…and moreover in our opinion everybody shall speak in public.
William Roy, creator of Pitchcards, a game to improve your public speaking skills which successfully funded on Kickstarter in March 2017, shares his thoughts on what makes a great presentation or pitch.
Check out pitch cards –
Whether you are socially awkward or shy or introverted, whether you are outgoing and open and gregarious – what really counts in any presentation is what your message is. When we created Pitchcards we considered how we could have the most impact with our product and finally it was by making it open not too much but just the right amount of openness and to make a game that could be played by anyone that wanted to improve his or her public speaking skills.
Today we are invited on this blog to share with you some ideas about public speaking and about the fact that anyone with the right preparation training and mindset can talk in public.
Beware that this article isn’t a guide to get rid of your fear of public speaking (go and speak to Robin about that) and it’s on purpose. We consider that you are great individuals and that pointing some ideas to you is the best start possible. The web is filled with guides and tutorials and whatever but what we are looking for here is an article that will make you think.
Content is King
Most of the time people don’t speak in public or are afraid about public speaking because they think that’s what they have to say isn’t really interesting, most of the time it’s quite the opposite. As a matter of fact, some TEdX speakers we had the privilege to work with told us that it was one of the most basic requirement to end up on a TedX stage.
Let’s just say that it’s a bit like the whole Philosopher’s Stone trick in Harry Potter.
The fact is even if the delivery is terrible, the content is King and can save a presentation. We are aware of course that’s at some point delivery will make the difference between something that makes an impact and will be remembered and quoted, and something that will only be vaguely remembered.
We won’t focus too much on the content part – just remember that in every person there are some golden nuggets some great ideas that could be shared and that might have a wonderful impact on the world.
(Note from Robin – people in business often think they can ONLY talk about their business and lessons learned. You can talk about ANYTHING and people love a story)
XP is key
You can’t go against a final boss with a level 1 wizard that is in the gaming world. The same idea applies to public speaking. You have to train with the right settings and tools around you. Let’s see how you can create it.
First, think about the people you trust the most around you, those that can be your most vigorous advocates, supporters and fans. You might be quite comfortable around them and you might be quite good at communicating and speaking with them.
This is your first step.
At some point you have an opportunity to share your ideas, or perhaps an obligation to speak in public; these advocates, these people around you are those you shall rely upon to create the first positive experience of public speaking. Then afterwards, you’ll add people to your practice sessions, or your low stakes speaking occasion until you’ll be comfortable. That’s where we want you to go – the more practice in public, the better you’ll get.
As in any new skill acquisition, being measured and having a good plan of action is key. Nobody is expecting you to go into any gym and push the maximum weight of a machine first time if you’re not a very sporty person. That’s exactly the same thing with public speaking, so grab those two kilograms weights and start doing movements. Because that’s what you shall do – you shall train and then one day you’ll get there.
Go start practicing, in front of a mirror, with friends, at a local speaking group…
Emotions are Welcome
Whatever you might think about your audience, just remember that they are humans like you, which means that like you and any person you come across everyday, they wake up, scratch their head and put some pants on.
You, like them, have emotions, and those emotions are really important when you speak in public.
Managing your emotional state is important, especially when you have an idea that you want to share. Yes the more you are attached to your topic to your talk the more managing your state is important. On the other hand, emotional intelligence might help you with the inner talk you might have around to public speaking. You know that guy in your head who says “I’m not that interesting so I’d better not speak in public, and what will they think about me if I dare talk in public? “.
Self talk like this is quite normal; it is a way to protect you from a stressful situation or a potentially stressful situation.
Remember behind any self-deprecating talk there is some good intentions, like not putting oneself in danger or avoiding a potentially emotionally harmful situation, but that’s doesn’t mean that we have to listen to that guy in your head!
At some point we have to get out of our comfort zone into what we call the challenge zone it is outside the confidence but not yet into the panic zone.
You might have seen this image where there is the comfort zone and further apart there is the place where magic happens. This visualisation of the concept in our opinion is not the best one. Imagine three concentric circles the innermost being your comfort zone, the second one your challenge zone and the outermost your panic zone. Whatever you do you have to train to be ok in your challenge zone just ok and you’ll build up something from there.
Words have power, and with great power must come great responsibility.
Have fun, ping us on Twitter and Facebook if you have any question and long live coaching for geeks.
William Roy – Creator of Pitch Cards