One of my true loves one earth is speaking in front of audiences. And yet, I do it so rarely now. I absolutely love the feeling of speaking on a topic I feel passionate about, after having prepared, prayed, meditated, and deeply researched the topic even further.
If you’ve shied away from speaking in public, you’ve missed an easily accessible joy. When you ARE prepared, and do a great job, the feeling of accomplishment is wonderful.
And when you do it enough, you learn to read the room and can then cater the words in a different direction that suits that audience a little better.
But there’s several cardinal rules that you can follow to simply make you slightly better than an average speaker. And I don’t know why more people don’t know them.
When I was a teenager I often wondered why I’d get bored with some speakers, and with others, I could be on the edge of my seat. I learned that the boring speakers all say things we’ve already heard before. Also, they say it in a boring way…and they read their speech out.
Most people can’t read their speeches out loud without sounding boring. Some can.
The one unforgivable sin is to be boring. -Christopher Hitchens
To not be boring, TELL PEOPLE THINGS THEY’VE NEVER HEARD BEFORE! That’s usually via stories. And if you don’t have personal stories, tell other people’s stories! And if you don’t know any stories about a topic, at least be super-informative!
In high school, I once told a friend that if he wanted to win his bid for class president, all he needed to do was two things:
- Make the people laugh and they will like you for it.
- Make the people cry and they will love you for it.
Now, you can’t really get all emotional in a high school speech, so he opted to try my first point. He prepared tons of jokes and stunts like telling the school he didn’t need to do A or B to win their votes, and then proceeded to have his supporters do the things he said he wouldn’t do (such as not not needing to bribe them, and then tons of candy being thrown to the gym).
His main opponent came out in a suit and gave a very nice serious speech. That guy lost.
I’m not funny when I do public speaking, but I absolutely know how to:
- not be boring,
- connect with the audience,
- say what they need to hear,
- tell stories,
- act like a normal human being instead of a robot, and
- also say it in a way that keeps the audience’s attention
Am I a pro? Nope. But I’ve spoken hundreds of times for free! Curiously, I am very comfortable when I get up there, I completely stop fidgeting, I stop saying um or uh, and I become another person.
So why don’t I do it more? I’d LOVE to speak anywhere & everywhere once a week as a part of my adventure into self-employment. And I don’t even have a product or course or SaaS to pitch. I just want to speak more. 🙂
My fellow Quote Bosses, if you’re following me on this journey, I’ll keep you informed regarding this initiative. I’m going to get myself back out there, find some venues and events to speak at, and eventually build up my portfolio enough to get enlisted in a speakers bureau too.
What about you? Do you love or hate to speak? Are any of YOU speaking professionally?