Learning from our Canidates

September 13, 2012

Today we’re going to move out of the Internet, into your business practice, and take a cue from this guy:

Today we’re looking at Public Speaking Techniques.  What better place to start than the Democratic and Republican Conventions?  If you’ve haven’t watched them take a moment to watch some highlights and meet us back here.

Did you learn something?  Good.

It doesn’t matter what your politics are, this is a great time to learn about public speaking.  Some of the best speakers alive are given the microphone to coax and audience and win an election.  We can all learn something from these master story tellers, and here are a few of their techniques.

1.  Personal Connection.  Great public speakers start with the personal.  Steve Jobs did this, Bill Clinton does this, Martin Luther King, Jr. did this.  Why? Universal personal stories like family stories, childhood challenges, and examples of perseverance link us.  Makes us realize that the speaker is after our best interest because they have gone through hardships just like me.

If you’re not comfortable sharing personal stories, you can make personal connections from your body language.  From your tone.  Staying open and relaxed and letting people really see you.  Start from here.

2.  Know Your Audience.  Barak Obama speaks differently to a crowd of college students than he does to his cabinet.  You should too.  If you’re speaking to your employees don’t use the same language you’d use with your customers.  Your meaning can be the same but your language should change to suit your audience. 

3.  Agenda.  Really terrific speakers begin from a personal place and weave their agenda through their language, their mannerisms, and their spirit for their audience.  You must do the same.  You can be the most charismatic and personable speaker, but without a game plan you’ll loose your audience.  Know what you’re going after.  Be realistic.  Make a plan.  Then go get ’em.

4.  Show your strengths, laugh at your weaknesses.  A great speaker knows they’re human.  They know they only have ten minutes.  They know the brains of their listeners are restless.  They know only 5% of the audience will be moved to action.  They also talk about that.  Along with sharing person stories, make sure to be realistic with yourself.  If you are really great with language and are 4’10” poke fun at your height. It will humanize you, connecting you further with your audience and make your speech more effective.

5.  Get them within the first two minutes.  Ever watch late night television?  There is a reason late night television hosts begin with a monologue.  They know that if they entertain you for the first two minutes, you’ll come back to them again and again.  This is very true.  First impressions are the strongest in interviews, websites, and public speaking.  Go get ’em!

Great speakers are great story tellers, so when you’re writing your next speech find your story, write it down, say it out loud, and practice with colleagues.  Mirrors won’t help but people do.