To Become A Powerful Public Speaker Master These Qualities
Once you have a compelling story and breathtaking visual design, presentation preparation eventually comes down to one final thing: you. You stepping up, taking the stage, and communicating with your audience. But before anyone can become a powerful public speaker, there are several qualities they must master.
Picture in your mind the most powerful public speaker you’ve ever seen. Maybe it was a TED Talk, or a sermon, or maybe it was even a rock concert (those are presentations, too). Picture that person in your mind, someone who steps on the stage and seems to have this uncanny ability to deliver their presentation with confidence, to own the whole stage, to speak directly to you among hundreds or thousands of people and, amidst all of that, to hold your attention as long as they want. It’s powerful, isn’t it?
Now, what’s the value of getting the delivery of your presentation, right? You may get some applause, some new Twitter followers, or high marks on your speaker evaluation form. But, the most important value of getting your delivery right is this: it gives your idea the very best chance it can possibly have to impact your audience.
A comfortable speaker is a speaker who feels well prepared, confident, and relaxed. They command the stage they stand on with assurance, but they never command it with arrogance. They appear to the audience as qualified as anyone could be on that particular subject.
A comfortable presenter is comfortable with their presentation, with themselves, and with their audience.
I did a couple of things to help anyone practice being comfortable on stage. The first thing I strongly recommend is practice with repetition. When I say repetition, I’m not just talking about reading through your presentation over and over. This type of repetition involves actually standing up, projecting your slides on the wall behind you, holding a clicker in your hand, and imagining that there are hundreds of people out there listening to you give your presentation.
I ask my students do this several times, practicing the slide transitions on a big screen with a clicker and adjusting speaker’s notes when I had to so they would give me just enough to remember the story but not so many speaker notes that they felt tempted to read them.
What Does It Mean to be an Empathetic Communicator?
An empathetic communicator is one who focuses on the audience’s needs instead of their own, and they change their delivery style as necessary to communicate in a way the audience will receive it best.
Practicing in front of a live audience is different than practicing in front of the mirror because you get real-time responses in the form of facial expressions, laughter, and even clapping. Practicing in front of an audience is also a better approximation of how it will feel to give the presentation live. You’re not going to be able to recreate it perfectly, but it’s going to get you a lot farther. By rehearsing his presentation in front of our audience, Roger got to experience that.
All great speakers deliver these qualities to a high degree. They’re comfortable, they’re dynamic, and they’re empathetic. If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to being a powerful public speaker.
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