Episcopal priest Ian Cron proves an important point about people who preach:
Unlike speakers who give one speech, over and over, at locations all over the country, ministers of the gospel have to come up with something new each week.
The ones who do it well remember an important truth: greatness as a speaker doesn’t depend solely on the content you present. It depends, too, on whether we assess, diffuse, involve, and love each audience.
If we’re going to be great speakers, we’ve got to do what Ian does.
I spoke once at a school in New York whose students were so misbehaved that the school hired guards to stand by during convocation programs.
The guards stood around the room, into which about a thousand students filed while I prepared to speak. The event host warned that an astronaut had spoken a couple of weeks earlier, and the students behaved so badly that he couldn’t finish his speech.
Twice in my career as a communicator, I have thrown a hissy fit in front of a sponsor.
The first time, about a thousand young people had shown up to see me speak on a stage in a gymnasium. Before the show’s start, I stood in front of the stage and asked the sponsor a question: “Where are the lights?”
My friend Dan Miller grew up working hard on a farm in Ohio. Today, he is an author and a coach and an expert in helping others create careers as communicators. How did get to where he is today? Dan says that while he still lived on that farm he thought to himself:
“There’s got to be something more than milking cows at 5:30 a.m. and throwing hay bales in the heat of summer.”
When my friend Michael Hyatt told me how he used to prepare for speaking engagements, I was surprised. He told me that when he first started speaking, he prepared for gigs like a lot of people prepare for first dates: with a sense of impending doom.
Governed by nerves, he over-prepared and over-thought. He stepped into the spotlight at each event, afraid of what would follow. Sometimes it went well. Sometimes it didn’t.
Until he created a pre-speaking routine, then everything changed.
I have flown hundreds of times. There are certain phenomena that are common to flights. The rush of power you feel at take-off, the unsettling harshness of air turbulence and of course, the landing. You would think they would be better at it. Take-offs, pretty good, turbulence, well they can’t really do anything about it – but somehow they know it’s coming and they get you prepped. But the landing is always a crapshoot. Sometimes pretty good, usually a little unsettling, occasionally scary.
Chances are you’ve never really thought much about the similarities between the work of a cabinet maker and the work of a speaker. But the truth is the mindset a cabinet maker brings to their work can serve a speaker very well.
In this video post I share the parallels between the two, and reveal a framework you can use to create presentations in less time while delivering more impact and gaining clarity regarding your message.
Dr. Michael Hudson is a Teacher, Speaker, Writer, Facilitator, & Coach. He works with speakers, coaches, & consultants; entrepreneurs & small business owners; and leaders of cause-focused organizations seeking to get clear on their message and to communicate it to create their impact on the world.
Be sure to listen to Ken Davis being interviewed on Episode 139 of Theatre of the Courtroom podcast. Ken gives advice to lawyers on dealing with a fear of public speaking and how to be genuine in communication when speaking to the jurors. Use promo code LAW to receive $300 off the next SCORRE™ Conference!