The goal of any public speaker is to engage and inform their audience; to deliver a message that inspires and causes real change. In the same way, life itself can be one of the greatest instructors, offering lessons that help public speakers become great.
If your goal is to become a better presenter, these life lessons will bring you public speaking success.
Realize the Value of Time
When we’re young, we think we’re going to live forever. But then one day we awaken to the fact that our life is finite, and every minute counts.
Every minute counts in your presentation as well. Don’t waste one minute with “filler” information. When crafting your message, be sure to only present relevant and valuable information that will actually help your audience.
Give of Yourself
We’re all unique individuals with unique gifts and contributions to give. Often, speakers focus on WHAT new information they can deliver to the audience. But the truth is, unless you’re in the technology industry, most topics are time-honored and there’s not much new news to deliver.
The real value, therefor, is not in the WHAT but in the HOW of delivery, as in, how will you uniquely deliver this information so it adds value? All speakers are unique funnels – they all have unique voices. Your job is to find your voice and genuinely give of yourself. By doing so you will deliver a message that is memorable.
At birth, it would seem many of us are shot out of a cannon at great speed. And that speed never slows as we exhaust ourselves trying to get the best education, marry the most suitable person, carve out the most lucrative career, raise well-behaved children, and save enough money to get those children the best education so they can meet the most suitable partner and carve out the most lucrative careers. It’s exhausting!
At some point, most of us decide to slow down and take time to smell the roses.
Great presenters also know to slow things down and let their audience fully engage with their message. Be sure to slow the pace of your speech when in front of an audience and learn to use pauses effectively.
Get Out of Your Head
Many of us spend all day in our heads, living a virtual life instead of really going out into the world and living fully!
By the same token, you can’t rehearse a speech in your head and think that this virtual practice will really prepare you for the real deal. You must rehearse your speech out loud and move your body around as you will on stage. Never rely on a mental rehearsal, rehearse that speech out in the world and you will find those areas that are a bit clunky.
Live in the Present
Too many of us live in the past or the future. We either worry about things to come or regret things that have already come and gone. The truth is, life is happening right… NOW. If we constantly worry about the future or regret the past, life passes us by.
Speeches must also be given in the present moment. If your last speech didn’t go as well as you hoped, let it go. That was then and this is NOW. Also, don’t spend time worrying that you may tank. Just prepare yourself as best you can and then be fully in the moment.
Change is Inevitable
If you’re 40-years-old and still wearing parachute pants or scrunchies in your hair, it’s time to change your look. Change is inevitable and we shouldn’t necessarily fight it. You’re not the same person as you were at 7, 19, 23, or 38. By the same token, your speech should change as you do. If you’ve been giving the same tired speech for the past 5 years, it’s time to help it evolve so that it aligns with who you now are, what you now know, and what you have to offer that you didn’t 2 years ago.
It’s Okay if the Whole World Doesn’t Love You
When we’re young, we feel like we’re going to die if someone doesn’t like us. We spend our entire youth trying to be liked by the entire world. But the truth is, not everyone is going to like how we look, how we dress, how we talk, or what interests us.
When it comes to crafting your presentations, don’t try and please everyone. In fact, preparing a speech the entire world will love means your speech will be completely generic and valueless. You must have a target audience in mind and craft your speech so it is relevant to this specific group. Being an effective presenter has nothing to do with being loved by everyone and everything to do with helping a core group of people.
These life lessons will not only help you live more fully, they will help you be a better and more successful public speaker.