As the 21st century hurls technological change our way at dizzying speed, one facet of our lives remains constant: our most common mode of influencing others is to talk to them. Day in and day out, we speak (and listen) in order to influence others, to be influenced by them, and to share the common and momentous aspects of our lives.
So why don't we get any training to be good at it?
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It's something that's always puzzled me: Why do our schools devote nearly all of our classroom time to reading and writing, with no focus at all on oral communication? Considering how much of our personal and professional lives involve speaking to others, it's a lapse with ongoing and far-reaching consequences.
The Magic of Influencing Audiences
Fortunately, a world exists that has addressed this problem from the beginning—because moving audiences is its stock in trade. It's the theater; and its primary practioners are, of course, actors. As an actor and speech coach, I knew that the techniques of the theater are the most reliable and powerful tools for influencing audiences of all types and sizes. It was that realization that led me to establish Boston-based The Genard Method of performance-based public speaking training in 2001.
Six years later, I published my first book, How to Give a Speech. The book featured 75 theater-inspired "quick tips" for becoming a more dynamic and successful speaker. Last month, I published a new and expanded second edition.
There are now 101 tips for more successful public speaking, from organizing a presentation and opening memorably, to boosting your vocal power, to gaining stage presence and charisma, to wowing audiences and becoming a masterful speaker. Six new chapters cover breathing techniques, using PowerPoint, acting and public speaking, body language, phone conversations and conference calls, and the future of public speaking. If you've seen the book in the past, you'll discover new material containing the latest research and tools to help raise the bar on your public speaking performances.
You can download a free chapter here on Acting and Public Speaking. Discover what the actor's art can teach you about achieving stage presence and maximum persuasiveness in your own speeches, presentations, meetings, lectures, and more!
Ready to Maximize Your Natural Talents?
The book, then, is my solution to the problem of a lack of systematic performance-based training for speaking dynamically in business and the professions. How to Give a Speech will improve your skills in any speaking situation. It will increase your confidence and charisma. It will improve others' opinions of your character and competence.
But it will do something even more valuable than these important things. It will dramatically increase your influence with everyone you talk to—about anything. The book features, in hands-on fashion, the powerful nonverbal components of public speaking that are critical to improving your public speaking performance.
It's a compact and reader-friendly package filled with the practical matters anyone who speaks in public needs to be concerned with. Now, a last word to you before your important speech or presentation. It's the traditional, lovingly intended advice from the theater: Break a leg!
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