Today I will share a method which will transform your public speaking. All you have to remember are three words which begin with the letter P. Are you ready to find out how they can help you deliver a powerful speech every time?
Public speaking guru Kenneth McFarland taught a unique method. According to him, speaking in public is not about standing in a prescribed manner, positioning your hands in a certain way or remembering all kinds of do’s and don’ts. The most important ingredient is your passion, your enthusiasm and your excitement about your speech topic. You must be highly interested in your subject. Once you are sufficiently fired up about what you want to say, you will transmit that energy to your audience.
Sadly, the opposite is also true. If you are not motivated to speak on a topic, your audience will pick up on that feeling and reflect it back to you by showing their lack of interest in you and your speech. Don’t let that happen.
Only accept to speak on subjects about which you feel strongly. Examine yourself. What issues arouse your most powerful emotions? What are the issues you are drawn to? Those are the things that you are passionate about. Decide to focus on those subjects and speak only about them. In time, and with passion, you will develop into a commanding speaker.
You have identified what you are passionate about. Good. You are now ready for the second P which stands for Preparation. Preparation involves researching your topic and illustrating your points effectively.
Let’s say the topic of leadership is what excites you. Running on passion alone will not be enough to get you to your destination. To be able to give a powerful talk on leadership, you’ll have to delve deep into the subject. Become a journalist and list at least 20 questions using the 5WH model. 5WH questions are all questions that begin with What, Why, Who, When, Where and How. A few examples could be the following: What is leadership? Why is leadership important? Who is a good/bad leader? When do leaders emerge? Where do leaders find their inspiration? How does one become a leader?
You may be wondering why you need to come up with 20 questions just for a simple talk which may only last 20 minutes. According to corporate trainer Brian Tracy, it’s far better to be over-prepared for your talk than to hit the stage under-prepared. If you have too much material, you can always discard the excess. However, if you run out of things to say, you’ll end up being quite uncomfortable on the stage and that may be the least of your worries. Don’t let that happen to you. Be prepared.
Stories are a potent way to connect with your audience and it’s not just children who are drawn to them. I sometimes start a speech with the words, “Once upon a time…” and I’m always fascinated to see adults snap to attention in order to follow what I am saying.
If you were preparing an address on the topic of leadership, you could compile a few stories to support your subject. Did you once display leadership at a time of crisis? Share it with your listeners. Are you drawn to political leadership? Take your pick from stories about Yaa Asantewaa or Kwame Nkrumah or Barack Obama or Nelson Mandela. Stories make your speaking memorable. What is more powerful than leaving an audience with your words still ringing in their minds days after you addressed them?
After Passion and Preparation comes Purpose. You should have a reason for speaking otherwise you run the risk of giving a talk that goes off in many directions and literally ends up nowhere. More importantly, having a purpose for your speech forces you to consider the needs of your listeners. Ask yourself why you are speaking and what effect you intend to produce in your audience. Do you want to inform them? To educate? To entertain? Or simply to inspire?
Using our leadership example, if your main purpose is to inform, you will be focused on giving your listeners facts about leaders. The desired effect is that they will be more knowledgeable about leadership after you’ve finished speaking.
If you want to educate them, you will show them how leaders acquire their skills. If your listeners leave equipped with leadership tools, you would have achieved the desired effect.
A talk on leaders that is meant to be entertaining should have a few funny stories thrown in to as you make your points. Your audience should find these anecdotes amusing otherwise you won’t have achieved your desired effect.
Lastly, an inspirational speech on leadership will show how leaders succeeded in spite of huge odds. The effect on your audience should be their desire to go out and make a difference as well. Identifying the purpose of your speech is the key to your success. Do you see how it can add power to your speaking?
You can be a great speaker. Just remember the 3 P’s of powerful public speaking: Passion, Preparation and Purpose. Now get ready, get on stage and get speaking straight from your heart. You can do it!