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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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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 April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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