Public speaking lessons: Inspired by one of my favourite authors, speaker and teachers, the late Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.
Several years ago I had the great pleasure of enjoying listening to Wayne Dyer speak during one of his visits to London. I had already read most of his books and had heard him speak before both at live events I had travelled to in America and through Hay House Radio.
For me he was the epitome of what I later learned to be ‘mindful’ presenting and this time he was in my home territory doing something I had never seen any speaker do so elegantly before.
He spoke for several hours without notes, slides, props or any form of script whatsoever. It was just him standing in front of an audience of hundreds of people from a different country and culture speaking with such flow, eloquence and captivating beauty.
The silence in that auditorium during that entire day was like nothing I have experienced either before or since. It was so delightfully profound that I would even go as far as to call it divine; not one solitary soul in the room that day wanted to miss a single word of Dr. Dyers wisdom.
This article was inspired by one of my many favourite books written by Dr. Dyer: ‘The Power of Intention’.
This small package of infinite wisdom was not only instrumental in me finally launching my own presentation skills training and development business, Mindful Presenter, it opened a new portal for me to explore the world of presenting, public speaking and indeed life itself.
Every day in businesses, conferences, lectures and seminars across the entire world millions of presentations and public speeches are being delivered; each arguably with its own intention.
Whether you are a philosopher, author or renowned speaker like Dr. Dyer or simply someone who is expected to present to colleagues at work I believe that if you have a speech or presentation of any form to make the first critical step to success is understanding your intention.
As Dr Dyer explains in his book: ‘My research reveals a fairly common definition of intention as a strong purpose or aim accompanied by a determination to produce a desired result’.
That sounds like a perfectly sound interpretation of the word ‘intention’ to me and when applied to preparing an important speech or presentation it makes good sense.
That said, I encourage speakers to at least consider the subsequent comment Dr Dyer makes in his book: ‘In my mind, intention is now something much greater than a determined ego or individual will. It’s something almost total opposite.’
I like that line of thought because in my experience far too many presentations I see today, especially in business, are ego based.
I prefer to believe that there is another way of looking at ‘intention’ when it comes to sharing our ideas with an audience. The ‘Seven Faces of Intention’ Dr. Dyer describes in his brilliant book ‘The power of Intention’ offer a fabulous insight and challenging way of thinking for those of us who wish to develop our own presentation skills.
1. The Face of Creativity
‘The very fact that we can breathe and experience life is proof to me that the nature of the life-giving spirit is creative at it’s core’. Dr Wayne Dyer
Starting with the clear intention of taking a creative approach to crafting and delivering your presentation has so many benefits:
It’s far more enjoyable than doing what you always do
It’s more likely to get and keep your audience’s attention
It’s more likely to inspire thought and action
It helps you to stand out so you get to satisfy the ego too
It’s more likely to be remembered and therefore acted upon
Creativity isn’t a word most of us associate with a typical business presentation, in fact, we tend to expect the opposite.
If creativity is an intention then in terms of its availability the really good news is that it is accessible to all of us, as Dr. Dyer reminds us in his book: ‘Imagine that intention is not something you do, but rather a forces that exists in the universe as an invisible field of energy.’
How do you summon creativity as an intention?
There is plenty you can do but here is where I would start:
Make the decision to be creative and tune into the intention of creativity.
Surrender: In other words, let go for a while; breathe, take a long walk, listen to music, paint, look up at the sky, sit under a tree or just be silent.
Remember your story. Reflect back on just how far you’ve come; all of your triumphs, achievements, trials and challenges.
Remember who and what made you the person you are today and the millions of experiences which have shaped so much of your life.
Consider the abundance of creative gems you have within your story so far that can help you to bring your message to life.
2. The Face of Kindness
‘Any power that has, at its inherent nature, the need to create and convert energy into physical form must also be a kindly power.’ Dr. Wayne Dyer
We each have the gift and power to inspire hope, faith and happiness through simple acts of kindness which can not only make a difference in the moment but carry a positive long term impact.
For the presenter or public speaker, the spoken word holds a priceless vault of kindness and compassion that can make an enormous difference to an audience as Dr Dyer himself demonstrated each time he spoke.
It often seems to me that we live in a world where the sense of scarcity seems to dominate so much of our lives, the end result of which is that far too many of us put ourselves first at the expense of others.
When it comes to presenting and speaking in public one of the major keys to reducing anxiety levels is switching our attention from ourselves to our audience. That is where as well a creativity we need to harness the intention of kindness.
In this context that intention revolves around setting out to give as much as we can as generously as we can.
How do you summon kindness as an intention?
Make the decision and set the intention to be kind.
Be kind to yourself first by stopping the negative thoughts, the noise and the doubts.
Be grateful for everything you have including the opportunity to connect with a room of fellow human beings, to have a voice and to make a difference.
Slow down and reframe things. Take your presentation off of your ‘to do list’ and put it on your ‘can’t wait to do this’ list.
Practice humility by focusing on what your audience needs rather than what you want.
Start at home: How kind are you to the people you live and work with.
3. The Face of Love
‘We entered the physical world of boundaries and beginnings through the universal force field of pure love.’ Dr. Wayne Dyer
In a previous article I wrote called, ‘The Future of Presenting: Mindfulness’, I wrote: ‘If you love your audience they will love you back.
In 1943 Abraham Maslow released a psychology paper called ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’, suggesting we each live by six fundamental human needs. One of those six fundamental needs was ‘Love and belonging’.
Decades later Tony Robbins the globally recognized authority in the psychology of motivation said exactly the same thing.
One of our basic fundamental human needs is love and connection.
Don’t make the mistake that many presenters do in believing that just because your audience may not be family or close friends that they don’t need to feel a sense of love and connection.
How do you summon love as an intention?
Make the decision and set the intention to love yourself, your audience and your message.
Love is about co-operation rather than competition, don’t see your audience as competitors, judges or anything other than your friends.
Create content your audience will love.
Craft a conversation rather than a presentation.
Fill the room with your love before you say a word.
Remember love is an energy, the only way you can give it is to feel it yourself.
4. The Face of Beauty
‘As you become receptive to seeing and feeling beauty around you, you’re becoming attuned to the creative power of intention with everything in the natural world.’ Dr. Wayne Dyer
Public speaking doesn’t come particularly easy to most people, in fact for many it ranks among one of their greatest fears. There are of course a number of reasons for such high anxiety in an activity we all employ every day; speaking.
For many speaking in public is quite different whether its to complete strangers or people we know very well. Often our anxiety can relate directly to the image we hold of our audience in our minds before and during the event.
All too often it is not a picture of beauty.
The quality and beauty of the images we hold in our mind about every aspect of our lives are crucially important to us and the thought of presenting to an audience is no exception.
If we see our audience as ‘predators’ and ourselves as ‘prey’ that ugly image is likely to cause both us and our audience a great deal of disharmony.
If we see our audience as judges and ourselves as performers that is also a debilitating image.
In fact, if we see our audience as anything other than a room full of intelligent, talented and creative human beings who share similar hopes, fears, dreams and anxieties to us it is unlikely we will be able to help them.
How do you summon beauty as an intention?
Make the decision and set the intention to see beauty in the opportunity and your audience.
The beauty in the gift of presenting and public speaking is in using our ability to see our audience for who they really are:
A group of complex thinking and emotional beings who are doing all they can every day to be the best that they can be and to make the most out of life, just as we are.
There is enormous beauty in the image that we can not only connect with another human being but that we can improve their lives in some small way.
Make the decision to make your presentation a beautiful experience for both you and your audience.
Fine tune your voice and use its magnificent range.
If you are using visual aids craft beautifully designed slides.
Tell them inspirational stories to warm their hearts.
Craft your content carefully and skilfully.
Sent the right tone and environment; one which is appealing to the senses.
5. The Face of Expansion
‘The elemental nature of life is to increase and seek more and more expression.’ Dr Wayne Dyer
Presenting in business today can be very challenging, daunting and frustrating experiences for both the presenter and their audience.
Audience’s are often disheartened because they feel compelled to attend presentations which could last for anything from 20 minutes to over 2 hours where essentially they learn nothing new.
The intention to help your audience to learn, grow and expand themselves in a way which will help them to express themselves more effectively is so important.
We live in an age where people are simply overwhelmed with information and knowledge today is so easily accessible. When an audience gives up any amount of time to attend a speech or presentation it has to be designed to help them to flourish in some way.
It is of course an invaluable opportunity for the presenter to advance themselves as well as their audience on many different levels.
How do you help your audience to expand?
Make the decision and set the intention to help them to grow.
Tell them something they don’t already know.
Tell them what they need to know, not what you want them to know.
Tell them how to, don’t just share theory; make it practical.
Help them to feel something.
Ask them what they need beforehand, don’t try to guess.
6. The Face of unlimited abundance
‘From the time of your earliest memories, you were probably taught to think in terms of limitations. My property starts here. Yours over there. So we build fences to mark our boundaries.’
In his book Dr Dyer refers to how we were created from the gift of abundance and that so many gifts are given to us ‘freely and fully’.
Personally, I like and subscribe to the idea that there really are no limits for any of us other than those we impose on ourselves.
How do you experience unlimited abundance?
First you have to believe that its possible yourself and then make the decision to inspire your audience to see it too.
Give them everything you have, hold nothing back.
Help them to see the possibilities and opportunities.
Help them to see the future.
Help them to identify and to change their limiting beliefs.
7. The Face of receptivity
‘Yes, I’m willing. Yes, I know that the power of intention is universal. It’s denied to no one.’ Dr Wayne Dyer
The idea that we are all connected to a universal mind which simply needs to be recognised and accepted for us to receive all that it has to offer is very appealing to me; although I accept of course that it’s a perspective some may not share.
I welcome the thought that all it takes is our willingness to be open to the idea that we really can be, do or have whatever it is that we want and that we can help our audience to achieve the same.
How do you become more receptive?
First you have to make the decision and set the intention to do so.
Listen to yourself; tune in to your ‘self’ and your senses.
Slow down and calm down.
Meditate by focusing on nothing but your breath.
Say ‘yes’ more often.
Be open to possibilities beyond what you can see.
Understanding the power of intention, it becomes much easier to grasp how Dr Dyer became such a gifted, graceful and gallant speaker. He not only captured the hearts and minds of millions of people through his spoken and written word, his intentions changed countless lives too.
Each time I heard him speak and every book of his I ever read his words flowed with the intention of:
Are those intentions to be reserved exclusively for those who speak and write from an inspirational, metaphysical or motivational perspective or can they be used in business too?
It is my belief that these seven faces represent the keys to human connection, change and growth and that they very much have a place in the commercial world as well as our individual personal development and peace.
Consider carefully the seven faces of intention the next time you are called on to speak and make a difference.
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