Becoming a ‘Public Speaker’

Speaking in public and being a ‘Public Speaker’.


If you have ever had the opportunity to know or converse with an accomplished speaker in a normal conversational setting and then watched as they change into a ‘Public Speaker’ when they are ‘on stage’ or in the spotlight as it were, you will often observe a new persona emerge.  This is apparent even when the speaker appears to be a ‘natural’.

Somehow and to varying degrees, the person becomes a little larger than life, to assume a mantle of authority and presence, to take on an enhanced aura which enables them to engage with their audience to a greater degree.To really stand out as a memorable speaker it is worth spending a little time and effort to cultivate this ‘Public Speaking Persona’.

Now the idea is not of course to try to elevate yourself for the sake of misplaced self esteem, arrogance or pomposity, but to impress upon your listener that you know what you are talking about and that you have an important message which is worth listening to.

In many ways, when you step out to talk to a group of people, you do become larger than life.  Remember that you are really holding a conversation with many listeners at once.  We talked about the art of, ‘speaking to an audience – yet connecting to an individual’, in a previous blog, and this is looking at the same situation from another angle.

So what can you do to “become” larger than life?  Well there are many ways of interacting with a crowd that are different from holding conversations with individuals.  We need to acknowledge that you will develop a “stage persona” that is a little different from your daily personality when you speak to a group.  Is this being ‘two faced’, or in any way deceitful? No. These are just different aspects of your personality coming into play.  It is just a question of adapting your approach to relate to a group rather than to people one on one and it feels ‘different’, because that behaviour is only apparent on stage.

Imagine that you are teaching kindergarten.  You would speak in a totally different manner to the way in which you would address your peers at a party.  You’re still the same person, but using the amazing human attributes of communication in a variety of ways.

When addressing an audience, you recognize that your value to this group is as a speaker and that your knowledge, advice, wisdom or whatever, is wanted and needed here and this should give you confidence.  In fact, the only way you will be an effective public speaker is if you control the room.  That doesn’t mean domineering, which is defined as;  ‘showing a desire or tendency to exercise excessive control or authority over others’, but it does involve dominating. One dictionary definition of ‘dominating’,  is to be influential; ‘to have a prevailing influence on somebody or something’.   When you adopt that position, your listener will accept your attitude and they will give you the attention and commitment that you deserve.

There is an unusual expression among speakers referring to this situation as “owning the room”.  This simply means that when you step out in front of that audience, they are no longer just a crowd, they are your individual listeners gathered together for that purpose – to listen and be enlightened, educated motivated and even entertained. They are there to listen to you and what you say is of value to them.  To be a successful speaker, you need to deliver exactly what your audience needs.

If you ever see a video of your most effective presentations you may be surprised at seeing your, ‘other self’.  But you can be pleased about it and just recognize it is part of the skill of becoming a great public speaker.  Enjoy it and let others benefit from it too.

Signature Image- Tony James

Click: Here to access my free “Mini Guide to Confident Speaking”

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