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Twelve Positive Thoughts On Public Speaking

November 13, 2014 fm

When, when, when? I cannot tell you how much I’m waiting for Tobias Rodrigues’ first book. (No pressure, pal!) Tobias, a humble giant of change and conflict management, works on a book about bummers and boosters. Bummers, negative thoughts that steal your energy. Boosters, positive thoughts that give you energy. Tobias’ first rule in managing conflict is, Turn your bummers into boosters!

Now – when you think about public speaking, what kind of thoughts pop up in your mind?

Doubt? Uncertainty? Nervousness? Anxiety? Fear?

All those are bummers. Bummers don’t take you anywhere. Don’t you want to go somewhere? Don’t you want to constantly improve and become a better version of yourself?

Then, turn these bummers into boosters. Turn your negative perception of public speaking into positive thoughts of opportunities.

No sugar coating here – public speaking is a nuclear strike against your cerebellum! But public speaking is so much more than angst. Public speaking is also a unique opportunity. Public speaking is a unique opportunity times 12!

1. Feel adrenaline, euphoria and acknowledgment

Public speaking is a bungee jump for free! Before the speech adrenaline rushes through your veins. During the speech you start to feel euphoria. After your speech you receive acknowledgment from others. And all this for free – incredible!

2. Promote your products and services

I remember my time at KPMG, the global advisory firm. One of our best ways to generate leads was to give public presentations at conferences, congresses and other events. Today, it happens to me. After giving a keynote speech, some people from the audience contact me to talk about trainings, speeches or presentation coaching. Speaking in public is a great way to promote your products and services.

3. Educate people

As a speaker you should avoid being a teacher. Share your vision of the world with them, but don’t tell them how their world should look like. What audiences do love though is to learn something new. The birth year of Abe Lincoln, a great quote by Ovid, nine elements of logos – these are educational bits and pieces your audience swallows with great gusto.

4. Entertain others

Entertainment is one of the four general purposes of public speaking (next to information, persuasion and inspiration). When you speak in public more often, you’ll learn about humorous patterns. Self-deprecation, saying the unexpected or exaggeration – it’s a great feeling to know two seconds in advance that your audience will laugh. It’s even greater when they actually do laugh after two seconds. Making a group of strangers laugh is priceless. And if the price I have to pay to get there is fear, I’m willing to pay it!

5. Start relationships

N > 1 – obviously, N is greater than 1. For me as a passionate networker and human connector, public speaking is a wonderland of relationship building. The entire audience knows you after your speech. People come to you and chat for a while. You don’t have to move. You’re the honey; they’re the bears. Also, you skip that darn small talk. You dive right away into the depth of your talk. Great discussions can lead to great relationships.

6. Persuade people

Persuading people with arguments. This is the art of rhetoric. Yes, you can do it in one-to-one meetings. But as my friend and persuasive communication expert Conor Neill says, We cannot change 7 billion people. But we can change 1,000 brains that can change 7 m each. Public speaking reaches out to a multitude of brilliant brains. And you as a speaker have a privileged platform to persuade them.

7. Move people to action

It felt like drinking a glass of Dead Sea water. I still have this horrible flavor of pure salt in my mouth. One of my trainees made us all eat half of a bullion cube. He made us take a symbolic action. As a public speaker you have the power and the authority to make your audience act. And once they act, your persuasive power rises like the fame of Facebook.

8. Inspire your audience

Inspiration starts with an I. Your personal stories inspire people. And mostly it’s the small things that inspire your audience the most. As a public speaker you have a unique opportunity to appeal to the values and higher goals of other human beings. And that’s just wonderful.

9. Connect with human beings

When you’re a good public speaker who conveys sincerity and vulnerability, you’ll always connect with human beings. Your stories connect, your struggles connect, your lessons learned connect. Public speaking is about connection.

10. Expand your comfort zone

When you step out of your comfort zone, you step into a new one, a bigger one. And what could be a better comfort zone destroyer than one of the top 3 fears in the world – public speaking? The bigger your comfort zone the more self-confidence you gain. The more self-confidence you have, the more charisma you radiate. It’s like math.

11. Grow as a person

Every time you step into the limelight, every time you expose yourself, every time you’re naked wearing a suit in front of an audience, you grow as a person. You learn from your failures and mistakes and you learn new success patterns of communication. Public speaking is personal growth.

12. Do therapy

Has there ever been a great public speaker with depression? I strongly doubt it. Public speakers don’t only use logos – logical information, technical information, facts and figures. We also use arguments based on pathos, emotion (original meaning: pain). And how do we appeal to the emotions of people? By revealing our inner self! That’s why public speaking is therapy. And if it’s not therapy, you can do better! Stop spending money on your therapist; start to speak in public!

From bummers to boosters

A bungee jump for free, promoting your products or services, educating and entertaining people, starting relationships, persuading people and moving them to action, inspiring your audience and connecting with human beings, expanding your comfort zone, growing as a person and doing therapy – public speaking has given me so much in life.

You too can benefit from the magic of public speaking. Attend one of my seminars, attend Spectacular Speaking, attend other trainings. Join a Toastmasters club. Speak at weddings, funerals, anniversaries or birthdays. Speak up in your company or volunteer to speak at a conference. The opportunities to speak are everywhere around you. Seize them and you’ll realize how your bummers, slowly but unavoidably, turn into boosters.

And once you achieve that, Tobias will be very proud of you.

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