A review of The Power of Outrageous Expression

The Power of Outrageous ExpressionMy good friend John Power who write in the Moulsham Times a local Chelmsford Magazine, wrote a review of my book the Power of Outrageous Expression by Helene Musso

“When Helene asked me to write a review of her book it seemed like a daunting task, because it is a book  written mostly for women about how to develop their self confidence. However as I began to read it I realised that our backgrounds in teaching had given us a lot in common. When I first met Helene, maybe ten years ago, she was teaching Drama at Harlow College, and I was at Chelmsford College, teaching Art. I also worked for a mental health charity, as my Degree had been in Art and Psychology. The Arts and Psychology obviously have a great bearing the subject of Helene’s book.

We are all brought up in our own education to be square pegs for square holes, apart from in whatever Arts our schools have included in the curriculum. There we are given an opportunity, if we have the right kind of teachers, to express our individuality, and many of us find we are round pegs who aren’t going to fit into societies plans for us as a workforce, and have plans of our own. In the Arts there is very little need for competition: there are many ways of doing things, but in Maths 1+1 always has to add up to 2. Creative maths in any great sense is not a possibility. In the outgoing  world of creativity almost anything is possible. We don’t need to be the same as others. We are all unique, and that is one of the main points Helene is putting across. She wants to coax her clients out of the shell that life has put around them to become themselves, and confident to be that way.

Helene looks at the polar connotations of ‘outrageous’ and what different outlooks put on them:    “That’s dreadful, how outrageous”, or with a positive spin “That’s outrageously good, why didn’t I think of that?” Which one sounds to you like a Drama teacher talking? You have to have confidence to go on stage to perform in front of other people, so who could be better to coach people to regain their Mojo and express themselves with confidence than a person experienced in the Dramatic Arts?

So how do you start? Helene proposes five key elements:

Be Yourself,

Be Kind to Yourself,

Practice,

Have Fun and

Discover your own  Extraordinary Story.

So the first stage is going to be self searching: what is my unique identity, and how can I bring it out so that I work to my strengths? Simple things like a name change: maybe a nickname you picked up that is more about your real persona than what it says on your birth certificate. Mannerisms: watch yourself, even do a short video. What quirks do you have? Don’t censor them, use them, they are what makes you what you are. People watch others. You may find more mannerisms you’d like to adopt. We learn by imitation. You see, you like it, you do it. Practice it alone and only you will notice yourself, then in public as your confidence grows. When you are involved in a situation that worries you slow down and take deep breaths to give yourself more clarity of mind: that’s yoga. Turn a ‘problem’ into a ‘challenge’ or ‘opportunity’. But don’t try this without preparing: to be in authority you have to be an authority. Helene doesn’t mention dress, perhaps as women have less restraints when being themselves, but if you want to feel comfortable, wear what feels comfortable to you not what you think people want you to wear. Uniforms breed robots, and we’re not talking about corporate identity here!

Be kind to yourself: don’t struggle with words you find difficult, find simpler synonyms. Admit weaknesses, not pretend to be good at things you havn’t yet mastered. When things are going badly teach yourself to roll through the wobble, we all make mistakes so make fun of them rather than panic. Grab a nap if you can rather that risk mistakes though working when over tired. Relaxation is yoga too! Take little steps when learning, don’t try to run before you can walk. Rest, play, breathe, move, eat healthily, and don’t judge yourself against the way others do things.

Practice: if you’ve ever heard someone learning to play violin you’ll know what this is all about. You’d certainly know if it was too early to go on stage and perform…only when you are confident should you try. But you do have to ‘take risks’ as you come out of your shell, you can’t stay there for ever …. but gently does it. Safety before big risks. Move at your own pace, not others, as you expand your horizons.

Fun: that can be passive, like people watching. Make work fun. You’ll enjoy it more if you can. Dancing is good exercise and fun, and after a few drinks no one is taking notes on what you do. Learn from young children and you’ll stay young. Dream.

Find Your own extraordinary story. You may think its boring as it was the one you went through it, but with a bit of thought you can pick out the parts that make it an interesting story. Write your own eulogy. How would you like to be remembered? If not like that, get on and make it interesting!

Helene’s book is full of games to put over points she is making, and anecdotes of people’s transformations, along with stories  by her clients, filled with praise, saying how her courses have brought about change. And of course it has to be said, as many of these stories do, that her very personality exudes confidence and charm without any stodgy authoritarianism, and that has to be her finest asset. What you see is what you get.

John Power

Buy Helene’s book here, £9.99 only.

7 reasons to hire a coach for your organisation

These days we can have a coach for everything, a dating to interview coach to health to happiness  coach and so on. And we are now bombarded with information about the benefit that such an individual can provide.

However, there is still some shame to have a coach. I think it is to do with the fact we deal with emotions and feelings and that it can be very scary to talk about them.  I have numerous clients who are happy to work with me but can not cope with anyone finding out they have used a coach. you need to be wary of you you hire as the coaching profession is not regulated at all. 

What is the point of a coach and how can you benefit?

1/ A coach is usually an outsider with no political /personal/ professional  interest in your organisation. In other words he/ she is neutral and entirely detached from your company.

2/ A coach is therefore more objective.

3/ A coach respect total confidentiality

4/ The coach is not a therapist. He or she is not there to fix you or  your staff , there is no treatment, you are not considered ill or inappropriate.

5/ A coach comes from a non- judgmental zone and will take you as you are

6/ A  coach does not make empty promises but will work consistently with you or  your staff

7/ A coach is able to challenge you  or your staff and make you think in different ways but in a very supportive way. There is no threat, no disciplining, no punishment.

What is the gain for you and your organisation?

For example if you are an organisation, what type of problem do you have with your staff?

-Are some of your staff underachieving, overreacting, disorganised, negative,  stressed?

And on  a personal level,

if you want some changes in your life, if you are fed up to repeat the same mistakes, if you get frustrated with others

  • The coach will help you to bring the best of yourself
  • The coach will help you to be more self- aware and to have more control over your own life
  • The coach will help to feel better about yourself and to accept others in a more open and positive way.
  • It is not about a quick fix but a process of discovery.

But you need to accept to change a little bit or a lot and then life at work and in general will be much easier.

Helene Musso is a  confidence and communication coach, a mother, a teacher and a trainer .She helps individuals and organisations  to be better communicators,  at  interviews,  in public , in meetings. She helps your staff to manage stress and to interact with other people in a more positive and assertive way, in confidence and with confidence.  She is based in Chelmsford, Essex and work face to face or on skype. You can contact her on 07875627485 or drop her a mail on beconfident@helenemusso.com, website www.helenemusso.com

 

Thank you for donating for my first triathlon

running-573762_640Hello, lovely people

I took part  in my first Triathlon this year at Epping, 300 metres  pool swim followed by 21km bike and 4 km run.  I surprised myself, very much enjoyed it and I am still in one piece with no real ache! It was hot thought

I have decided to raise money for 2 good causes.

The  Mumba project.  Winning women, my business group  has been supporting the Mumba Project for several years. It is amazing how a few pounds here and there can do to help a whole community in Africa.

I am also supporting Infinity Tri, my local triathlon club in Chelmsford and Maldon. I am particularly impressed with the work of the coaches there who consistently support and train youngsters and adults and have shown dedication and passion for the sport. They are all givingso much of  their time and energy and I am grateful for the  constant encouragement given by everyone attending and coaching. The team work is incredible and it  is a good place to learn and train.

Thank you for giving generously

Please donate using the paypall button below and I will share the funds between the two causes equally.




Thank  you very much

Helene

Any problem send me an email on beconfident@helenemusso.com

5 tips on how to “read” your audience when speaking in public  

IMG_6002 On the 30th of January 2017, I was invited to deliver a Public Speaking workshop introducing my 5 keys to unlock your speaking at the University of Essex, inColchester.

I was faced with a mixture of students from the University, half of them speaking English as a second language and about 5 external participants eager to discover or improve their public speaking.

My work is very interactive and a question came up about how to “listen” to your audience or to “read your audience”.

The word “listen” was first used but really how do you listen realistically to an audience whilst delivering your talk?

The question is more about “reading your  audience” and “feeling” the level of engagement of the audience and being able to adjust and to adapt your delivery in terms of pace and activities to maintain and sustain their attention and their interest throughout so that you can fully engage them for the duration of your talk.  

When you talk to a friend or a colleague, on a one to one basis, communication is more straightforward, nodding,  smiling, asking questions, turning your body towards each other. All this helps to create a rapport and to develop relationship and ultimately develop communication. But what happens when you are standing facing a group, how can you still read the audience and therefore get their full engagement?  

In this blog, I will reveal my 5 best tips to address that issue.

1/  How do you consider your audience, all these eyes and blank faces looking straight at on you? Do you consider your audience as  a “mob” as it was said by one of the  participant in my workshop at the University of Essex, or as a hostile big pack of wolf or a terrifying pride of lions. May I invite you to consider your audience as friends and as having a one to one conversation with each member of the group. Friend or foe? What is the best alternative? I am asking you. This alone should alleviate some of your fears associated with speaking and make you a more authentic and approachable speaker.

2/ Make your audience interact with you, for example by asking  them questions but also allow thinking time and talking time with other attendees. People reflect and develop their learning by sharing it and by learning cooperatively. You may be the expert but an audience will respect you for taking their ideas into consideration. Have a flip chart in hand and use it. Having the ideas of the audience written on paper validate the participants and actually increase their engagement as their ideas are taken into consideration. If possible use their language and repeat their actual words but if not clear, paraphrase their ideas and ask for clarification so that you write what they actually mean. Never consider that an answer may be silly but thank a clumsy participant for their contribution.

IMG_60163/ Consider your speech or presentation as a gift instead of just a talk. You are offering your knowledge and expertise, you are gifting them with the joy to learn, to be informed and to be entertained. Even if the content of the talk/speech is not yours, familiarise yourself with it so that it becomes yours. Obviously do it with ethos and the boundaries of your principles. It is much difficult to deliver a speech with authenticity  if one disagrees with the content of the material one delivers. Decide when and where to draw the line. Take responsibility.

5/ Keep your audience active physically : Ever felt tired sitting for too long and even if you were interested feeling more and more drowsy, why not asking your audience to move?  It can be as simple as standing up and shaking their body or giving a high five to another participants or it may involve moving physically in the room by playing a game or joining an activity. The range of movement will be dependant on the room you use and the size of the group but I strongly believe that we can ask the audience to move to actually re- engage with their learning and refocus them on the topic in hand.

5/ Treat participants equally, think inclusion. As a speaker you are there for the whole group not for the noisy or the most difficult ones, everyone’s idea deserves to be heard, especially if you can see that they are trying to. If you know your audience ( you are a teacher or a lecturer) please, please ban favouritism and adopt a policy of inclusion with pride as part of your principles and your ethos.
These are my best tips but there are so many more. I will be running some of my own  training  very soon and you will have to take part!

Public speaking at the University of Essex

 

Changing perceptions, change time

school run Changing perceptions, change time.

Everyday millions of us get the kids to school and battle against time to get them ready, looking fresh with  packed lunch and PE bag and a big kiss on their cheeks. Everyday after that school run, how many of you feel exhausted by it and often annoyed as you might even have lost your temper because your so-called child could not even be bothered to hurry up. If this is stressing you out, I can tell you that it has for me for years and I recently decided that it had to change as my son was increaasingly getting worried and annoyed by his usually good humoured mum suddenly changing from kind to being a mean bear a bit like in Toy story.

I started making it easier on myself

1/ Make getting organised a little ritual .  I now get organised the night before, if possible, and put neatly folded Leon trousers shirt, pants and socks on top of my wardrobe. I enjoy the folding and have considered where it is best to place it so that it will be visible to me and Leon in the morning. This was a big achievement as I am quite spontaneous and random but  once I realized that would save me looking in the morning and allow me to get dressed instead of rummaging to find some clean clothes

2/ I had already decided that I would not do packed lunch for my children. Some of us might argue that schools meals are expensive, is it really. Most of the meals cost £2 , a £10 , £390 a year but complete peace of mind and knowing that they will have a balanced meal and that your mornings are not going to be so stressful, is it not worth that amount?

3/ Change your perception of time- make time a friend instead of an enemy!

Our routine goes like that

We get up at any time between 6.45 and 7.10. We chat and play up until 7.30 then we have breakfast and at 8 we have bath and get ready to leave at about 8.35. Now at about 8 I used to panic and by 8.15 started to get anxious about being on time. I have decided to let go and not worry anymore and after a few morning hiccups,  this morning was magic

Both up at 7 am, Leon decided to write a party invitation on the computer, we decided on the date, which kids to invite and he went to do the invit. I started dreaming, picked up a book and started reading. At 7.30, we had breakfast and at 8 went into the bath and Leon joined, we talked and played for a short while and then i got dressed and sorted out his PE back and his snack. I did not look at the time but at 8.30 I was nearly ready. There was no “Let’s get ready , Leon we are going to be late”, only “Please would you brush your teeth” and when he went, no a few times to tease me. I said firmly but kindly, please brush your teeth. We were out of the house at 8.42 and on time for school and walking and chatting.

Feel the time instead of check the time- guess the time and then have a look but do not get obsessed . In dealing with kids let them be a bit, Have you noticed that you are ordering them all the time and telling them off when they do not do what you want them to do immediately? Some kids are dreaming, when playing they are so engaged in the present, they won’t hear you

Make it simple for yourself : breathe if you feel the tension, watch my video on Breathing 

  • Make small changes be worthy of your attention. i used to think that small things details as i called it were not important.  I now bring it them  to the forefront, to my attention to improve my life.
  • If you want to get rid of something in your life, like no more drinking coffee or  no more wine, replace them by something else that you enjoy, find a substitute, I love fizzy water so I drink gallons now when I feel like having a glass of wine. Not quite the same but overall ok. I do not restrict myself, just organise it so that i am not going to drink too much during the week and also drink when I am out

Helene is a mission to improve her life and the life of others and helps others to find their voice and overcome their fears of speaking in public, in meetings, in social gathering and in life. Find her on helenemusso.com 

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Helene is a dreamer, a poet, a trainer,  a coach, a mother, a daughter.  She is passionate about helping others to find their voices through her training. Get in touch with her helenemusso.com. If you want to book a discovery call with her, please get in touch on 07875627485. If you want to buy her book, click here.