Practical Tips for Public Speaking

The Key is the Connection

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I recently came across the article; 7 Habits of the Best Public Speakers.

Like all good daily business e-articles, the article reduces a huge topic down to a few digestible key-points and repeatable action items. Things like; find quiet time to better plan, plant your feet and use your hands, drink water before presenting, etc. However, one particular point stood out above the rest. So-much-so, I think it deserves more stage-time — as in my experience, it makes up the critical difference between being a poor, decent, good, or great presenter.

“Everyone communicates, few connect.” John C. Maxwell

The key is the connection. What matters is connecting with others and influencing outcomes through making your body language and your words count. Your ability to create change, make momentum, and influence others is directly tied to your ability to connect with people. In my opinion, connecting with your audience is a must-do-task on every presenter’s list.

Three Practical Tips on Connecting:

  1. Find common ground. Winning at the expense of others is a poor solution. Spend the time and energy learning about others. Finding common life experiences, needs, and passions can be the key to unlocking trust. It can ultimately prove to be a very successful step in connecting with your audience.
  2. Create inspirational experiences everyone enjoys. A speaker’s primary task is not to say the exact “right” words, in the exact proper order, with the exact proper grammar. If that is the primary focus, then it is likely you will seem passionless, overly sanitized, and boring. Make your message real. Think about your delivery from the viewer perspective. What are the key points you want them to remember? Your team, customers, viewers, or listeners will likely remember only 5% of what you specifically said, but they will always remember how you started, how you finished, and how you made them feel.
  3. Live what you communicate. There are two sayings we often use in my home; “Say what you mean and mean what you say” and “Don’t tell me; show me.” AKA, practice what you preach. It sounds so simple, yet I think we are being dishonest to ourselves and our audiences when we present and deliver a position or message that we ourselves do not believe in, understand, and live-out. Remember, your greatest testimony will not be the words you use, but the actions you model.

Keep it simple, bring energy, and live what you communicate. Couple these three practical approaches when presenting with a heart-attitude for adding personal and economic value to the people you are speaking to…

That’s connecting!