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 if you had to classify yourself, which camp would you place yourself in: introvert or extravert?
If you have placed yourself in the introvert camp, then understanding the importance of public speaking and becoming an effective public speaker is going to be that much harder for you to do.
However, the good news is that if you can understand the challenges that you’ll be facing as an introvert, then you can take steps to overcome them and become a world-class public speaker.
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?