I gotta level with you:
While it's important to learn how to be an engaging public speaker, being "engaging" isn't nearly enough to make you stand out from the crowd.
Every day I meet speakers who are engaging and charismatic as all get out.
They have stage-presence, they know how to create vocal variety, they tell amusing stories that have beginnings, middles, and ends.
But here’s the thing...
While they may be engaging, they aren’t effective.
Their audiences may go home amused or inspired, but they don’t take any sort of action.
What does this look like?
The entrepreneur who walks away from a speaking engagement with a very inspired audience...but no new clients.
The activist who leaves her audience thinking, “My God, that’s terrible! Something needs to be done!”...but they don’t do anything.
The academic who sets down the slide changer to their brilliant powerpoint...
“I’d love to be a better public speaker, but the truth is, my job doesn’t really require me to do that.”
This is a sentence I hear A LOT.
Often, it’s the first response I get when I introduce myself as a public speaking coach to a new group of people.
And I totally get it.
Why invest in learning a skillset you’re not regularly getting asked to use?
But here’s the catch 22…
Speaking opportunities aren’t going to present themselves to you until you start presenting yourself as a skilled public speaker.
Let’s untangle that for a moment…
Here’s the pattern that I’ve seen emerge with client after client:
At the end of our first session, I’ll usually get met with a cautiously optimistic smile and something like this:
“I’m really glad I’m working on this, but I don’t think there are going to be a lot of opportunities for me to practice this...
Welcome back to our on-going blog series:
Let’s start out our 1st week of Speak Masterfully Speaking Tips with a brazenly simple suggestion:
If you know you struggle with speaking to a crowd of people, then don’t speak to a crowd of people.
Speak to one person.
Imagine you have a good friend sitting in the back row—someone nonjudgemental. The kind of friend you’d have no problem inviting over even if your place were a mess. Make this a private conversation between the two of you.
Allow your eyes to take in the whole room, but keep the intention of a private conversation. Focus in on the one or two people smiling and nodding.
Not only will speaking to one person calm your nerves, it will create a feeling of intimacy with the audience.
Apply this advice to the writing of your piece as well as the delivery. To quote James Joyce, ...