The difference between a public speaking presentation that bores you to tears and one that leaves you with a smile on your face and thinking about that presentation is often not the content but the style of the speaker. You can take the same exact written talk and give it to two speakers and one will turn that script into an exciting live event for his audience and the other will leave that crowd cold.
Obviously your goal as to be that speaker that can really make any presentation come alive. The first “myth” to get out of your head then is that how well you do at creating excitement has anything whatsoever to do with your subject matter. While it always helps for you to be excited about the topic itself, you can develop the skills to take any text and turn it into a genuinely exciting public speaking event for any crowd and to do it every time. Its just a matter of knowing how.
Much of how excited your audience will be has to do with your own level of energy, your sense of humor and how much you are enjoying yourself up there. This is one of the great secrets of the really great entertainers or public speakers. If you are having fun, your audience will have fun too. Fun is contagious. Think of the great late night host Johnnie Carson. He always seemed to be having a great time. And as a result the world wanted to join him and have a great time too. You can cultivate that personality and that attitude when you are on stage.
To have fun during your public speaking engagement, you have to learn to have some fun with the subject matter. This is not always easy if the subject matter is mundane and ho hum. But if you see that topic as boring, so will your crowd and your time talking to them will be a tedious trial on your soul and on theirs too. So have some fun even with how mundane the topic is. If you join the audience in their feelings about the topic, you and they become partners to find the excitement in this topic.
But along with finding excitement in the topic, learn to have fun with the audience. You can do that even before you begin to speak on the outline at hand. Take some time to step away from the podium and interact with the audience. Ask them questions and learn who the vocal members of the crowd are. Find out who the big jokers are and the ones who will have some wise cracks to add as you speak.
These connections and spontaneous friendships will pay off as the presentation begins. But you are doing something dangerous there too. By energizing the crowd, you are also giving them permission to jump in during your talk and “help you out”. As you begin to speak, put energy and excitement, humor and personality into that text. The excitement of the crowd that sprung into existence because you started your relationship with them with affection and humor will feed your presentation.
Yes, if you put this kind of snap and pop into your time in front of a crowd, you will see feedback come back from that audience, particularly from those wise crackers you took time to make friends with at the start. But as scary at having that kind of interruption is, it means your crowd is energized and you an actually used that for your advantage. You can actually develop the ability to “surf” these interruptions and use them to propel your prevention forward. By teasing the crowd, asking them questions, the funny remarks that come back will actually be pertinent to what you have to say next. You can take your cues from their comments and take them right back to your outline and take the presentation forward to its conclusion.
This kind of public speaking can be dangerous and more than a little scary to learn to do. But because you had fun and our audience had fun, that presentation is full of “snap” and is 100% more successful. And that makes it worth taking the risks to learn this kind of public speaking.
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