Let’s be honest, much of the public speaking advice you find online these days is cliché, formulaic, and stereotypical: “Project your voice”, “Stand straight”, “Make eye contact with the audience”, and “Avoid saying ‘um’ many times.”
Don’t get me wrong all this is good advice, yet technique can only take you as far as communicating a message to an audience. When it comes to inspiring, motivating, and ultimately transforming an audience with your talk or presentation, you need to employ something that technique alone can’t even begin to conceive: your heart.
We’ve all witnessed these soulful, heart-opening speeches. They touch us on an emotional level. They make us smile, cry, sometimes both at the same time. They ask questions. They provoke us. They push us out of our comfort zone. Ultimately, they help us grow. By the end of such speeches we’re changed people.
As a Spiritual Life Coach I’m lucky enough to witness, observe, and (hopefully) give talks and presentations whose aim goes beyond basic communication, to a soulful connection with an audience. In my interaction with with speakers who move audiences for a living, over the years, I’ve noticed that they all follow three essential strategies.
Use these as guidelines to prepare for and deliver a talk or presentation that goes beyond communication, to transformation:
- Don’t Memorise, Internalise: The easiest way to kill the connection with your audience is by memorising your speech. This is because when you memorise a script you spend the entire time you’re on stage in your head trying to remember every single detail you’d prepared, which results in you talking at your audience instead of to Rather than memorising the entire script, memorise the points you want to talk about and then allow yourself to explain them in an authentic, natural way.
- Meditate Before You Go On Stage: Fear and stress of public speaking are big buzz killers, and like all emotions they are created by limiting thoughts and beliefs. Thus, to release such negative emotions as fear and stress you have to release the thoughts and beliefs backing these up. The easiest way to do this is through meditation. Before you go on stage, spend at least 10 minutes quieting your mind from thought and concentrating on your breathing. It’ll calm you down, ground you, and allow your heart to come through.
- Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable: Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable with your audience. Your talk shouldn’t be perfect, and neither should you. Nobody relates to a perfect, untouchable human being. People want to connect with someone who understands what they are going through and isn’t afraid to share his own fears, mistakes, and vulnerabilities. Make it a point in your talk to divert from your main storyline and share a personal story that helps people see you’re just like them.
George Lizos (MSc Management 2014) is a Spiritual Life Coach and the author of Be The Guru: A Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming Your Own Spiritual Teacher. He now runs his own coaching business. To learn more about George you can visit his website here.