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11 Ways To Become The Greatest Public Speaker

11 Ways To Become The Greatest Public Speaker
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“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!

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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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CJ Goulding

CJ Goulding is the Lead Organizer at Natural Leaders Network, building leaders and connections in and between humans.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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