Advertising
Advertising

11 Ways To Become The Greatest Public Speaker

11 Ways To Become The Greatest Public Speaker

“I want to be the very best, like no one ever was…”

These are the opening lines to the kids’ cartoon, Pokémon. You may not have opened this post to read about a land of mythical monsters (becoming a public speaker isn’t that bad), but the motivation expressed in these lines applies to your journey to becoming not only a public speaker, but the greatest public speaker.

Now, I must admit that I share, not as one who has already attained greatness, but as one who is on the journey to becoming a better public speaker and, one day, a great speaker. So, I am sharing the tips I have learned through my experience, and the techniques that I continue to practice.

Welcome to the journey!

Advertising

Have a special message to deliver to the audience

There are two key words here: special and audience. Almost anyone can speak and deliver a message. It’s critical to frame that message in a unique way and present it in a manner that defines you as the public speaker. Find your message, find a way to make it special, and you will be well on your way to becoming the greatest public speaker possible.

Know the target audience

You have a special message. That’s fantastic! Now, you must be aware of who is receiving that message. It is important to understand what the audience needs and wants to hear. Teaching kindergartners about Calculus, no matter how special the message may be, will not have the desired effect as if the same message was given to the correct audience, although I know of college students who much rather enjoy playing with blocks and finger painting.

While studying your target audience, be sure to research any cultural norms that exist in the area, or demographic, where you speak. Acknowledging and incorporating or excluding some discussion points from your message can accentuate how receptive your audience is to your message.

Work on your public speaking skills

There are many opportunities available to participate in programs or courses that allow you to work on your public speaking skills. Toastmasters is an example of an organization founded to help people improve in the areas of public speaking and leadership, through structured learning and practice. There are many programs online, free trial or paid, that offer wonderful ways to learn more about the business of becoming a public speaker. There are training conferences, seminars, and college courses galore! Get out and do the research!

Advertising

Know the types of speakers/speeches

Just as there are many colors of crayons, there are many types of public speakers, speaker personality types, and speeches.

  • Do you want to be a keynote speaker?
  • Are you a ‘sage,’ a scientist who wants to give research presentations?
  • Are you seeking to motivate, inspire, inform, or persuade?
  • Are you funny? Do other people agree that you’re funny?

Discovering your speaker personality type and the different types of speeches will allow you to become a great public speaker. There’s not just one crayon color, and there’s not just one perfect mold for a public speaker. Your journey is to unearth the great public speaker inside you.

Build your public image

One of the most important keywords in the journey to becoming the greatest public speaker is–you guessed it–Public.

In order to expand as a speaker, it is important that you create a center for your public image, whether it be a website, blog, newsletter, Twitter account, or YouTube. Use this center to promote your previous engagements, lend credibility to your image by listing your expertise and accomplishments, and as an easy way to contact you for future speaking engagements.

Advertising

Be flexible

Realize that there will not be a plethora of options for you to choose from once you begin to speak. Initially, some offers that come your way may not even be on your preferred topic or to your target audience. However, “building your brand” happens one speaking opportunity and one referral at a time. Each opportunity that you take adds to your credibility until you have the freedom to choose between offers.

Write about what you speak about

A good public speaker speaks well. The greatest public speakers find multiple platforms to broadcast their special message. If your area of expertise is in leadership, start a blog about leadership. If you study interpersonal interactions, write a book about communication. This not only connects to people in different ways, but it expands the amount of people you are able to reach.

Learn from the best in the business

Learning from the experience of others can accelerate your own individual growth as a public speaker. Just the simple fact that someone else has succeeded in the area you are now pursuing means that there are footsteps for you to follow. They have techniques and tips that you can re-purpose and put to use in your own journey from Porky Pig to the greatest public speaker ever. Follow the blogs of your favorite speakers, subscribe to their newsletters, watch their videos, and even practice some of their best speeches. All of these steps will improve your skills as a public speaker.

Practice, practice, practice!

Take every available opportunity to speak, as only deliberate and continual practice will perfect your talent as a public speaker. Try these:

Advertising

  • Practice in front of your mirror at home.
  • Take speaking roles at your job.
  • Join a public speaking club.
  • Enroll in a public speaking course at a local university.

Keep updated on the latest issues and topics

A great public speaker not only has a message to deliver, but has the ability to speak on issues and topics relevant to the society at present. Speaking about new advancements in video technology only makes a difference if you are aware of the latest advances. Your speech on “The Powers of the VCR” will do wonders in decreasing your relevancy in today’s world.

Keep updated by following the news, staying in tune with the current trends and topics on Twitter and Facebook, checking the top web searches on Google and Bing. Then, do the appropriate research and find a unique way to approach the issue.

Read, read, read!

I once read that reading is fundamental.

It is fundamental in the arena of public speaking as well. Reading incorporates many of the other tips on this list. It is yet another way to increase your knowledge base, acquire additional skills, and learn from the best in the business. It is not a coincidence that many of today’s best speakers are also avid readers. They go hand in hand. So, as you traverse on the journey to become the greatest public speaker, take time to read a book or two on the way!

See you at the top! Welcome to the journey!

If you have any other tips or comments, feel free to share them below!

More by this author

6 Practical Ways to Create an Accountability Culture in a Company 13 Inspiring Life Lessons from Steve Jobs 22 Things Everyone Always Forget to Be Thankful For 15 Important Things You Learn As The Elder Sibling 10 Ways To Shine In Your Dream Job Interview

Trending in Productivity

1 The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain) 2 What to Do When Bored at Work (And Why You Feel Bored Actually) 3 6 Effective Ways to Enhance Your Problem Solving Skills 4 How to Concentrate and Focus Better to Boost Productivity 5 15 Productive Things to Do When Bored (So Time Is Not Wasted)

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

Advertising

Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

Advertising

One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

Advertising

But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

Advertising

It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

More About Goals Setting

Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

Read Next