Public Speaking is not a birth trait. It is an art which can be learnt, practised, and improved every day. Your chances of becoming a powerful speaker depend on the virtues listed below, which we in our training call as competencies. We have to convert these competencies to skills. Say, for example, you are a painter and I am also a painter. But, you can paint portraits, sceneries and what not and that too within minutes. On the other hand, I can only rub the brush on a palate to make a hut and a tree. What do you think? Who is more skilled. You or me? Of course YOU. That, however, doesn’t mean that I cant become a good painter. I will spend my time practising art and will one day achieve success and be an awesome painter.
Likewise, if you want to become a better public speaker, you must work on the following five competencies to become a skilled speaker. Note them!
When on stage, the way you smile and greet your audience plays a major role in the way you’ll be accepted by them. You smile, the audience will become positive. You frown and shake, the audience will become disinterested and nonchalant Do you want this to happen to you? So, rather, carry a big vibrant smile on your face when you go to a stage(of any dimension) and make sure that you greet them with a warm smile. For instance, When you say a Good morning – it should be loud, warm and audible to everyone.
Easily said than done – put yourself in your audience’s situation. Why do you think they are there? To listen to a cry baby or to listen to someone who can transform them, change them, make them a better person? Remember, your audience is as nervous as you are. Just that they are seated and are in a comfortable position but you are standing on a bed of thorns. So, pull up your socks and make sure that when you exit the stage, your audience sits back and goes into a deep though to think and reflect on the learning given by you.
Can you aks the right questions? What are these right questions? Probing is a skill that most speakers miss out on. Because of which, they start to defend themselves during QBDs (Question-based discussions) and then they fumble on further questioning. Remember, every question does not require an answer. Majority of the times, the person asking a question has an answer. He/She just needs clarity from a more researched or learned person i.e. you. But if you start to answer all questions, it would directly imply that you know everything on earth. TRUE but NOT TRUE. Rather, probe deeper and ask questions to the person asking questions to you and lead him to find the answer than answering the question directly.
Well done! Kudos! Amazing! Loved it! Voila! Awesome! You are a champ! I love your energy! I love the way you speak! You are a rockstar buddy! What do you think these are? They are all the positives that you as a public speaker should keep handy. Positivity is everything in this world. Its usage gives power to the most mundane and boring speakers on earth. So what are you waiting for? Use them and don’t judge yourself when you compliment others. One compliment is given fetches one good wish! That’s enough.
Do you believe in creating a relationship with your audience? Haven’t you seen the way Indians try to seek out the similarity in the very first stranger communication? Why do you think we try to say – Oh, I belong to the same place. In fact, I live in the same neighbourhood. That’s nothing, but rapport building in creation. If you are a public speaker and you cannot
Do you find it difficult to raise your voice? Do you ensure that the last person in the auditorium is able to listen to you? Do you have to guts to ask your audience to stand up and do a Mumbai Salsa – 5-step dance with you? I have seen some very strong and sturdy trainers who fail in establishing the right amount of positive energy in the room. I asked them – Why was the session so dull? All they have to say is that the participants were boring! Uhh-uh! Participants are never boring. It’s always the host. If the host(speaker in our case) cannot make the audience get charged up, the show will always be a dull show. So move around and create a space where people can open up, share personal moments openly and help them be fearless. All you can do is with your own energy that you emit while presenting or speaking.
There are 14 more competencies which can make you a whole-package powerful and entertaining speaker. For now, work on the pointers I have shared above. I hope you’d see some change in your own style and presentation. May the force be with you.