The beauty of improving your comfort with public speaking is that, since we are speaking in public most of our lives, we’ve already amassed quite a bit of experience.
I think it’s important to remember that most, if not all of the tools you need to enhance your communications exist inside of a lifetime of interactions with other people.
We are all highly trained communicators just by the function of living our lives in communities. It’s no coincidence these words are so similar.
In my work, I have found that helping people become great speakers or performers or communicators is not necessarily as much about teaching new skills. It’s more about learning to utilize and amplify the tools you already have.
Unfortunately for many, the barriers to public speaking are often much more difficult than a lack of technique: anxiety, insecurities and, in some cases outright phobias are the usual suspects that keep people from jumping at the chance to connect with an audience.
Even when we feel okay about speaking in front of others, there are the muddied efforts to turn a whole lot of complex thinking into something everyone else will “get.”
And, there’s the need to solve the mystery of how to inspire.
Learning new tools, tips and tricks for improving presentation styles is always useful to improve your skills. But what I’m most interested in are the big, explosive shifts--the kind that free people up so that their vision comes alive in the world.
I want to get at the core of what drives speakers to do the kind of work they do—whatever that may be—and enable that spark of visionary enthusiasm to find its words. I want those words to connect, so that dreams become ideas that become passions that start movements that make this world work better for everyone.
Passion inspires me, and I think it’s what makes most people jump up in front of others to perform: whether it’s with a band, or a TED talk or an Executive board meeting (for those who love their job).
It’s a fundamental passion that urges us to speak, and getting to that core spark that is practically pre-verbal means removing what’s in the way. It means realizing what’s already there in you, and learning how to best use your authentic self to communicate.
Stage performance has the potential to be an almost enlightening experience, one in which the present moment is more alive than in most anything you do.
We use the term stage presence as if it is something someone has or does not have, when, in actuality, it’s that we are simply witnessing a human being completely present with the world.
By nature of our being human, we can all have this experience. It just doesn’t happen naturally for everyone in front of groups of strangers.
But it’s a skill that can be learned.