In the past couple of weeks, we’ve given you brilliant information on growing and transforming your public speaking skills. We talked about novice or “Debut” speakers growing their confidence and understanding that public speaking is a conversation. We’ve shared a “Rising Star” growth hack - purposeful movement that is tied to the message you’re communicating. Now it’s time to move on to “Award Winner” level skills.
“Award Winner” is our category for someone who has completed a number of public speaking gigs with a variety of audiences, has consistently received positive feedback AND whose message transcends the moment. This is big, life-altering stuff. And while we’ll applaud just about everyone who falls into that category, we’re not asking to see your medals. This is not the Olympic luge of public speaking. What we’re talking about is what separates an Award Winner from everyone else in the world.
Once you’ve mastered the mechanics of public speaking - breathing, memorization, movement, etc., and made peace with the X-factors of AV, environment and audience response, it’s time to take a microscopically close look at your message. Is what you’re communicating bigger than the moment in which you speak? Will your audience carry you with them when they leave the room?
The greatest public speakers and presenters are the ones who inspire us. They challenge us to aspire, no matter if the subject is mathematics, honeybees or conflict management. These people are makers, creating pieces of art comprised not only of emotion, connectedness and words but of memories. Award Winners are, at heart, storytellers.
Great stories have color and purpose. We have to see ourselves in them - our struggles, our situations and relationships. Great storytellers understand the concept of putting your guts on the floor. Robin Williams was a master. So was Steve Jobs. So is Oprah and Barack Obama.
I once had an acting teacher tell me that everything on stage must be life or death. Even crossing the stage to open a curtain must be approached as if my life, in some capacity, depended on that curtain being open. It’s a lesson I’ve never forgotten. Great, transcendent public speaking is a covenant with the audience - I’ll speak a truth from my gut and my heart and you, the audience, will receive it and make it part of your experience. It is, as we’ve always said, a conversation.
Will audiences jump to their feet clapping and cheering for you? Who can say, but hopefully at this point you’ve birthed, crafted, shaped, polished and refined a presentation that will hallmark you as memorable; one that makes you an Award Winner.
LB Adams is the Founder of Practical Dramatics headquartered in Charleston, SC. Her company provides a wealth of soft skills training events that utilize theatre strategies to help humans grow more profitable conversations with other humans. To find out more about public speaking workshops & events, please reach out to us at 843-771-0753.