Over the past few months I've delivered and listened to a lot of speeches, especially at Blogworld Expo last month. I heard some good ones and some not so good ones. Sadly, a lot of these mediocre speeches could have been good, even great - they had the right "bones" (e.g. good speaker, engaging topic) - but they lacked what makes a speech interesting, compelling and memorable.
It wasn't talent or ability that was holding these speakers back, it was education.
That's why I've decided to team up with CharityHowTo.com to deliver my own public speaking training course, which will be grounded in my own experiences speaking before many, many audiences, including teaching public speaking at Penn State. (No, I didn't know Jerry Sandusky.)
My qualifications as an instructor public speaking are just one reason why you should sign up for my public speaking course. Here are nine more.
Just showing up doesn't cut it anymore. I kid around with nervous speakers that Mark Twain always told new speakers to "Not worry, they [the audience] don't expect much." This is changing as many people are exposed to more great public speaking at conferences, on Youtube and television and at the movies. People are smarting up to what is and isn't a good public presentation. The pressure is on.
Good off the cuff speeches aren't off the cuff. People watch late night hosts, comedians, preachers and others and say, "That looks easy! I can do that." But being off the cuff takes a lof of practice. A while back I read an article on Conan O'Brien and what he did every day so that he would look "off the cuff" for his show. Let's just say he didn't show up and say "Let's do this!"
Knowing how to speak well gives you a competitive edge. I've seen this firsthand with my own career. Being a great speaker gives you an edge over others that may write or think better than you do. Audiences want to hear from great communicators - and that's not always the smartest person in your industry.
Public speaking improves all your communication skills. Want to sell better? Improve your public speaking skills. Want to be more effective in small groups? Work on your speaking. Want to write more clearly, succinctly and powerfully? The stage is the salve. Embrace your inner JFK [or, in my case, Oprah] and change your life and help your cause.
Public speaking is where the money is. A New York Times bestselling author shared this with me last year: the money is not in selling books and there are easier ways to make a living than consulting. The speaking circuit is both more lucrative and enjoyable. Need a bottom-line reason to become a better speaker? How about making a good living from it!
Public speaking is easy - after someone shows you how. Good public speaking isn't a mystery. The advice has been around since Ancient Greece 2,500 years ago. It's not hard. It's not complicated. It's not a secret. But you do need someone to show you how it's done. If you've never had any formal training in public speaking (BTW, Toastmasters doesn't count. I'll explain why in my course), invest in just this one course.
Your PowerPoint is not your presentation. This one drives me crazy. People hit the play button on their Powerpoint and then just stand back and expect that to be the big show. Your listeners don't want your Powerpoint. They want you. That doesn't mean you can't use Powerpoint. There's a high expectation among audiences that you will use Powerpoint, it's almost strange and distracting not to have it. Powerpoint has to be part of the act, but you're still the ringmaster.
No one will ever tell you you're terrible so fix the problem yourself. You know when you suck. People will be nice and say you did "good." I say it all the time. I blame it on my need to be liked by everyone. Sadly, this isn't doing you any good. Fortunatley, you probably know the truth. The blank stares from the audience. That unsettledness in your gut as your fail to connect with your listeners. Polite smiles afterward. Don't wait for someone to tell you. They might never do you the favor. Fess up and come to your own rescue.
Conquer your fear. Public speaking is the #1 fear. More than spiders, heights, even death, it scares the heck out of people. You can conquer your fear! I'll show you how.
Convinced? Good. Here are the details. See you tomorrow!