Stick to these principles and you’ll always do well.
We turn on the television and see people speaking before crowds or handling reporters with confidence and it all looks effortless. In the more than15 years I have been training people to become more effective communicators, I have watched for common qualities among great speakers.
Are they made, or are they born?
Do they have a gift that most of us will never know or is there something more to it? I have seen major political candidates up close and personal, watched prominent chief executives interviewed on national television. I’ve worked with familiar personalities who experienced anxiety whenever they spoke in public.
Most natural looking speakers are MADE not born!!!!!
The surprising truth is the people we think are the most natural public speakers often undergo significant coaching. A few are be born with a gift and the successful ones get training, but the overwhelming majority are effective speakers because they trained themselves to be so. Either they made the decision to pursue formal public speaking education or coaching or they did taken every opportunity to stand on their feet and deliver speeches, learning by doing – the hard way. Here are the 3 secret principles I have found that being a successful public speaker boils down to:
#1. Stop Trying So Hard
Relax be a conversational speaker to truly connect with an audience. The audience wants to listen to someone who is relaxed and comfortable as well as interesting. In the regular conversations we have every day, we have no problem being relaxed. Yet too often when we stand up to give a speech something changes. We focus on the fear at the expense of the speaking. To be an effective public speaker, you must do just the opposite. Focus on the audience and speaking and let go of the fear of the ‘public speaking’.
You can carry on a relaxed conversation with one or two people therefore you can give a great speech. Whether your audience consists of two people or 2,000, and whether you’re talking about the latest breakthrough or what you did today at work, it’s never about turning into someone you’re not. It’s all about talking directly to people, being your authentic self and making a connection. That’s it!
#2. Perfection Kills Authenticity
Stop trying to be perfect, as that squashes your natural and creative authentic expression. When you make a mistake, no one knows or cares but you. The most accomplished public speaker does make a mistake or two. Most often, only you know what you were going to say so remember that the only person who really cares and knows about any one mistake is the person doing the speaking, is you, relax be yourself.
The most important thing you can do is keep going. Don’t stop, and unless the mistake was truly major, don’t apologize. Unless your audience is reading along with your speech, they won’t know that you left out a word or said the wrong name.
Whether you’re a president or manager or a speaking coach like me, you will make mistakes. It’s being human, and that is what helps us be great speakers, our human authenticity enables us to connect with our audience. Audiences don’t want to hear perfection, for that they watch actors. They want to hear from someone who is real.
#3. The Power of Visualization
Visualize yourself giving a successful speech for if you can it, feel it, experience it then you can speak it.
“Imagination is more important than knowledge.” Einstein.
Draw upon the power of visualization to create a positive result. We all do it, mostly we visualize ourselves failing, why not visualize success? Sales people envision themselves closing the deal; executives picture themselves developing new ventures; athletes close their eyes and imagine scoring the winning goal or hitting the home run or winning the gold medal. The mind does not the difference between imagination and reality.
The best way to fight anxiety and become more comfortable is by practicing in the one place no one else can see you–your mind eye. Visualize on a consistent basis daily, your mind will become used to the prospect of speaking in public, and pretty soon you’ll find that the idea no longer elicits those same feelings of anxiety and fear.
If you do this every day, by the time the real presentation arrives your mind will be trained to accept the situation as familiar. You will feel much more relaxed and confident in front of the audience.
Use the power of public speaking to help you get what you want!