Two snippets from posts about public speaking:
How to be an Awesome Public Speaker
A great public speaker is not one who has tons of side-splitting jokes, or makes you cry, or delivers amazing ideas, or beautiful turns of phrase, or follows all those rules about signposting and structure from debate or forensics club. None of those things really matter in the end. Neither does your personality, voice, physical appearance, or whether you use your hands, a podium, or slides.
A great speaker is one whose ideas and heart are transmitted directly and clearly to the audience. A great speaker is a genuine person whose unique perspective and personality isn’t obscured by nerves or ticks or anything else.
To be a great public speaker is to allow who you really are to come through.
What Public Speaking Can Teach You About Work
He asked me what are the most helpful things for me when it comes to reducing nerves and getting in the zone as a speaker. I told him the two most important things for me are:
- Lots of Practice
- Unique Content
Practice is obvious. Public speaking, like digital skills, social skills, bike riding, creativity, or confidence, is not one of those things you can become great at by studying. You have to do it. A lot. There simply is no substitute for doing it when it comes to gaining comfort and skill.
The second point is not actually about the content in any objective sense. I don’t think there are right and wrong content decisions, topics, formats, tones, or structures that will consistently lead to success and enjoyment as a speaker. When I say content matters, I really mean crafting a talk that is unique to you.
Over the last decade or so I’ve had the pleasure of running public speaking workshops for hundreds of people of all ages. Praxis participants go through them, and I’ve even done them for some seasoned CEO’s as a last minute prep for a pitch or big presentation.
I’m just putting the finishing touches on a digitized version of the workshop, thanks to the help of Mitchell Earl and Derek Magill. It includes not just the content of the workshop in terms of tips and techniques, but actually allows participants to give their own speech and submit it for feedback, then do a second take and walk away with some concrete tips unique to them.
We’ll be using it for Praxis participants across the country, but I’m going to open it up for 10 people outside of Praxis to go through it as well, as a kind of test. If you’re interested, enter your info in the form below and you’ll be notified when it’s open!