by Seth B. Greenwald, DTM
Here’s my position: anyone who speaks in public can be considered a public speaker. The one exception to this rule is that you must be speaking to an audience of at least one human being to become a member of the ‘public speaker tribe’.
Now there’s the difference between dabbling in public speaking and taking public speaking seriously. Here it is: you must craft an intentional message which you promise to convey to your audience. And you need to do the crafting well BEFORE you begin to speak. Without a crystal-clear message in mind you’re just a public talker. Please don’t misunderstand me. I have nothing against public talkers. It’s just that this article is written for writers who want to hone their public speaking skills.
Let’s dig into this topic a bit deeper. It’s not difficult to be a decent public speaker. Do a YouTube search on your favorite topic and you’ll find plenty of decent speakers. However, it takes hard work to become an excellent public speaker. And I’m here to help you. I’ve recently published an e-book called “The Engineer’s Formula for Public Speaking Excellence.” In the book I break down the world of public speaking into five distinct elements. They are:
- Creating a precise and memorable central message
- Preparing a compelling presentation that supports your message
- Practicing the presentation to perfection
- How to fully engage your audience
- Overcoming stage fright
For now, I’m going to focus on the first element: Creating a precise and memorable central message. It’s so important to gain a crystal-clear understanding of what your key idea for a simple reason: if you don’t get it yourself, then your audience won’t get it either. When you gaze into the crowd, you’ll see many faces lit up by the soft blue haze of their cellphones. And that’s not a good look for your audience.
Contrary to popular opinion, it’s your message, and not the body of your speech, that’s the most important part of your presentation. Why? Let’s say you’re on stage for an hour. Speakers typically talk at a rate of approximately 150 words per minute. And let’s assume that there’ll be 10-15 minutes of slower talk due to your Q&A session and other interactive activities. That’s nearly 7,000 words streaming out of you. Even if you speak for half that time, 3,500 words is still a heck of a lot of words for your audience to internalize. Seriously, many people have trouble memorizing their ten-digit phone numbers!
Let’s cut to the chase…when you can summarize your message in an elevator style pitch of 30 seconds or less, you’ll significantly improve the probability that your audience will remember your speech’s main idea. However, I don’t want you to leave anything to chance when it comes to impressing your valuable audience. That’s why I urge you, before going on stage, to develop a precise and memorable synopsis of your main idea which consists of no more than nine words. That’s what I call Single Digit Messaging. When you can express your message in less digits than a telephone number, you’ll see bright white smiles instead of blue screens from your audience.
Are you interested in learning more about the five distinct elements for improving your presentation skills? Then go and grab a free copy of my eBook called The Engineer’s Formula for Public Speaking Excellence…http://eepurl.com/gbPm39
Are you passionate about becoming a better public speaker? Then join my Facebook community called Creative Warrior Speakers Group at: https://www.facebook.com/creativewarriorspeakersgroup. That’s where you’ll find a treasure trove of resources, articles and links to help writers and authors, such as yourself, to start you on the path to public speaking excellence.
Spoiler alert: I’m developing a webinar series based on my eBook and will present the first module as a live zoom conference soon. Capacity will be limited to 25 participants. If you’re interested in attending, drop me a quick note ([email protected]) and I’ll send you further instructions on how to register.
For more free resources on public speaking for writers, visit my website at CreativeWarriorSecrets.com. Questions? I’ll be glad to respond to your email at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you!
Seth B. Greenwald is a best-selling author, popular keynote speaker and presentation coach for authors and writers. He holds a Mechanical Engineer degree from The Cooper Union and is the author of three books on creative public speaking. His latest entitled “The Engineer’s Formula for Public Speaking Excellence” has recently been released as a limited-time free ebook by LookinGood Publishing. Seth is a veteran member of Toastmasters, the international public speaking and leadership organization. In 2016, he earned his DTM, Toastmasters highest educational designation. Seth’s workshop at SFWC2020 on ‘Public Speaking for Writers’ was one of the big draws of the conference. Visit his website for articles and free resources on public speaking for writers at: CreativeWarriorSecrets.com