So here’s a quick question for you: have you ever head of an “elevator pitch”?
If you haven’t, then perhaps I should introduce to you what it is and why it should be important to all of us. The thinking behind an elevator pitch is exactly what its title implies. The thinking is that if you found yourself traveling on an elevator with a very important person who’s attention you wanted to get, what would you tell them? An elevator pitch is designed to allow you to use the importance of public speaking to make an impression in less than 60 seconds.
As speakers who don’t always control how much time we have to give a speech, it turns out that mastering the art of the elevator speech is a critical skill for all of us.
Nobody ever said that giving a speech was going to be something that would be easy to do, but sometimes it sure seems like it is a lot harder than it should be.
What makes creating a speech so hard to do is what we want the speech to do for us: we want to be able to reach out, make a connection with our audience, and then share with them the valuable information that we have for them using the importance of public speaking. Getting a single speech to do all of these things can be quite a challenge.
What is the best way to create a speech that will work for us?
Let’s face it.
The world is filled with a lot of people who are not very good speakers. We have a chance to hear these people speak all the time. Since we have become at least comfortable with speaking if not pretty good at it, what all of this means is that because of the importance of public speaking we now have an obligation. As accomplished speakers, it is our job to help those who have not yet reached our level of speaking to improve. How can we go about doing this?
Simple – by mentoring.
What will the goal of your next speech be?
If you are like most of us, you understand the importance of public speaking and you’ll want to grab your audience’s attention at the start of your speech and then find a way to hold on to it throughout the rest of your speech. Although this sounds like a great thing to do, the challenge that we all run into is that it’s really not all that easy to do. All too often the speeches that we create have no real structure to them and they end up leaving our audiences confused about what the main point of our speech really was. We need to fix this problem.
We need to start to use the triangle.
This has pretty much happened to all of us at one time or another.
We’ve agreed to give a speech and eventually we sit down to write the speech and then bang – nothing comes into our mind. We draw a blank. We might know what we’ve been asked to talk about, we might know our audience, we might know the importance of public speaking, we might know everything, but still we just don’t seem to be able to find a way to start our speech.
What’s a speaker to do when this happens?
If you want to give a speech then you are going to have to write a speech before you give it.
If you are going to write a speech, then at some point in time you are going to have to sit down and start to write it. However, this is the point in time that some of us run into a brick wall. We just don’t seem to be able to get started writing. The fancy term for what’s going on here is called “writer’s block”. There seems to be something intimidating about staring at a blank sheet of paper.
What’s a public speaker to do?
Not every speech that we will give will be the same.
There will be times when you are called on to speak in public where the people running the show won’t actually want you to give a speech. Instead what they are going to want to you do is to act as the master of ceremonies (aka emcee) at their event. What this means is that all of sudden your on stage performance has just become a critical part of the success of their event. If you do a poor job, then you can end up ruining the event. If you do a good job, then you can create an experience that shows off the importance of public speaking and is both engaging and appears to be seamless.
The job of the emcee is to make all of the speakers feel comfortable and to allow the audience to feel included in the program.
This speaking stuff is actually quite hard to do. As with all such things in life, if it is hard to do then there must be people who understand the importance of public speaking and are willing to pay you to do it. Right?
The answer to this question turns out to be “yes”. Once you’ve been speaking for a while you may start to think about “going pro” – having someone pay you to give a speech.
This can open a number of doors for you; however, before you take this step you need to realize that there is a lot that you need to know before you start making your living by giving speeches.
When we are asked to give a presentation, sometimes it comes with a twist.
The twist is that other people have been asked to give the same presentation at the same time. What this means for us is that we are now going to be part of a group presentation and the rules for giving a presentation have now been changed.
A group presentation can be a very powerful thing and can allow us to share the importance of public speaking; however, if we going to do this correctly, then we need to make sure that we know how to go about doing it the right way.
By now I’m pretty sure that most of us are somewhat comfortable with the concept of giving a speech by ourselves.
Yes, it can be a very nerve racking thing to do, but over time we get used to the process of understanding the importance of public speaking and accepting the opportunity, creating a speech, practicing it, and then finally giving it. However, it turns out that this is not the only way that speeches get given. There is also a variant called the group speech. This is exactly what it sounds like: a group of people get up on the stage and they all work together to deliver a single speech.
These can be great speeches to both give and listen to; however, they require special techniques to build them correctly.
When it comes time to deliver a presentation, we don’t always do it alone.
Sometimes we are called upon to participate in a group presentation. These can be tricky to do correctly. No matter who the presentation is going to be given to, we need to realize that the most important thing about the presentation is that it has to give the impression that it was all put together by a single person in order to deliver the importance of public speaking.
This is the challenge that you face every time you get asked to participate in a group presentation.
So how do you feel about your audience?
Do you like them? Maybe we can take this one step further – do you love them? Do you want them to love you? When you consider the fact that your audience probably has never met you before, this might seem like a bit of a stretch goal even if you understand the importance of public speaking. However, as a speaker you have some pretty incredible powers.
You have the ability to make your audience fall in love with you if your speech can seduce them, engage their minds, and finally win their hearts.
When we give a speech, one of our goals for giving the speech is to find a way to use the importance of public speaking to convince our audience about something. In order to sway their opinion, we often go looking for data that will support the point that we are trying to make.
Although data can be a powerful tool that can help us to get people to agree with our point-of-view, it can also turn an audience away. If we use too much data in a speech or if we present it in a way that causes our audience to tune out, then we will have hurt our chances of convincing our audience.
How can use a speaker use data in the right way?
For some odd reason, technical people seem to have a deep set fear of speaking in pubic.
Now I’m a technical person, so I feel a personal linkage to this issue. Where does this problem come from? I think that the problem originates from the fact that people who have dived into a technical field more often than not are less extroverted than other people. They will often go to great lengths to avoid having themselves placed into situations where they will be required to speak in public. This can be a real disadvantage for them because often they have a great deal of technical information that they need to share with others.
How can we go about fixing this problem?
It takes a lot of effort to create a speech.
You have to write it, practice it, and eventually deliver it. As long as we are going to all of this effort and because of the importance of public speaking, it sure seems as though we should also be trying to find ways to grab our audience’s attention and hold on to it throughout our speech. As easy as this is to say, it turns out that it’s actually quite difficult to do. One thing that we need to understand is that we know how we view the world. However, what a lot of us don’t know is how the world views us.
If we can figure this out, then we can become more confident and even more authentic to our audiences and we’ll be able to grab on to their attention.
How good of yeller are you?
I mean, if you were giving a speech in a really big room that was crowded with people, could you yell your speech loud enough to make sure that even the people in the back could hear what you were saying? If you are like me, you might be able to do this for a while, but you sure could not do it for an entire speech. That’s why we need help when we find ourselves in situations like this. This is when the microphone comes in to play. However, it turns out that using a microphone is not as simple as it might initially appear.
There is a right way to go about doing this and a wrong way.
As speakers, every time that we deliver a speech, we’d like to be able to use the importance of public speaking to draw our audience into our speech.
We’d like to make it so that they experience what we are telling them. A great way to make this happen is to include stories in our speech. Stories allow us to introduce outside characters, move the talk to a new location, and if we want even to move through time. However, a story can be a tricky thing to include in a speech.
As speakers we need to make sure that when we include a story in our speech, we go about doing it the right way.
Don’t get me wrong – data is a wonderful thing.
However, as speakers we need to be very careful when we encounter data that we want to share with our audience. It can be too easy to just back the truck up and dump a lot of facts and figures onto our audience with the hope that they’ll be able to sort them out. The answer is that they are not going to be able to understand what we’ve shared with them and they’ll leave our presentation confused and lost.
What this means for us is that when we try to use statistics and numbers to sway our audience, it’s going to be much better if we show them what we mean instead of telling them what we mean.
The reason that we are willing to give a speech is because we understand the importance of public speaking and we want to be able to connect with our audience. We want the words that we say to change their world.
There are a number of different ways to go about doing this and each one of them has their benefits and distractions. However, one of the most powerful ways to ensure that your next speech will be remembered is to add humor to it.
If you can get your audience to laugh with you during your speech, then there is a good chance that they’ll remember what you told them.
So the question is do you want to become a better public speaker? If the answer to this question is “yes”, then the next question has to be “how?”
It turns out that there are a lot of different answers to this question and some of them work, and some don’t. Through trial and error and experimentation, what has been found to work is for public speakers to engage in some improv.
It turns out that spending your time doing this is a great way to engage in exercises that will boost your spontaneity and allow you to hone your communication skills.
In the world of public speaking, there are a number of different types of speeches that we can give. One of the most difficult speeches is called the roast. Just in case you’ve never given a roast before, a roast is intended to both honor and gently tease the guest of honor in front of his coworkers, family, and friends.
All too often what speakers forget is that a roast is not done to punish the person being roasted, but rather to honor them and pay tribute to them. The problem is that many roasts are not done very well and end up leaving the person being roasted feeling bad.
What’s the right way to do a roast?
Any time that we give a speech, we’d like that speech to be remembered by our audience. In order for that to happen, we need to use the importance of public speaking to make sure that the content of our speech is something that is going to capture the attention of our audience.
We all know that stories are a great way to make this happen. The big question that we need to answer is if stories are appropriate for a business speech. The good news is that they are.
When we use a story to allow our audience to visualize a situation it permits them to empathize, appreciate, and identify with what we are talking about. Now all you have to do is get good at telling business stories!
I bet that your next speech is going to be great! You’ve got an exciting topic, your audience wants to hear what you have to say, and you’ve created a speech that virtually crackles with great content.
However, you can still blow this speech and take away from the importance of public speaking. If instead of delivering a tasty speech with great content to your audience you instead provide them with a speech that is stuffed with filler words like “and”, “um”, “ah”, and even “so” then you will have failed in your attempt to win their hearts and minds.
What’s are speakers to do?
I’m sorry to have to be the one to share this with you, but when you are giving a speech your audience really does not care about you.
Oh yeah, you picked a topic that you thought would appeal to them, you have some experience or expertise in this area that you told the world about in order to get people to show up for the speech, and so on. However, as your audience sits there in those uncomfortable chairs, it turns out that they really don’t give a darn about you.
Instead, when it comes to your speech, they want to know whats in it for them. How are you going to make this happen?
As speakers we understand the importance of public speaking and so we tend to spend a lot of time thinking about what we want to say in our next speech. We’ll worry about what words to use, how we should stand when we are on stage, and the importance of making good eye contact with our audience.
However, it turns out that there is something even more important than this that we should be spending our time thinking about. We should really be spending our time thinking about our audience. Just exactly who are they? Perhaps even more importantly, where did they come from?
I think that we can easily answer this question when our audience is a local audience, but what are the correct answers when we are dealing with a global audience?
As we are putting together our next speech, we may get caught up in the moment and the importance of public speaking. We have so many great things that we want to share with our audience that we we keep adding more and more content to our speech in order to make sure that we share all of it with them.
This, of course, brings up a significant problem for every speaker. We have only been allocated so much time in which to give our speech. We need to make sure that we don’t run over the time that we’ve been given.
What’s a speaker to do?
When you give your next speech, how do you think that your audience will be judging you? It turns out that, not unsurprisingly, a big part of how your audience will be judging you is going to be based on how your voice sounds to them.
You may not be aware of it, but as humans, we are wired to have our emotions, memories, and in some cases even thoughts automatically triggered when we hear someone else’s voice. What this means for you as a speaker is that you are going to want to make sure that your audience likes listening to your voice so that they can experience the importance of public speaking.
How can you go about making this happen?
Before we look at some strategies to help you position your message for a favorable response, I encourage you to first look inside yourself. How do you approach asking? Are you an asker or a guesser? Let’s talk about both.
Some people are fine with asking questions without regard for the outcome. In other words, they’re fine with asking anything at all and are readily willing to accept no. Other people fall into the guesser category. Those in this category avoid making “the ask” without being pretty certain the answer will be yes. People in this category will often put out feelers to better predict the outcome. These people often ease into the ask, or don’t even have to make it at all. By edging closer and closer to the desired outcome, their audience will often be persuaded through this strategic, indirect approach to persuading.
Let’s explore three ways of positioning...
So here’s an interesting question for you: could you drive your car if it didn’t have any mirrors. I’m thinking that the answer would be yes, but boy-o-boy would we all be nervous as we first backed up, and then headed off down the road. We’d have no idea what was behind us or what might be passing us on either side.
Driving would turn into a bit of a nightmare. Now we all do have mirrors on our cars and that’s a good thing. However, it turns out that those mirrors are not perfect – we can still have blind spots where things (cars, people, bikes, etc.) can exist and we can’t see them. This can be a big deal.
Is it possible that when we are giving a speech we may also have blind spots that we don’t know about?
As speakers, we really don’t have all that many tools that we can work with to show the importance of public speaking when we are delivering a speech to an audience. Sure we have our voice and some body language, but is there anything else that we can use to give some impact to our speech?
It turns out that the answer is yes: the stage that we are standing on. All too often, speakers don’t fully understand how to make the best use of this wonderful tool. It’s there to help you to transform your speech into a spellbinding presentation.
So can we take just a moment and talk about being funny? It sure seems like some speakers have no problem getting their audience to laugh. They take the stage, they open their mouth, and almost instantly everyone is giggling and laughing. Then there are the rest of us.
Clearly they understand the importance of public speaking. Look, I like to laugh just as much as the next person; however, getting other people to laugh has always been a bit of a challenge for me. What to say? When to say it? How to say it?
Well, it turns out that there is a fairly simple way to get people to laugh – you just have to know how to twist your words.
When you stand up in front of an audience to give a speech, something happens to you. You are transformed from just another person who happens to be in the room into the person that everyone is going to be listening to.
What’s interesting about this transformation is that it has to have an impact on your voice also. However, sometimes when I’m listening to a speaker I’ll realize that they didn’t transform their voice and it’s impacting the speech that they are giving.
Do you change your voice when you give a speech?