People often ask me how long it will take for them to become a great public speaker — and of course, the answer is, “I have no idea.”
- That’s partly because I don’t know how fast you can learn…
- But also because I don’t know what great means to you…
- And I don’t know, before we start speaker coaching, which public speaking process will get you where you want to go!
The Public Speaking Process is Physical
The physical things about public speaking include posture, how you move on stage, how you make eye contact.
But at an even more basic level, public speaking involves the physical process of making sounds.
Doing this in a consistent and dependable way takes a lot of physical practice. You can’t rush that, anymore than you can rush becoming Serena Williams or Rafael Nadal.
The Public Speaking Process Is Mental
Every person has a natural way of organizing his or her own thoughts:
Some of us are very linear. Some of us like big picture concepts. Some of us are random thinkers, jumping from one idea to the next. Some of us are literal, others intuitive, etc., etc.
There’s no wrong way of thinking for a public speaker. But expressing your ideas in a consistent and dependable way that other people understand takes a lot of practice. You can’t rush that, any more than you can rush becoming Marie Curie or Steve Jobs.
The Public Speaking Process Is Social
- Before developing your speech, you need to know who you’re speaking to, what they want, and how you’d like them to behave differently. While this is obvious, lots of us leave it out when we’re planning to make a speech. You can learn more about building this skill in Chapter 3 of Speak Like Yourself… No, Really!
- As you practice your speech, think about the people you’ll be addressing. Do your words connect with their dreams, goals, aspirations, frustrations? Are you speaking to them with respect? Do you know how your ideas will be received?
- When you deliver your speech, is your focus primarily on your audience? Are you reading their signals? Noticing their reaction? Speaking to them in an easy, conversational way?
As with the mental and physical parts of public speaking, this social ability to read and interact with the people who are listening to you grows with time and effort.
Public Speaking is a Physical, Mental , and Social Process
It’s a process, not a destination.
So if you’re asking, “Are we there yet?” the answer is, “We’re on the right road. Relax and enjoy the scenery!”
There will never be a moment when any of us — no matter how skilled, experienced, or dedicated — run out of things to learn, or improve upon, in life and as public speakers.
Becoming a great public speaker can be an exciting, exhilarating, and rewarding process; and it can help to have a guide.
So if you’re ready, contact me and we’ll begin.
But don’t ask me to tell you how long it’s going to take!