When it comes to confident presentations, “natural ability” may actually be a liability. You’re better off learning how to be engaging and confident. Think growth mindset.
Maryna Shkvorets is an entrepreneur and a Persuasive Speaking for Introverts coach. Her online coaching programs offer structured, yet counterintuitive steps that will take you from anxious, dull, or monotone to a confident and engaging presenter.
Her signature program focuses on a three-part framework: detach from fear and step into the speaker you want to be, grab attention and keep attention, and get in the zone and nail it.
If you’re ready to start seeing yourself as confident and engaging, check out her free resources and get connected.
Where did the idea for your company come from?
You know the person who gets extremely anxious when they have to present? Like they might completely blank out, or forget everything, or maybe start rambling? That’s my favorite type of client, because that used to be me.
I realized that I needed to discover strategies that help me “detach” from fear. Fear is still there, but it doesn’t take hold of my body. Through trial and error, I’ve also been able to find an “engagement formula” that helped me grab attention and keep attention no matter how long my talk.
I went from boring, nervous, and monotone to an engaging and persuasive speaker. Speaking in front of others is a total bolt of energy now, and it has made a huge impact on my career.
People have been asking me for public speaking “tips” for years, and are surprised that what I offer is the complete opposite of what they have found through their own research. It took me years to decide that I want to put this all together somehow, and then I decided to take my own advice and not let fear guide my decisions. I decided to start a coaching practice and Persuasive Speaking for Introverts was born.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I have two non-work non-negotiables. An early morning routine that ensures my creativity and family time in the evenings that ensures I have no regrets. Other than that, I schedule my day to focus on the various aspects of my work.
My workday includes coaching calls where I work with my clients on making sure they nail their next presentation – whether we’re working through fears and anxieties or we’re tweaking the wording for maximum impact. It includes creating new programs and workshops, or perfecting my existing ones. And it includes creating free resources like blogs and videos with public speaking, communication, and confidence tips that I share on LinkedIn, on my blog, and through email.
I schedule my entire day to stay on-task and avoid distractions and keep myself motivated knowing that everything I create, no matter how small, can have a lasting impact on someone’s confidence and how they approach their professional life.
How do you bring ideas to life?
It’s about the interstitial time. I find sparks of inspiration here and there. Maybe it’s a question about public speaking that inspires a Q and A video, maybe it’s someone lamenting that they are always ignored at work that inspires another program, maybe it’s a book I’ve been reading, or an interaction I had with my kids.
I write this spark down as a very rough draft – not knowing where it will go – and walk away. I feel that my brain does half of the work for me without me needing to push it too much. The key is to give it time to not focus on anything.
Then, when I come back to that spark, I have a firehose of ideas that just spring to life. Everything is perfectly clear and laid out, I just need to give it a little time to percolate on its own. Then I schedule each step I just wrote down, and voila a finished product!
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am absolutely loving that more and more founders and entrepreneurs are taking to the stage. It’s such a powerful way to connect, to share your vision, to generate passion! I’m excited that people are finally seeing that you don’t have to be a “naturally good speaker” to become one. It takes work, but anyone, ANYONE, can do it.
And whether you need help overcoming stage fright and creating a powerful talk, or you can do it on your own, making the decision to put yourself out there in front of people will absolutely change the direction of your business.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Three things: scheduling my days, my morning routine, and focusing on serving.
Scheduling my days ensures that each and every task will receive time and attention, and it creates a natural deadline. I highly recommend it.
My morning routine includes journaling, meditation, and sometimes a workout. This is that interstitial time when my brain can make its own connections and cultivate creativity. More than anything, the discipline makes me feel good about myself, which also keeps me motivated throughout the day.
And of course, when I lose focus or motivation, I think about all the people who have benefited from my counter-intuitive programs and free resources. I get so fired up anytime I receive a message saying “Thanks! All the other tips out there don’t work for someone like me” that I get instantly motivated to keep giving it my all.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Cultivate a growth mindset. I used to believe that I’m good at some things, bad at other things, and that’s just the way it is. That makes it so easy to hide! If something didn’t come easily I would just give up, claiming that it’s just not my thing.
When I shifted my mindset and discovered that I can become good at anything I choose to – be it art, computer programming, or engaging public speaking – I realized that I was unstoppable.
The growth mindset is a guiding principle in my coaching programs, in how I raise my kids, and in how I live my life. Honestly, you can learn and master anything you put your mind to.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
“Just speak with more passion” is terrible public speaking advice. There, I said it.
Actually, I’m full of counterintuitive advice, but it totally works for the people who want to work with me. The truth is, everything that you will find around public speaking is designed for people who are already pretty strong in that field, or who deliver the same talk over and over again. In that case, of course adding passion will only make their talk more engaging and exciting.
Unfortunately, if you get anxious on stage, or notice that your content is not very engaging, adding passion isn’t the right place to start. And that’s exactly what I try to help people with through coaching. Once you master detaching from fear and being engaging, speaking with passion will be easy!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Cold outreach. It’s hard, but when you’re first starting out you can’t sit back and wait for people to find you. Actually, cold outreach produced many of the same feelings of nerves and self-doubt that some people feel about public speaking. It didn’t help that I got a few not-so-nice responses about what I was doing. But this only gave me a deeper understanding of how my clients feel and how I can help them overcome it.
Even if cold outreach is atypical in your business, even if you’re sure it won’t work, you have to start somewhere. Besides, if nobody else is doing it, you might just become the disruptor!
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
My coaching approach is counterintuitive and I own it. I love reading books and articles on public speaking, but the information that’s out there will never work for you as a typical professional or entrepreneur – especially if you get anxious and nervous.
You need more tactical strategies to nail your next talk. You need to start by detaching from your fear and getting clear on who you are as a speaker, then structure your talk to grab and hold on to attention, and then get in the zone with rehearsal and finishing touches.
I used to try to mesh my counterintuitive strategies with the more accepted ones, but I stopped. If someone wants tips like “just speak with passion,” they can read a business article.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I have no idea how to answer this. Being an entrepreneur is a learning process. When your goal is to learn, you can’t fail. I think that’s the attitude I got when I started developing the growth mindset. Before that, if I didn’t experience an instant success, I’d probably just give up. And I am so happy that I decided that what I have to offer is worth it.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I would love to see a sort of “headhunter” connecting founders and investors. (Wouldn’t everybody!)
When I work with entrepreneurs on pitching their business, we focus on describing their product with clarity and passion. But most entrepreneurs are dying to know how to get to the pitching stage in the first place. It seems to be a “trade secret” that’s more likely a lot of perseverance and a little bit of luck. If someone could help streamline the process or offer a little guidance, the world of entrepreneurship would be unstoppable.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I’ve recently spent was a session with a fitness coach. I’m already into fitness, so I didn’t think that I needed it, but it made such a huge difference for me. First of all, she gave me tactical strategies I didn’t even know I was missing. She also gave me feedback and showed me what to pay attention to as I try her approaches.
But more importantly, paying for a coaching session made me take it very seriously. Much better than watching a Youtube guru show me a few moves. (Which of course, has its time and place too.) I found that I gave myself the time and space to actually be present and focus on her teaching, and I was way more committed to follow through and get my money’s worth. That’s the power of a coaching session.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I’m absolutely obsessed with Calendly. It’s a scheduling web app that syncs with your own calendar. I just send a link, and my clients choose a time slot that’s mutually convenient. It cuts out a lot of back-and-forth and makes things incredibly easy. I even embed it on my website and social in place of posting my contact info.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
It’s so hard to choose just one, but I will recommend Mindset by Carol Dweck. I came across her research on the growth mindset years ago, and she beautifully distilled it into an engaging book. If you want to start believing that you don’t need to be “a natural” to be a success, (or if you want to teach this to your kids,) reading Mindset will help to open your eyes.
A close second is Quiet by Susan Cain. I actually recommend this book to extroverts to understand us introverts a little better, but it’s written for introverts to start understanding their own power.
What is your favorite quote?
“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” – Chinese Proverb.
Seriously, what are you waiting for?
- When it comes to confident presentations, “natural ability” may actually be a liability. You’re better off learning how to be engaging and confident. Think growth mindset.
- If you’ve ever found yourself anxious before a presentation, tips like “speak with passion” are not the right place to start. You need counterintuitive approaches.
- Start becoming a better public speaker by first detaching from fear, then learning to grab and hold onto attention, and then getting in the zone for a perfect presentation.
- Find inspiration and get motivated to serve and to share what you’ve got. The world is waiting for it.
- Stop waiting to make things happen. Do what it takes. You got this!