You learn to speak by speaking …

“You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working; in just the same way, you learn to love by loving.”

Anatole France

Quick public speaking tip – This week’s tip … gestures

Basically, when it comes to gestures, you can probably forget them. If you don’t care about your subject, if you don’t connect with your audience, if you don’t have a clear message, then gestures won’t matter one iota. They can’t save a bad speech or a bad speaker. Harsh, isn’t it? But true in the majority of cases.

And on the other hand (pardon the intentional pun)oftentimes, if you get those three things right, (enthusiasm, connection and message) the gestures will flow naturally and again, you can forget about them.

But … and there’s that pivotal word … but …

there are occasions when – and there are people who

have a distracting gesture.

They click or twiddle a pen, play with their hair or their clothes, hold a microphone with fingers unconsciously making a rude gesture, take glasses on and off, put hands in pockets and take them out.

All of these things are not necessarily detrimental in themselves, if the audience is absolutely focused on the speaker and the message. But if there is any reason for the audience’s attention to stray (and we all have short attention spans) then they will become fascinated, at best, and possibly annoyed, at whatever it is that the speaker is doing with their hands.

So you either get a coach to point it out, or you join a public speaking group who will point it out for you.

Or … and there’s another pivotal word, but a much more encouraging one this time

or … you learn to be aware of your gestures.

It’s a skill that can really only be learned and refined by practice.

You need to have the back of your brain sending out little spy satellites on regular intervals as you speak. One will be checking the energy of the audience, their attention. And another will be watching you, as you speak – your face, your body, you hands and your eyes. It will particularly be watching for repetitive gestures, odd gestures, incongruent gestures and gestures that are taking away from your enthusiasm, your audience connection and your message.

It’s a skill worth building through feedback and through practice, because gestures can make or break a great presentation.

Dan Quayle – today’s quotation about public speaking

I hadn’t heard about Dan Quayle’s reputation, though at least I had heard of the man. I was researching quotations about public speaking and found this one.

Public speaking is very easy.
~ Dan Quayle

Intrigued, I had to find out more – what was the context?

Why did he say that?

Was he being arrogant?

Was he joking?

I still haven’t discovered the context, but I have discovered some amazing statements attributed to him. What a speaker he really was!!

Pimp my PowerPoint – Eight PowerPoint presentation tips!

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