Public Speaking - Owning The Skills

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					Public Speaking - Owning "The Skills"
People who get paid well to speak all share one of two traits: either
they're famous, or they own "The Skills". To be able to move people who
don't know you as a celebrity of some sort, you must know how to keep
your audience focused on you and your message, and how to keep them on
the same page, on the same wavelength, every step of the way.
Keeping an audience with you is simply not possible with the way 99% of
all public speakers behave when at the front of a group. When you speak
the way most of us have been taught to do from an early age, you engage
in behaviors that send the wrong signals to your audience - in many cases
exactly the opposite of what you would like to signal. Worse, these
standard behaviors actually reduce your cognitive capacity at the time
you most desperately need it.
If these statements seem sweeping, please understand that we have been
training people from business, politics, the military and the clergy for
over 15 years in The Skills. During that time, we have had the privilege
to work with over 10,000 people from all walks of life, and here is what
we have learned: 99% of speakers engage in exactly the same behaviors,
and consequently produce similar results when it comes to the quality of
their speaking.
In fact, in every one of our on-site programs, we begin with an exercise
that "benchmarks" how each student speaks prior to training, and we are
able to predict to the second what each and every participant will do
during their initial delivery. To the second!
Good News!
But that's the good news. It's good news because we also know that most
people speak the way they do simply because they've never been shown the
proper way. And though many people take courses in public speaking in
high school or college, the format of those courses tends to emphasize
the content part of speaking rather than the actual physical behaviors
one needs to understand in order to acquire The Skills.
If you have ever taken a course in school, we bet that your assignments
were to create a series of different types of speeches: The Informative,
The Inspirational, The Motivational, etc., etc.
Sound familiar? But what were you taught about the actual delivery, other
than to look at everyone in the audience and watch your umms and ahhs?
Worse, during your speaking career you probably have been receiving
positive feedback for your behaviors no matter what you've been doing by
people either too polite or simply not knowledgeable enough to tell you
otherwise.
Speaking well: talent or training?
When people learn the proper way; when they understand what the audience
expects of them as human beings; when they embrace the idea that it's OK
to go into a presentation without having spent hours and hours rehearsing
it; when they become comfortable with not knowing what they're going to
say until just before they say it; and when they come to accept that
often the most powerful thing they can say is nothing at all, they never
engage in the old behaviors again. They approach every opportunity to
speak to a crowd with desire and enthusiasm, and the larger the crowd,
the better. They actually see speaking to a group as one of the most
relaxing things they can do, as it is one of the few times left in life
where they are free to do only one thing at a time. These people have The
Skills.
And we can't emphasize enough that The Skills are, indeed, a set of
behaviors that you learn, and not something that you are born with. Only
a very small subset of people is 'born' with the ability to move a group
to action with their words and actions. Those people have what the rest
of us don't: it's called "charisma". Charismatics have been known to lead
thousands to action by the power of their spoken words, often for good,
and sometimes not. But charisma alone didn't get Bill Clinton to the top
job in the world. Bill Clinton, believe it or not, was not always a great
speaker. What he had was both charisma and the brains to know that he did
not know everything - and that becoming a great speaker was both an
essential job requirement and something that someone could be taught.
Bill Clinton was one of only a handful of men who was elected president
of the United States without great personal or family wealth. He got
elected on his ability to motivate people to listen to him, work for him,
follow him and support him all the way. He was successful because he
didn't simply speak; he spoke with a manner and a style that caused
people to not only listen to his words but also to hear them, remember
them, and to believe them. Bill Clinton has The Skills.
The Skills supersede genes, culture, background, heritage, and to a large
extent even education. Many clients come to us because they want help
with their accents or they feel their voice needs correcting in some way.
Although we grant that there are some people with a speaking voice better
suited to silent films, for the vast majority an accent or unique pitch
only adds to the level of interest they can create as a speaker. That's
because, as we'll learn, these traits simply add to one's "humanness".
It's about being you
People are not moved by messages delivered by speakers whom they don't
feel are "real". And yet most of us were taught behaviors that cause us
to adopt completely alien personas when we speak to groups. We try to
become "Presenterman!" or "Presenterwoman!". Sadly, Hillary Clinton does
this. Could you imagine spending dinner across the table from Hillary
Clinton and having her speak to you the way she does to crowds? Pretty
painful thought! Yet you could pretty much imagine that if you were
sharing dinner with Bill, or Ronald Reagan, the conversation would be not
unlike how you know them to speak in public. Alas, Hillary does not have
The Skills.
J. Douglas Jefferys brings twenty-five years of corporate training
experience to his role as a principal of PublicSpeakingSkills.com
[http://www.publicspeakingskills.com]. His firm changes presenters lives
forever with their unique apporach to training presentation design and
delivery skills. Discover how to design and deliver presentations that
audiences actually listen to by visiting their website now. For a quick
and entertaining video of Mr. Jefferys' unique style and approach, check
out: http://publicspeakingskills.com/pages/Store-DVD-Videos.htm

				
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posted:10/11/2010
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