Don't Wait For A Keynote To Invest In Public Speaking Training If you think that public speaking training is reserved for those preparing for their first TEDx talk, you're wrong.
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After launching my communication strategy firm, I continue to be shocked at clients reaching out a week before their big keynote to get help with public speaking. It's not just something consistent with entrepreneurs in the region, but across the globe. They're all leaving it too late to recognize when to invest in public speaking training. Waiting for a big keynote leaves them frantically getting help, unstructured, and nervous before such an important opportunity.
If you think that public speaking training is reserved for those preparing for their first TEDx talk, you're wrong. Every time you have the opportunity to share your message to a group of people, you are speaking in public. If your job requires you to speak to investors, clients, and even your own team, you should think about exploring public speaking training. It's far more than just writing a speech, and reciting it. Effectively and consistently crafting a message, and reading your audience requires time, emotional intelligence, and trial-and-error. Having worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs on this, here is a quick guide to start you off.
1. Sit in your audience's shoes
Put yourself in the shoes of your audience member, and empathize with them. Are you the first person on, or the last? We've all been there when energy levels fade by the mid-afternoon. Recognize how your audience will be feeling, and ask yourself: what do you want them to be saying to their friends and family when they leave the event? Knowing exactly what information you have to impart on them, and what you want them to do with that information is called a call to action.
2. Know your messaging
Know what you're going to say, and say what you want them to hear. This may mean reworking some of your earlier points with a different turn of phrase, or a different example, based on your audience. You may think that winging it will be okay, but I've seen many entrepreneurs fail to effectively communicate their business to their audience, and lose their focus. Try these sentences out with clients, colleagues, or friends when you're sharing what's coming up in your business. As for feedback, read their responses, and assess from there.
3. Speak often
Don't expect to jump into 1000 people, if you haven't yet held a presentation to your team of five. You've got to start somewhere, and building up to large events, and having real-life experience will prepare you for the big moments, and make sure that you make them count. Furthermore, creating lasting connections with smaller groups can be far more rewarding than spreading your energy across an entire auditorium. You've got to walk before you can run, and respect whoever has given up their time to listen to you.
When you broaden your understanding of public speaking, you'll find the tools and techniques that I use when coaching entrepreneurs will work just as well when speaking to an auditorium full of people, as well as presenting to your next big investor. You'll become more attuned to when you've nailed it on stage, and what needs to be worked at, and you'll be far more open to receiving feedback, a critical part of communication. Remember, communication is the most overlooked part of doing business, and the one place I can guarantee you'll see accelerated growth, both professionally and financially, from investing in it.
Related: Why Avoiding Public Speaking Is Sabotaging Your Career (And What You Can Do About It)