If I am able to influence 1 person, s/he can be my client or my customer. How about influencing the mass?
Great. Isn’t it?
Now, it is one of the biggest myths that people fear public speaking more than they fear death. For me, it is certainly not true because I have never feared to speak in front of the mass.
In fact, I get more energy to speak seeing the people in front of me.
Maybe because I feel that I am expressing something that’s within me, which I cannot do in front of the computer.
Public Speaking is more of an art than it is science. The way someone puts his/her thoughts completely differs from one another.
Let me quote Priyanka Chopra, one of the leading Bollywood Actresses – “There is only one you because there is no one like you.”
Nature is creative enough to make every one of us unique. Every one of us has a different style of speaking, our own way of persuading people. Even our sense of humor differs from one another. We need to accept that not everyone is Jim Carrey.
Before I share my experience of how I got into public speaking and provide you few pieces of advice to get better as a speaker, let’s know what public speaking is.
What is public speaking?
It is speaking in front of the public, right?
Yeah. That’s true. But the story doesn’t end here.
Public speaking is more about influencing people through the words. And, that’s what makes it different from other forms of expressions like essay writing.
I know. I know. Our speech needs to fulfill other jobs than influencing as well. For instance, to informwhat you have researched or to entertain the audience.
However, the most important part of the public speech is “influence”. Because your speech is not for you, it’s for your audience.
The truth is that “Your speech has to appeal to the audience”. Every word that you utter, your movement, hand gestures or your topic has to appeal to your audience. At the end of the day, it is them who will decide if it was even worth their time.
Why is public speaking important for me?
Once upon a time, I came up with a video on youtube that said: “The Speech That Made Obama President”. I recommend every one to watch this video at least once.
“The Speech that made Obama President”
Immediately after watching the video, I began to wonder – “Is it speech what makes a president?” Or his experience.
As someone digs deeper into this subject, he or she knows it better that influence that I can make in front of matters in my career, no matter what profession I choose to be in.
This speech won Obama the votes that were crucial to make him the president. Maybe you don’t want votes. But at some point in your life, you have to win the hearts of the people.
That’s what makes us human. Unlike any creatures in this world, we are able to influence other’s decision through our words.
What makes a great speech?
A great speech is the one which does its job well.
If the audience gets what you are trying to say and is convinced that your speech was worth their time, then your job is done as a speaker.
Nevertheless, here are few important points to note if want your speech to be great:
- Focus on your content, mannerism comes next. Wherever focus goes, energy flows. Focus your energy on crafting the great content.
- Be audience-centric, not speaker-centric.
- Show the audience that you are confident about the topic.
- Simplicity wins. Practice the art of simplicity.
- Engage the audience so that the audience does not get bored.
Of course, there are many factors to consider while crafting a speech. The list goes on and on and you get better with practice.
How to influence the Mass?
Do you like watching movies? I love south Indian movies. Here’s the harsh truth – “These movies have influenced me and I am not alone”
How do they do this? One word – “Story”.
No one likes to listen to lectures, but everyone loves stories. That’s how our brain is structured. When someone recites their story, our brain cells become more receptive and we begin to relate it to ourselves.
That’s the reason Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc. started his commencement speech like this:
“Today, I would like to tell three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just 3 stories.”
Almost everyone today agrees that no commencement in the history of the world has such grace than the one from Steve Jobs.
Imagine how many people Steve was able to influence form 1 single speech. This is the power of storytelling.
Now that you understand – A story well presented helps you influence your audience more than anything. The only question that remains is “How do you present a story well?“
Let’s get back to the basics – Every speech should appeal to the audience. The more they are able to relate it at a personal level, the higher the influence you will have on them.
This is one of the reasons Barack Obama was able to win the heart of the millions of people. No one likes to listen to a president, but everyone loves to listen to a normal citizen. And, he convinced citizens of America the same thing with the power of his story and examples.
My Personal Story – How I got into Public Speaking?
Two years back, I joined a public speaking club in my town named “Smart Club”. Please don’t be afraid of the word – Smart.
Since then, I have been completely transformed not just as a speaker, but as a person.
I did not have any vision of being a public speaker back then. I just joined the club to learn new that would impact me. Slowly I began to become involved in speaking activities.
The more I spoke, the more I loved me and appreciated me as a person.
The first speech that I delivered was on the topic “Whether or not to promote investment in Space Exploration”. I did not win back then, but the comments that I got from my friends were really inspiring. Everyone seemed to like the way I speak, my confidence and content in the speech as well.
This very fact motivated me to participate more in the club and take more roles like an impromptu speaker.
My weakness at the time:
Although no one noticed it, I had a few weaknesses in my speeches. One of which was “the lack of structure”. Since I used to take the more impromptu roles, it was difficult for me to structure my content in 10-15 seconds that I got.
When it is a prepared speech, the structure is not much of a problem. It seems to be a problem for an impromptu speech. One solution for this is to think of three points and describe these in details and not to deviate from these points.
Getting Rid of Fear during Speech
It is “internal game”.
There is not a single technique or exercise to get rid of this kind of fear.
Here’s my take on it – “If you want to get rid of fear, then you have to dive deep and know what causes fear within you.”
Deep deep down, far far in. Fear is all about chemicals within a body. When you start being comfortable in front of the mass, your body starts to release happy chemicals like Endorphins. That’s why I say it’s an internal game, not an external one.
Why do people become afraid in front of the mass? Acceptance.
We have not simply accepted ourselves the way we are. The day we accept ourselves the way we are, there is no power in the world that can stop you from being a better speaker.
My personal suggestion
There is nothing to lose and everything to give when it comes to public speaking.
So, speak with confidence, speak as if you are the expert in the field.
I like this quote very much – “Everyone has that heart of the lion. Let that lion’s heart scream out of you.”
Everyone gets better and better with practice. All the best on your