Gitta is an expert on dynamic expression—the integration of various modalities to improve your communication skills including integrated physical therapy, yoga, dance, neurolinguistic programming (NLP), Somatic Movement and Laban Movement Analysis.
In this episode, Gitta will discuss her PACE approach to improving not just your public speaking, but your overall communication skills in any setting. Yeah, including dating, job interviews, managing others, or being a partner or a parent. PACE stands for Presence, Authenticity, Confidence, and Expression.
We’ll also talk about introverts and extroverts, and common misconceptions around these characteristics. Learning more about somatic movement, the blending of mind and body communication, and how Gitta’s term “body communication” is more useful than the more common term, body language.
You’ll be amazed by Gitta’s back story, particularly her undiagnosed hearing impairment that forced her to hone the her other senses and sensitivities at a young age, and her fondness for circus performing, partner balancing acrobatics, and the crazy dangerous gymnastics-on-horseback stuff she did as a young girl. The show closes with a perfect tee up for a wild and crazy second show, so stay tuned for more Gitta in the future! “We need to be more of who we really are,” says Gitta.
Gitta Sivander describes a dynamic expression of coach. PACE stands for presence, authenticity, confidence, charisma, connection, and expression. [00:07:30]
What does PRESENCE mean? We can acknowledge what we are feeling at the time. [00:09:47]
What is AUTHENTICITY? This is when we are willing to show who we are and not who we think we are supposed to be. [00:16:09]
What is the difference between an introvert and an extrovert? [00:26:33]
CONFIDENCE, CHARISMA, and CONNECTION are part of the full picture and all has to happen within ourselves. [00:31:26]
EXPRESSION comes with bringing forward what it is that you feel. [00:40:15]
Free flowing expression has created a lack of civility. What has happened to respect? [00:43:00]
Body language and body communication are different. [00:46:27]
She had circus training and performed on horses. Eventually became a dancer and physical therapist. [00:51:42]
Because of her hearing impairment, and her experience with dealing with that, she is very perceptive of others. [00:59:11]
Are there patterns that you see that the rest of us don’t see coming up in others? [01:06:59]
It is important to learn and become who we already are. [01:15:27]
LISTEN:Download Episode MP3
Get Over Yourself Podcast
Speakers: Brad Kearns and Gitta Sivander
Brad Kearns: Welcome to the Get Over Yourself Podcast. This is Brad Kearns.
Gitta Sivander: “It’s important that you show up in a way that you really want to be there. If I scrambled through my papers and I’m oh, like, ‘Let me see where I’m at right now,’ then I’m not really stepping up to my game. I’m actually playing small, although I could be a lot bigger.”
“Confidence is a very important aspect that we want to bring forward when we are in public. We don’t have to be confident in every moment and we can definitely show our vulnerability, our moments of not being confident. But by being willing to also step into that vulnerability, we open up the door to being confident within that as well.”
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And now, onto our show.
Hi listeners. I’m pleased to introduce this show with Gitta Sivander. She is a dynamic expression coach, public speaking, presentation, getting your act together, getting you’re A-game going. We were getting into this long and flowing discussion, realizing that this stuff would even work in the dating scene. So, she’s considering putting some programming together to help you get you’re A-game on in an authentic and natural manner rather than in the realm of inauthentic and manipulative.
We got started, we were paired off in the leadership retreat to talk about a challenge we’re facing in life or whatever the exercise was. And it was her turn to speak first and she verbalized like exactly the same thing that was going on in my life. So, we laughed about that. “I’ve had a recent transition in life. I’m pursuing a new direction, I’m doing this, I’m doing that.”
So, I got to learn more about what she does and that led to the podcast. It led to me hiring her for getting her services going, so I could get my performance evaluated as a speaker and as a podcast host. And what’s cool about this is man, I haven’t reached out for help much in my life in the first 53 years of my life. Especially as a young, cocky athlete I believe that I knew it all. I asked a lot of people for commentary, but I kind of drove my own boat. I ran my own show. I was in an individual sport.
I would wrestle with Mark Sisson. He was my coach of name when I was a triathlete, but I would always be debating him and a little bit resistant to his insights. And he worked very well with me to kind of calm me down and get me focused on the right path.
But I’ve always kind of been a solo flier, difficult to reach out for help. So, that’s one of my goals here at the half century mark. I decided that I’d get better about reaching out, consulting with experts, going to therapy even, which I always thought was a waste of time. And we’re going to have some great shows along those lines, where we’re just talking about the importance of looking at yourself, examining yourself, being open to help and support.
So, Gitta has given me some great insights about conducting myself well on the podcast as both an interviewer and delivering a monologue as some of the shows are. So, I think you’re going to love this story and her PACE approach, which stands for presence, authenticity, confidence, and expression. Something of value for anyone, even if you’re never doing a public presentation, you’re going to communicate all day long and you might as well do it with great effectiveness, and learning how to get over yourself and get into cool topics.
Oh, you know what was great? She came up with a difference between body language, which is that term we use all the time. And she prefers to call it “body communication” because when you say body language, you’re asking for a definition. If you put your hands on your hips, what does that mean? Are you being defiant? Maybe sometimes, but it could also just be a communication that could mean different things, if you’re aware and open.
One thing that’s really interesting is her backstory and how she kind of shaped her destiny here to be an expert on body communication and communication in general. Because she had a hearing impairment that went undiagnosed for many years. In her formative years in school, people didn’t know what was going on, they were trying to shift her into a different classroom. And she has had to kind of overcome these setbacks and be the best that she can be and develop an impressive array of skills as an adult.
The cool thing about this show is when I pushed the stop button on the recording, it kind of teed us up for a whole second show, which you’ll get soon. But let’s enjoy the introduction of Gitta Sivander onto the Get Over Yourself Podcast. Thank you.
Okay, [Foreign Language 00:07:24] Brad Kearns. I’m talking to Gitta Sivander, starting out in Swedish. How was that? Was my pronunciation of your name and my greeting in Swedish? Was it okay?
Gitta Sivander: Yes, it was really good.
Brad Kearns: Okay. Coming from the dynamic expression coach, I will take that complement. And I wanted to sit down with you and talk about – your career is very interesting. We met at the Dave Rossi Leadership Retreat, and we were paired off to be doing this small exercise together. And what were we talking about?
Oh, you were talking about your career transition and your life transition, and then it was my turn to talk and I said, “Yeah, I have a career transition and a life transition.” We were laughing and then I got to know about your business operation. It’s really interesting. Even your background, which I want to talk about that and how you got into developing these other skills by necessity. So, why don’t you tell me what is a dynamic expression coach? Is that your deal? What do you call yourself?
Gitta Sivander: Well, I used to call myself a dynamic expression coach. That’s right. And now, I have shaped it a little bit differently. Now, I’m calling myself a PACE coach. And that does include dynamic expression. But PACE Coaching stands for presence, authenticity, confidence as well as connection and charisma. And the “E” stands for “expression”. Now those four terms is what I combine in my work, both in one-on-one sessions as well as with groups. And it’s about showing up fully. Showing up in a way that we can be ourselves, but also in a way that others really like to listen to us or hear from us.
So, this is for anyone who’s speaking to clients, groups of people. It’s for people that are going – professionals that are speaking in front of larger stages. I help people with their TED Talks. I help professionals with speaking in front of conferences or just groups, but also in one-on-one conversations. PACE Coaching is also for my clients who want to be more confident within their work life and who want to show up in their life in a really authentic, fully expressed way that they feel good about themselves.
Brad Kearns: Can we go through each one with a more detailed definition? So, the presence. I think we have a general idea of what that means. “And this person has a big presence when they walk into a room and they have a commanding presence.”But I think it means quite a bit more than that. That’s the dramatic example of the loud talker with the big gesture.
Gitta Sivander: Oh yeah. I don’t even know if I would call that presence.
Brad Kearns: That’s just playing.
Gitta Sivander: I mean I call that a lot of attention or the ability to capture someone’s attention. But presence can be very subtle also. To me, presence means that we are able to be in touch with ourselves, to have a sense of where we’re at, to be in tune with what we’re really feeling, what we’re experiencing in our body. And that may be that we’re feeling nervous but being present to, “Right now I’m feeling nervous.”
Brad Kearns: Is that okay to tell your audience that or-?
Gitta Sivander: Yes, I do, actually. I do when I go and speak in front of groups and I feel like, “Oh, this is a new group and I have never spoken to these people, and maybe they are not really into my kind of topic or I’m feeling unsure about it.” I say that in the beginning to let that out and really be myself and say, “Hey, I’m so excited to be here with you today, but I’m really feeling nervous. It’s been awhile that I’ve been speaking to the size of a group or maybe I’ve never spoken to this kind of a professional group and I’m not sure if you’re going to like what I’m going to say.”
Personally, I think that that helps me a lot to become present also, and not to be stuck in a place where I think in my mind constantly, “Are they going to like what I’m I going to say or do they even have anything to offer?” Because that’s a very human chatter that we have going on. That inner voice that keeps talking about us not being good enough or not being wanted even though we were invited into a moment. So, we are obviously wanted, but still that inner voice that keeps letting us down.
When I acknowledged that part, I’m going to just stand up to it. I’m actually able to step much more into who I’m really being behind that voice. So, the voice is not the one – the inner voice that chatters and wants to tell me that I’m not good enough, is not going to be number one. It’s going to be acknowledged that it’s there, and then it steps back and goes into the back of the row. And then me, who I really am, I can come through and I can thrive much more in what I’m good at and what I have to share, besides suppressing myself from the inner voice that wants to tell me that, “Well, I’m not sure that they really want to want to hear what I have to share today.” Does that make sense?
Brad Kearns: Sure. That reminds me of what Rossi said at the leadership seminar, is when you experience that fear and anxiety, which, what better example than stepping up to do public speaking. It’s the biggest fear around, right? But he said acknowledge it and then go back to your values and your vision. So, as a speaker, you get up there, “Hey, I’m not sure you guys are going to be interested in what I have to say, but I’m glad to be here and I’m going to do it.”
I would imagine that would come off well. But I want to ask you like the difference between that and someone where we get these amateur speakers, where they’re talking to the neighborhood community and it’s the monthly update and the person gets up there and just shambles with their notes and they say, “Oh, well, bear with me. I’m not much of a public speaker. I’m a little nervous.” And they’re just not ready, they’re completely nervous. But they’re being sort of present and I guess vulnerable in that way. But you’re like, “Whatever, just start talking. Don’t give me the excuses first.” You know I’m trying to distinguish that.
Gitta Sivander: I think that’s different also. And I also, I’m not sure if I would say quite that way when I say, “I’m not sure that you’re interested in hearing what I have to say.” I would rather acknowledge my side. I would say, “I’m feeling nervous today and I’m also excited to be here.”
Brad Kearns: “And oh, I’m going to bring my A-game and throw it down whether you like it or not.”
Gitta Sivander: I would refer to myself versus referring to them. I wouldn’t really say, “Hey, you guys probably don’t like what I have to share right now,” because that’s already turning down the game. I would more acknowledge what’s happening for me and not what I think that they may project onto me. That’s very different.
Somebody would be that neighborhood nervous guy that you just explained, described, they are turning themselves down. They are not leveraging themselves up by becoming present. They may be acknowledging what they’re feeling, but the biggest point here is to acknowledge what you feel and let it go, rather than acknowledge what you feel and step into it. And what I heard you explain sounded more like they’re acknowledging what they feel and they’re stepping into it.
Brad Kearns: They step right into that crappy, “I’m a lousy speaker and here goes my talk.”
Gitta Sivander: So, these are very two different approaches. It’s really important if you do step into it, that you are stepping into it in order to step out of it, in order to let it go. Otherwise, you wouldn’t want to say that at all. Otherwise, just don’t talk about it at all.
Brad Kearns: Well, I also imagine, you’re stepping up there with your body language, your excellent communication skills. You already come off as a poi speaker before you open your mouth, perhaps, that first impression. And then you say, “Hey, I’m feeling nervous. Haven’t spoken to a group of this size. I’m so excited about the opportunity.” Then the person has complete understanding that they’re about to get you’re A-game.
Gitta Sivander: Right. They see that I’m actually committed by my body language. It’s important that you show up in a way that you really want to be there. If I scrambled through my papers and I’m oh, like, “Let me see where I’m at right now,” then I’m not really stepping up to my game. I’m actually playing small, although I could be a lot bigger. So, it is important if you are willing to acknowledge your downsides that you are already showing in your body communication, in your body posture, in your poise, the way that you feel, your inner strength, that you are actually willing to do the very best that you can, and then you can acknowledge it. And yeah, I think that’s just a little bit of a different approach than playing small.
Brad Kearns: So, that’s presence. And then the next acronym in PACE, is the authenticity. And we hear this word bantered about frequently, just like vulnerability, maybe even overused at times. So, when you say authenticity, let’s get a little deeper. What does that mean?
Gitta Sivander: It may mean something different to everybody because authenticity is a word that’s pretty undefined in some ways. But to me, authenticity means that we are willing to show up as who we are and not who we think we’re supposed to be.
Brad Kearns: You just popped in the greatest example, is these people that are too smooth, and they have all the skills down pat and they make that eye contact. The politicians, you’re not supposed to point. And so, the politicians – and Clinton was the best at this. Like he had his thumb and forefinger type of pointing, but it wasn’t that intimidating pointing. But it all seemed so practiced and measured. And you see all the politicians do these skilled behaviors that obviously they’ve been trained, and they raise their voice at the right times and emphasize these things and repeat the, “Mr. Gorbachev, you have to tear down that wall,” and all that stuff.
But that to me, it doesn’t seem authentic. It seems like the cartoon political character who’s saying the right things and hitting the right notes in the song. And if you can see through that, oh boy, that’s a rough one to kind of … you’re going to gag yourself on the person’s speech, which by all accounts would be high scores and all the technical categories.
Gitta Sivander: You’re pointing out a really good issue here, which is if you can see that the person has been trained and coached-
Brad Kearns: Oh, that’s tough.
Gitta Sivander: Then it’s really not that authentic.
Brad Kearns: Then we got to go talk to the coach. Like, “So, anyway …” Oh my gosh, that’s good. That’s our quote of the show Gitta. If you can see the person’s been coached, they haven’t been coached that well, or you got a problem.
Gitta Sivander: Well, they may have been coached well, but they may not have been taking on that coaching that well either. You don’t always know where it begins. Is it the coach? Is it the person being coached? Is it a combination? Sometimes we are showing up really well as the coachee, the one being coached, and we’re doing really well in our practice. And then when we step into the moment, we may forget all about it or we may just envision our coach, and then we forget really who we are being and then we are not present with ourselves.
You can actually train someone on these gestures. There’s nothing wrong with letting them know that if you point with one finger at somebody in the audience, that that wouldn’t be the best choice. Because you may point out somebody and they may feel uncomfortable. So, it’s actually not wrong to say those things. But at the same time, what you would want from the presenter is you want them to be able to take on a different gesture in a natural way, and not in a way that it looks like somebody told them to do it or everybody does the same thing. Everybody is putting their hands together, thumbs touching, fingers touching in a triangular shape in front of their belly.
That’s what you do. It’s kind of like that’s what you’re being trained to do when you’re a speaker. I personally don’t believe that that’s necessary. It’s an option, and for some people that option works well. They say, “That feels actually really good when I take my fingers together right on hand side and my thumbs touching. That’s a good home base for me. I like doing that.” Somebody else may say, “This feels really awkward. It’s not me.” And that’s exactly where the authenticity comes in. If you feel like it’s not you and you’ve tried it on a couple of times and you’re not becoming like warm to it, then it’s not your kind of gesture. You want to find a different thing to do with your home basis.
If you say, “Actually putting my hands in my pockets feels the best for me, and that’s what I want to do when I speak,” and I go like, “Well, I understand that’s very authentic for you, and you can actually do that every once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with it, to do it a short amount of times.” Basically anything, almost anything is allowed a short amount of time.
Brad Kearns: “I like covering my hand when I talk.” “Oh no, no, no, no.”
Gitta Sivander: Exactly. So, there are certain things that you really need to step into letting go off, and something may feel really comfortable for us because we’re used to it. Such as crossing our arms. We want to cross our arms and it makes us feel really comfortable and we stay there for a long time. It’s not the most positive way to show up in front of a client or in front of a group. If you’re doing it on a podcast, it’s probably not a problem at all if it makes you feel comfortable. But still, you want to offer-
Brad Kearns: It’s giving off to the recipient of a cross arms posture, is you’re giving off the idea that you’re resistant to the communication or something. That’s what we’re getting at.
Gitta Sivander: That could be one interpretation, but it could also be showing that you’re most comfortable with yourself. It could also show that, well, I’m … the way that you just described about the resistance, I see that when you cross your arms and you’re raising your chest and you’re pulling your shoulders down, then I see resistance. But if you’re actually crossing your arms and you’re curving your upper chest a little bit, and your shoulders are moving forward, it shows more of an insecurity, which is a very different expression doing. Both of them is crossing the arms.
Now, if you look at body language of like public talks about body language, if they say crossing your arms gives off resistance (and you just shared it with me), that’s only true if you see other things in your body happening at the same time. Such as the raising through your chest, your sternum, showing like the shoulders pulling down, your arms crossing. Then it’s more of a cocky one of like, “I’m not so sure if what you’re saying is what I believe that it’s right.”
But as I said, if you do something different such as crossing your arms and your shoulders are rolling forward, your chest is round, and you see me doing this right now, right Brad? That’s not really showing that I’m not certain about what you’re sharing with me. It’s much more showing a little bit about me wanting to be with myself or kind of holding myself together, maybe some insecurity.
But here’s another one. Sometimes, we’re crossing our hands because our shoulders are hurting. We may have some shoulder pain. We may have worked out or I used to do a lot of handstands. I used to be in circus, and so I do handstands all day long. And my shoulders were so aching when my arms would hang down, because I wasn’t able to relax my shoulders. My trapezius muscle pulling up to my ears while I hold my shoulders up. So, if I would cross my arms, I would just be able to relax my shoulders.
Sometimes I would cross my arms when I’m cold. When I’m standing outside and I am not dressed warm enough. I’m going to San Francisco and I forgot my clothes because where I live at home – my jacket, sorry. I didn’t mean to say my clothes. But I left my jacket at home and I live outside of San Francisco, where it’s almost more all the time. I go into San Francisco and it’s freezing-
Brad Kearns: I mean, people come to San Francisco with no clothes. They do the Bay to Breakers. So, it could’ve been one of those instances, but-
Gitta Sivander: It could have been, that’s right. But here I am freezing and I’m talking to a client or a prospect or speaking in front of a group, and I’m feeling really cold and I may cross my arms just to keep warm.
Brad Kearns: These are clues rather than absolutes, because I’ve seen people talk their way out of these. Like their hands are on their hips and you say, “Oh, that’s a defiant pose.” And they say, “I’m not being defiant. How do you know?” And they are being defiant. Right? When they said that. So, these are good insights, but they might not be absolutes.
Gitta Sivander: You need to look for when are those movements or those gestures happening?
Brad Kearns: Right, did they shifted defiant pose right when you said something about how they’re never going to make it in the NBA or whatever. Right?
Gitta Sivander: Yes, when is it happening? Does it happen constantly? What else is happening in that gesture? Is it just the gesture? Is it the voice as well? Is it maybe in hardening of your eyes when you’re attending to them and telling them that they are defensive. And then maybe then their defensiveness is coming out. It’s not based on one single thing, it’s based on the whole picture. And that’s exactly what’s coming out as speaker as well. It’s not really about, “What am I doing with my finger when I’m pointing? Is my voice sharp? Am I pointing out with my voice? Are my eyes strong? What is it that is happening in the rest of my body?”
I may be able to point out a finger, “Hey, how are you doing today?” But be really sweet and connecting in my voice, and then it’s not a big problem if I used one finger.
Brad Kearns: So, yeah, we skipped to that body language thing. But back to that authenticity, so when you’re up there, maybe you have certain attributes that you’re just going to have to accept that you’re a soft spoken person and that’s authentic, and we’ll work with that baseline to optimize it. But is that what we’re talking about? Is trying to be yourself in a way, be your best self, I guess.
Gitta Sivander: Right, exactly. We want to bring in as much as we can about who we are being and not who we want somebody to be. You don’t have to be a great presenter or a speaker. You don’t have to fit into the full category of what somebody would put up with. This is what makes you a great speaker. And of course, there are certain things that will support you in becoming a better speaker. Otherwise, we don’t need a speaking coach at all.
But what makes us fun, engaging and charismatic also, is to shed more light onto who we really are and to step behind that. So, if we’re being somebody who acts as very shy, we can emphasize that shyness, and we can speak up with it. And we can allow for us to be shy. If we hide behind that shyness and we go, “Well, I don’t really want to show you that I’m shy, so I’m going to be really quiet about it. I’m not going to be authentic about that I’m shy.” Then it’s much more challenging to get more of your personality than you’re really showing up with your shyness to the fullest and go, “I know that I’m shy and I know that this is a challenging place for me to be right now.” Then the other parts can come through more because you’re giving that shyness a space.
Brad Kearns: I’ve experienced many times, people have gathered all the attention in the room by coming out and talking in a hushed voice and saying, “I really have trouble telling the story, but I’m here today and I’m going to do my best.” And it gets everybody really intense and quiet and ready to listen, with kind of the opposite of the heavy handed approach that we’re conditioned to seeing these professional speakers that are so slick and have those other attributes of the extrovert.
Gitta Sivander: Right. Well, now you’re bringing up another really interesting aspect which is the extrovert and the introvert. And there is a lot of people that are introverts that need to be speaking specially, like in Silicon Valley. Techies that love hiding out behind the computer and they’re so brilliant at what they do. But they’re very often introverts and now, they have developed a new technology that they need to speak about, that they need to bring out into the public or they have many opportunities to share their ideas and their new product. And it’s hard for them at first, because they’re so used to being introverts.
When you are stepping on stage, we’re not asking you to become an extrovert. But as we know, we all have many sides to ourselves. And we have the masculine and the feminine component to ourselves. Even though we are a man, we have feminine sides to us. Even though I’m a woman, I have masculine side to me.
Brad Kearns: Ying and yang, whatever you want to call it.
Gitta Sivander: Yes, exactly. And so, that’s true for introverts, extroverts as well. Somebody who’s an introvert is not stuck being an introvert all the time. They have extrovert moments. And somebody who’s an extrovert has introvert moments.
Brad Kearns: You can put that on your dating profile. “I’m an introvert, but I have extrovert moments. Believe me. Click here for this YouTube video of me jumping off pier 39 and swimming with the seals, and then back to my desk job.”
Gitta Sivander: You’re really funny. Yeah. I don’t know what the real definition of introvert-extrovert is. There are some ways of defining it. Like Myers Briggs says that you’re an introvert if you recuperate by being by yourself. And you’re an extrovert if you really like to party and be out with people, and that’s your way of recuperation. That’s one way of seeing it. But I think it’s just one way.
I think that there are many different ways that we can find ourselves as introverts or extroverts. And when you are going out and speaking in public, and if you put on your full on introvert hat, you will have some challenges to be fully seen and fully heard. So, all that you need to be willing to do is in those moments to step into the extrovert part of yourself that everybody has. Even the strongest introvert has moments of extrovertness. So, they need to find out, “Where in my life have I been an extrovert? What situation lets me come out more?”
Being able to load that up and to remember those moments in your life and to be able to step into that when you step into your interview, into your podcast or on stage or into that moment when you want to share your ideas, your products – then you just need to be that extrovert in that moment. And you can go right back into introvert when you step out. And that’s so much easier than having to believe that you have to be an extrovert in order to be able to share your message properly.
Brad Kearns: You’re an in extrovert situation, period. Because you’re on stage and the microphone’s on “Hello,” and there’s no getting around that, I get that.
Gitta Sivander: It is an extrovert situation, and you can be an introvert living in an extrovert moment, that moment and be an amazing communicator, absolutely. But the authentic part is that you’re just really acknowledging that you’re an introvert, but it doesn’t mean that you’re going to be quiet that moment.
Brad Kearns: Okay. I like that. So, that’s still under the category of authenticity it seems.
Gitta Sivander: That is all under the category of authenticity, absolutely. It’s a very wide category. I’m mean, we can apply it in many different examples, but that’s one beautiful example of how we can be authentic and willing to be an introvert and not dismiss that. I’ve had clients that go like, “Well, I cannot do this job of being out and podcasts and speaking because I’m an introvert. How am I going to do that?” And the more you can acknowledge who you are and feel comfortable with being who you are and just taking on moments of other parts of yourself, the more fun you will have with that as well.
Brad Kearns: That brings us to the letter “C” in the PACE Coaching- confidence. And then you also added some other Cs, connection and-
Gitta Sivander: Charisma.
Brad Kearns: Charisma, connection but starting with confidence.
Gitta Sivander: Right, exactly. So, let’s start with confidence in PACE. Confidence is a very important aspect that we want to bring forward when we are public. We don’t have to be confident in every moment and we can definitely show our vulnerability, our moments of not being confident. But by being willing to also step into that vulnerability, we open up the door to being confident within that as well.
I think acknowledging our authenticity, they all flow together – those words. They’re not stand alones, they belong together. It’s just a way of describing it, but of course they make up a much bigger full picture. Being able to be authentic and being able to be present will allow for us to be more confident. If we try to become somebody else or to be the speaker that we admire so much, we want to be like Tony Robbins or Marianne Williamson-
Brad Kearns: Shut down women, you mean and stuff like that. He’s getting in trouble lately for not respecting the Me Too Movement as it’s presented to the rest of the world. He’s telling women at his big seminars to buck up and quit making excuses. And it’s like, “Not going over well right now in 2018. I could see 5% of your point.” He has a lot of good contributions, but whoa! He’s taking some heat right now and that’s what the Me Too Movement is all about. Like bring the heat, I love it.
Anyway, so, trying to be someone that you’re not. I guess that’s the epitome of lack of confidence.
Gitta Sivander: That’s exactly where the confidence starts breaking apart because we cannot be somebody else that we’re not. We can have people we admire, we can see leaderships that we want to take on as well, leadership roles, but it all has to happen from within ourselves. We can use the external to feel some energy coming towards us by where we want to go and what we want to become, who we want to become, but it all needs to happen from within.
So, confidence comes within and being able to step into who we are being and bringing forward more of who we really are, will also allow for us to be more confident within that picture.
Brad Kearns: Being okay with failing or bombing your talk is an example of, “I’m okay with that. I don’t really care. I’m not attached to the result of whether I’m going to get a standing ovation from the audience or whether they’re going to turn and start using their personal devices at the three quarter mark of my talk.”
Gitta Sivander: It a sign of where you’re taking your audience, but it’s also a sign of where you’re being at right now in that presentation or in that speak, that talk that you’re doing. If you want a standing ovation, you need to be okay with not having a standing ovation. If you want your audience to really bring forward their fullest attention to you, you have to be okay with them not giving you your fullest attention. You have to be attentive to them and you have to be attentive to yourself. When you are attentive to yourself and to them, then they will also start giving you more attention. If you are just attentive to the talk that you have prepared or to the paper you have in your hand that you’re referring to-
Brad Kearns: Reading the slides and all the words on them, so people that can’t read, all zero of them in the room, can get that assistance.
Gitta Sivander: Yes or the talk that you prepared and rehearsed so much, then you’re maybe more in your head than you are with yourself and the audience. That is what gets your audience to look at their phone or to chat to the neighbor.
If you are really present and you are present with yourself and your audience, it will make your audience listen to you. There’s no way around it. That’s how energy works. When you’re bringing your energy out to the people and you’re with them and you’re feeling the room as a whole and you’re not stuck in your own little bubble. You’re not stuck in your own little thoughts of what you think is most important to share, then it becomes an energy exchange. There’s no way around your audience not wanting to listen to you, if you are with them. And of course, there are people in the audience that will not like you. This is also really normal.
There’s never going to be an audience that is 100% on your side. I’ve never ever seen that happen. You can get a good percentage of the audience on your side 70, 80%, but there’ll always be those 10% that totally do not agree with what you’re saying. And then there will be the other 10% that completely love you. It’s always like that. There’s never a possibility of being loved and liked by everyone because we all have different opinions. We all have different ways that we relate to each other. And maybe the way that I’m expressing myself is not the way that somebody likes to see me.
But then that’s not the one I’m focusing on. I’m focusing on the ones that are wanting to listen to me. The ones that are enjoying what I’m sharing. And I need to keep focusing on believing in myself as well, and believing that what I am talking about is not just important to me, but to somebody else as well.
Brad Kearns: Literally, focusing on them. Because I remember a couple of times where I get totally thrown off because there was a person in the audience asleep. One of them, I was speaking at a funeral and it was a tough talk anyway to get up and talk about my peer. And you speak from the heart and it was an important event. And this dude was asleep in row four of the church and my eyes kept locking on him and I was getting really flustered and like distracted from giving my talk. And I almost like wanted to say, “Hey, can you wake that guy up or take him out of the room,” because it does draw your attention. If someone’s sleeping on you, that’s brutal.
I can get someone shaking their head back and forth if I’m talking about the ketogenic diet is the cure for everyone on all maladies. That’s fine, and then when you raise your hand, we’ll go at it. But oh, falling asleep. That’s a tough one to overcome.
Gitta Sivander: It is. Especially if it’s a small audience. I mean, if you have a-
Brad Kearns: Thank you for validating me Gitta. I appreciate it. A small audience, yeah. “Hi, all five of you.”
Gitta Sivander: If you have a small audience and one person is sleeping in there-
Brad Kearns: That’s 20% right there. It’s brutal.
Gitta Sivander: It’s a huge distraction. I would actually ask that person to leave. Yes, and this also shows that you’re being authentic as a speaker. Because if you’re feeling distracted by that person, rather than ignoring them and trying to not look at them and you keep feeling that they are actually on your radar all the time, you are being authentic by asking them to leave.
Brad Kearns: Cool.
Gitta Sivander: And I think that there’s nothing wrong about doing that at all. It may be confronting and that person may not come back, but hey-
Brad Kearns: They’re asleep anyway. Who cares?
Gitta Sivander: They’re asleep or maybe they have been partying the night before and are tired and may not have anything to do with you. Nothing. It’s just the place that they are in. Maybe they are on some new medication that makes them really sleepy, who knows what’s going on? Maybe they have sleep disturbances and it just happens that they’re being tired. They may really like your topic of what you’re talking about, and they are just not able to be awake that moment. But you don’t have to take it all, especially in a small audience. I mean, if you have an audience of 100 people and two people are asleep, you may not even notice them, unless they are both sitting in the front row.
But I totally believe in speaking for what’s making things right for you as a speaker as well, and in a respectful way. You can ask somebody to leave the room very respectful and you can say, “Hey, I really get it. You’re tired, but maybe you can sleep outside of the room and if you feel like you want to come back in because you’re feeling back energized, I’d love to have you back in.”
But it’s the same as somebody in your audience who keeps distracting you or keeps asking questions, who keeps provoking you in a really harsh way. It’s not productive to everybody else in the room. If they do it more than twice, ask them to leave. You can ask them to talk about it later in the break and if they keep distracting you with nonproductive questions or being really aggressive, it’s not helping anybody, not you either. Ask them to leave.
Brad Kearns: Okay. Now, we’re down to expression.
Gitta Sivander: Yes.
Brad Kearns: PACE – E, the letter “E”.
Gitta Sivander: The expression comes with bringing forward what it is that you feel; your presence, your confidence, your authenticity brought together into showing what is happening for you. Rather than noticing it, feeling it, being conscious of it. You can also bring it forward. And of course, you want to be careful on what you’re expressing at certain times. You don’t want to be wildly expressing just anything that’s coming up for you. You want to gouge it. You want to be in relationship to what’s really happening in the moment.
But I highly encourage to be joyful when you feel the joy. To show sadness when you feel sad. To be curious when you’re really curious, and to let that be visible. To have more of you be seen. That’s what brings forward the curiosity in the audience as well of who you are being. Actually, it’s kind of like realizing more of your personality and then turn that knob up a little bit, bring it out, bring it forward. Let it be fully expressed in relationship to what’s happening in the moment.
If we always have to be pragmatic and okay, we’re going to be like the neutral person, we have to be neutral to not hurt anyone’s feelings – you’re not being real. You’re not being authentic. And also, it’s kind of boring in the long run.
Brad Kearns: Yeah. We’re getting more and more acceptance of crazy wild characters that are free speaking in all good ways. Like Tiffany Haddish, the comedian. She’s just wild in her movie roles, she’s off the charts. Just saying nutty stuff and going for these last – maybe 20 years ago, people would be offended. But now, we keep busting down these doors and getting more and more, I guess more and more authentic where you might be thinking crazy thoughts in your mind and a comedian has never spoken of. But now, you can go line up a joke for anything you want.
I think it’s refreshing and the people that are left behind with their rigid beliefs and values that they can’t take a joke, that’s a tough one. Because I think in the opening and being more free and expressive in all directions, is pushing society forward.
Gitta Sivander: Yes. I think you’re bringing a really good point here, which is that times are changing. Unfortunately, sometimes that means that times are going backwards. I’m just thinking of the politics. I don’t want to go too much into that, but that popped up in my mind. So, he was my free expression.
Brad Kearns: You’re right. We’ve gone over the deep end. So, now we lost civility. I’m not going to make this a politically biased show, but I noticed during the presidential debates that presidential candidates were interrupting the other candidate. And so, regardless of anything else, if you just look at that, that that’s now allowed. And interrupting the moderator and carrying on forward with this type of behavior. I don’t care what side of the coin you’re on, we have gone past the deep end, and there still needs to be that baseline level of respect where, “You got something to say to me, at least you’re going to finish your statement, and then I can come back at you and we can Twitter each other and make criticisms.”
But yeah, you bring out an important point that like all this free flowing is good to an extent, but we still need to regulate it.
Gitta Sivander: You just said the key word here, which is respect. So, in all off what I’m also addressing in PACE Coaching, it’s all about respect. If you only think about yourself and what you feel in the moment or what you want to do without considering others, you’re not being respectful.
Brad Kearns: “But wait, I’m using all four PACE things. I’m present, I’m authentic. I have tons of confidence and I’m expressing myself. And all of you all in the audience suck because you’re stupid and you don’t agree with me.”
Gitta Sivander: So, you’re bring a good point here. I may need to rethink my PACE Coaching and put a big “R” around it all.
Brad Kearns: PACER, it’s still a word.
Gitta Sivander: Putting a big “R” around it as an umbrella for respect, because I think that that is the –the number one thing is to not only respect yourself, that is important as well, but respect others also. And we want to express ourselves from a place of respect.
We can express ourselves without really thinking about the respect, but then we have to live with the consequences. I personally believe that it’s important that we respect ourselves and others. And that includes the tweets. That includes not just being respectful when we see each other and we’re in the same room, but even in social media. And I see that we have gone overboard there. I feel like there is a lack of respect and then expressions, how expression gets this negative connotation to it. And that’s not really what I’m talking about in PACE Coaching.
It’s really more, being able to bring more of ourselves to roll the knob up, to be seen more, to be more of who we are in a respectful way. And I hope that that will happen more and more in the world. There are a lot of people that are very respectful and then of course, we see those that are not respectful.
And yes, I agree with you what you shared earlier. Which is that times are changing and we’re moving forward. Even though there are some backward steps, I do believe that there will be a forward step overall. Sometimes we have to take one step back in order to make two steps forward. And I see that happening in the world moving a role. But onstage, we are able to speak more freely. We are able to bring more forward, and it is refreshing and it is the place that we are heading to, into the future. That’s at least my humble belief.
Brad Kearns: That’s nice. So, what about the body language element that we’ve completed our PACE definitions, and now we have this area of your particular expertise, is how body language comes in there?
Gitta Sivander: Body language, body communication. I actually like to name it by body communication. It’s not a very known term, but the difference between body language and body communication is that when we talk about body language, we think that one particular gesture or posture means one answer. And that’s not how I see it at all.
I already addressed this earlier in our talk today here, when I said, when we cross our arms, it can mean many different things. It can mean that we’re standoffish, that we don’t agree. It can mean that we are insecure. It can mean that our shoulders hurt or that we’re feeling cold. And this is true for almost all body communication that we do.
So, we will always want to put it relative. We want to be able to see the gesture and the posture in relationship to who we are being with and what we’re seeing. The goal in speaking, when we’re being seen … right now on the podcast, you don’t see my body language. So, it’s-
Brad Kearns: She’s having a great time listeners. She’s really animated.
Gitta Sivander: I’m dancing, right? I’m dancing all over. No, I’m just kidding. When we’re having a conversation on the podcast, our body communication happens through our voice. So, the voice expression becomes really important. It helps me to use my gestures. As I’m talking right now here, I’m using my gestures, my hands. I’m using my head movements, my shoulder movements in smaller ways, not quite as big. But I’m still using it because it makes me feel animated and alive.
If I were to sit here completely still, my hands on the table and not move, I can feel right now that my voice is getting a little bit more stagnant or a little bit more frozen. But when I’m using my physicality along with it, my voice also opens up.
Brad Kearns: For the same reason, my aspiration with the show is to do in-person podcast whenever possible at great effort. But I think the payoff, the value of having an in-person conversation, even though we know each other, we had a nice visit at the retreat. So, it wasn’t like if I’ve never met you, that would be extremely difficult. But it feels like, especially in daily life today, where we have that shortcut where we can go Skype someone across town rather than drive 20 minutes. Great, if they’re in Sverige, and you want to talk to your family, that’s a wonderful technology tool. But we have to be mindful of that benefit of getting the body communication.
You know what? We’re going to change the definition right now for the world. Because when you say body language, the more common term, language means there’s a definition. So, I think you’re onto something. We’re going to call the authorities, United Nations or whatever because when you’re folding your arms, what’s that body language? We have to give a definition. That means you’re defiant and resistant. But when you say body communication, that folding of your arms can mean many things. Here’s among those choices. Brilliant Gitta.
Gitta Sivander: Thank you.
Brad Kearns: She redefined an important element of communication in general. Carry on, body communication.
Gitta Sivander: Yes. Well, I think part of my journey to define that, find a way into speaking about body communication also through my many trainings I’ve done in somatic study, somatic movement-
Brad Kearns: What does that mean? Somatic movement?
Gitta Sivander: Well, there’s the somatic studies which also could be somatic psychology. And then there’s somatic movement applications. So, the somatics apply to movements. Somatics basically means the combination of body mind, and the wholeness. So, the spirit included, who we are bringing forward as a whole. And our life is somatic. It’s not one-sided. It’s not just the head, it’s not just the talking of a head. It’s our body that’s included.
So, in somatic movement for instance, we work with the body in order to bring forward emotions. We can work with somebody in psychology through words. When we work through the words and how the mind works in order to change the body. But we can also do it the other way around. We can start with the body, we can begin with the body and work with the body. And through that, change how we experience life.
In somatic movement therapy and somatic movement education, we begin with the body. We take the inroad from the outer to the inner. In psychology, you mainly, most of the time take the in road from the inner to change the outer. Both is possible.
My studies have been in somatic movement mainly because I’m a mover myself. I mean, I have a very strong background in physical expression. And it isn’t until now in my 40’s that I am getting more and more interested in more of the inner work, just the inner work. Not how the outer influences the inner, but also how can my inner influence the outer. And I find the combination of both is most important.
My background is in physical therapy. It’s in performing arts and theater. I’ve been in circus school in Paris.
Brad Kearns: What is the circus thing, come on? What is that all about? You were training for circus performing?
Gitta Sivander: Yes, I have been a circus performer living in Paris and I have applied my circus skills in group settings like doing partner yoga, acrobatics. My very first background’s actually in vaulting. I think it’s called vaulting in English. It’s when you do gymnastics on a horse that runs in a circle. So, the horse is going to go cantor in a circle, and then you perform all kinds of tricks on that horse.
Brad Kearns: Oh my goodness.
Gitta Sivander: This was a really big sport where I lived. I grew up on the countryside outside of Bremen, which is in northern Germany, close to Hamburg. And I was born in Germany, but I’m also Swedish. My mom’s Swedish, my dad’s German. I was raised there on the countryside outside of Bremen, and all we had was horses.
So, for me, my life was all revolved around horses and the sports that went along with it was vaulting. I think it’s called vaulting in English. Sorry, I’m having a bit of a blackout here.
Brad Kearns: Yeah, I’ve seen it.
Gitta Sivander: It’s called [Foreign Language 00:52:58] in German, Voultish in Swedish.
Brad Kearns: You’re doing a handstand on the saddle and all this crazy stuff on the horse’s body.
Gitta Sivander: We have no saddle. You have a blanket on the horse and then you have a girth that you can hold onto, it has two handholds. And you do certain movements that you have to do, like free-sitting and something called a flag where you’re on one knee and one hand and reaching one arm and one leg back. And then you’re going to do something – we used to call Mueller when you move one leg around, then you sit backwards and you come all the way around. And you got to stand on the horse and you’re going to do certain movements, six basic movements is what we did at the time. And then evolves up to three people doing acrobatics on the horse.
Brad Kearns: Can we YouTube this stuff and find some crazy demonstrations?
Gitta Sivander: You can totally. Yes, yes. It’s become really big. And at the time when I did it, it was more or less over when you were 16. You were not allowed to do the group gymnastics on the horse anymore. You could do your solo work. But I really enjoy being in the groups. So, I stopped it at that age. I started when I was six-years-old and I envisioned myself being in Olympic in this. And everybody was laughing because there was no Olympic discipline at the time in vaulting. Now, I think there is actually.
However, I loved it. I loved the risk taking in it, the feeling of flying-
Brad Kearns: It’s dangerous, huh?
Gitta Sivander: What’s that?
Brad Kearns: It’s got to be dangerous.
Gitta Sivander: It is dangerous because you can fall off the horse and I’ve fallen many times, and I’ve lost my breath. When you fall on your ribs and you just get the shock and you can’t breathe for a few seconds. It feels like forever.
Brad Kearns: We call it getting the wind knocked out of you, and it’s such an expression in sports. But if you’ve never experienced it, it’s the real deal. I mean, you can’t breathe for a few precious seconds and it’s a big panic. It happens pretty easily when you fall off a bike or in a basketball game. Yeah, it’s scary.
Gitta Sivander: When you get like a basketball in you ribs, that’s what happens?
Brad Kearns: Or if you fall down with in a collision with another player.
Gitta Sivander: Oh, I see.
Brad Kearns: Just anytime you do a nice hard fall on the ground, especially cycling where you’re destined to fall. You’re not going to not fall. The old cycles, John Howard said, “There’s two kinds of cyclists, those who have crashed and those who are going to.” And it’s wild, but I mean falling off a horse, that can get tricky when the animal’s in the way. I mean, you could get trampled. It sounds super dangerous.
Gitta Sivander: Oh yes, it was. And I’m not quite sure how it’s being handled these days. I remember that in Sweden, they were starting to train with helmets on. We never had a helmet when we would do this, ever.
Brad Kearns: No seatbelt on your drive over to the horse race. So, it’s free for all up in Bremen. Oh my gosh.
Gitta Sivander: Well, when I was in Göttingen later on, and I studied to become a physical therapist, I found a group of acrobats who was doing exactly this without the horse. And I thought this was even better, because now we didn’t need to use a horse. And it was hard on the horse to have to run in a circle for a long time. And I don’t think it’s very healthy for their joints either. So, I was really thrilled that I found people doing this and I got really deeply endorsed in doing partner balance acrobatics. Every weekend, I was off to a convention and we’re doing handstands on top of each other and hands and hands and doing duos – duos mainly and trios sometimes with even larger group things. And it was a fantastic world. I loved it.
Brad Kearns: So, when you’re at Cirque du Solei, do you see these people? This is the discipline you’re talking about where they’re doing these incredible tandem things?
Gitta Sivander: Yes.
Brad Kearns: Do you know those famous – are they German brothers that have been going for years and years and they’re in Cirque de Solei? These two guys and they’re just lifting each other. Their poses are absolutely phenomenal. Like the highest level of human athleticism I’ve seen anywhere. Just watching this show.
Gitta Sivander: You’re talking about these Iran looking people that put like all gold or all silvers on their bodies-
Brad Kearns: Yeah, yeah.
Gitta Sivander: They move really, really slowly and you can see every muscle popping out. Yes. I wasn’t quite at that level. But definitely, some of those tricks were involved in a lot of handstand work. And some of it is also a little bit faster paced when you jump off or do turns in the air and land on someone’s feet again. It’s a lot of fun and it’s what brought me to go off and join the circus.
Brad Kearns: So, what circus did you join? What was that like?
Gitta Sivander: It was not a big circus. It was a group of people of us being together. The circus school I went to was called “Fratellini”, which means brothers in French. And it was just at the border, the 19th Arrondissement in Paris. I don’t think that circus school exist anymore. But then we had another circus school as well. [Foreign Language 00:58:00] was the name of that. It was outside in the Banlieue of Paris.
We would meet in the evenings and practice trapeze and we would couple up, find a partner in tandem and do things together. And I unfortunately, got injured and wasn’t able to do quite as heavy circus anymore. But I had always dreamt of doing dance. So, then I started dancing instead. I became a contact Improv dancer and that brought me to the United States.
I was teaching for quite some years at that time. Contact Improv is a beautiful way of combining athletics, acrobatics with a deep sensual connection with someone else in a nonsexual way. But being able to communicate with the body non-words, just the body speaking. And I still love it. I don’t go very often these days, but there are plenty of jams around the Bay area and every once in a while, I really get the draw and I go back and I dance. And it’s a beautiful way of being physically expressed without any commitments other than the dance itself.
Brad Kearns: That’s a very interesting background to bring into this speaking consulting game, because the body communication is so important. And I also, I believe was a video on your website where I learned about your childhood, where you sort of had to overdevelop these other ways of perceiving and communicating because you had a hearing impairment. Do you want to tell me how that happened as a kid and how you started to realize that maybe these were gifts that you had and you developed them?
Gitta Sivander: Yeah, of course. I didn’t know right away that I had any special gifts. I just saw my deficiency, which was that I couldn’t hear very well. I was born with a hearing difficulty and I didn’t have a hearing aid until I was almost seven-years-old.
Brad Kearns: So, it’s undiagnosed, basically?
Gitta Sivander: It wasn’t diagnosed right away. My mother started realizing that something was off quite early, but she wasn’t sure what it was because sometimes I heard really well and other times I didn’t hear. So, at times she thought I was just being a really stubborn kid, which was probably true as well. But that wasn’t the reason why I wouldn’t want to listen to her. I was tested for petit mal, like this … how do you call that in English when you – are you familiar with the term “petit mal”? You know, when you have small seizures, mini seizures, when you just kind of-
Brad Kearns: Oh, sure. They call them “grand mal” seizures. So, “petite mal” would be the opposite.
Gitta Sivander: The small one, and you have just a moment of absence. And so, I was tested for that. I spent a week in the hospital and being actually quite healthy, but still having to go through all kinds of testings. And there was nothing going on on that end. But yes, they did find that I had a hearing loss, and it wasn’t clear where it was coming from. So, I spent another week in the hospital being tested for that. And then they took my polyps in the nose. They took the polyps out because they thought that those might have an impact on my hearing. Had to go through surgery at a very young age. And all of that was quite traumatizing given that I was actually healthy. Other than that I had a hearing loss.
Brad Kearns: So that was a mistake? That polyp thing was just shooting in the dark?
Gitta Sivander: It was. It was, yeah.
Brad Kearns: Oh mercy.
Gitta Sivander: So, when my mom went to see a doctor for my hearing loss, he was yelling and screaming at her. He was like, what we call like a non-respectfully expressed. And he told her, “Why are you coming this late, your daughter is almost deaf.” And she was like, “I know my daughter better than you. She’s not deaf. She does have a hearing issue as we know right now, but she’s not deaf.” And so, it took her a couple of years before she really went back to that doctor and took the whole route of finding out what it really was.
My hearing loss is an unusual loss that’s either on the cortex, on the brain itself or the connection. The nerve that goes from the ear to the brain. It’s not the ear itself, it’s not something that can be fixed. And it’s more on one than the other. I have a 50% loss on one ear, and the other ear it’s about a 30% loss. And so, overall, I do have a paper in Germany that I have a disability, a hearing disability. And I have received hearing aids. When I started school, I had almost seven and of course, that has helped me a lot. And I have made it through school without needing to go to a special needs school. Although I’ve had quite some teachers asking me if I wanted to switch schools because I was a challenging student, right?
I needed to sit in the front row and then later in high school, I had what we call [Foreign Language 01:02:43] in German. Like a microphone system where the teacher got a little wireless microphone to use and I had the plugin on my end. So, I could hear the teacher speaking to me directly. And that was extra effort for them. And so, I had quite some teachers suggesting I should go to a school for hearing loss. And thank God, I had a very strong mom who was fighting for me and going like, “No, my daughter, she can make it work without that.”
Brad Kearns: Sorry to inconvenience you, Mr. Teacher. Step up man. This is right.
Gitta Sivander: Oh, I can name in here, his name was Mr. Schindler. And Mr. Schindler, my German teacher-
Brad Kearns: You’re on Schindler’s list.
Gitta Sivander: I don’t think he was the good man Schindler. He was a good teacher, but I think he was quite inconvenienced by me not hearing that well. And well, I stuck to my guns and I made it very well through high school and I’ve made it well through life. But of course, when you have a hearing loss the way that I have it, it means that you don’t really hear conversation from early on.
I didn’t really hear what my parents were saying, what my peers were saying, my teachers. And I was treated sometimes in a way that wasn’t always very nice. Even at a very young age, I was told that I was just being stubborn. It was hard to hear that.
But however, I have also gained a lot of positives from it. One of the positives is that I can sleep quite well at night because I just take my hearing aid out and I sleep on my good ear and the world is quiet. I can basically sleep anywhere. I can even sleep at a party.
But the real gifts that were given to me by this hearing loss, is the ability to be – how do you say it? Sensitive on other levels? Or really perceptive. That’s the word I was looking for. I think I have developed an incredible sense of perception both on an intuitive level, but also in an observational skill level. I see things that others need to train themselves first to see. I observe, I see little nuances in movements. I see little changes in eye expressions and facial expressions, in physical, in the energy expression. And that is what I use in coaching as well. When I coach my clients, I can feel little nuances of change within them, maybe when the fears coming up.
I coach them through that for presentation coaching – it’s not just in presentation. PACE has its main application in presentation, but it’s also, as I said, confidence in life, living from a really powerful place, and my coaching has taken me into the direction of professional coaching, life coaching and implied into that.
Brad Kearns: It might as well if you’re going to teach them how to speak in front of an audience. Everything translates so well to … I mean, the PACE is about how to live your life as well.
Gitta Sivander: Very much so. And our audience is everywhere, everyday. Our audience is not just when we step on stage. Our audience is you right now, and you listeners, you are my audience. Our audience is when I speak to somebody in the store. How do I feel when I encounter a new person? I know a lot of people that feel uncomfortable when they meet a new person, especially the introverts, actually. I have been in conversations where they feel very uncomfortable reaching out. Which is hard for the business because when they work for themselves, they need to be able to make connections. And if you want to every time, have to overcome this fear of connecting with a new person, there are ways to work with it. There are ways to get a lot more comfortable with it.
Maybe you can’t always eliminate it, but you can be much more positive about it and feel more open to connecting. And so, that’s part of what I also do in PACE Coaching.
Brad Kearns: Are there patterns that you see coming up again and again with clients or even out in real life when you’re socializing at a party, especially in this era of digital technology? Are people looking down at the ground more or worse at making eye contact? Are you picking up things that maybe the rest of us aren’t as aware of, but are recurring patterns in life that are, I don’t know, distressing or ways that you see you have opportunities to help people?
Gitta Sivander: Yeah. Interesting that you’re asking that question. I do see a huge difference between the ability to communicate on email and on text message and even on the phone. And the vision that I get of this person by the way that we communicated on email and text and phone, is a very different one than when I then eventually meet that person. It’s like day and night. And this is not only true for the real world of meeting a prospect client, it’s also true for dating.
Brad Kearns: Oh yes, we hear about that all the time, yeah.
Gitta Sivander: So, it’s true everywhere in all fields.
Brad Kearns: You used up all your funny jokes on the text exchange, and then you meet at Starbucks and it’s like, “So anyway …”
Gitta Sivander: Very easy, open, joking, fun – and you have these deep conversations and you’re really going like, “Oh my God, it’s really rolling here.” Right? And then you meet and the body communication shut down. There’s a huge wall between you and them. There’s no smile. There is no facial expression. Yes, the eyes are … what may happen a lot is that they look away or not really able to meet you. Even if you have an eye contact, it’s not a real contact. There’s a difference between looking at somebody with an emptiness and looking at somebody with the real sense of you being behind it.
Brad Kearns: Wow, that’s scary. And you can perceive that.
Gitta Sivander: Yes, it’s part of presence. And you can feel it, and anybody can feel it, not just me. I may be able to feel stronger. I may be able to perceive that in an instant immediately, while somebody else may take a little longer or they may feel like something is off and they don’t know what is off. While I can help you with finding where it’s off, in which areas, and I can help you to get back into a place of being more comfortable with yourself so that you can be more comfortable with meeting others.
Brad Kearns: Oh, so I’m the one that’s off and you’re going to help me work through that? You can perceive that I’m off and that I’m looking at you with a vacant stare rather than an engaged stare?
Gitta Sivander: Well, if you would become my client, I would start using conversations-
Brad Kearns: That’s going to be our next podcast, is we’re going to record Gitta and Brad’s training session for my public speaking, my podcast presence and all these things. But this is so fascinating. Like, I guess I can reference times where I’ve picked up on people where I felt there was something goofy. Whether they’re overusing the eye contact and the intensity to the extent they’re expressing their interest and what I’m having to say, but it’s over the top. And I shrivel up. I do the folded arms and the hunched shoulders because I’m like intimidated or something’s off. And then you can tell when people are getting bored, even though they’re looking at you and they’re doing all these optimal body communication modes, but just something’s not happening.
Gitta Sivander: Yeah, they’re probably doing the body language thing.
Brad Kearns: The body language thing. “Putting my hand on my chin indicates increased interest, etcetera.” But I think if you could crack this code, then you’d be at the top of the online dating world and dispensing advice spiel, because wow, I mean, there’s something, missing, there’s something off. We complain about the millennials a lot on this note, where they don’t have that interpersonal communication skill because mostly they’re doing digital. But yeah, let’s figure this thing out.
Gitta Sivander: Yeah, exactly. It’s never true for everyone, right? There’s always millennials that are going to be amazing at what they do. And in any age group, no matter where we are, we can see a tendency. And yes, we do see a tendency or I see a tendency just as you named it, among millennials that the communication is happening in terms of words, but it’s not happening always in terms of like really being with each other.
We used to have many more opportunities to bring our whole selves to the communication, because we would meet people in Cafes on the street or we would live in communities where it would happen. And of course, even there, there have always been people that were at ease with communication and others that weren’t at ease with the communication. That’s a given. It’s normal. We’re not all on the same page. And even there, probably a communication coach like myself could have helped the ones that will be more intimidated if they wanted to make a change. The first step is always to wanting to make a change.
When we speak with millennials that are happy with where they’re at and they don’t want to make a change, why wouldn’t you want to coach? It’s not important. But if you do want to make a change, if you really want to get better or feeling more comfortable in your communication, or if you do want to go out and speak in public, then it’s really helpful to look at where are you at right now? What is it that you’re doing? What are you displaying?
Often, they’re not even aware of what they’re feeling. They may not feel that they’re all that uncomfortable. They may go like, “Oh, I’m actually a really confident girl or a really confident guy,” but then, they get the feedback, they see what else is possible and, “How much better can I feel and how much better can I communicate?” And it’s not based on what they read in terms of body language. Like, “Oh, you’re supposed to look at somebody all the time,” because you can stare as well as you just pointed it out. You can stare at people and not really be there. It’s like this hard stare or this train stare-
Brad Kearns: Trained stare.
Gitta Sivander: It’s a trained one. It’s like how you’re supposed to look. You’re supposed to make eye contact, but there are many different ways of eye contact. Even looking at you right now, I can do a very different kind of eye contact. And if I’m not behind it, if I’m not feeling myself behind it or being … like having some kind of confidence that it’s okay to look at you. I’m going to look at you from a very different place. Are you familiar with a cold eye and a warm eye? Have you ever heard of somebody saying, “That person looks at me in a really cold way?” In Germany we say that if [Foreign Language 01:13:40] – if an eye connection or a certain way of looking with their eyes could kill, that person would kill me right now.
So, you can warm somebody up with the way that you look or you can also cool someone down. And being able to be aware of what it is that you do, like first becoming conscious of how are you actually showing up. You may think one thing and a whole different pattern is showing up. We’re patterned. We’re patterned through our family, we’re patterned through our parents. We’re patterned through our society that we live in, through our upbringing, through age that we live through. I mean, the years if we are millennials or whatever age group we belong to – we are patterned. And we are patterned by our own inner beliefs as well.
If we want to come across in a certain way or if we want to better ourselves, we better learn what our patterns are. And then the second step is we better learn what’s possible, what is possible. We don’t even know what’s possible if we don’t know that it exists.
Brad Kearns: It seems like the time when we’re least aware of the patterns is when we’re under pressure or when we most need them. Such as, “Yeah, we’ve been texting back and forth. It sounds like I got a good prospect here on the dating scene.” And then you go to meet, and that’s when you freeze up and then you’re driving home going, “Wow, I really screwed that up. It seemed like there was no connection there. Maybe it was because I didn’t say anything.”
But when your time to bring you’re A-game and when you give your public presentation, and you go revert into all these patterns when we need to break free, when it’s the most difficult to break free.
Gitta Sivander: Yes, exactly. You’re bringing it to a really good point. You’re very observant, Brad.
Brad Kearns: Well, thank you.
Gitta Sivander: I wanted to share in regards to that also, that part of speaking coaching is … talking about speaking, coaching in our PACE Coaching is not just within speaking. It’s communication and lifestyle as we know. But when we are in a pressure situation, whether we are looking for a new job and we need to be on our game and we have our interview or when we are speaking in public, what we need to learn is to be more of who we already are. And that’s very easy to understand in our mind, but it’s a huge game to learn.
We may be amazing when we are with friends, when we are at a party and feeling free and open, and we may be like all the things that we want to be when we have that interview or when we have that conference showing up. But then, when we are on pressure situation, we lose who we really are. It just drops, it goes into the back end. Now, how do we bring that forward again? How can we be who we really are in the pressure situation? That’s what the coaching is about. Someone natural.
Brad Kearns: I needed you in high school, I’m sorry to say. Because like in high school, I was the class clown and I was so funny and I knew it. I started at an early age popping off these one liners, and I would crack up the whole room. And I was so comfortable in the class because I knew that the teacher was going to discipline me and maybe even send me out of the room if I had another follow-up joke to the joke the teacher didn’t like and disrupted the class. But that was when I was at my best, and then if I’m at a crazy party where people are drinking beer and the music’s loud, I can’t even bring myself to speak to the person I sit next to in class that couldn’t stop laughing because I was such a funny guy in the chemistry class. Interesting.
Gitta Sivander: Different situations bring out different parts of who we are. And learning about these different parts of who we are and becoming really conscious of them, and then being able to apply that part that we want to see in a different situation, that’s the goal that we have, right?
Brad Kearns: Gitta, that’s a good close right there. It was a fascinating conversation. We also teed ourselves up for follow-up podcast.
Gitta Sivander: We did.
Brad Kearns: Gitta coaching Brad live from Marin County, California. Thank you so much for sharing. How can we find out more about – you’re open for coaching services right now?
Gitta Sivander: Absolutely, yes.
Brad Kearns: We also expanded your business model a little bit because it seems like this would apply beautifully to the dating scene, where you can prep someone to be more of who they really are when they go out there and engage in that manner.
Gitta Sivander: Yes, PACE Coaching’s available for those that are in the dating scene. And you can find out more about me under my name gittasivander.com. Also for companies, I have a specialty website called thespeakerboutique.com. So, those are the two sites. You find me on LinkedIn. Just look me up under my name, Gitta Sivander. And you’ll find me on Facebook, on Instagram everywhere.
Brad Kearns: Beautiful. Thank you so much Gitta. Thank you for listening.
Gitta Sivander: Thank you. Thanks for having me and I’m looking forward to our next connection here. Have a great day.
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