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

Public Speaking Myths to Clear Up Right Now

Myth #4 - There Is No “Right Way” To Do It

I have heard many speech coaches state that “there is no right or wrong way to speak in public,” and I completely disagree! I believe that there is a right and a wrong way and, if you do it the wrong way, it could all explode in your face.

I have seen speech coaches train their clients to keep their hands down by their sides, to limit their pacing, to slow themselves down and to make sure their tie is straight. In most cases, paying attention to these things is the exact wrong way to do it, and let me tell you why.

If you’re speaking in public, you probably have something valuable to say. More than that, you believe you have a message that needs to be shared or a story that needs to be told. You want to be the catalyst for a change you feel driven to make in this world. As a speaker, if you’re emotionally involved in your message, if you believe in your message and its importance to your audience, the right way to deliver that message is whatever way gets you the desired result. The desired result will come from your heart, not your tie.

In 2009, a friend of mine sent me an audio clip of a speech he gave at a major speaking club event for which he was awarded very high marks. He did it the “right way” according to his speaking club. When I listened to the audio clip, I remember thinking how perfect his delivery was. He was articulate, with no “ums” or “ahs.” His speech was well organized, his speed and volume changed in all the right places and his delivery was polished and flawless, like that of a machine. I have no clue what his message was, because his delivery was so mechanical that there was absolutely no emotional involvement. There was no “human element” to his speech. Because there was no emotional involvement on his side, there was none on mine, and his message was, therefore, not worthy of capturing my attention. Now, that was not a conscious thought at the time, but that’s the reason I don’t remember his message. We do not pay attention to boring things.

His speech was simply transference of information. But speaking should not simply be transference of information; it should be transference of feelings as well. If I can make you feel the same way about my topic as I do, then we understand each other.

Throughout this book, we’ll explore tips and techniques that will allow you to speak authentically. These tips and techniques are not designed to turn you into something you’re not as you orate on stage; they’re designed to help bring out more of the real you. In my workshops, I spend an enormous amount of time helping people let go of rules they have been taught about speaking, and teach them to be themselves. Then, we apply the proper techniques in accordance with their own personality to help them bring out more of who they really are.

So, what’s the lesson? When you’re speaking, be authentic, get lost in your message and let the real you shine through. That’s the right way to do it.

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