This article was originally published a few years ago at the RockStar Success Library. It’s a great foundation from one of the icons in the biz.
Effectiveness in public speaking is a learned skill; and your ability to speak in front of others is a key ingredient in professional success.
Questions, Ideas, Implications
- “Fully 90 percent of your success as a speaker will be determined by how well you plan your speech.” (pg 18). I couldn’t agree more. When people ask me how to improve their public speaking, they are usually thinking about their deficiencies in delivery. However, most messages falter because of poor planning and prep – not because they are poorly delivered. Spend the time and energy to prepare beforehand!
- I love the point that Brian makes about realizing that “the audience is on your side” (pg 45). Most people finds public speaking challenging because they are afraid that they will look foolish or fail in front of their audience. This simple idea, that the audience wants you to do well, is incredibly powerful. It takes the pressure off and makes public speaking feel collaborative instead of confrontational.
- Brian reinforces that it’s critical to plan the opening and the conclusion of your message. I usually teach that these are the only two parts that should be memorized – because the opening creates your credibility and the conclusion determines how you will be remembered. Even if you only outline the rest of the message, you want to be completely confident in what you will say to open and close your message.
- One topic that didn’t receive a lot of attention is how to handle less-than-stellar speaking conditions. Brian spends a lot of time focused on the need to control your environment: variables like seating, temperature, and sound system. But I think that one of the differentiators between mediocre and top-flight speakers like Brian, is the ability to perform well in poor speaking conditions out of your control, for example when it is too hot and the microphone doesn’t work. It’s important to think about how you would handle those scenarios before you get into them. Then when they happen, you can roll with the situation without getting flustered.
Should you read this book? Who should read this book?
Absolutely. If you are looking to advance your career, this is a great way to make public speaking your ally instead of your adversary. Whether it’s a board room presentation, or a PTA meeting pitch, your ability to share your ideas clearly and persuasively is a powerful determinant of how people will view you. Definitely read this if you are a:
- Board Member
- Afraid of Public Speaking