Do you want to give presentations . . . or improve people's lives? For that, your passion needs to show! It's also how to get audiences to believe in you.
Do audiences believe in you?
Public speaking is an activity that simply demands the best you have to give. You can say the same thing about any type of performance, really. And since speaking means performing for aggregates of people, the opportunities for creating influence are vast. But as always in the oral arena, people need to believe in you, to believe in what you're saying.
Like any effort that takes a lifetime to perfect, it’s an ongoing and rewarding adventure you need to commit to. The good news is that if you do, the way is open for you to reach your personal best, whoever you are. For you personally, the sky's the limit.
If that's the the kind of presenter you want to be, take a look at my book Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets. Click on image below to learn more.
A few years ago, a client expressed this thought better than I ever have. He was the Deputy Permanent Representative, i.e., deputy ambassador, of the Permanent Mission of Sudan to the United Nations. The occasion was the graduation of a two-day “Public Speaking for Diplomats” course I had just conducted at the Mission’s headquarters in New York. As diplomats will, the Deputy Representative gave a short speech to honor the occasion. In it, he said this:
Doctor, when we first invited you here to work with us, I thought you would merely be giving us some pointers for when we get up to speak. But I know now that there is an ocean of influence to be gained from public speaking—and over the last two days, we have waded in only up to our knees.
“Perfect!” I thought. — An ocean of influence.
Where does your influence start? With a dynamic performance! Learn how it's done in my Free download, "How to Be a Clear, Concise, and Compelling Speaker."
The Challenges You Face As a Speaker
When you speak, you face many obstacles in your quest to make a difference in people’s lives. You must corral everyone’s attention away from their personal concerns. You have to entice them to listen to you and accept what you’re saying. And you must make a big enough impression so that your message sticks.
Of course, if your speech or presentation is especially important, you’re pursuing an even loftier goal: to get your audience to take some action long after you’ve finished speaking.
If you've read my articles or books over the years, you’re well-armed with the theories and practices for achieving leadership presence in public speaking. It will happen, provided that you stay passionate, and let it show.
The Man Who Didn't Let His Passion Show
Another story, this one from more recently:
The CEO who enrolled in our Leadership Communication coaching course was a passionate environmentalist. So much so, in fact, that he was the founder of a nonprofit focused on combatting climate change.
But he had a problem. He wasn't coming across as particularly human.
I'm exaggerating . . . a little. What I really mean—and you've probably seen it yourself—is that even when speaking of his passion, he didn’t seem to care much about what he was saying. You may ask: "Is that even possible with someone who does care and wants to communicate what he believes to others?" Consider the stresses of the high-profile public speaking pressure cooker, and you'll realize that this disconnect is not only possible, but is actually fairly common.
Want to know how to get on listeners' wavelength? Download my Free Tips and Tricks Guide, "20 Ways to Connect With An Audience For Lasting Influence."
Always bear in mind that when you speak, you are revealing your thoughts and emotions through your performance. To the audience, your speaking persona is simply who you are. The fact that your message is elegantly expressed in your speaking notes or slide deck doesn’t matter. If you don't look and sound like you mean it when you sayit, listeners simply won’t be on the wavelength you think they’re on. That was exactly what was happening with the passionate-though-unconvincing CEO.
You know by now that it's never enough in public speaking to simply share information. Your job is to change lives, in ways large and small. Audiences don't need to merely accept you—they need to believe in you. There's no other way to truly get them to open up and be willing to be changed by you.
Whether you're pitching business, providing an update, or delivering a keynote, listeners are buying you as much as your message. That means they need to not only love what you’re saying—they must also love you. Next week, four ways you can make that happen.
This article is excerpted from my book, Speak for Leadership.
You should follow me on Twitter here.
Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking and overcoming speaking fear. His company, The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching and corporate group training worldwide. In 2022 for the ninth consecutive year, Gary has been ranked by Global Gurus as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals. He is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speaking, was named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His handbook for presenting in video conferences, Speaking Virtually offers strategies and tools for developing virtual presence in online meetings. His latest book is Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets for Developing Leadership Presence. Contact Gary here.
Jumping photo by Peter Conlan on Unsplash.