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When It Comes To Public Speaking, You Can Talk Or You Can Deliver

Public speaking is something many people dread. A few people seem to have a gift for it and the majority of others don’t. But like any skill it can be learned and mastered. A good starting point is to stop talking at your audience and start delivering the message they need to hear.

On any list of top fears, the fear of public speaking is usually near the top. That’s understandable. We often fear what we don’t understand and/or don’t have the skill to do. From all the public speaking and presentation skills workshops I’ve delivered, 99+% of attendees (from graduate to CEO) have never received any formal training. All agree that a global assumption appears to be made by someone that because you can talk, you can speak. The truth is that that is a lie!

How comfortable are you with public speaking?

If you’re not, then join the club. You are not alone. I used to avoid speaking at every opportunity. I was convinced there was always someone better than me to do it – real or imagined.  When I was younger I was very introverted – if possible I’d prefer not to even talk.

Public speaking has a lot to do with confidence. We are more confident when we have the skill and get the encouraging feedback. It’s like when you are first learning a skill pertaining to your hobby or, if you can remember, when you first learned to drive. A little encouragement and skill will keep you going as you grow and develop.

As you likely know, there are bad speakers and a few great speakers and all others in between. You’ve seen and heard them at meetings, seminars, conferences and sermons. The good ones you remember for all the right reasons. The bad ones for all the wrong reasons. The majority of speakers make a cardinal error – they speak at their audience. They fail to communicate. Effective communication is 2-way. Just speaking is like the loud speaker or public address system – loud, often unclear and full of unwanted information.

I recall a former CEO presenting to a large group of business owners. When he finished his “speech” he came off stage buzzing. He asserted that he had really “nailed it”. I had the dubious privilege of delivering the feedback that the audience didn’t understand what he had said. As with many male speakers, sadly, he questioned their assessment. His ego rose up because his pride was too much at stake. What he missed was that he was the common denominator. He spoke at the audience, telling them what he wanted to say and what he wanted them to hear. He failed in his preparation to truly understand his audience. He missed the point, so they missed his.

Great speakers are great communicators. Great speakers understand that communication is 2-way. They listen first to their audience so they can understand them – their hurts, feelings, issues, needs etc. Once they understand them, they create a message relevant to the needs, wants and desires of the audience. Then they will be understood.

Great speakers are craftsman. To them speaking is more art than science, more message than information. Think Steve Jobs. Think Nelson Mandela. Think Winston Churchill. I recently read a detailed article on Winston Churchill and his famous speeches. When he was young he was told he would never amount to anything as a speaker. Over the years he applied himself to the art of oratory. His public speaking developed because he mastered its art. His most famous speeches were the results of hours of preparation, edits and practice. On his actual final speeches he had notes on how to deliver a key word, phrase or paragraph. In Britain his speeches were war-winning catalysts.

Everyone can talk but not everyone can deliver.

How do you feel when the UPS van rolls up outside? If you’re like me, I get curious, excited and expectant. You know when the messenger comes to your door or desk you have to sign for that item. When you sign you are saying you are the right person to receive it. Only then can you take ownership. No signature; no delivery.

Great speakers are great messengers. They know their role is to serve and not be served. As with UPS, great messengers have a particular message that is specifically for your benefit. Unlike a speaker whose focus is all about themselves, a messenger’s focus is all about the recipient – the audience. No ego in sight. It’s all about making personal impact.

When it comes to public speaking, it’s worth keeping in mind that communication is the response you get. If your audience doesn’t get your message, you didn’t communicate, you spoke. And no one likes to be spoken to. If you get the response you were seeking from your audience, then you delivered.

Everyone wants to feel they matter and are special. With public speaking, you must always keep that in mind. You must prepare in such a way that whether you’re speaking to 1 or 10,000, each person in the audience will think you are addressing your message specifically for them.

To be a great speaker or, rather, messenger, takes time, skill, practice, confidence and humility. It won’t happen overnight, but when you focus on the right things consistently, you will get there.

To get you started, here’s a few essentials for your public speaking future:

1.Know your outcome. Begin with the end in mind. What’s the outcome the audience wants or needs? What do you want? That gives you focus for your preparation and your delivery.

2. Know your audience. This is often where speakers fail and messengers nail it. Research, research, research. The better you know them, their needs, issues and concerns, the more easily you can build rapport, influence and relationship.

3. Know your stuff. Confidence without substance will only get you so far. This is about preparation and practice.

4. Know yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Know your strengths and limitations. Know what you need to work on. Know what makes you confident and comfortable in your own skin. Your style will be yours and no one else’s; it will help you deliver uniquely and effectively.

Public speaking is not for the faint of heart. But it is far easier when your focus is not on you but on delivering the right message for the audience. When you are a messenger you will show you listened, show you learned, show you care and show you understand. So the next time you speak deliver a powerful message rather than a loud speech.

Your Powerplay

Before you next speak in public, discover the message your audience needs to hear and deliver it to them personally.

#BEGREATER

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My Mistake (And Maybe Yours?)

by Richard Norris on June 28, 2015

Not Got Enough

My Mistake (And Maybe Yours)

When I was growing up I really didn’t like making mistakes. I would get really upset and even angry with myself. I somehow equated a mistake with failure and not being good enough. as it happens I was a perfectionist. This approach to life and learning however made life and school tougher than it needed to be. In addition, I made life miserable for those around me (and thereby compounded my own misery). Who wanted to hang around a sulking and/or angry little boy? The answer – no one.

Despite my parents best efforts at reassurance that a mistake was not the end of the world, I didn’t believe them. However, I didn’t so much as let my mistake get me down it just made me try harder. Whilst I was blessed with persistence and intensity, my approach often was unchanged. Small wonder I didn’t learn the adage that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

I spent years in frustration. I just didn’t learn. I just became more stubborn, frustrated and frustrating.

But then I woke up. I think it wasn’t until university. Until then I had been a top student. However, all of a sudden things became less clear cut and seemingly more subjective. I made mistakes and I learned that I would survive despite them. I felt a weight lift of off my shoulders.

Whilst I was not cured overnight, I began to let things go. I learned and, yes, relearned until I truly believed that it’s okay to make mistakes.

Mistakes are a common occurrence in life. Mistakes always have something to teach you to help you grow. What really matters is that you learn from them and don’t repeat them.

I needed a reminder of this. So…guess what came up on more than one occasion as a reminder / lesson this past week? You can see that from my list of learnings and insights this past week. Perhaps there’s a reminder or two in here for you too. If so, please let me know. For now…read on:

1. If you cannot communicate, you cannot lead.
2. To go places in life, be consistent.
3. Stop seeking perfection; aim for progress.
4. Don’t just hear what your spouse and kids feel; understand how they feel.
5. When you get demotivated, to get back on track you need to do one thing, no matter how small, and do it well.
6. Every mistake holds a lesson.
7. If you’re making mistakes, you’re doing something right.
8. When you fail, ask yourself what’s the right way to deal with it?
9. Holiness is a path not a place.
10. When we run on automatic we delete or ignore what’s going on around us.
11. Control your focus.
12. What you focus on determines how you feel.
13. Ask questions that empower you.
14. When you make a decision, live with the result.
15. Do great now and do even greater next time.
16. Anything that you cling to that is contrary to God’s Word will cause us to fall before your enemy.
17. When you know your values, you know your direction.
18. Self-sabotage happens when your own values are in conflict.
19. The more you give, the more you gain.
20. Your beliefs determine the questions you ask.
21. Make it easier to live and love your life by changing your rules.
22. Set yourself up to succeed.
23. If you learn, you succeed.
24. Everyone has something to contribute.
25. Leadership at home is about giving yourself to those who matter most.
26. Control your day or it will control you.
27. Prayer is a conversation not a monologue.
28. How much you give will determine how much you have.
29. It’s not what you have that makes a difference; it’s what you do with what you have.
30. Be someone worth following and looking up to.
31. Deal with your problems before they deal with you.
32. Cheating is a choice not a mistake.
33. The truth doesn’t change; it changes you.
34. You can’t outsmart hard work.
35. Master the fundamentals.
36. With goals we create our future in advance.
37. Purpose is stronger than outcome.
38. Reasons come first; answers come second.
39. Use what God has given you to bring greater life to those around you.
40. Go for it. Push your limits. Fail to succeed.
41. Dream. Anything is possible. Make that dream come true.
42. Value others. Focus on their best qualities not their worst ones.
43. Each morning think of the potential of the day before you.
44. Be the influence rather than be influenced.

May these help you #BEGREATER

Richard

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It’s Time To Really Focus And Pay Attention

June 25, 2015

It’s Time To Really Focus And Pay Attention When life becomes a blur, it’s a good sign you need to focus. When you allow yourself to be pulled in many directions at once it, it’s a good sign you are easily distracted. To succeed and lead a significant life, you need to focus and pay […]

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