How To Follow a Legend?

Having to give any kind of speech in front of other people can be a very stressful task. It can be any speech from a big presentation that has to end up in getting a sale, through talking to your boss about your raise, all the way to giving a presentation of your idea or work in front of a team. But what happens when a person or persons coming before you are either really famous or just knock it out of the park? How can you handle that in terms of your stress and your preparation?

This is a situation that can happen to anyone and it can cause nervousness to any of us. It just recently happened to me even though I have been giving speeches for more than twenty years.
I have been invited to speak in an organization and everyone in the organization received an e-mail that said: “Our meeting this month is in person and our focus is going to be on the Rapport Advantage: Dynamically transforming the way you communicate with Alex Swire-Clark. We had an outstanding speaker in general Colin Powell, chairman retired last month, and our presenter this month will deliver!


Colin Powell? What?!
Thinking that I will be speaking to a group who just heard general Powell speak while having all the respect in the world for him, is really a hard act to follow.
How to do this?

I see this as an opportunity to build upon what’s happened rather than go into panic mode. I see this as an opportunity to have fun with it and embrace it and live up to that challenge. Of course, I will be nervous, I am nervous every time I go in front of an audience but it is because I want to deliver good content to them and make sure that the audience is getting value from my time with them.
What can you do before you get on the stage, what do you do in those moments before?

  1. Breathe.
    Nice, big deep breaths before you get on that stage.
  2. Roleplay all the possible situations.
    Do you know your numbers inside and out? Do you know your speech inside and out? Can you ad-lib if necessary? Are you prepared for questions in the middle of your presentation, can you handle that? Roleplay those situations, spend a lot of time in the pre-work and that makes the actual on-stage time much simpler for you.
  3. Just go with it and BE YOU.
    From a DISC world, I am a High I so I have strong improvisational skills, I am not rigid so not a lot bothers me. I could roll with the flow since that’s the way I am wired. For someone else that might not be the case and maybe you will have to adapt a bit more. However, do not try to be like anybody else.
    Be you, use your voice. Do what you do in the way that you do it and that’s going to give you authenticity and you will not have so much pressure. If I tried to act like someone else does on the stage, I will not be genuine and on top of that I will have to remember content, mannerisms, techniques and I will enhance the chances of freezing up.

Remember, if you are delivering content, you have to be you through it. If you are delivering something that is data-driven, that doesn’t mean you can not liven it up, add your personality to it and appropriate humor.
Make sure you hit these three goals:

This will give you a sense of confidence and satisfaction that you know you’ll do a great job (of course, if you put in the time and the work before speaking).

Don’t worry, trust in your pre-work, be authentic to who you are and do your thing. Who speaks before you, in that case, shouldn’t matter. You got this!

Do You Know What Is Your Passion?

What are your passions and purpose in life? What is it that drives you? Whatever that is, you need to find that in your life.

For me, my passion is my family and friends. This should not come as a surprise as I am a combination of High I and S personality styles, and S in me is all about relationships in life. I want to support people and others to feel good about themselves. From that perspective, I have always had a special place in my life for the camp experience.

As a child, I went to camp many times and had an excellent time there, so naturally, when I became an educator and had to do my summer practice, I chose camp! After switching between a few, I found my forever camp in 1997. That camp is Broyhill Leadership Conference.

Source: pixabay.com / josephredfield

Teach them about leadership!

Broyhill Leadership Conference is unlike anything that has existed or will ever exist. First off,  what kids are learning in this camp is leadership. We teach uniquely; we go from go-setting activities where we teach our students how to set the right goals that matter; we teach them about better communication skills, cooperation, and teamwork, and how to integrate themselves within the clubs they serve. That means we talk about Emotional Intelligence issues and the heart of leadership: being there for people when they need you.

The fact is that when any of us comes to an organization, we come with a heavy heart and some issues that we are carrying from previous experiences. And every other person comes with their own experiences. And we must meet people where they are. In Broyhill Leadership Camp, we prepare teenagers for that: in a way, we peel the onion layers so they can get to know each other better and form lifetime friendships.

Young people are inspirational

What always happens in this camp is we, as educators, go to the camp to try to inspire these young people, and they end up inspiring us.  The stories they tell, the goals they set, and the dreams they have for one another are fantastic! And they are young people, still at the beginning of their lives and with not much wisdom that we older think we have. But you’d be surprised.

So what’s stopping us from following our passions? Maybe the fact that we don’t know what our passion is?

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Ask yourself: what is my passion? Whatever that is: GO GET IT! Today is not too late to start with whatever your passion is. Just go out there and do it.

Don’t make excuses. Maybe you are in debt or in a toxic relationship, and perhaps you think you are too old… But all those things don’t matter. If you see something you really want, go get it and do it. We only get one time on this planet so let’s make the most of it.

How to find your passion

If you need some help with finding your passion, feel free to take a personality assessment. Then I can give you information about career opportunities and things you might want to get involved with based on your personality style that you may not even know existed. These assessments are even made for children and teenagers who need so much guidance and it’s the perfect time for them to take one. I’d be more than happy to help!

Ways To Avoid Conflict In A Relationship

When we think about our dream relationship, we mostly picture it as having a partner that understands us, encourage us to do what we want to do and a place that gives us serenity and calmness. However, no matter how much we dream, it is impossible to avoid conflict. And not all conflict is bad.

Conflict is defined as a prolonged period of argument or disagreement between two people. But what is the reason for it?
Even though there can be many reasons for conflict, it mostly comes from differences in personalities and temperament. The key point in reducing conflict is to know how are you wired and how do you see the world. Each one has a unique view of the world and the lens through which he or she gives and receives information. The key to avoiding conflict is right there.

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In order to have a relationship with a minimal amount of conflict, you need to first understand yourself, and then understand your partner. According to the DISC model of behavior, people are either people or task-oriented while at the same time either outgoing or reserved. The people-oriented side of the DISC graph takes about 65 per cent of the world’s population, while the other 35 per cent is task-oriented. At the same time, that means that 35 per cent of people embrace conflict, while the others just want everyone to get along and avoid conflict.

If you know where you are in that equation and where your partner is, you will be able to adapt your behavior and help your partner express themselves more easily. This does not mean you will completely avoid conflict, and that is not a bad thing. When we avoid conflict, we miss out on the conversations that must take place for major or life-changing moments.

The best way to have important conversations and avoid conflict as much as it is possible is to meet in the middle. When you understand yourself, you will be able to mellow down the way you express your thoughts and feelings if you are outgoing (D and C style) or speak up if you are more reserved (I and S style). What you want to achieve with this is to provide a safe space for your partner so that they can feel comfortable in sharing their thoughts, fears or hopes. This is something that is imperative in important conversations, no matter how uncomfortable they are. One example of those kinds of conversations is the one about money. If you are changing your job and if you decided to take that financial risk, you will want your partner to be able to tell you if that makes them feel scared. Remember: if we don’t understand ourselves and others, we will never be able to adapt the way we communicate with one another and that would significantly reduce conflict.

If you still don’t know what is your style or better said: unique style blend, head on to DISC Assessment and find the one for you and your partner. Also, keep watching this space for a free webinar that will teach you how to improve your communication that’s coming your way in August.

Black Widow And Its Impact On Your Life

There is no doubt that we are living in a remarkably interesting time. The pandemic that’s been going on for more than a year has changed so many things in the lives of all the people around the world. Some changes have been huge, and they are obvious, while others might go under the radar. One of them is the way we watch new movies.

Streaming services have been around for quite some time now and they have seen an increase in subscribers during the pandemic. But now, we don’t just watch TV shows on there, we are actually swapping the experience of going to the movie theatre for the comfort of our couch. An excellent example is a new movie Black Widow. It has been offered to the viewers in theatres and on Disney+. What do you think brought more money?

After Disney released their opening weekend, we saw that the 80 million dollars came from the box office. However, 60 million dollars was generated from Disney+ purchases. Those are numbers that we couldn’t even imagine two or three years back.
Many found this interesting so there was a lot of talk about it on LinkedIn. What sparked my interest from the Emotional Intelligence and DISC Method standpoint was a post by Brad Krueger who said:

Disney made 60 million this weekend of people who decided they would rather watch Black Widow in the comfort of their own homes. That’s 3 million households. And Disney+ isn’t even available worldwide and it doesn’t include a monthly fee for the service itself. So, the families decided that the “experience” of going to the theatre wasn’t worth the time and expense and opted for the digital experience. So, do you think people will start making the same choices with events? If so, in what percentage?

This is a great question in terms of events. More so, in terms of Emotional Intelligence.
One of the comments on the mentioned post said that events are all about the people. I will confirm this through my 20 plus years of experience speaking at different conferences. What people taught me a long time ago is: the magic of conferences happens in the hallways. It’s all about the relationships you make between meetings.

To be more exact, everything we do in life is about people. It is almost impossible to do any kind of work and not be involved with others. However, we don’t all enjoy it equally.

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I and S personality styles are all about human connection and interaction. They find their energy in others and love to share hugs, food, drinks and memories that are very specific to in-person events. On the other hand, D and C personality styles love the virtual atmosphere since they are task-oriented. The ability to get tasks done without having to engage with other people after the work is done makes them thrive.

So the answer to the question about whether the situation that we have right now where 3 million households decided to avoid human interaction and watch the movie with Scarlet Johansson as a star in the comfort of their couch is here to stay is this: it depends on which side of the fence you are. Are you on the left side of the DISC model graph or you are leaning towards the right? And this is something that has to be kept in mind for business in the future as well.

We have all switched to online, remote work. And we have seen that it is doable. However, it is crucial to check with your employees how they feel about it before making decisions about hosting events or weekends in a virtual world. If you are working with D’s and C’s they will be more than happy to perform the task from their home and after it’s done get back to their families or any other offline activity they enjoy. However, your I’s and S’s will miss the chit-chat at the office and the ability to be in the same room with other people.

The most important thing to remember is: ask yourself where do people get their energy from? Are they task-oriented or people-oriented? Everyone assumes that everyone wants to go back to live and in-person events, but that is not necessarily the case. If it was, those 60 million dollars from the beginning would have never happened. Set the correct atmosphere for them and you will have a happy, successful and world-class team on your hands.

To create a world-class team in your personal life with your partner, keep an eye on this space! The beginning of August brings a free webinar: Three Steps To Better Communication With Your Partner.

What is DISC?

The talk about the importance of Emotional Intelligence is especially important these days, and with it the talk about the DISC Method. However, DISC has been around since 400 BC when Hippocrates laid the foundations for it.

More detailed information about DISC personality styles came to us in 1928. A book called “Emotions of normal people” by William Moulton Marston came to light and brough us the basis that we use to this day.

So, what is DISC anyway? In short: something that will change your life. DISC Assessment looks at a person’s behaviour in different life situations, what we do, how we speak, and everything that goes along with it. We can see our unique mix of personality styles divided into 4: D, I, S and C by looking at this observable behaviour.

Once you find out what personality style is yours, we will know how do we react in different situations and why. DISC model is not concentrated only on one aspect of life. It gives answers about how we communicate in the workplace, with our spouses, children, parents, friends…

Most important part of personality styles is finding out not just what style is yours, but also what are the traits of people around you. That will allow you to adapt your communication so that others can receive it in a better day, and they can be heard and better understand. Communication is after all a two way street.

In order to effectively improve your communication, these are the fundamentals that need to be followed:

  1. Understand yourself!
    If you don’t know who you are, you can’t go out trying to interpret anybody else.

2.  Understand others.
You need to be able to read people effectively and use DISC powers for good.

3.  Adapt your style to the style of others to better communicate and build relationships.
Maybe you have the knowledge, but the other person doesn’t. So, it is our responsibility to be able to adapt and share the knowledge.

The first step to acquiring knowledge is a short assessment. It takes around 10 minutes, and it is by far the easiest test you have ever done. It has no right or wrong answers, and it brings you clarifications of your behavior, as well as directions of what to be mindful of. This stuff will improve your life. Because the higher your E.I. is, the better relationships you will have, your communication will be better, and life, in general, will be so much better. Take the test HERE.
If you would like to find out more about DISC, I have answered some of the most common questions I get asked and summarized it all in the FAQ.

Concise Adult Version

This 6-page report provides essential feedback with an accurate measurement of your personality blend. Your report will include the following:

  • Words that describe you
  • Your strengths
  • Keys to Excellence
  • Your value on a team
  • Your DISC personality graphs