Let’s imagine for a moment you have the opportunity to speak in public. How does that make you feel? Confident? Excited? Petrified? If you wish to become a confident public speaker, regardless of the topic, then this is the blog for you.
Fear of speaking in public is a common thing. Many people would rather through themselves out of a plane than stand up in a room and share their thoughts and expertise.
However, to make the most of your career or business, public speaking and presentations are a must-have skill. Regardless of your job or service, the ability to confidently speak in front can make or break your goals. To date, clients have needed to speak in public in a range of ways. Job interviews, “30 seconds pitches” at networking, meetings, training to Facebook lives; doing these well can catapult your business or career at a rate of knots!
Preparing for this article, I did a quick search on public speaking and found pages after pages of tips and advice, many of which that concentrated on the technological side of presentation skills. This is something I want you to immediately step away from. How many of us have been sat, bored to tears, with slide after slide of PowerPoint? Even the swish Prezzi, however, advanced in its animation, can be spoilt if the content is poor and the presentation style is dry.
Think back to the last time you were truly captivated during a speech or presentation. When time seemed to disappear and all you could pay attention to was the person. What was it that made them so inspiring or engaging? My personal inspiration is TED talks. They rarely have slides and never have notes; regardless of the subject I become totally absorbed by the subject matter.
Whenever I coach clients on confidence, one area that comes up is public speaking. So, it seems necessary to review a book that covers public speaking, in a way that goes against the usual dry and formulaic approaches.
Shola Kaye is a singer. Check out her Instagram page to witness her amazing stage presence, connection with the audience and performance. She uses this experience, insight and outlook and applies it to the world of public speaking in her book “How to be a DIVA at Public Speaking”. Using singers we will all know and love as “avatars” for four main types of speaking styles, people we can recognise and identify with, Shola guides us through ways to find your style.
The starting point is to consider how you want to “show up” in your public speaking; where are you lacking confidence or where do you want to build on. DIVA is not just a nod to the superstars she mentioned, it is a four-part system. You need to decide which are you want to concentrate on:
D: If you want to portray excitement and energy. Dynamic
I: If you want to connect and involve your audience. Inspiring
V: Want to provide lasting value? Value
A: To be the true you? Authentic
This book challenges you to find who you want to be, and then practise, practise and move out of your comfort zone!
This book is great to read, challenging but not intimidating and allows you to be YOU. It highlights the power of presenting style; in fact, content isn’t mentioned until Chapter 8.
I strongly urge you to read this book. At the very least, check out her website!
These are the key things to take away from the book, and to become a DIVA!
1. Friendly faces
Remember the audience, be it an interview panel or a conference hall, want you to do well. They want to learn, be inspired, be educated or be challenged. Find the friendly faces, either before the event by mingling, or from open, smiling body language, and hold them in your head when you are speaking. Don’t fixate on these though! Nothing is more off-putting than a speaker “staring down” at the audience. Scan the room to engage with them all.
You can connect even more with these friendly faces through audience participation. This can even work in an interview presentation situation. Ask questions (hands up how many have …), ask them to turn to each other in their seats or take questions at the end.
2. Plan with wiggle room
An impressive speaker talk with no notes, or limited notes. However, they don’t get to that point without preparation. Shola recommends scripting your opening and closing and learning those verbatim. They are your lines that you need to prepare. It allows you to start confidently and purposefully. The close will happen the same way. If you need the comfort of notes, then create a bullet point list or develop a memory technique (mnemonics are great) to be able to have enough of structure that you are prepared and enough wiggle room to feel the room! Nothing is nicer than a speaker mentioning something unique to the day or event – even if it means you go “off script”.
3. What is the point?
Make sure you know who is in the audience. What is the point of you, and they, being there? For an interview, you know you are there to show how you are going to be successful in the role. For a training day, what are they expecting to learn? For a business event, are you there to educate, inspire or sell?
Make sure you are also clear what YOU want out of it. Why are you speaking? Who do you want to help, engage with or inspire?
4. Power of Stories
However we dress it up, us humans love a good story. It may be comedic, inspiring, shocking or sentimental, it can lift an average speech to a performance. What is the story you will use? A personal one demonstrating the power of your service? A client one that shows their transformation?
Think of the last song that moved you; made you cry or sing along at the top of your voice. What was it that connected you? When telling your story, how you present it is just as important as what you are saying. Make sure you consider your pitch, pace, the volume, vocal quality and pausing.
When you want to make a point, the pause is phenomenal!
The power of performance is clear in this TEDx Talk. Let’s see how someone can spend 5 minutes talking about nothing!
5. Manage stage fright
There is a belief that confident singers and public speaker do it effortlessly. That they stride on the stage full of energy and belief; what you may not have seen what their pre-performance rituals! I was glad to see Shola covered off mind-set tricks to help with anxiety and jitters. Simply, re-frame. When the butterflies come, say to yourself “I’m excited” rather than “I’m nervous”. Say it enough and you will start to believe it.
Even as a confident speaker and regular trainer (and Facebook live-r) I learnt so much from this book. I look forward to dipping in and out of it over the coming years; maybe, just maybe, for a TEDx talk (one of my “Bucket list” goals)
Join The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox to let me know how you will use these tips in your public speaking.
This book was provided for free in exchange for an honest review.