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Presentation Skills Taught By 2015 World Champion Of Public Speaking

Presentation Skills Taught By 2015 World Champion Of Public Speaking

The year is 1798. Napoleon Bonaparte’s army was embarking on an difficult mission – to conquer Egypt. Napoleon rallied thousands of his troops and sparked that fire in them, the fire that would drive them to conquer their enemy. It was not gold or silver that Napolean gave his troops, but the power of his words!

The power of one’s words has been the key to kings and rulers and leaders up to today.The ability to speak and persuade a room full of people is one of the most coveted skills in the modern Business/Corporate World. But speakingin front of others is still referenced as the number 1 fear for most people!

But neither this fear nor his stutter stopped Mohammed Qahtani, the winner of the ‘2015 Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking’ competition. His award-winning speech is not surprisingly called “The Power of Words!” Watch it here.

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Qahtani shares 7 tips to master the art of speaking to a room full of people. Although the tips are presented for public speaking, these are equally applicable to presentations.

1. Have One Key Message to Convey

A speech is most effective when it has one central message that the audience needs to hear and takeaway. Keep the message simple and memorable. The entire speech should revolve around and point to this one message.

2. Connect With The Audience

When it is time to present/talk, focus on connecting with your audience. All other peripheral thoughts should disappear. The way you look, the way you speak and any other thoughts should be gone. Your entire focus should be on connecting with the audience. Your speech should energize the audience and the audience’s energy should drive your speech. The techniques to present and speak are mastered through practice and should come naturally. Thereby, you can refrain from thinking about the techniques.

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3. Leverage Your Strengths

If you suck at humor in general, do not try to infuse humor in your speech. If you are dramatic by nature, use that in your speech and presentation to make a bigger impact. Know your strengths and use it to come across as an authentic speaker. One of Qahtani’s fellow Toastmaster members advised him to use his humor. He told Qahtani, “Some people are strong with their words, some people are strong with their voice, some people are strong with their stage presence. Your strength is humor. Use it.”

4. See Your Speech In Your Mind

A common mistake among presenters is when they memorize their speech. This causes a lot of problems on stage when they forget a word or a phrase. The presenter then spends their brain power trying to recall that next word or sentence. Qahtani recommends visualizing the key points in the speech. Again, practice the speech until it feels fluent like a conversation and focus only on visualizing those key points.

5. Know That YOU And Your Message Matters!

Adopt the mindset that your message and you matters. You are in front of the room because you have a message. Qahtani suggests thinking that you are better than your audience. Not in a conceited way, but with the knowledge that you have something of value to offer through your message.

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6. Invoke A Variety Of Emotions

A monotonous speech gets boring and sometimes even depressing! An excess of humor could water down the message. Vary the emotions through the speech for audience entertainment. However, ensure that the audience always leaves with a sense of hope!

7. Practice With Feedback

Toastmasters offers the amazing benefit of getting timely and honest feedback from people who care. Since joining Toastmasters in 2009, Qahtani has come a long way to win the competition this year! He attributes his progress to the feedback he received at Toastmasters. Even for his winning speech, he cut down certain sections –  which he originally perceived as important – thanks to fellow member’s feedback.

What other techniques and tips have improved your public speaking abilities? Please share.

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Featured photo credit: Muhammed Qahtani via youtube.com

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Last Updated on November 5, 2019

12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

12 Powerful Habits of a Lifelong Learner

Formal education is something everyone has to go through to a certain degree, and the knowledge it offers isn’t always that practical in real life. Life long learning is how you improve as a person, bit by bit and day by day.

Life long learners recognize the importance and joy of growth so they never settle for what they currently know and always seek for improvement.

Here are 12 habits of people who value lifelong learning have in common – see how many of them you recognize in yourself.

1. They Read on a Daily Basis

Whatever problem or dilemma you currently face, there’s definitely at least one decent book that discusses it and presents a variety of solutions.

Reading is a great way to open up new horizons, train your brain and revolutionize your life. I can’t even count how many times books completely transformed the way I view the world, and it’s always a change for the better. Through reading, you can connect with successful people and learn from the lessons they share.

Life long learners love to get lost in books and do it regularly. Bill Gates knows that reading matters a lot; on his personal blog, he reviews plenty of game-changing books.

Due to technology, you can access a bookshelf of the wealthiest entrepreneur on this planet.

2. They Attend Various Courses

Whether it’s online or offline, there are countless courses you can participate in without spending a dime on it. These are great opportunities to connect with clever and like-minded people and learn from them.

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Because of the advanced technology, you can now gain knowledge from online programs, starting from coding through self-improvement to programs from top universities.

There are literally endless ways to thrive. What life long learners have in common is squeezing as much as possible out of these opportunities.

3. They Actively Seek Opportunities to Grow

Instead of spending your free time laying on the couch and watching TV, you prefer doing something creative and practical. You know every wasted minute is gone forever.

That’s why you’d rather practice your language skills with a native-speaker you’ve met, engage in local meet up or attend a class that teaches something you always wanted to learn.

Life long learners stay up-to-date with growth opportunities in their areas and participate in them frequently.

4. They Take Care of Their Bodies

“Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity.” — John F. Kennedy

A clever mind combined with a body in a great condition is the best asset you can have. Our bodies were designed to run, walk, jump, swim, lift and much more. Leading a sedentary lifestyle harms both your physical and mental sphere.

Life long learners know the body is your temple. In order to make it flourish for as long as possible, they train regularly, move a lot and eat healthy.

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5. They Have Diverse Passions

Among Steve Jobs’ wise quotes, there’s one I like especially. It’s about connecting the dots:

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backward. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” — Steve Jobs

Each dot is some event or skill in your life, and it’s only when you go through these elements that you know how to combine them into something great.

Having a variety of passions indicates that you love to progress. By practicing different skills, you give yourself an advantage over the rest of the people. During hard times, you are more likely to to act intelligently and solve your problems with less effort.

6. They Love Making Progress

If behind the efforts, there is passion and a deep desire to grow, your chances of success are way higher, compared to when you are forced to learn.

Life long learners love to experience the constant growth and improvement. The breakthrough moments help them to notice the impressive change that took place because of the learning process. Any milestone serves as a driving force for further headway.

7. They Challenge Themselves with Specific Goals

In order to keep growing, you clearly define your goals. Smart goal setting is one of the tools to ensure constant growth.

Since you love challenges, a difficult goal doesn’t scare you. Quite the opposite, it keeps you motivated and engaged.

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Research showed that precise and ambitious goals increase the performance of an individual. As we already agreed, life long learners are people who care about their performance, hence they never stop improving.

8. They Embrace Change

A complete change can lead to incredible results. This is especially visible on the example of successful companies.

Oftentimes, it’s that transformation which created space for their so-called overnight success. Twitter was originally created as an internal service to serve Odeo employees. Currently, it has over 300 million monthly active users and is considered the second biggest social network.

As a life long learner, you know a change can lead to extraordinary results so you welcome it and stay open minded about making a shift.

9. They Believe It’s Never Too Late to Start Something

Some people tend to think after a certain age, they are no longer allowed to start something and become successful. The truth is, it’s just a lame excuse not to leave the comfort zone.

Opposite to common misconceptions, there’s no wrong age to begin something. Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Ford Model T car, which is considered as the first affordable automobile.

Sure, for some domains like becoming a professional athlete, starting early is required. However, to learn and improve for its own sake, you are never too old.

10. Their Attitude to Getting Better Is Contagious

“We now accept the fact that learning is a life long process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” — Peter Drucker

There’s nothing better than to see your surroundings getting involved in what you actively participate in. Oftentimes, the best way to achieve that is to inspire them and be the example. As Gandhi would say, you need to be the change you want to see in the world.

As a life long learner, you are extremely passionate about the constant growth and people around you can sense that positive attitude. As a result, they start acting similarly.

11. They Leave Their Comfort Zone

Is it really better to step out of your comfort zone? The answer is always yes.

You always embrace discomfort as you know the path to success leads through hardship and countless obstacles. Instead of being afraid of facing them, you challenge yourself to overcome more and more difficult handicaps.

Every time you get out of your comfort zone, regardless whether you win or fail, you learn something new. That’s the part you love the most!

12. They Never Settle Down

“Knowledge is exploding, so you need to commit yourself to a plan for life long learning.” — Don Tapscott

A sense of being clever enough is something you don’t experience. Without a doubt, you appreciate what you already know, but that’s never a reason to stop. You just know once you stop learning, you lose the amazing privilege humans have, namely an ability to a never-ending intellectual development.

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Featured photo credit: Christin Hume via unsplash.com

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