Public Speaking Isn’t About the Speaker (It’s about connection)

When you speak in public – whether at a networking event, addressing a group, or delivering a message to your board of directors – do you get nervous?

speakers

For example,

  • Your thoughts move quickly
  • You have a hard time listening because you’re thinking of what to say next
  • You worry that you’ll forget what you want to say
  • You talk a lot without pausing to check in with your audience
  • You worry about what the audience (of 1 or 100) might think

I met with a client yesterday to work on her presentation skills. During our time together we talked about:

  • How to feel more relaxed and confident
  • Setting boundaries with clients
  • How to create content for her upcoming presentation

Her Biggest Takeaway

At the end of the session she told me, “Out of everything we talked about today, my biggest takeaway is the idea that speaking isn’t about the speaker.”

Speaking is about the connection you make with the audience
and your ability to inspire them to take action.

To make that connection you must, as I like to say, deal with yourself first.

Manage nervous energy, prepare and practice content, identify outcomes, and present a confident physical appearance.

Deal with yourself behind the scenes, before the speaking opportunity. That way when in front of the audience, your eyes, ears and words are focused on them.

Speaking is a little bit about the speaker

Of course, each speaker has a self-serving purpose, too. My client wants to speak confidently to establish herself as an expert and grow her social media business.

She’ll do that by (short list):

  • Creating an authentic, trustworthy connection
  • Telling stories relevant to the audience
  • Giving them a glimmer of hope that they too can benefit from social media use
  • Depending on the environment, she’ll offer a subtle sales pitch
  • Having a follow-up plan
  • Identifying the purpose and outcomes (on her side and the client side) in advance so she can develop valuable content

Create a Connection

Think of speaking as a conversation. Be authentic. Think about audience needs, interact, engage and deliver valuable content.

When you create that connection you establish credibility and trust – two necessary components to inspire action from your audience.

Take the pressure off by managing your nervous energy in advance. Remember speaking isn’t about the speaker. Instead make it about the connection and what you and the audience can accomplish by developing a stronger relationship.

Your turn

What do you think? Is speaking about the speaker, the audience or both? Would love to hear your thoughts.

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2 Comments:

  • Cis

    This is a good reminder to calm nerves and remember that the speaking is about information being shared WITH the person listening. It’s amazing how I can forget that and worry that I’ll be judged or whatever nonsense is in my head rather than thinking about what knowledge, wisdom or information I can share. If I think of it as information sharing that seems much less scary. So, this was helpful. Thanks!

    • Stacey Shipman

      Hi Cissy! Thanks for commenting. It’s easy to get caught up in our thoughts. Sometimes it takes the pressure off to think of it as a conversation between two people. Speaking is about making someone’s life better – at work, at home, wherever – by sharing knowledge,experiences and information. Thanks for commenting!

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