Let your vision do the talking: How to master public speaking
Most of us at some point in our life have had to stand up in front of other people and make some sort of presentation, either to a small group, or to a large audience in a TED talk.
Academy member Joe Salazar is a 38 year old law student who focuses most of his time on trial advocacy. At first, Joe thought he wanted to be a public speaking coach. But, when he was forced to redefine his niche through the London Real Business Accelerator, he realised that being a public speaker was the last thing he actually wanted to do!
As a result of the Business Accelerator, Joe found his micro-niche that led him on the journey to ‘The Salazar Method,’ which provided a platform on which he has built his consultancy business to give presentation skill to founders and CEOs of tech start-ups.
According to Joe’s experience and expertise in the public speaking industry, he teaches that “public speaking is not really a skill to learn. It is the process of sharing your convictions:”
If you “accept the fear that fills you and simply focus on the conviction that drove you to speak, then there is no need for speeches or techniques.”
This week, Joe explains why sharing your convictions and being authentic in the public speaking arena will make or break your speech. Because only with conviction, passion and authenticity, will you reach new levels of giving greater value to your audience, target market and to yourself.
If you want to become an effective public speaker, then this interview is for you.
What is public speaking?
“It’s nothing more than speaking in public. But to be honest, the idea of public speaking refers to an empty act and a perceived skillset that many desire to have. But this term doesn’t provide context for why we do it, nor does it provide an understanding about the content. Usually, the term public speaking refers to an activity that we hope to be good at just so it doesn’t scare the heck out of us anymore. Like skiing or golfing, mostly everyone thinks of improving their public speaking skills with techniques and practice. While anything will usually get easier with practice, public speaking is unique because we get no great benefit from it just by increasing our skill. Why focus on public speaking without talking about the reasons behind it? Many people do, but this is in spite of the fact that public speaking is really just a particular form of communication. The goal of communication should be to effectively share our vision and message! However, when we focus on getting better at public speaking only, this point is usually missed entirely.”
How can we be better public speakers?
“By first realising that we shouldn’t focus on public speaking. That is an empty act. It is meaningless and in my opinion, trying to get better at it is done in vain. The only way to ever get better at speaking in general, is question the reasons for why we are standing in front of others. Rather than focusing on the means of how you will share your message, spend all your time developing the message itself. The bottom line is for most people, public speaking will never get easier because the fears we face when speaking to an audience are the same we deal with every day. It is the fears of failure, rejection and conflict. Also, the fears of failing to be being loved, valued and desired are present in front of an audience just as they are in the relationships that we maintain. Speaking in front of others only magnifies these fears in direct proportion to number of people watching. If we learn to focus on the reason for why we want to communicate, then we have a way through the fear. If I do teach anything, it is the idea of presentation training. Inherent within this title is the idea that we have something to present and something to share. This is why I make the distinction between presenting an idea and the perceived skill of simply speaking in public. With presentation training, we have something to work on and it is usually twofold: 1. Make sure our message is founded in conviction and resonates with our identity. Who we believe ourselves to be must be an extension of our core beliefs. 2. As we clarify our message, we must ensure that we are sharing our perspective rather than individual ideas. This second step is what is responsible for connecting with audiences. It helps them see the world through our eyes.”
Explain the Salazar Method
“The Salazar Method is built on three core principles Technical Analysis, Formatting & Style, Personal Psychology & Group Dynamic. The bottom line is don’t distract your audience by doing too much, keep your message clear, focus on sharing your perspective rather than individual ideas and rely on personal conviction as your greatest source of courage and identity. A public speaking coach usually focuses on reducing fear and stage fright by using techniques that are guaranteed to boost your confidence, while allowing you to command an audience. However, trying to reduce fear and anxiety like this robs you of the spontaneity and honesty required for public speaking. Only by speaking from your own set of convictions will you ever be captivating and relevant. The Salazar Method doesn’t rely on cold and tired techniques which do not take into account just how fickle and volatile an audience can be. My approach recognises that public speaking is simply having a private conversation out loud. The same principles that come into play with an audience are the same that apply when speaking to someone close: be vulnerable, honest, and brave! Only by bringing the secret truth of our convictions out into the public forum, will we ever have a chance of making a meaningful impact. Those who have been considered game changers and thought leaders have realised this truth. Their public speaking skills weren’t the value, but the vision that came through was. That is what your business partners, team members and clients want: to know your vision!”
Can you give us some quick tips on how to prepare and present yourself before speaking live to an audience?
“For me, these steps break things down pretty clearly. Focus on the build up from within: belief→conviction→identity→ vision → sharing that vision.”
- “Focus on the Technical Analysis of your presentation. Try to get all the little things taken care of ahead of time. Get all those worries out of the way early! Examples might be figuring out where you will speak, where you will stand, figuring out what technology and visuals are going to be used, and even what you wear. Take all the thinking out of the equation. Then focus on getting comfortable and have someone watch you a couple of times. To be honest, most of the excess movements, fidgets, wiggles, and unintentional touching of things happen because we are nervous; and addressing the insecurities that give rise to these distracting behaviours is addressed with the third core principle; but it is still good to have someone let you know what if what you are doing will distract your audience. Again, this will not make public speaking easier or less frightening, but again, that’s not the point. Making sure nothing distracts from you message is!”
“Address Formatting and Style. Getting the audience to see the world through your eyes should be your goal. By providing your listeners with the context, perspective, and mindset you had while developing your ideas will help you achieve that goal. Many of us have new and challenging ideas that are valuable. Unless your audience understands how and why they make sense to you, you will rarely make a lasting impact.”
“Personal Psychology and Group Dynamics. I don’t pretend to be a psychologist, but I have stood in front of thousands over my time. I have walked into many rooms knowing that I would be judged immediately. But, what’s new? The key to presentation training is the same answer to living an authentic and fulfilled life: be the change you want to see in the world and then share that vision! Rather than worrying about how you look to the world, focus on whether you are the person you want to be! Why? Because most of us in our life are attracted to such a wide variety of people, but we don’t know why. And it is often hard to see the connection. As we meet these amazing people that strike us with their confidence, we are influenced by their story and their view of the world. But is it because they are just so influential? Do we really want to be like them? Do we really think we would be better off if we lived like them? And do we want to do what they do? Why are these people so powerful and persuasive? It’s for the same reason that many speakers engage us on stage: they are sure of themselves and that conviction shines through. The most influential people we will ever listen to have a strong sense of identity and that is what we are attracted to! Furthermore, they usually have a vision that drives them. So, if you want to be an amazing speaker who others will listen to, don’t think about standing, talking, or moving in a particular way. Focus on what matters. Know your convictions and the world will know you! For body language, do the following: always face the person you are speaking to, look them in the eyes, and if you do move your hands, make sure your gestures are directed in his or her direction (just make sure your hands are used to drive home a particular point). That sounds a little weird, but just don’t wiggle them around because you are nervous. And if that’s the case, put one in your pocket and only use the other one to accentuate your points. That’s what I do!”
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