progress in her career, she would need to learn to speak up and speak well. She began researching public speaking and challenged herself to get outside of her comfort zone. That led her to enter speech contests and begin learning from mentors who had won public speaking contests. After 4 years, she got to the World Championship stage herself, which was a huge accomplishment and showed her what she was truly capable of. Now she teaches others who struggle with public speaking with confidence, helping them to grow by using the skills and experience she has acquired.
A typical day
A typical day for Mary is based around a daily routine, which provides her with meaningful productivity and energy management. Mary has run her own business for 5 years now and knows that a routine is essential to being successful.
She begins each day by waking up between 6:00 and 7:00, getting herself ready, and waking her 6-year old son. She gets him breakfast and then takes him to a child care center for the day.
Mary then spends the next couple of hours focusing on herself and getting her energy right. She’ll go for a run or walk for about an hour, then return home for stretches and strength training. She will then do 30 minutes of meditation, where she will sit quietly and observe her breath and thoughts.
After meditating, which is an important part of her morning routine, she will then journal. She likes to begin by gratitude journaling by writing down 5 things she is grateful for. She then writes in her self-empowerment journal, giving herself positive affirmations and making personal declarations.
After her journaling session, she has some coffee and starts her day. At this point, it’s about 10:30 in the morning. Her mind and energy are centered and she can focus on what’s ahead.
After work is done for the day, Mary focuses on evening activities, which include her karate training three times a week, or perhaps preparing for, or leading an event for her business. Even after a full day, Mary is naturally a night owl but understands how important rest and sleep are to success. She has found over time that if she doesn’t get enough sleep, she is irritable and just doesn’t function as well.
Your body is the hardware, your mind is the software, and the results you produce from all your hard work are like the printout. Even if your progress takes time and you aren’t noticing a lot of change, stick with what you’re doing. You’re on the right path and change will happen over time.
Biggest productivity challenges
Mary’s biggest challenge is recognizing that she can’t do everything she wants to do in the amount of time she has each day. She says that her clients often feel the same way. They are high achievers who are intelligent and good at what they do. They’d like to have a bigger impact on the world around them and that’s why they are attracted to public speaking.
Mary says she has learned that “less is not necessarily worse”. It’s not about the quantity of what we do, but the quality of what we do. We want what we produce to be in alignment with who we are and what we want to bring to the world. It’s important to scale back, doing only what is truly meaningful.
You want to cultivate an environment in which you truly thrive. Surround yourself with others who are positive go-getters who won’t bring your energy down. Mary has intentionally spent less time with people who are negative, whether they intend to be or not. Even though she struggled with guilt from stepping away from certain relationships, she’s realized that this was the best thing for her to do.
Resources and tools Mary recommends
Mary always tries to leverage her time as best she can, especially in terms of her productivity, both from a systems perspective and an organizational perspective.
When it comes to organizing the many speaking events she hosts, there are a lot of logistics involved around communication and scheduling of participants. So Mary has created a system in which notifications are scheduled ahead of time and automatically generated. She no longer has to manage it all herself and is free to focus on other things.
Another thing that has been helpful to Mary is delegating. She would like to be able to do everything herself, but it’s just not possible. She has had to learn to be a good receiver, as opposed to always giving, and allow others to help her get things done, which hasn’t always been easy.
Speaking with confidence in public
Mary thinks that developing your ability to speak confidently in public is extremely important, especially for women. This isn’t limited to speaking from a stage. There are many forms of public speaking, such as in an interview, in a board room with others, or even in a virtual Zoom meeting.
There is more to speaking than just the mechanics. Mary explains it as a Public Speaking Jigsaw Puzzle, a square with lines going across to form a quadrant with a circle in the middle, creating the five pieces of public speaking.
The left side of the Public Speaking Jigsaw Puzzle is the Mechanics of Speaking, with the upper right quadrant belonging to content-what are you talking about, what is your topic?
In the bottom right quadrant is your delivery-how do you use your voice, what are your facial expressions?
The other side of the jigsaw puzzle is what Mary refers to as The Inner World of the speaker, which is comprised of conscious thoughts and blind spots, or unconscious thoughts.
The blind spots quadrant is Mary’s favorite to work with because she can help to “peel back the layers of the onion” to make you aware of all the little negative voices in your head that are affecting your self-esteem. We are hard-wired to have negative thoughts as humans, but Mary wants us to overcome the fear around public speaking. And most important, the fear of public judging! To help us with that, Mary has offered us a special cheat sheet called “Bypass Your Inner Critic” to help us on our journey. Download here!
“To communicate and persuade effectively, the first person you need to convince is YOURSELF.”
What do you do to get back on track on a day when everything gets away from you?
When Mary has a day where she feels like she is “in the swamp”, she uses a physical outlet to relieve stress. She goes for a walk, practices her karate, or dances. Mary spoke about getting out of your own head during her Tedx Talk.
Mary also likes to verbally process her thoughts and speak to a friend about everything that’s going on. Getting her thoughts and feelings out gives her clarity, which creates confidence. If she isn’t able to speak to anyone, she will journal how she is feeling. Getting the thoughts on to paper gets them out of her head.
What’s on the horizon for Mary?
Mary runs multi-day events, webinars, and workshops as part of her business. With all the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought, she has had to learn to leverage the online world. She’s discovered how many people she can reach out to in that way, instead of in person, as she typically did before. Offering online events and other opportunities has allowed her to impact more people, which has been exciting for her.
Mary’s last words for the listener
Have fun and don’t take yourself so seriously! Enjoy the process of your own blossoming.
Connect with Mary
- On MagneticPodium website
- On Facebook
- On Instagram
- On Youtube
- On LinkedIn
- On Twitter
- Check out Mary’s book
- Download Mary’s “Bypass Your Inner Critic” Cheat Sheet
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Royse City, Texas