Author : Darren Tay, World Champion of Public Speaking 2016
“Now, you can improve your value by 50 percent just by learning communication skills–public speaking. If that’s the case, see me after class and I’ll pay you $150,000.” Warren Buffett, on a serious note, upped the ante from the original job offer of $100,000 to a room of Columbia University students back in 2009. Effective Communication is part and parcel in our daily lives, it does not just revolve around public speaking (i.e. speaking to the masses) but also interpersonal influences from bargaining over commodities to pitching business ideas to persuading your kids to go to bed!
Moreover, the inevitable rise of robotics and digital automation makes the possession of effective communication skills paramount; influential speaking is like an unchoreographed dance, consisting of spontaneous to-and-fro reactions that will render a rote, instructions-dependent robot helpless (like a mechanical spider on the hot pan!).
I have good news for the prepared orators and better news for the introverted, passive yet potential-laden orators. For the former, I will be sharing with you, in this article, some breakthrough communication strategies that you can put into use instantly and as for the latter – yes, natural talent/ charisma NOT required! Allow me to share with you 3 of my 5-point blueprint to become a Champion Public Speaker (for the full disclosure, visit www.darrentay.com):
1. Rhythm is key!
The reason why the catch in the throat and shortness of breath never seem to stop throughout the presentation is that you are rushing through the presentation – either because you want it to perfectly run as how you have rehearsed or the silence-fearing you want to make sure that there’s no pause throughout the presentation.
In fact, pausing isn’t the problem. Pausing is the solution!
Strategic Pausing allows time for audience members to reflect and think of both what you have said, as well as what you are going to say immediately after the pause. More importantly, if they get it right (in other words, they finish your sentence), audience members will feel smart and accomplished and let’s face it, we all like to feel smart, right? This will continue to grab hold of their attention! What is worse is when you present at your own pause-less rhythm and the audience members have to play catch up which most of the time meaning the permanent loss of attention (“I can’t follow anymore! What’s the point of listening the rest!”)
2. Humanize your presence on stage
I believe in staying down-to-earth and fulfilling the needs of my audience; instead of being a know-it-all (even though you may truly be the expert in a particular field) and strutting around with the “Listen-to-me!” stage presence. Inappropriate and haughty hand gestures and body language may make a speaker feel powerful but not his/ her speech powerful. Humanize your speech by sharing with your audience some relatable aspects of your life. We all have fear for somethings – spiders, height, loneliness, public speaking, commitment, mediocrity, failure etc. Some may argue that sharing of personal phobias may signal weakness or expose vulnerabilities.
Why not see it from a positive angle? These are opportunities to engage in human-to-human stimulations, evoke emotional buttons to better make your message stick because ultimately your audience’s acceptance of your speech is far more important than the flawlessness of your delivery. Indeed, presentations and speeches aren’t all about information transmission. In fact, it’s about establishing commonality using shared experiences to convey the “We-are-in-this-together” vibe. So with that, start enhancing your effective communication success by taking action; start being comfortable with adopting strategic power-pauses and humanizing your stage presence. I wish you all the best!
3. Accummulate stage mileage
I always share with my clients and students that Public Speaking is just like cycling and swimming. You cannot learn public speaking just by watching a video on YouTube or reading a book on effective communication. Information alone is never sufficient. You would need to apply those very skills that you have read and consumed (whether online or offline). The best way to apply those techniques is to join a local Toastmasters club where you clock the stage mileage and improve through consistent and well-designed practice(s).
I look forward to connecting with all of you via the following platforms: