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From the desk of Steve Lowell, Master Speaker and Mentor to those who speak in public.

Being Sensational

Lighten Up, Will Ya?

Holly is an amazing lady I have the good fortune of knowing! She’s a former police officer, now turned entrepreneur, and she attended one of my public speaking classes the evening before I wrote this piece. Because of her training in interrogation techniques as a police officer, Holly tends to be a little rigid when she speaks. She has a fun and loveable personality, but when she stands before an audience, she turns into a bit of a drill sergeant.

Holly stood in front of the class, impeccably dressed with her suit jacket done up, just as it should be when she’s speaking to an audience. Then, Holly the drill sergeant began to speak.

I asked her to undo her jacket button, just so she could feel a little less formal. She protested slightly, but she finally complied, and began to loosen up a little. As she was speaking, I had to interrupt her a few times, and ask for Holly the lady to speak, instead of Holly the drill sergeant.

Finally, after several interruptions, Holly the lady broke free. All of the sudden, there she was, the woman we’d all been waiting for. Holly the lady began to speak. She told us about an accident that had befallen her, when she was trapped in an elevator as it fell six stories to the ground. She finally became animated and emotional, and it was so powerful that she had us all captivated. She lightened up from her Holly the drill sergeant persona!

Holly has a little more work to do, because she slipped back into drill sergeant mode after she finished the story, but that’s okay, because now she knows how to lighten up, and it’s going to profoundly improve her speaking skills.

So, what’s the lesson? Lighten up when you take the stage. Your audience will relate to you so much better if you’re just being you.

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