Passing the Ultimate Public Speaking Test With Flying Colors
Now we get to the single most important part of this course: if you actually want to become a dramatically better speaker. I am going to talk about the one thing that creates the most positive impact on your speaking skills. It is the simplest thing to do but also the the least popular part of the course. I know some of you want to be able to just watch videos and be able to learn which is okay. If you are that kind of a person I am going to ask you to skip this section because this is where I am going to ask you to do something and record yourself. I will have more content and concepts up for you guys.
For those of you who are still with me, here is what I need you to do: I need you to come up with a simple outline for your speech. You already have the main thing which you want your audience to do after having listened to your presentation. You have brainstormed on half a dozen messages and then narrowed them down to the top 5. Ideally, you also have stories for each one of your message points. And if you are using PowerPoint, you have an image for each slide or message. Now, I need you to actually give your presentation by pulling out your phone and recording yourself. Here is the tricky part: if you follow this technique then I can guarantee that you will be the best speaker in your organisation but if you do not follow this you may learn a trick or two through the course but you will not be able to achieve a dramatic improvement.
I want you to watch the video and then grade yourself. I want you to figure out exactly what you like and what you did not like on every aspect of style and substance. Then I want you to record again. Do the same thing once more with the new recording and try to do more of what you like and less of what you did not like. Keep doing it again and again until you get to the point where you like what you hear and see. This is exactly what people pay me a lot of money to do with them for a full day. In my training sessions, whether they are private or public, there is very less lecturing and a lot of practical work in the form of recording oneself speak in front of a camera and then reviewing the performance.
It doesn’t matter if you are training with me personally or if you are recording by yourself at home, the ultimate test is that you are able to look at a video of yourself and say that you would be a great speaker if you could be half as good as the person on video.
You do not have to do an hour long speech and do it 50 times and spend an entire week practicing it. You can just pick up one point or story and practice it on video and analyse it by being objective. Many people when doing this only focus on what they do not like. I have had people who have done this in front of me and while everyone else in the room thinks that they gave a riveting and interesting speech, the person who gave the speech thinks that it was absolutely horrible. That is why you need to have a checklist so that you can put things in perspective. If you are objective, you may realise that there are 25 things that you are doing well and there are only two things that you need to work on to get better. Psychologically, things become much easier this way. So that is what I want you to do right now.
Here is a little trick to this exercise: after you have looked at your exercise once, and you notice five problems with the way you are speaking, do not try to fix all of those things at once. Just focus on one thing at a time. It is not about being perfect, it is about what works for you and your audience.
There are some things that will not matter to your audience. For example, if you think you do not have a particularly beautiful head of hair, remember that it does not matter to the people who are listening to you as long as it isn’t distracting. You need to focus on things that you can change in the matter of a few days with practice. You have to focus on the things that you can change so you can communicate better which is every aspect of your style and substance.
Keep doing it and you may even get it right inside two takes. That is only four minutes of your time that I am asking for. Are four minutes really too much to invest for a dramatic improvement in your speaking skills? I do not think so. You may say that you are too busy to perform this exercise but let me tell you: there is always time for something that is extremely important. When I am working privately with my clients all over the world, this is their homework. They have no choice but to do this.
I was recently working with the technology CEO of a relatively large company where he had over 10,000 employees reporting back to him, meaning he was definitely a very busy guy. However, he did his practice speech on video over 130 times before he felt that he was doing is best and he sent it to me for critique. I understand that you have a lot of demands on your time but if it’s important for you to up your game as a speaker, then you have to record yourself and analyse your performance. You can upload it anywhere, private or public, and post the URL of it here in the discussion section so that I can listen to you and help you with your speaking.