The Pleasure Principle
Public Speaking: Keep it Simple and Personal
By Lee Glickstein
Once I presented at a regional conference of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) on how to use public speaking to educate the public and promote their practices.
I guided these masters of clutter liberation in de-cluttering and simplifying their speaking so that potential clients are attracted to their irresistable essence.
In preparing for this upcoming presentation it occurred to me that most people I work with are the uncluttering business. This includes therapists, coaches, body/energy workers, spirit and creativity guides, other healing practitioners, and enlightened entrepreneurs. Are we not here to simplify lives and clarify meaning for others in our realm of knowledge?
So how do you translate a masterful one-on-one skill to telling groups about who you are, what you know, and what you do? As I suggested to the NAPO folks, keep it simple and keep it personal. The people who hire you are those who feel attuned at an essential level and enjoy the pleasure of your company. So talk to one person at a time and not to the group as a whole. Talk conversationally, as if over coffee. Allow silences. I've written for years here about Relational Presence practice as an organic way to move one's self and one's audience into a state of ease and receptivity.
As for the content and structure of an elegantly simple, effective talk, open with a brief personal story that connects with your passion for what you do. Developing that kind of opening alone will make a huge difference in your comfort level and thus your results. As marketing guru Simon Sinek said in his famous TED talk, "people don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it; what gets you out of bed in the morning."
An example: 25 years ago I attended a networking meeting at which the 10-minute speaker was a CPA who opened his talk like this: "When I was a boy my parents would fight bitterly every night in the next room and I couldn't sleep. So I would count sheep with numbers on their backs. The numbers sometimes went into the thousands before I'd be able to fall asleep. This daily practice made me relaxed around big numbers, and I eventually became an accountant. Now I like to relax you around your numbers."
I immediately knew that I wanted to work with this man, who became my accountant for 10 years. When he moved into portfolio management, he continued to get my business. All because of a 30-second true story.
So what's your story?
© Copyright 2011, Lee Glickstein. All rights reserved.