Public speaking is a terrifying experience for many people. In fact, depending on the polls you look at… and believe… the fear of speaking in public is by far the most widespread fear around. It’s also the one thing that most people would least like to do. There is good news, however. Just about everybody can learn to be comfortable with, and even excel at, public speaking. A good beginning is to learn about how those who are great at it already do it. In NLP speak, this is known as modeling.
What are some of the characteristics of brilliant public speakers?
1. The key ingredient to becoming a great public speaker is knowing how to manipulate the audience’s emotions. Brilliant public speakers are able to inspire emotions in their audience, literally captivating them and drawing them into the topic they are covering.
2. Great public speakers find points or areas within their topics that inspire them, and pass along that emotion with their own energy and inspiration. In other words, the speaker is emotionally and intellectually involved in the topic, and expresses his involvement and emotion through his passion and energy. As we have discussed on this blog in the past, energy and emotion are contagious. Brilliant public speakers are aware of the power of their emotion and energy, and tap into it to captivate their audience.
3. Brilliant public speakers focus on the audience more than they do on themselves. They worry less about what they are going to say, and more about the reactions they get from the audience. The feed on audience cues, and adjust their presentations to maximize their emotional impact. They focus attention where it is needed, vary the tonality of their voice, and are fearless in their efforts to transfer their energy to their audience.
4. Effective public speakers deliver their messages in ways that appeal to their audiences. For larger audiences, this means using a variety of modalities – visual, kinesthetic, varying sentence lengths and word selections, and even tactile or olfactory (feel and smell) to maximize their impact on the audience as a whole. For smaller audiences, they do research in advance, and pick up on cues from their audience, and adapt to their preferred modalities for receiving information.
5. Finally, brilliant speakers prepare themselves mentally for presentations. Many use visualization techniques, or dry runs. They visualize how they will present, and how the audience will react. They run through various scenarios and adjustments. They see themselves being confident, knowledgeable, accepted by the audience, and successful.
The fear of public speaking, like many fears, is irrational. In the overwhelming majority of cases, your audience is there to hear what you have to say because they want to be there. With some practice, and some mental preparation, you can become a brilliant public speaker.