Public Speaking. How to Be Memorable and Confident!

Raise of hands, who likes speaking in public?  Granted, it’s easier when you are in a group of your peers, people you know, and talking about a topic you are passionate and knowledgeable about but none the less, I don’t know of one person who gets excited about speaking in front of other people.

In my first few months of working at my current job I was tasked with presenting the previous year’s marketing figures and analytics.  Having come into the job well into the end of the year I hadn’t been involved in any of it. I was determined to do a great job.  It was my first presentation and I wanted to be seen as a knowledgeable person.  Although I was very nervous and it was my first time seeing the majority of the people in the room, I began feeling much more confident when I began talking about something that I felt I knew a lot about, social media.

So today’s post is about figuring out why so many so called “experts” struggle with public speaking. I certainly don’t lump myself into the “expert” crowd but I have always wanted to be a better public speaker.  Luckily, Forbes published an article online just yesterday about this topic and titled it, Why So Many “Experts” Are Terrible Speakers: Top 5 Public Speaking Mistakes.

Kathy Caprino writes the following:
1. Meet the Audience Where They Are: First and foremost, speakers must remember that their deep knowledge about a topic isn’t (usually)shared by the audience.  Listeners aren’t in the same place you are – they haven’t spent years studying this area, researching it, living it.  It’s new to them.  So you must meet your audience where they are, finding a way to hook them in.
2. Make a Heartfelt Human Connection: I’ve seen evidence that being a nationally-recognized guru doesn’t mean you have any degree of social or emotional intelligence.  I’m finding that numbers of these experts simply fail to engage us on an emotional, heartfelt level – they don’t connect in a personal way, or give the sense that they truly care a whit about the audience and its ability to productively use the vast information they know and share.  In the end, their lack of a human connection makes their presentations feel overwhelming and unsettling…
3. Show Respect for the Listener: …if you’re speaking to social media novices about what they need to do to get up to speed in the social media arena, you must understand that many folks are afraid and insecure about taking the plunge, and you need to be gentle with them, not judgmental, critical or flip…
4. Inspire Follow Up Interest/Action: It’s not enough to present information without inspiring people to follow up with new action or thinking.  Your words and messages simply won’t last in the minds of the audience members if you don’t motivate your listeners to DO something different with what you’ve just shared and taught.  Think about how you can connect and engage with your audience after your talk…
5. Leave a Lasting Message of Significance: …If you’re simply sharing dry information, but don’t touch on the vital “essence” of your material (the living, breathing heart of what you care about and why we should care), you’ll fail as a speaker…

Take Kathy’s advice and improve your public speaking ways, I know I will.

What did you do today?

P.S. All of these points can easily be applied to a job interview.  You want to be calm, cool and collected but you also want to leave a lasting impression and reel in the listener, your potential new boss, so that he or she is left wanting more and therefore have to hire you!


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