In one year, I have learned A LOT about public speaking. I became member of Toastmasters Antwerp and in the meantime, together with some friends, I started a non-profit initiative (Xten-Encuentros para crecer) to give conferences to Spanish speaking women.
I have learned from books, watching TED talks and listening to my toastmasters-fellows, but MOSTLY from being on stage.
The following tips have helped me a lot. I put them in practice and worked! Let me share them with you:
– “Cut off everything that is not surprising”, Derek Sivers.
GOLD. The best advice ever! I got it during his interview with James Altucher.
People don’t expect you to sing, to close your eyes or to tell them a poem. Then, why don’t you do it? Be creative, surprise them and make them enjoy your talk!
– “The talk is supposed to be a gift for the audience. Let them know WHY it matters”. Chris Anderson, Curator of TED.
Nobody cares about how cool you are or how funny your story is. What’s in for them? Why is so important to listen to you? If you learned something, they want to know how did you learn it and how can that benefit their lives.
– “You want to be natural? Then practice!”. I learned it from a book.
People tend to think that practice is for Beginners. The idea of performing a “natural” or “spontaneous” talk make us believe that practice is unnecessary and at the end “it will be OK”. If you want your talk to be natural and fluent, like a one-to-one conversation, believe me, you have to practice a LOT!
I applied these tips in my talk for Xten and I was happy with the results. For example:
Normally, people expect a standard salutation at the beginning and at the end. I skipped that.
I started with a story. I came to the stage, made a pause and said: “It’s 5:30 in the morning. The alarm rings. I have to get up to go to my job… “ I told the story as introduction for my topic. By the moment I started the content, I had already their attention.
At the end, I made a mime taking a balloon from the air and tied it to the floor. This represented “a dream becoming a goal”. You don’t look to the sky anymore, but to the front. I finished by saying “… and when you get that goal, call me to celebrate! Thank you!”.
I used my story to give a context. But the most important was to share what I learned during the experience, to provide some tips and leave a “call to action” to the audience.
Check the video, even if you don’t understand Spanish, you can see the how fluent and natural I could make it. I confess: I practiced EVERY day. Twice a day, during the last two weeks previous to the event. And without mentioning the rehearsals with my X-ten friends.
I hope you can use these Tips and get great results as I did.