What Can You Get Out Of Your Next Speech?

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Perhaps we should think of each speech as being a contest
Perhaps we should think of each speech as being a contest

Image Credit: RHiNO NEAL

Every time that we give a speech, we have an opportunity to grow as a speaker. However, too many of us don’t take advantage of this opportunity to use the importance of public speaking. We create a speech, practice it, deliver it, and then move on with our lives. When this happens we are missing an opportunity to use the speech that we gave to become a better speaker. However, knowing that we can become a better speaker is only part of what we need to know, we also have to know how to use the experience of giving a speech to become better.

How To Become A Better Speaker

If we wanted to, we could think about every speech that we give as being in a contest. If it was, then we’d want to win this contest! Unfortunately, many speakers who enter contests have a “win-it-all-or-I’m-a-failure” mentality. By those standards, every time that you gave a speech and didn’t feel as though you had “won”, you would feel that you were a failure. However, if you embrace the “everyone’s a winner every time” mentality, then that sentiment doesn’t seem entirely connected to reality.

When we give a speech, should we consider it to be a win-or-fail proposition, or are we a winner every time? To determine which view is correct, perhaps we should look at speeches in a different way and focus on what it means to be successful. For a lot us we should feel that we’ve been successful just by giving the speech and facing our fears. We really should be viewing each speech that we give as being the perfect personal growth experience. If we learn something about ourselves in the process of developing our speech, practicing and delivering the speech, then we are a big winner. These assessments of giving a speech are certainly valid and part of the three different measures of success in that area: accolades, personal growth and providing value for the audience. We need to understand that these successes are possible with every speaking opportunity.

The Power Of Accolades

When we give a speech, accolades come in many forms. Accolades can include positive comments received after a presentation. Hearing “That was very good” from an audience member or “You did great” makes you feel that your speech was successful. The effect on you is impossible to miss. You will get an immediate affirmation that your performance was appreciated by your audience. This, in turn, builds confidence and encourages you to be willing to speak again.

Opportunities For Personal Growth

The potential for your personal growth is present in each speaking opportunity that you are given. Specifically, each time you speak, you can stretch yourself to do more in regard to your presentation techniques. Such opportunities can arise each time you speak to a larger audience or to people with whom you are unfamiliar. Each time that you speak you can experiment with new delivery styles. You have the ability to bring new content into a presentation you’ve previously delivered. As you gain more experience giving speeches, you will grow as a speaker. One of the areas of growth that we can all work on is our writing. We all want to develop our ability to craft speeches that deliver maximum value and impact. In order to do this, we need to learn how to focus on imagery, organization, word choice, grammar, brevity and other important aspects of writing. Giving speeches can teach us how to speak and write with structure and discipline. Doing this teaches you to be disciplined, precise and goal-directed in what you say. Realize that regardless of what specific form your audience takes, the opportunity for personal growth is present each time you speak.

Find Ways To Be of Value to Your Audience

The good news for all us is that every time we speak, we have the opportunity to offer something valuable to our audience. Now precisely what that “something” is will vary from one audience to the next. When we are speaking one audience may need to receive specific information, and another may need to consider new opinions and perspectives. Some of our audiences may want to be motivated or inspired, and others may simply need to experience the stress-relieving benefits of a good laugh. Your speech does not have to be merely a display of your abilities; it can also be the vehicle through which those who are giving you their time and attention receive something beneficial in return. When your audience members sincerely express their enjoyment of your speech their remarks validate your efforts and make you feel as though you accomplished something important.

What All Of This Means For You

How can you be guaranteed success the next time that you give a speech? The overly simplistic advice is this: control what you can control. Likely, you have no direct control over the outcome of your speech. You will also have no control over any accolades you may receive in response to your speech. Instead, you need to focus your energy on things you can control in order to maximize the benefits of public speaking.

Each time that you speak you can control your growth as a speaker. This means that you need to make it a point to stretch yourself each time that you speak. Increase your focus on how you write speeches until it becomes your strength. Pay attention to how clearly you are communicating your message to your audience. Experiment with different delivery techniques until you find the ones that suit your style of presentation best. Provide value with each speech that you give. Consider what your listeners need, choose an appropriate and beneficial topic, and tailor your speech to accommodate audience members’ needs.

Ultimately, each time that you give a speech, you want to come away from it feeling like a winner. Your efforts in giving the speech may or may not result in obtaining the desired accolade, but you can use the opportunity to improve in ways that extend beyond getting that winning feeling. You can serve the audience by using your speech to deliver them something that is important, valuable and lasting. If you do that, you are guaranteed to win every time that you give a speech.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that treating every speech that you give like a contest would make you try harder to do a good job?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

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