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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!

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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!

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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.

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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:

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  • 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!

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Last Updated on March 21, 2019

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

11 Important Things to Remember When Changing Habits

Most gurus talk about habits in a way that doesn’t help you:

You need to push yourself more. You can’t be lazy. You need to wake up at 5 am. You need more motivation. You can never fail…blah blah “insert more gibberish here.”

But let me share with you the unconventional truths I found out:

To build and change habits, you don’t need motivation or wake up at 5 am. Heck, you can fail multiple times, be lazy, have no motivation and still pull it off with ease.

It’s quite simple and easy to do, especially with the following list I’m going to show to you. But remember, Jim Rohn used to say,

“What is simple and easy to do is also simple and easy not to do.”

The important things to remember when changing your habits are both simple and easy, just don’t think that they don’t make any difference because they do.

In fact, they are the only things that make a difference.

Let’s see what those small things are, shall we?

1. Start Small

The biggest mistake I see people doing with habits is by going big. You don’t go big…ever. You start small with your habits.

Want to grow a book reading habit? Don’t start reading a book a day. Start with 10 pages a day.

Want to become a writer? Don’t start writing 10,000 words a day. Start with 300 words.

Want to lose weight? Don’t stop eating ice cream. Eat one less ball of it.

Whatever it is, you need to start small. Starting big always leads to failure. It has to, because it’s not sustainable.

Start small. How small? The amount needs to be in your comfort zone. So if you think that reading 20 pages of a book is a bit too much, start with 10 or 5.

It needs to appear easy and be easy to do.

Do less today to do more in a year.

2. Stay Small

There is a notion of Kaizen which means continuous improvement. They use this notion in habits where they tell you to start with reading 1 page of a book a day and then gradually increase the amount you do over time.

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But the problem with this approach is the end line — where the “improvement” stops.

If I go from reading 1 page of a book a day and gradually reach 75 and 100, when do I stop? When I reach 1 book a day? That is just absurd.

When you start a habit, stay at it in the intensity you have decided. Don’t push yourself for more.

I started reading 20 pages of a book a day. It’s been more than 2 years now and I’ve read 101 books in that period. There is no way I will increase the number in the future.

Why?

Because reading 40 to 50 books a year is enough.

The same thing applies to every other habit out there.

Pick a (small) number and stay at it.

3. Bad Days Are 100 Percent Occurrence

No matter how great you are, you will have bad days where you won’t do your habit. Period.

There is no way of going around this. So it’s better to prepare yourself for when that happens instead of thinking that it won’t ever happen.

What I do when I miss a day of my habit(s) is that I try to bounce back the next day while trying to do habits for both of those days.

Example for that is if I read 20 pages of a book a day and I miss a day, the next day I will have to read 40 pages of a book. If I miss writing 500 words, the next day I need to write 1000.

This is a really important point we will discuss later on rewards and punishments.

This is how I prepare for the bad days when I skip my habit(s) and it’s a model you should take as well.

4. Those Who Track It, Hack It

When you track an activity, you can objectively tell what you did in the past days, weeks, months, and years. If you don’t track, you will for sure forget everything you did.

There are many different ways you can track your activities today, from Habitica to a simple Excel sheet that I use, to even a Whatsapp Tracker.

Peter Drucker said,

“What you track is what you do.”

So track it to do it — it really helps.

But tracking is accompanied by one more easy activity — measuring.

5. Measure Once, Do Twice

Peter Drucker also said,

“What you measure is what you improve.”

So alongside my tracker, I have numbers with which I measure doses of daily activities:

For reading, it’s 20 pages.
For writing, it’s 500 words.
For the gym, it’s 1 (I went) or 0 (didn’t go).
For budgeting, it’s writing down the incomes and expenses.

Tracking and measuring go hand in hand, they take less than 20 seconds a day but they create so much momentum that it’s unbelievable.

6. All Days Make a Difference

Will one day in the gym make you fit? It won’t.

Will two? They won’t.

Will three? They won’t.

Which means that a single gym session won’t make you fit. But after 100 gym sessions, you will look and feel fit.

What happened? Which one made you fit?

The answer to this (Sorites paradox)[1] is that no single gym session made you fit, they all did.

No single day makes a difference, but when combined, they all do. So trust the process and keep on going (small).

7. They Are Never Fully Automated

Gurus tell you that habits become automatic. And yes, some of them do, like showering a certain way of brushing your teeth.

But some habits don’t become automatic, they become a lifestyle.

What I mean by that is that you won’t automatically “wake up” in the gym and wonder how you got there.

It will just become a part of your lifestyle.

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The difference is that you do the first one automatically, without conscious thought, while the other is a part of how you live your life.

It’s not automatic, but it’s a decision you don’t ponder on or think about — you simply do it.

It will become easy at a certain point, but they will never become fully automated.

8. What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith has a great book with the same title to it. The phrase means that sometimes, you will need to ditch certain habits to make room for other ones which will bring you to the next step.

Don’t be afraid to evolve your habits when you sense that they don’t bring you where you want to go.

When I started reading, it was about reading business and tactic books. But two years into it, I switched to philosophy books which don’t teach me anything “applicable,” but instead teach me how to think.

The most important ability of the 21st century is the ability to learn, unlearn, and relearn. The strongest tree is the willow tree – not because it has the strongest root or biggest trunk, but because it is flexible enough to endure and sustain anything.

Be like a willow, adapting to the new ways of doing things.

9. Set a Goal and Then Forget It

The most successful of us know what they want to achieve, but they don’t focus on it.

Sounds paradoxical? You’re right, it does. But here is the logic behind it.

You need to have a goal of doing something – “I want to become a healthy individual” – and then, you need to reverse engineer how to get there with your habits- “I will go to the gym four times a week.”

But once you have your goal, you need to “forget” about it and only focus on the process. Because you are working on the process of becoming healthy and it’s always in the making. You will only be as healthy as you take care of your body.

So you have a goal which isn’t static but keeps on moving.

If you went to the gym 150 times year and you hit your goal, what would you do then? You would stop going to the gym.

This is why goal-oriented people experience yo-yo effect[2] and why process-oriented people don’t.

The difference between process-oriented and goal-oriented people is that the first focus on daily actions while others only focus on the reward at the finish line.

Set a goal but then forget about it and reap massive awards.

10. Punish Yourself

Last two sections are pure Pavlovian – you need to punish bad behavior and reward good behavior. You are the only person who decides what is good and what is bad for you, but when you do, you need to rigorously follow that.

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I’ve told you in point #3 about bad days and how after one occurs, I do double the work on the next day. That is one of my forms of punishments.

It’s the need to tell your brain that certain behaviors are unacceptable and that they lead to bad outcomes. That’s what punishments are for.

You want to tell your brain that there are real consequences to missing your daily habits.[3]

No favorite food to eat or favorite show to watch or going to the cinema for a new Marvel movie- none, zero, zilch.

The brain will remember these bad feelings and will try to avoid the behaviors that led to them as much as possible.

But don’t forget the other side of the same coin.

11. Reward Yourself

When you follow and execute on your plan, reward yourself. It’s how the brain knows that you did something good.

Whenever I finish one of my habits for the day, I open my tracker (who am I kidding, I always keep it open on my desktop) and fill it with a number. As soon as I finish reading 20 pages of a book a day (or a bit more), I open the tracker and write the number down.

The cell becomes green and gives me an instant boost of endorphin – a great success for the day. Then, it becomes all about not breaking the chain and having as many green fields as possible.

After 100 days, I crunch some numbers and see how I did.

If I have less than 10 cheat days, I reward myself with a great meal in a restaurant. You can create your own rewards and they can be daily, weekly, monthly or any arbitrary time table that you create.

Primoz Bozic, a productivity coach, has gold, silver, and bronze medals as his reward system.[4]

If you’re having problems creating a system which works for you, contact me via email and we can discuss specifics.

In the End, It Matters

What you do matters not only to you but to the people around you.

When you increase the quality of your life, you indirectly increase the quality of life of people around you. And sometimes, that is all the “motivation” we need to start.

And that’s the best quote for the end of this article:

“Motivation gets you started, but habits keep you going.”

Keep going.

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More Resources to Help You Build Habits

Featured photo credit: Anete Lūsiņa via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Sorites paradox
[2] Muscle Zone: What causes yo-yo effect and how to avoid it?
[3] Growth Habits: 5 Missteps That Cause You To Quit Building A Habit
[4] Primoz Bozic: The Lean Review: How to Plan Your 2019 in 20 Minutes

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