So you want to be a public speaker do you? Maybe a politician even!
People who know me know that for me it’s been 20 or so years of public speaking and more than 1,000 seminars. So I’ve been asked this question a zillion times - “what do you need to do to be a great public speaker” - with the expectation that I might offer some technical gem.
Well people.. truth is, my advice never starts with the technical. My advice is always that you first need to get these FOUR BE’s into your head.
BE YOURSELF - Don’t try to be like some speaker you admire, or put on airs and graces or your ‘special’ speaking voice. Be yourself, people will love you for it.
BE EMPATHETIC - Always show empathy for the audience. Put yourself in their shoes, be sensitive to their values, never assume they do or say something that is not for any reason other than to solve something in their life.
BE HONEST - Never ever pretend you know something that you don’t. When someone in an audience asks for an answer you don’t know, be honest and say “I have no idea”. The fastest way to destroy trust and credibility is to assume your audience isn’t very smart and that your lack of knowledge for a given topic could be concealed through giving an answer.
BE GRATEFUL - Gratitude is the essence of every day life. Be thankful when people give you their attention and thank them for it when you kick off. Be thankful they sit through your entire sessions, so at the end thank them for it. Be thankful for them asking tough questions and putting you on the spot and making you a better speaker next time ... remember to say thanks for their contribution to your education.
Now here’s the cool thing.
Wrap this up into a package that has solid TECHNICAL strategy and skill, and great knowledge of the CONTENT..
.. then you have a powerhouse presentation!
I’d love to see more of this in the political domain.