I’m nervous and think, “This 90-minute class will never end.”
But I’m done in 5 minutes!
There I stand, with 40 college students looking at me. I know I have nothing else to say. They know I have nothing else to say. And my entire body breaks out into a sheen of sweat.
Had I not signed a contract to teach this class I might not be a speaker and communication consultant now as CEO of Speak For Yourself®! I am forced to show up at Richland College every Tuesday and Thursday for 16 weeks. That’s 32 class sessions in case you didn’t do the math.
It was a powerful lesson that I learned about practice and perseverance.
Effective speakers/teachers/communicators make it look easy.
I warn all of my fabulous clients that speaker anxiety is part of the game of speaking. You won’t get rid of it. In fact, you want that adrenaline edge. You learn how to dance with that demon and use that extra energy in a positive vs. negative way.
And some of those demon-dance steps include practice, perseverance, time, rinse and repeat.
I taught at Richland College for 10 years. The first class of each semester (and all my classes) lasted the full 90 minutes!
One of my coping mechanisms then and now (I still can get hot!) … I wear cotton.
Think of a 500-piece puzzle. Heck, think of a 50-piece puzzle. Either way you begin by dumping out all of those pieces on a table and finding the four corners. You build from there.
Same principle applies to the way you communicate. Whether you are delivering a company business update, or you’re on a panel about how Wall Street evaluates your organization, or you’re writing an email – you begin by developing your “four corners”.
You need to construct these four “corners” to get heard above the noise ➜
🎤 CORNER #1 — Your Audience: Who are you talking to and what do they need/want to know? How can you meet and exceed their expectations?
🎤 CORNER #2 — Your Statement of Purpose: What’s your overarching theme? If this is a book, what’s the title? If this is an email, what’s your concise subject header?
🎤 CORNER #3 — Your Return on Investment: What’s the ROI for your listeners … at your quarterly town hall, in a zoom meeting, on the golf course, or by email? Will you save them time or money? Will you increase their competitive advantage? Will you make them happier or stop their headaches? Sharing your ROI creates buy in.
🎤 CORNER #4 — Your Call To Action: After listening to you or reading your digital info what do you want them to do, think or feel? What are your “next steps”? Without a “call to action” you have wasted everyone’s time, including yours.
Your next steps: When you communicate formally, informally or electronically, develop your Statement of Purpose, ROI, and Call to Action while knowing exactly who your audience is and what they want.
Do you ever find yourself in the position to “say a few words” about yourself, or your business/association… and you get tongue tied?
Would you like a checklist on how to sound confident and comfortable in these potential landmine moments?
Reach no further than watching a few acceptance speeches on the 2021 Emmy Awards Show.
The Emmy Awards Acceptance Speeches – the ebullient, memorable and bumbling
You may get caught by surprise when a mic shows up pointing straight at your face. Understandable.
How can these show business celebs be surprised when they’ve been nominated and one of them WILL be getting a trophy??? Mind boggling.
Even considering the emotional rush of adrenaline, these folks should know better. Many used notes that were crumpled, upside down, and two pages 🙄. Others mumbled. A few spoke brilliantly.
Your Impromptu Speech Checklist
Heed the advice of Mark Twain who said, “It takes me about 2 weeks to prepare for a good impromptu speech!”
Think about what questions others might ask you, so that you have some ready responses in your head.
Practice your reply to this question: “We’re going to go around the table. Please share a short introduction.” Been there? Think Mark Twain and prepare ahead.
Use the Pros/Cons template to organize your thoughts. Can you itemize your response by sharing the advantages and disadvantages?
Respond temporally. Can you describe your topic using Past, Present and Future categories?
Think about your conversation from various Points of View. Example: What does your marketing department think, your research team, your supply chain group?
You’re a leader. You can outdo these paid actors on giving impromptu comments! Better yet – call us!
For this blog’s inspiration I thank a recent prospect who wants to hone his skills on speaking extemporaneously. And, thanks go to our Emmy Award Winners for showing us good to horrible acceptance speeches.
Author: Karen Cortell Reisman is Founder of Speak For Yourself® , a communication consulting firm, and the author of 2 books on how to communicate. She lives in Dallas, Texas and embraces her addiction to the Oscars, Emmys, Golden Globes and Tony Award Shows.