Hi there! Welcome to the Present Like a Pro 10-day course! As you’ve likely heard, public speaking is the #1 fear of adults (more than being eaten by a shark, which is actually dangerous). However, public speaking can be a great tool for your professional life, whether you are trying to be noticed for a promotion, be the face of your company, or promote your own business. It’s also an amazing way to connect with customers, employees, colleagues, and new networks in your industry. By going through each lesson in this course, you won’t get stuck stumbling through a presentation that bores your audience ever again.
Today, you’re going to learn the most basic technique you’ll need to get started as an engaging speaker who leaves a positive, lasting impression on your audience. This strategy may seem easy, but it requires deep thought and maybe even some trial and error when you start.
Talk About What Gets YOU Excited
Think back to the last time you were in the audience watching someone speak and you were bored. You were thinking about your grocery list, your weekend plans, maybe even cleaning the litter box. Your mind was swirling and not engaged. Try to picture what the speaker was saying and doing that was making you tune out. Was it the lack of good information? Was it their tone? Their delivery? If you really think about it, the reason speakers are boring is because of one important problem: they’re talking about something that doesn’t get them excited.
How could they convey enthusiasm and interest in the subject to you if they don’t even care about what they’re saying?
If you want to avoid being a boring speaker, you have to pick a topic that lights you up. If you’re not in charge of picking the topic, you need to find an angle that gets you excited. If you don’t, you end up with a boring, lifeless bedtime story.
Speakers have their own style, ranging from loud and boisterous to quiet and stoic. While you may still be working on your speaking style (and we’ll talk about that in upcoming lessons), know that your style doesn’t really matter if you’re not sharing something you love to talk about. There’s no need to try to act a “certain way” on stage—the goal is to convey genuine enthusiasm and transfer that energy to the people in the audience. This is where connection starts!
Your assignment: practice by making a list of five potential subjects to speak about. When you have some alone time, try coming up with an impromptu speech about each subject, only two or three minutes long. Pay attention to how easily the ideas come to you, how you feel when you’re saying them out loud, and the energy you are left with when you’re done. Even this short exercise can give you insight into how you will act on stage, because you’re tricking your body into thinking it’s the real thing!
My favorite place to practice is when I’m driving alone. I probably look crazy to the other drivers, but I use that time to try out new ideas and concepts for upcoming talks. I can tell the subject isn’t one I want to pursue if I get distracted by the radio or start to trail off and lose focus.
You can also test out ideas by putting together a small group of friends or coworkers and asking them to rate your enthusiasm level while you give a few short practice speeches. The best speakers are the ones who sincerely enjoy what they’re presenting and can translate that to the people they are trying to motivate and inspire in their audience.
In the next lesson, you’ll learn how to easily give a presentation that has your audience fully engaged and excited to learn from you.
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