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.

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.

Read Your Emails The Right Way

Eighteen months back probably none of us would be able to predict that our communication with other people will soon be completely based only on emails and video calls. When that became our reality it became challenging to recognize what do people behind the screen to somewhere far away in their homes think when they write an email. Most experts agree that 70 to 93 percent of all communication is nonverbal, so it’s no wonder we get confused when nonverbal communication is taken out of the equation.

However, there are ways to improve your email communication with others. To be more exact, there are tells that will help you recognize what kind of personality is writing an email and how can you respond to make the email exchange smoother.

Source: https: giphy.com

If you receive an email that holds no additional information besides the one that is the theme of the conversation, you can be pretty sure you are talking to a high D personality. D’s are direct and they talk and write straight to the point. They are all about getting results so to communicate effectively with them you need to be professional, direct and short to the point. Just answer the question that they asked and they will be more than happy. You can act the same as they do, just like in this example of their response:
You: Did you get the proposal?
High D: Yes. Will be in touch.

Contrary to a very to-the-point D personality, a high I will be sending you emails with a lot of exclamation points and often emojis. Reading their email means also feeling their energy through the words as it will be full of positivity and optimism.
You: Did you get the proposal?
High I: Yes, thanks! 😊 I’m excited to read it and see what you have to offer!

The most difficult style to recognize through an email is the high S personality style since they are reserved by nature. However, S’s are also people-oriented and will make you feel good about what you sent through compliments and expressing positive feelings. This is the style from which you can also expect an apologetic tone of an email if they feel as if they are not responding to you fast enough. However, generally speaking, the tone of their email will mostly depend on the tone of an email that they receive.
You: Did you get the proposal?
High S: Sorry I didn’t get back to you. I’ve been quite busy. Thanks for sending it. I will look at it soon.

If you keep receiving highly detailed emails from your supervisor, you can be sure you are exchanging emails with a high C. They are detail-oriented because they want you to know exactly what are they trying to say. Their effort to be clear will go so far that they will probably reorganize and edit every email before sending it out to be sure that they will get it right. Also, when they respond to questions you can expect sentences like: “I provided this spreadsheet so you could see our group’s responses and questions.” This is their way of making sure that everything is clear and their thoughts are organized and helpful to you.
You: Did you get the proposal?
High C: Yes. I am looking over the document on Thursday morning. You should hear back from me by 1 pm EST on that day.

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Once you analyze emails that you are receiving in your Inbox and figure what kind of personality is on the other side of the screen, it will become much easier for you to communicate. This will also make your communication more effective, and that will leave you with more time to do the things that you love.

The last question to answer is: do you know which style is sitting on your side of the screen? This is the most important question because the first step to improve communication is to have self-awareness. Finding out which style you are in will help you understand yourself and others. Find that out right HERE.          

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