Whatever your profession or personal interests we all have people who we admire and respect in our chosen passion. It may be an author, speaker or leader who has achieved a level of success or significance in their field that we can learn from and feel inspired by.
It may even be someone we aspire to be like based on our perception of them being brilliant in their field. Over the last few days I’ve written about some of my favourite presentation based articles in inc.com, forbes.com and fastcompany.com which I hope you’ve enjoyed.
I wanted to also share with you a few thoughts from some of the genius minds in the territory of brilliant public speaking which influence our work at Mindful Presenter.
1. Expand Their View of the World and Themselves
“When you step up to give your presentation, you might be the most knowledgeable person in the room, but will you wield that knowledge with wisdom and humility? Presentations are not to be viewed as an opportunity to prove how brilliant you are. Instead, the audience should leave saying, ‘Wow, it was a real gift to spend time in that presentation with (insert your name here). I’m now armed with insights and tools to help me succeed.’ People will receive your message and be transformed by it.”
Like Yoda You Must Be
It’s no surprise to me that with the words ‘wisdom’ and ‘humility’ at the heart of a communication philosophy Nancy and her team are changing the world of presenting.
Many speakers struggle with the overpowering need for the approval of their audience; the great speakers acknowledge the importance of being the best that they can while also being conscious of not using the audience order to feed their own egos.
2. The key to storytelling is in the giving, not the getting
“The key to success with presentation—and storytelling in general—is to focus not on getting approval or a particular response from the audience, but on giving something meaningful to them. That is, it’s not about getting but about giving. Many years ago I was inspired by the approach to performance by the conductor Benjamin Zander. In his teachings, and in his book The Art of Possibilities, Zander encourages us to move the focus from ourselves —‘Am I good enough? Will they like me?’—and instead to turn our attention to the audience and ask the question ‘How can I make a contribution?’
Rather than thinking about success or failure, we shift focus to making a contribution for the audience. When you make that shift it’s liberating, you are no longer distracted and weighed down by self-doubt and insecurities. You can focus on something bigger.”
Garr Reynolds is the best-selling author of another two books which are completed aligned to the Mindful Presenter ideology, Presentation Zen and the Naked Presenter. For me, like Nancy Duarte he epitomizes the future of presenting in reminding us that it is all about giving not getting.
3. Start Your Speech by Giving Them Hope
“The French philosopher Gustav Le Bon once wrote, ‘The only religion of mankind is, and always has been, hope.’ When you speak effectively, you give people hope of some kind. Remember, the ultimate purpose of speaking is to inspire people to do things that they would not have done in the absence of your comments. Everything you say should relate to the actions you want people to take and the reasons that they should take those actions.”
I’ve not only read most of his books but I’ve also travelled extensively to hear Brian Tracy speak. For me he represents one of the world’s leaders in practicing what he preaches as an author and a speaker.
The reason I’ve selected this particular quote is because I believe it encapsulates the whole essence and purpose of high impact presenting; to ‘give people hope of some kind’. One of the many things we have in common as human beings is that we are hardwired to live in hope.
It seems to me that most audiences sit patiently in the hope that they will hear something that makes a difference to them.
4. Focus on entertaining
“Many speech coaches will disagree with this, but they don’t speak fifty times a year like I do. My theory is that the goal of a speech is to entertain. If people are entertained, you can also slip in a few nuggets of information. But if your speech is dull, no amount of information will make it great.”
Unless you are speaking at a funeral or making people redundant I believe that Guy makes a really powerful point in encouraging us all to entertain our audience too. It’s certainly something I personally look forward to in the presentations I attend.
His credentials as an entrepreneur, author and speaker are impeccable and his words carry a great deal of wisdom for fellow speakers. Entertaining your audience doesn’t mean you have to tell jokes and act like a stand-up comedian it just means making them feel good.
That can be achieved through telling them stories, involving them, making them curious and simply being different.
5. Get excited, not scared
“So what happens when you hit the stage? Weird stuff. You might feel this strange combination of seeing the audience as friends but also enemies. There is a strange mix between these two emotions that happen when you really get into a talk. For me, I love them for being there and supporting me and being interested in what I have to say, but I also really want them to get the message, to leave with a new understanding of things. And that is a powerful feeling, the pull between those two things.
That is what public speaking is really all about. You want to convey something with nothing but your own voice. You don’t want to seem crazy, but emotion is a good thing. It’s strong. It’s convincing. You’re allowed to get excited about your idea.”
How to Be a Better Public Speaker, From a Public Speaking Pro to You
Another of my personal favourite best-selling authors, speakers and entrepreneurs Gary Vaynerchuk gives presenters permission and encouragement to be excited about their ideas which is something many speakers forget.
One of the great assets of mindful presenting is emotional intelligence which in short is about tuning into the way you feel and channelling that emotion in a way that helps your audience. If you are interested in developing your presentation and communication skills I’d urge you to follow each of these minds and absorb yourself in their work.
I’d be very interested in hearing who influences and inspires you to be the best speaker you can be.
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Image: Courtesy of flickr.com