How to make public speaking your communication super power

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man dressed as super hero

 

When I was a small boy, I had no idea that there was such a thing as a communication super power.

Even if I had, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been at the top of my list of priorities..

Intrigued as to how things may have changed over the last several decades, I ‘Googled’, ‘What are the top 7 superpowers kids want most’.

It won’t surprise you to know that communication still isn’t in the top 7; in fact, not much has changed.

It seems today’s kids still want:

‘Flying or teleporting, 27%.

Invisibility, 10%.

Mental powers like mind control, or moving things with your mind, 9%.

Super speed, 7%.

A superpower that would allow you to make the world a better place, 6%.

Super strength, 5%.

Magical powers, like Harry Potter, 5%.’

I wanted super strength and super speed just like, ‘The six million dollar man.’

Fast forward to today

Today, with the gift of maturity, experience and a sprinkle of wisdom I wish I had known that communication was also a super power.

Why?

Call me a late bloomer because it took me 3 decades but I finally got it.

Most problems in the world globally, personally and professionally stem for poor communication.

As I looked back to reflect and ponder, it occurred to me that the world’s greatest paradox was communication.

Poor communication is the cause of most of our problems and  good communication is the key to most opportunities and possibilities.

Everything is affected by the way we communicate:

Relationships

Politics

Business

Education

Religion

Healthcare and well being

Technology and social media

Customer service

Everything!

What’s the point of teleporting or being invisible, if we can’t even communicate with each other effectively?

The challenge

It’s a universal challenge because there are so many barriers to effective communication:

We all have different styles, skills and needs.

There are:

– Cultural and language differences

– Trust issues

– Listening skills

– Personal agendas

– Using the wrong communication channels

– The grapevine

– Egos

– Beliefs

– Values

– Parenting

– Education

I could go on

A few years ago I wrote an article called, ‘The 20 reasons everyone needs to communicate effectively.

In it, I shared my belief that, ‘Life is a 24 hour 365 day a year conversation.’ Passionate that, ‘The ability to communicate effectively and with impact, is one of the most valuable skills in the world today.’ I listed 20 reasons when I’m sure I could have cited 2000.

I started with:

1. To persuade and convince others to do business with you or see things differently.

2. To create a personal impact and be remembered for the right reasons.

3. To develop your own personal confidence and belief in yourself.

4. To climb the career ladder and get the results you want.

5. To grow and develop emotionally, intellectually and even ‘spiritually’.

6. To learn exactly what works for you today in the way you communicate.

7. To identify and practice the opportunities available to you to communicate more effectively and with greater impact

8. To deal with difficult people and challenges with more control and less stress.

9. To be able to resolve conflicts calmly and effectively.

10. To be more influential in your company, industry and marketplace.

11. To be more assertive when you need to be.

12. To lead your team, department or business more inspirationally.

13. To express yourself more effectively emotionally as well as intellectually.

14. To engage, excite and inspire others.

15. To lead change.

16. To create and develop the personal brand you want to have.

17. To get your message across clearly, concisely and compellingly.

18. To connect with others authentically.

19. To ‘win friends and influence people’.

20. To make a difference

That’s why communication is a super power

Unlike teleporting, invisibility or super strength, it’s a super power we all inherently have.

Sadly, many of us weren’t taught to nurture, harness and develop this super power effectively.

One of the surest ways to develop your communication super power is public speaking.

It’s never too late to start

Here are a few of my favourite public speaking tips and techniques that will help tune into and strengthen your communication super power.

Find your voice

“The human voice is the most beautiful instrument of all, but it is the most difficult to play.” Richard Strauss

Give yourself the permission to speak by acknowledging that:

You have a unique voice

You deserve to be heard

No one can tell your story

It’s time to stop playing small

Public speaking is a learned skill

We all have an inner critic

Vocal exercises will literally help

 Learn from others

“Experience is a master teacher, even when it’s not our own.”  Gina Greenlee

Most of us weren’t even told about our communication super power as children, let alone shown how to use it.

Learn from those who have mastered their own communication super power. Watch and learn from exceptional speakers

Follow Ted Talks

Explore YouTube speeches

Attend conferences and seminars ( in-person and virtually)

Read articles about your communication super power

Pay attention to speakers you admire at work

Overcome your fear

“All those iconic presenters of today were a shy little kid back then.” Aayush Jain

Most people  experience public speaking anxiety to some degree; you’re not alone.

Don’t try to be perfect

Focus on building a conversation rather than presentation

Prepare well

Practice properly

Breathe

Read the following articles:

7 Tips to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking

Are you a confident presenter and public speaker? – these 6 tips will help you

The Presentation Anxiety Solution – 8 Pre-mortem steps

Make it about your audience

“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” Charles Dickens

The moment you begin focusing on how you can help your audience rather than simply impressing them, everything changes.

Every presentation is about connecting your message with your audience; connecting emotionally as well as intellectually.

Focus on how you can use your voice to make people’s lives:

-Better

-Easier

-Happier

Give yourself to your audience in the context of reminding yourself that you’re only speaking because you have something to say which can help them.

Watch your body language

“Body language is the most powerful device in the world. It doesn’t lie, it doesn’t fool you and it lays bare the entire heart for everyone to see.” Euginia Herlihy

Remember, your communication super power is not isolated to the words you speak alone.

The way you move and express yourself are critical features of your communication super power too.

Posture matters

Stand with your feet shoulder or hip width apart

Stand straight with shoulders back

Eye contact counts

Make eye contact while speaking

When answering questions make eye contact, with the questioner and the rest of the audience too

Smiling helps

Whatever happens, don’t forget to smile

Gestures are good

Let your hands speak. Don’t keep them in your pockets or behind your back.

Let your face speak too. If you’re excited, don’t forget to tell your face.

Movement is energy

Let your whole body move mindfully

If you’re talking about the future, step forward

If you’re speaking about the past, take a step backward

Watch Amy Cuddy’s brilliant TedTalk, ‘Your body language may shape who you are’


Choose your content mindfully

“What I love about content is it has the power to change people’s lives for a second or for a day or forever. Great content creates space for people to pause and reflect, and that space is where transformation happens.”  Jolie Miller

To use your communication super power effectively you have to choose your words and content mindfully.

Make sure your content is relevant and rich

Get straight to the point and focus on it

Be clear on your message

Don’t overload your audience with data

Never read to them

Learn to listen

“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Stephen R. Covey

Contrary to popular belief, communication isn’t just about speaking.

It’s about listening actively too.

Don’t just wait to speak, listen carefully

Listen to the feelings behind the words

Pay attention to words and expressions

Filter out distractions, such as noises or background activity.

Listen without judgments or assumptions

Use gestures and to indicate that you are listening

Don’t try to teleport, read minds or leap tall buildings, focus on making public speaking your communication super power instead.

If you’d like to learn how to develop your communication super power

– Book yourself onto a powerful public speaking course.

– Invest in some really good one to one public speaking coaching.

– Get yourself some excellent presentation training

Image courtesy of Canva.com

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