Nobody’s born as a great public speaker, in fact most of us when we are born, we merely mewl and burble and if we are fortunate, we are listened to as we learn to speak. If we are fortunate to be born into a home where reading, conversation and discussion are a normal part of life, we can learn the basis of good communication. Public speaking should never be confused with conversation, discussion or the transfer of knowledge.
If you look at any (speakers) bureaus list of Professional Speakers (individuals making a living by speaking publicly) you will discover they all have a particular story to tell. Stories of survival, discovery, horror and exploration, all imbued with drama and excitement. Today’s public speaker is part entertainer, thought leader, revolutionary and actor.
Some are filled with outrage and rebellion others with wisdom and soulfulness. Each and every one of them is unique and yet there is a common theme to becoming a successful well-paid Professional Speaker.
Are they made, or are they born that way?
Some are made by a shocking experience of life, the young students who suffered a massacre while at high school in Parkland Florida Shooting 2018have been transformed by the experience, some are still suffering from depression and shock (PSTD) while others have become outspoken and evolved into powerful authentic speakers – motivated to change the gun laws in the United States – they have taken every opportunity to stand on their feet and deliver speeches, learning by doing – the hard way. The experience of tremendous fear and watching people die has motivated them to stand up and speak up to change gun laws!
Most speakers are not ‘born’ that way!!!!
The surprising truth is the people we think are the most natural public speakers often have taken speaking coaching. Very few are be born with a gift and even then they get training, but the overwhelming majority are effective and powerful speakers because they were trained and coached. It is a profession and it pays well.
Three keys to becoming a professional speaker.
Be Yourself – only bigger
Now there is a strange way to describe public speaking, what people want is for you to be yourself – only bigger – what does that mean? Most of us do not go around telling stories (maybe the exception is Grandpas) the audience desires a story that compels them to listen and to become involved. A good story contains humor, a dash of drama and a successful conclusion!
Perfection kills authenticity.
Stop trying to be perfect that squashes your natural and creative authentic expression. When you make a mistake, no one knows if it was written that way 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.
Whether you’re a company 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.
Use 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.
As always, I really appreciate that you are reading my post. I regularly write about leadership, public speaking and communication issues and trends. If you would like to read my regular posts then please click the subscribe button on the bottom of the page. Also, feel free to also connect via Twitter, and passalong the link to this article , ciao Geoffrey