Welcome to #InspireAfricaProject! Anytime I’m conducting a public speaking training, I usually tell my students that five minutes before they speak is the most crucial moment they shouldn’t joke with. Within this period, all manner of thoughts will flood your mind. What you do at that crucial moment will determine how great your presentation would be.
I have seen people who prepared fantastic slides and notes, only to stand up and forget everything they planned to say. One started with what he planned to say at the end, and muddled up everything. Because of that single mistake, he concluded a one hour presentation within fifteen minutes. That’s why I have always encouraged people to go for public speaking training.
In our school, www.uncommonwisdomacademy.com we developed uncommon strategies to help every speaker and preacher to master the act of public speaking. I remember the story of a young man who was called out to lead in prayer at the close of their meeting. He stood up and told everyone to close their eyes. They did, and waited for the man to pray but they didn’t hear anything. They opened their eyes and discovered that the man had gone back home. David J. Schwartz shared a story in this regard.
“Recently, in a training program I conducted, each person was asked to give a ten-minutes talk on “being a leader.” One of the speakers gave a miserable presentation. His knees literally shook and his hands trembled. He forgot what he was going to say. After fumbling for five to six minutes, he sat down, thoroughly defeated.
After the session, I spoke to him just long enough to ask him to be there fifteen minutes early at the next session. As promised, he was there fifteen minutes ahead of time for the next session. The two of us sat down to discuss his talk of the night before. I asked him to remember as clearly as he could exactly what he had thought about the five minutes before he gave his talk.
“Well, I guess all I thought about was how scared I was. I knew I was going to make a fool of myself. I knew I was going to be a flop. I kept thinking, ‘Who am I to be talking about being a leader?’ I tried to remember what I was going to say, but all I could think about was failing.”
“Right there?” I injected, “is the answer to your problem. Before you got up to talk you gave yourself a terrible mental beating. You convinced yourself that you would fail. Is it any wonder your talk didn’t come off well? Instead of developing courage, you developed fear.
Now this evening’s session,” I continued, “starts in just four minutes. Here’s what I’d like you to do. Give yourself a pep talk for the next few minutes. Go in that vacant room across the hall and tell yourself, ‘I’m going to give a great talk. I’ve got something those people need to hear and I want to say.’ Keep repeating those sentences forcefully, with complete conviction. Then come into the conference room and give your talk again.”
I wish you could have been there to hear the difference. That brief, self-administered, hard-hitting pep talk helped him to make a splendid speech. The moral: Practice uplifting self-praise. Don’t practice belittling self-punishment. You are what you think you are. Think more of yourself and there is more of you.”
The lesson from this story is simple, every speaker or preacher must pay attention to what goes on in their minds few minutes before they speak. If you allow self-defeating thoughts to flood your mind, it will definitely affect the way you speak. That’s why even some brilliant people fail miserably whenever they stand before an audience to speak.
Several years ago, I discovered few things that helped me to speak effortlessly. The first one is listening to my favorite speakers. There was a particular teaching I listened to for over two years. While driving to the venue of the program, I would listen to this speaker over and over again. I discovered that the moment I am called up to speak, it seemed as if I was already speaking before that moment. Listening to that speaker helped to kill tension and lack of boldness in my mind.
Secondly, I discovered that if I engage in endless discussion before I speak, it affects me. One day, I decided to just sit calmly in my car few minutes before I speak, and it worked wonders. Practicing that act has helped me a great deal.
If you engage in discussions before you speak, you would disorganize your train of thought, and it will definitely affect you when you stand up to speak. But if you sit calmly for few minutes before you speak, it will allow your train of thought to arrange the sequence of the speech. It worked wonders for me.
There are many other steps you must take if you truly want to become a great speaker, but I can’t share everything in an article. You can enroll in Uncommon Wisdom Academy to learn the secrets of public speaking. We will take you through public speaking 101 to 501 that has helped many speakers. Kindly call Godwin on 07032681154.
Here are what some great speakers said. Alexander Gregg opined, “There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience.” Mark Twain said that, “There are only two types of speakers in the world. 1. The nervous and 2. Liars.” Somers White puts it this way, “90% of how well the talk will go is determined before the speaker steps on the platform.” Wisdom is profitable to direct!
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