Become a confident speaker and watch what it does for your future. However, getting up and speaking in front of people is something foreign to most people. After all, it’s one of the big fears in life. Thus, getting up in front of people to speak can be frightening. “What if I forget what I’m talking about?” is a common perception. However, the ability to get up and speak confidently in front of people is a shortcut to your greater success. When you can do this confidently, people give you credit for being intelligent, thoughtful, and a good leader. People will want to help you because you’ll come across as a successful person.
Although I am a professional trainer and speaker now, this was not easy for me at the beginning. I took speech courses in high school because I liked theater. At the opening of assemblies at Will Rogers High School, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, we always started with a student reciting the American’s Creed by memory. Thus, I worked really hard to memorize it and was given the opportunity to do it several times while at Rogers. However, my stage fright got to me every time I appeared in assemblies before hundreds of my fellow students. As a result, I never once got it right and was embarrassed every time I forgot the lines.
It was The Dale Carnegie Course in college and a lot of trial and error that led me to some basic points that helped me become a confident speaker. Thus, if you want to become a confident speaker, I would greatly encourage you to take that course. As a result of the course, I now teach others to use certain points that I learned and people find that these ideas have helped them to quickly and easily feel confident in front of an audience.
Don’t ever agree to speak about something you don’t know anything about. Thus, if someone were to ask me to speak about rocket science, I would have to decline. I’m not an expert on rocket science. I’d be glad to call NASA or Goddard and get them a rocket scientist. This may seem like a simple point, but it’s important. Dale Carnegie wrote a book called “The Quick and Easy Way to Public Speaking”. In that book, he said that if you wanted to have someone give a great speech, have them speak about something they feel strongly about.
Become a confident speaker and you won’t experience what happened to me. As I related, I told you what happened in high school when I memorized The American’s Creed. On another occasion, I also memorized a speech for a high school speech contest. I worked really hard on it and felt I was totally prepared. However, when I got up in front of 1,000 high school students and started that speech, there came a point when my mind went blank. I couldn’t tell you my name, rank, or serial number. As a result, I was totally embarrassed and will never forget that horrible experience. That’s when I realized that memorizing a speech is a road to disaster.
I now recommend that you never get up in front of an audience without some basic notes. Not a word-for-word speech. Use 3 X 5 cards and have 3 points on each card. NUMBER THE CARDS! I’ve been there when I didn’t number the cards. It was disaster when I dropped the cards and had no idea where I was. Using cards will give you confidence. As a result, even if you read every point, with confidence, and your points are good, an audience will never say, “You were reading your cards!” No. If your ideas are good, and can be of value to them, they will remember what you said.
Become a confident speaker by being aware of the setup of the room where you will be speaking. Most speakers never think about the setup and how important that is to your success as a speaker. To start with, I suggest no empty chairs. Ask the host to set up fewer chairs than the number of people expected. Then, when every chair is filled, additional chairs can be added. This makes your event look important. Good lighting is important. Make sure every light is on and, wherever possible, open the shades for natural light. Cram more people into a small room. This is another point that makes your meeting seem important. A small group in a large room takes away from your effectiveness as a speaker.
Watch out for any distractions. Thus, get rid of loud noises wherever possible. Ask people to either turn off their cell phones or you will stop when you hear one and ask the person what the call or text was all about. Be very interactive. When speaking, give a major point and then ask a few members of the audience how they felt about that point. Don’t ask for volunteers. Just simply ask people in the first row, or the third row, one by one, “What did you like best about that point?”
Keep people moving. An audience that sits too long isn’t paying attention to the speaker. Thus, every 30 minutes, ask everyone to stand up, shake hands with the person close to them, and tell them that they’re glad that person is there. Give people the rules for the meeting. Tell them that if they need to go to the bathroom, just go and come back. If they have a back problem, and cannot sit for too long, tell them to simply get up and move around. A comfortable audience is paying attention to you!
I have more details on conducting powerful meetings in the related article at the bottom of this post: Create Powerful Meetings for Greater Profits.
Become a confident speaker by telling stories. I have found that audiences don’t want to hear a bunch of deep psychology. They like hearing my stories. And they will like hearing yours! Be authentic. Your experiences, especially the challenging ones, will be memorable to your audiences. They will learn from how you got through those moments and perhaps be inspired to get through a similar situation. You have experiences that are unique to you and people can often relate to your struggles.
I’ve almost died three times in my life. I’m fine now. But telling those stories, and how I got through those moments, seems to resonate with my audiences. My mother was from Poland, father from Austria, and I was born in Israel. My family immigrated to the U.S. when I was 9. None of us spoke a word of English at the time. By the time I was in high school, I had learned enough English to become a newscaster on a large radio station in Tulsa. I then got fired because of a German accent and I couldn’t read well on the air. I learned to overcome that and got back to radio. All of that is my story and people find it interesting. You have your stories and I believe people will be moved by yours.
Become a confident speaker by using a simple outline, one that you can prepare in minutes and be totally prepared to deliver a great message with enthusiasm. Taking for granted that you’re going to speak about a topic you know a lot about, you will pose a question, make three points, and give a conclusion.
Let’s say you’re going to talk about a favorite hobby – playing tennis. Here is a simplified version of the outline I’m proposing. This procedure has helped many people that I have trained to become confident in front of an audience.
Why do I enjoy playing tennis?
1. I get to be outdoors.
2. It is very good exercise.
3. I get to spend time with friends.
That’s why I enjoy playing tennis.
Be sure to tell your audience that you have 3 points to cover. Audiences like following an outline in their minds. That will keep them tuned in to you. At each point say, “Point number 1, point number 2, or point number 3.”
You could then extend this brief speech by sub-points under each of the 3 main points. Once you have written down all of your points, transfer the information to 3 X 5 cards and number the cards. When you are introduced, start with the question and read your cards.
Tell the person introducing you that you want a short introduction. The best intro for me is usually how the group heard about me and why the person introducing me is excited that I’m there. That’s it. An enthusiastic, short introduction is much better than reading a long bio of the speaker.
The enthusiasm suggestion also pertains to you. Deliver your message with enthusiasm, smile, and watch how well an audience will react to you.
Follow this outline and I believe you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how simple it can be for you to get up and speak effectively in front of any audience.
“I follow a simple, written outline, on cards, and am able to speak confidently in front of any audience.”
Related Article: Create Powerful Meetings for Greater Profits
Get Motivated and Stay Motivated with a Championship Attitude. Learn more about Boaz, Speaker of the Year: Boazpower.com
Copyright 2017 by Boaz Rauchwerger