Monday, December 07, 2015

Note to Self: Always Uppercut

Hit me with your best shot

Little lessons can take you a long way. Lucky for me, I have been privy to many lessons this year. One of the recent ones being the tricks behind effective public speaking. 

After admitting public speaking was absolutely not my thing, I was asked how I would deliver a speech to a room full of homeless people about shelter, food and clothes. At first, the overall concept threw me for a loop. A room full of homeless people? This was not what I was expecting to hear. This isn't exactly the typical image that comes to mind when thinking of public speaking. Suddenly, I felt myself relax and think of how I would approach this crowd. I realized that the intimidation of public speaking disappeared. Instead, I imagined what sort of body language I would consciously display, how I would remain positive rather than closed off and tense, and I imagined the uplifting news I would be sharing with this room full of people.

Now that I had the scenario, the next step was conquering the speech. What would I say? How would I deliver it? How long would the speech be for? Instinctively, I said the speech would last 15-20 minutes. I would deliver it in such a way to convey happiness, hope, excitement and inspiration, and I would tell these people about the offerings in which they were about to receive.

Now, remember - the goal behind all of this was a lesson in effective public speaking. As soon as I gave the above answers I was quickly met with an "Okay, you're on the right track. Now what if I told you to give that speech within the rules of 'Twitter' speak? Meaning you only have 140 characters or less to give your speech?" I paused, and said I would simply say "We are delighted to be here to announce that we have food, clothes and a new home for you today."

And there it was. The answer that followed was an explanation on how to nail public speaking: Eliminate the unnecessary and rely solely on "uppercut" words. Think of it this way, any proper delivery of an uppercut will leave your opponent flat out, correct? Therefore, using uppercut words to complete a speech or deliver an idea or business plan is the simplest and most efficient way to get your point across whilst maintaining the eyes and ears of the audience. Don't over explain, don't keep rambling on to fill the gaps. Instead, be concise and take the time to think about what you're going to say. The saying 'think before you speak' isn't out there for no good reason.

The lesson? Don't muck about with worthless words that will lead you nowhere. Think long and hard before delivering any idea and keep your words sharp and concise. No one has time for nonsense.

Photo credits: Trend Hunter