I have learned a great amount about public speaking and presentations from the articles of my fellow bloggers. I’ve created the ‘Blog Profile’ series as a way of saying thanks to those people.
Blog Profile: Ginger Public Speaking
Sarah Lloyd Hughes is a speaker on confidence and inspiration, an award winning social entrepreneur and author of “How to be Brilliant at Public Speaking”. Her website has some great content on public speaking. Below is a selection of my favourite posts.
The Myth of the Natural Born Public Speaker
This post rebuffs the myth that public speaking cannot be developed as a skill. Sarah outlines her belief that anyone can learn to become a brilliant public speaker. It all begins with a process of taking little steps onto what is called the Learning Pathway. This learning consists of initial sharp shocks, baby steps of improvement, and finally the natural absorption that follows. Sarah concludes with the following:
There is one major difference between those who excel at public speaking and those who… just don’t. It all depends on how they react in the Sharp Shock and Baby Step phases; at this phase confidence can take a downward turn as awareness of deficiencies emerge. But when you push through those barriers, amazing things CAN happen. You too can be an extraordinary public speaker.
The Six Qualities of an Inspiring Speaker
In this post, Sarah poses a simple question: what really makes an inspiring speaker?
She proceeds to describe the six qualities that can help a speaker to truly impact their audience. These qualities are awareness, empathy, freshness, balance, fearlessness and authenticity. Here are some of my favourite lines from the post:
The more we try to be someone else as a speaker – the more we lose what makes us appealing in our own way.
Inspiring public speakers like Gandhi to Brene Brown, to Churchill, each have very different behaviours as speakers. Truly inspiring public speaking comes from the inside, not from applying a bunch of rules.
Your authenticity connects to your audience’s humanity and allows them to also be authentic. This is the quality that transforms public speaking from “technically very good” to “WOW”.
Are You a Nightmare Public Speaker?
This post provides a list of the worst offenders when it comes to public speaking!
Lecturing Lawrence has a tendency to take the high-ground over an audience and is reluctant to ‘dumb things down’ or ‘spice things up’ for the sake of the audience. Put simply he is lacking in awareness.
Inappropriate Ian fails to grasp his audience’s perception of him or his topic. A confident speaker, it’s his delivery and lack of empathy with the audience that are poorly received.
A lack of freshness is causing problems for Same Old Susan. Her public speaking relies on clichéd modes of delivery that have been seen too many times. She fails to add anything innovative or memorable into her presentation.
Jumbled Jack falls short in adequate preparation, practice or structure. His speeches appear to jump around from one topic to the next, with no apparent purpose. It is a problem of balance.
Wendy Wet Blanket lacks fearlessness and fails to ‘claim the audience’. What this means is that she struggles to make demands and instead leaves the group feeling ‘that was nice’, rather than leaving them with an imperative to act.
There’s something funny-feeling about Cringeworthy Chris. By using too many clever tricks & techniques he alienates his audience and either leaves them feeling cold, or feeling like they’ve been manipulated. His authenticity is missing.
What’s a Quick Way to Write a Speech?
Finally a very clever post that uses the analogy of climbing a mountain to describe the process of writing a speech. Here are the key messages:
Choose the journey – at the beginning of the speech set up your aim; where you want to take your audience.
Climb the mountain – as you begin think of the key moments as places to stop along the way, moments for the audience to catch their breath and to appreciate the view around them.
Hold their interest – create some drama, a “good versus evil” contrast. As you go up the mountain the stakes are raised.
Reach the summit – the audience feels that they’ve learned something new and can see something beautiful as a result.
Descend quickly – a brief conclusion that gives everyone the feeling that you’ve “breathed out”, conquered the mountain, and are grateful to be down the other side…