More Is Sometimes More When It Comes To Public Speaking
The best ice skaters in the world ice skate every single day. The best soccer players or the best football players play everyday or at least half the year, every single day for hours.If you want to be a great speaker, one technique is to just speak more often. The best speakers in history are quite often remembered for one speech, but we forget that they were speaking constantly.
Martin Luther Junior in the United States is credited to have given the best speech of the 20th century: his famous I Have a Dream speech. But what everyone forgets is that he gave over 300 speeches that year only.
I don’t care who your favourite politician in the country is but chances are that they give a speech every single day of their lives. You might not want to be the president of a country or a major civil rights person, but that does not mean that you cannot speak. The easiest way these days is to say something on social media in a video format. Talk about something you have expertise in on your YouTube channel or Facebook page. You can take it up a notch and you can be speaking on your own Udemy course!
If you speak often and regularly enough and you are watching yourself, you get more and more confident. It does not mean that you are perfect and it does not mean that everyone will love you. But there is nothing you can do about that. What I can tell you is that I am as relaxed now speaking to you as if I were talking to one friend.
In this entire course, I have done everything. When you are giving a speech, you do not get to do it over. I make mistakes here and there but I still keep on going because I want to demonstrate to you how real people speak in the real world. The problem is not our mistakes but quite often the reaction we have to our mistakes. I have done this whole course live all the way through. So the amount of time it takes you to watch my videos, it is the amount of time it takes me to make them. Because I am just talking to you. There is no unique skill or talent or anything innate on my part. I am not showing you how to dunk a basketball or balance on a high beam- I am just talking to you.
But if you do not do it a lot, it feels strained and uncomfortable and you will come up with all sorts of excuses as to why you should not do it. So my advice to you is to just say yes to every speaking opportunity that comes across you. If you cannot travel somewhere, you can give a speech through Skype video without ever leaving your room. The more you speak, the most comfortable you get and it creates this positive cycle of virtue and you keep getting better and better and better.
Powering Your Points With Images and Slides
There are a lot of different ways of communicating. You already know how to write an email, presumably, or a memo. When you are giving a presentation, you may look at the option of giving a PowerPoint presentation. Now there is nothing inherently wrong with using PowerPoint. You have probably heard a lot of people talk about death by PowerPoint and how they hate it and how it is so awful and boring.
A lot of PowerPoint presentations are boring but it does not have to be that way for you. It is just a medium, like television. If you only watch the test pattern on the channel 2000 or are watching what is being served for lunch at a local school, then it is bound to be boring and awful. But if you love watching Olympic ice skating or downhill racing and you cannot be at the Olympics, television is great then! So it all depends on what you put on the screen. The same goes for PowerPoint.
I want to give you some principles that I think will really help you with your communication skills and frankly, save you a lot of time. So many people go through all these lessons of learning how they can put on bullet points and how they can change the breadth and size of the slide. There is no evidence that all of that stuff actually enhances communication.
In my own practice of training with people one on one and in person or in groups all over the world, here is what I found: when I actually test real audiences everywhere, people remember images. They remember a slide if it has one idea on it. They do not remember complexity. They do not remember lots of bullet points. People come to me all the time looking for some magic formula. Having three bullet points with 7 words each is better than having 50 bullet points with a thousand words but I or anyone else does not have any evidence that three bullet points per slide actually helps the audience remember the message. The only thing I find works is an image, a picture, a graphic, or a simplified graph or chart.
You need a picture that can make your idea come alive. The whole point of a PowerPoint slide is that it takes some idea that you are talking about and makes it more understandable than you just saying it and it makes it more memorable than you just saying it. If it does not do either of those things, throw it in the garbage can. Or you can give it as a handout or an email but not have it as part of your presentation. Do not stand up and show it to people. If you are having trouble with remembering what you need to say, do not use your PowerPoint slides as your notes. The slides are for your audience. If you need reminders, then use a good old-fashioned piece of paper.