While reviewing our 3 speeches last week, one thing came out really clear: the three speeches are very different, not only in content, but in style, structure, choice of words, rhythm. Still they all have a positive result: people like them and they are all in the TED top 20 talks. Fascinating, isn’t it? Three styles, three structures, three great speeches! Would Simon Sinek style works for Amy Cuddy? Probably not!
When it comes to public speaking, everyone is tempted to ask… What makes a great speech? What makes a great speaker? Without hesitation I reply “The connection with the audience”.
How to achieve that then? To be honest there is no black and white rule. We know what can make a good speech; and I can share with you much on that subject such as –ideas -exercises -theory -structures -hypnotic language patterns –body language tips –brain science information. Still this may only give us a good speech, perfect in format and content.
Public speaking is like every area of knowledge, it has rules, best practices, and what makes the beauty of it, is often to play around those rules, bend them, creating your own speaker style and make the most of it.
Even if you apply the rules to the letter, unless you make your style your own, your public speaking will lack spirit, heart and probably passion, and with that the capability to truly connect to the audience. To move a speech from good to great, two things should happen.
First, as a speaker, you need to find out your own style.
You’re right, you want to know “what type of speakers you are”. From this you can identify strengths and weaknesses, areas of development, and more important you will know your spontaneous style, the one you may revert to in case of stress. Of course, speaking styles is something that you want to develop; ideally you want to be comfortable moving from one to another based on context, audience, intention; still a foundation remains constant. You can see this foundation as the roots of your speaking styles; it will give you confidence and depth, and it starts with your spontaneous style. This is where you actually speak confidently from the heart. Are you familiar with the four levels of competency? Here we want to reach in term of speaking competency what we called unconscious competency. You want to see this as the ability to use best practices in public speaking without having to think about it, and therefore being spontaneous about it. We do that with two focus –the speaker –the speech content.
Next, as a speaker, you need to develop a sixth sense, the “audience sense”.
You’re right, the second element is the audience, more precisely the system created by you -the speaker, the audience, and your speech, and this system, you will soon see, is like a living organism.
See you tomorrow then for our next episode “What about the audience?”.