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Be driven by “Good > Better > Best” … your way!

 

Be the best.

You.

The best.

Successful, yes.

Getting results, yes.

Feeling good about your speaking – in flow, connecting, feeling the power.

The best.

Most famous.

Most recognised.

Admired, hired, applauded, discussed at conference mealtimes, quoted.

The best.

Better than … who … Tony Robbins, the Dalai Lama? Better than … Seth Godin, Barack Obama?

Good will not get you there, only the best.

Not your best.

The best.

That’s an exciting prospect, and certainly the basis for a Big Hairy Audacious Goal.

Do it.

Believe that it is possible. Believe that public speaking is based not on talent but on study and learning, practice and experience, trial and error, failure and success.

 

 

Whether or not you become the best, several things will happen.

 

 

We learn from those we seek to emulate and overtake. Learn their secrets to success. Learn what works for them.

I want to emphasise “emulate” and “overtake”.  Competition can be a great driver, comparison the absolute opposite.

 

In that process we learn about ourselves. What works for others does not always work for me.  I am me, with my own style, my own talents, my own aims and outcomes.

Have you discovered, yet, what your weaknesses and strengths are, your signature style, your aims – as a speaker, as a competitor, as a striver towards excellence and being your best?

 

Finally, no matter what the outcome, whether we become the best in the world, the best in our niche, the best in the neighbourhood, we can only improve

and become the best we can be.

And out of that comes the feeling good about our speaking – the being in flow, connecting, feeling the power … being admired, hired, applauded, discussed at conference mealtimes, quoted

in the niche, in the neighbourhood.

Let’s do it!

Do the study and learning, get the practice and experience, the trial and error, the failure and success.

Be good, get better, be the best,

whatever that becomes

for you, for me, for us.

Make Them Feel it

“People will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you made them feel.” (Maya Angelou)

Truer words in speaking have never been said.

 

 

 

 

My wife drives a Lexus. I’m not saying that to brag, but to prove a point. When we were car shopping, we saw cheaper vehicles that perform almost just as well as the Lexus, had bells & whistles. We even saw some sleek exteriors as well. But we still settled on the Lexus.

And honestly, we bought it for the “L”. The little “L” piece of metal that adorns the trunk and centre of the steering wheel.

Why? Because we buy with emotion and justify with logic.

Sure we saw more reasonably priced cars. But Lexus equals a bit more luxury, a bit more status, and a bit more class than the other cars we saw. And that’s why we bought it. But we tell people, “we got a good deal”, or “it drives better than the other cars” or some other reason that, although it’s probably true, it’s not why we bought the car.

My wife loves the car because of how it makes her FEEL. She loves sitting in the heated leather seats. She loves the push button start and the low hum of the engine. She loves cruising on the highway and feeling the smooth power of the vehicle.

Emotion is why we buy.
Emotion is also why we listen.

When you speak, you had better evoke some emotion out of your audience. Otherwise you WILL be forgotten after your speech is over. Maybe even before.

Make your audience do one of three things, and they will remember you long after you have finished speaking. Make them do all 3, and you will be far ahead of most speakers.

1) Make them LAUGH

I start with this one due to personal reasons. I love giving inspirational speeches. I literally get goosebumps when I get to the main message within my speech. I remember going to a conference and a speaker taught a breakout session on how to speak. He said that he gave motivational speeches, and that humor “wasn’t his thing”. I remember nodding thinking, “Yup! That’s me! I’m a motivational guy, not a funny guy.”  I couldn’t have been more misguided. The truth is this – If eyes are the window to the soul, laughter is the gateway. Comedian Steve Harvey once said that his mentor Bill Cosby told him that when you get people to laugh, you have their undivided attention. And when you have someone’s undivided attention, you have the ability to affect them and make a positive impact on their lives. Once I learned that, I made it a point to uncover and add humor EVERY time I speak, regardless of topic. If you want to impact your audience,add excitement to every speech, and have audiences asking to hear more of you, you should do the same.

2) Make them THINK

When you speak, as Speaker Susan Lamb-Robinson says, you need to “Get under the skin, and get into the heart”. Sometimes you have to make people think about the pain they will have if they don’t follow the message that you are suggesting. Sometimes people won’t move until the pain of standing still hurts badly enough. So don’t be afraid to make your audience think. The emotion of Fear resulting from Inaction, can often be as powerful as the emotion of Happiness resulting from taking action. Make them Think, make them Feel, and they will Remember and Act.

3) Make them REFLECT

Reflection is an extension of thinking. When you find ways to make your audience not only think, but to reflect on their OWN reality or events from their past, then you’ve really got something! When people think about your story, you relate to them. But when they additionally REFLECT on their own stories in addition to yours, then you’ve moved them. They will be listening to you, while feeling the emotions related to their own lives. And that is a VERY powerful effect to have on someone. Get them to reflect, and they will be waiting for YOU to tell them what to do next.

People may forget what you say, but they will NEVER forget how you made them feel. And if you make them feel, they will also remember the most important things that you say.

This is a guest post from Kwesi Millington.

Kwesi is a public speaking, storytelling & confidence coach, teaching you to speak, share, serve and live with greater confidence. Check out his website at www.CommunicateToCreate.com and do watch his periscopes. He shares some very practical tips on speaking and story.

[Quotation about public speaking] Speaking with style

“People think I can teach them style. What stuff it all is! Have something to say, and say it as clearly as you can. That is the only secret of style.”

— Matthew Arnold

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[Quick public speaking tip] Who cares?

Who cares?

Do you?

Does your audience?

who_cares

What about your speaking success? Do you care about that?

If you care about being successful, you are going to have to consider your audience. Success is all about them.

Consider your audience if you want to be successful.

Show them you care.

They have to feel that you have their best interests in mind, not just your own agenda.

While you are speaking to them, it has to be apparent that you care about them and what they want and need.

Otherwise you lose their trust, and the chance to entertain, inspire, persuade, compel.

…………………

Do you care that what you say aligns with your values and your truth …

about speaking with integrity?

Because if you aren’t in alignment with what you are communicating, saying, you will suffer, feel strange, removed, uncomfortable. You will have to fight it.

I spent years speaking successfully in competition, and yet feeling just that way, as though what I was doing was outside my reality somehow. It’s only since I stopped competing and started helping/inspiring/teaching with my speaking that I have realised the disconnect – I was speaking to win (success). Certainly the content was from within my own values and what I wanted to communicate, but there was always the dual interest, my audience and my success – and so the interest was divided between audience and success instead of focused on that audience.

It is sooooo much easier to show you care – genuinely.

And if you don’t, then I can only say find a way that you do, and use that as a frame for all that you present.

Use your speaking skills to create the connection with your audience and engage them. Use stories and humour. Interact with them. Call back to incidents or people they know. You have to have engagement, anyway, in order to begin the process of persuasion. And it will make it easier for you to feel in flow and connected …

and caring!

Public speaking education

How can we learn to become public speakers?

How do we learn public speaking?

Formal education will make a living; self-education will make you a fortune.

Formal education will make a living; self-education will make you a fortune.

Formal education.

I have post graduate qualifications. Most of the time that I was studying I had no idea what good it would do me, and at times I had no idea what I would do with it. And those two things can be very different!!

That was my formal education.

In my employment I was very grateful for those qualifications because they were recognised wherever I went and I was given employment and wages commensurate with their level.

They made me a living and a good one at that!

Self-education.

A lifelong pursuit, self-education! The older I get, the more intense it becomes. Perhaps I am now cramming!!

We learn by doing.

We learn to avoid pain.

We learn to pursue dreams and goals.

We learn to survive, sometimes.

We learn by research.

We learn by modelling.

We learn through our connection with other people.

And while that comes through formal education, it continues and is far more intense through self-education.

I suspect that in Jim Rohn’s time, there was also very little formal education in things like resilience, risk-taking, entrepreneurship, goal-setting.

I suspect also that in his time, formal education was undertaken under compulsion and the subjects studied, like mine, seemingly having very little correlation with the individual’s needs or innate abilities.

We learned a trade or a profession through formal education.

We learned to take that trade or profession out into the world through self education.

And the same can be said of public speaking.

We learn by doing.

We learn to avoid pain.

We learn to pursue dreams and goals.

We learn to survive, sometimes.

We learn by research.

We learn by modelling.

We learn through our connection with other people.

And while that comes through formal education, it continues and is far more intense through self-education.

Herding as persuasion. What kind of shepherd are you? Or perhaps you are the sheep.

We fit in. We fit in with society, with our families, with our peers.

From a very young age, and from way back in the mists of history, we have been shepherded by our families, our tribe, our peers into conforming.

There was a time, and perhaps there are still times, when our very survival depended/depends on it.

So the urge to conform is strong in us,

especially in situations where we may not know what is appropriate, expected and safe.

I felt it when I attended a presentation early in my days in business.

He had already used various techniques that had me on edge, uncomfortable, aware of the not-so-subtle attempts at persuasion.

He had audience members becoming more and more excited.

“Raise your hand if …” and up went the hands.

Say “Yes” if you agree. And they were shouting “yes”.

“Who wants my freebie?” And before he had finished describing the thousands of dollars’ worth, two gentlemen were running to the stage for his USB.

“Everyone who belongs to my tribe run to the back of the room to sign up.”

And they did.

He had started with a room full of people. Many had left, but the numbers were still quite large.

I had no desire to buy.

I was very aware of what he was doing.

It was unsubtle and ugly,

and yet still I felt an outsider, uncomfortable, boring!

The power of belonging to the herd is incredibly strong.

And more recently, I attended a multi-level-marketing presentation.

I was late, partly because I was reluctant to attend, having agreed to make up numbers for a friend, and found myself sitting in a front row on a chair while about ten people sat on lounge chairs and padded chairs in an arc behind me.

And here again …

“Raise your hand if you want to live your dream.”

And the hands went up.

“Who’s excited by this offer?” And they very nearly shouted “Hallelujah!”

Then the presenter started inviting people to give testimonials and it became fairly obvious that there were only three of us who were not already members of the scheme.

Lovely to have so many people forming a community and supporting my friend who had hosted the event.

And while I felt uncomfortable sitting at the front, the herd force wasn’t as powerful as my first experience because I had gone in without any hopes.

At the earlier event I had been drawn by a particular suggestion in the marketing.

The herd instinct is a strong force for persuasion, especially in the unsure or vulnerable.

shepherd_sheep

Have you been in an audience and felt the force of it?

Perhaps you have been a shepherd, using the force – hopefully with more subtlety and integrity than those I experienced!

[Quotation about public speaking] Catching fire

speaker_catches_fire_blog

And that is what it feels like to own the stage, to really connect, to be in flow as a speaker.

Just for fun – or is it? How to sound smart in your TEDx Talk

There are such huge dangers in following a formula and sounding the same as everyone else!!

In a hilarious talk capping off a day of new ideas at TEDxNewYork, professional funny person Will Stephen shows foolproof presentation skills to make you sound brilliant — even if you are literally saying nothing. (Full disclosure: This talk is brought to you by two TED staffers, who have watched a LOT of TED Talks.)

Try watching it a second time with the sound off!!

Enjoy the special flavour of the unpredictable

There never has been security. No man has ever known what he would meet around the next corner;
if life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavour.

Eleanor Roosevelt.

never_security_web

Harsh words, those, especially for those of us who like to be prepared.

“Never.” … “There never has been security.”

Still, we try to achieve it as much as we can,

prepare for all eventualities,

do our best to avoid the embarrassment of fumbling for an answer, for forgotten words, for a prepared logical flow.

And yet we know, underneath, that what Eleanor Roosevelt said is entirely true.

There will always be the unpredictable.

And we will prepare for that too.

………………….

What about the flavour it brings though?

The flavour of life … the flavour of an unpredictable speaking experience.

I like to think that being a speaker operates on at least 3 levels.

There is me, you, the speaker.

There is what I call the eagle eye – the ability we have to watch ourselves and our audiences from above and evaluate how things are going, in order to adapt.

And then there is the concept that beside the conversation we are having with our audience is another experience, the shared experience of being together in a presentation.

We can leverage that with little moments of quirking an eyebrow at the audience as if to say “See what I did there?”, or less subtly discussing what is actually going on. We can create a shared experience in this level.

If the experience is unexpected, this is where we can really capitalise on that flavour Eleanor mentioned – enjoy the moment together with the audience,

forge a bond of shared experience,

of response to the unexpected

with humour, with pathos or with jointly created action.

So while those un-predictable events can be challenging, especially if we worry too much about them beforehand, or label them failures afterwards,

they can also be the source of some of the most powerful and enjoyable experiences a speaker can have.

Um, How to Eliminate your Filler Words

This is a guest post from Kwesi Millington.

Kwesi is a public speaking, storytelling & confidence coach, teaching you to speak, share, serve and live with greater confidence. Check out his website at www.CommunicateToCreate.com and do watch his periscopes. He shares some very practical tips on speaking and story.

um_eliminate

When you speak, are your phrases littered with “um’s” and “ah’s”? Do filler words fill your speeches?

When I first started speaking, I HATED silence. I used to do anything to fill those silences. And when I didn’t know what to say next, I filled them with the non-word no-no’s that most people often use in conversation. The “Um’s”, “Ah’s”, “Likes” and “You knows”. It’s not that the audience did not understand my speeches when I used these words, but I appeared nervous, unprepared, and less professional.

I devoted myself to working on my delivery, and once I started to eliminate these filler words, I started to be told that my messages were more powerful, and that I was a pretty good speaker!

The thing is, the messages did not change to cause improvements; I literally TOOK AWAY words to make my speeches better, instead of adding them.

Let’s look at 5 strategies you can use starting now to become a, um, better speaker. These are easy to apply steps that will improve your communication and make you appear more confident. It’s as easy as one word: PAUSE.

P – Practice

Rehearse Your Speech. I have heard people say they can “wing it” or that they sound staged when they prepare beforehand. If that is you, fine, but from experience, complete practice leads to calm performances. People add fillers to make up for spaces in a speech that they are not prepared for. When you practice your speech, you get to know your material inside and out. This way, if you forget a part, you can pause and let it come back to you (because you have practised), or simply move on because lets face it, YOU are the only one who knows what you forgot anyways. How do you practice? See my article on the 5Ps of Perfect Practice for more.

A – Answer

When you ask your audience a rhetorical question to your audience (ie: Have you ever had a time when…?), take a moment to quickly answer the question in YOUR mind before continuing to speak. This does 2 things: firstly, it allows the audience to absorb your question, showing that you respect them and actually want them to think about it. Secondly, it forces you to pause, in a spot that you may have otherwise used fillers. The pause makes you look more polished and professional, and then you can continue speaking at your next sentence/thought.

U – Use Everyday as Practice

I once read of a question asked of high school students. They were asked to describe a situation in 2 ways: firstly, how they would tell a police officer the situation, and secondly how they would tell their friends. In the first instance, the verbiage was very proper, and in the second it was casual with fillers and broken English. Though I do not always believe in the following statement, I do believe it applies here: The Way You do ANYTHING, is the Way You do EVERYTHING. So from now on, get in the habit of NEVER using filler words, even when talking to your family and friends. Just like an athlete spends more time practising than in the game, most of your conversations are with people you know, and a very small percentage of your life’s speaking is on a stage, no matter how much you speak. So watch for filler words like um, ah, and like whenever you speak to ANYONE. Reduce then eliminate them in your daily life, and you will see that transfer to the stage.

S – Stop

When you speak, think of how you write. You add commas, semi-colons and periods in your writing. When you speak, deliberately pause where you would at these punctuation points. Many speakers are so focused on their next thought, they forget to let the last one sink in. Most people are visual learners, which means they form pictures in relation to what you say. Give them time to make those pictures, and to re-live your stories with you, by pausing at your punctuation points.

E – Enjoy Yourself

Finally, enjoy the process of speaking. You’ve practised, you know your material, and you have a message to share. Once you forget about being perfect and remembering everything that you want to say, you can enjoy your time on stage, SLOW down, and savour the moment. Don’t worry about the time or think about getting to your next point. Enjoy the NOW, and just deliver your speech one thought at a time!

At the end of the day, as Speaker Craig Valentine says, don’t look for perfection, look for connection!