It is said that if you are not growing, that you are dying, and when it comes to speaking or presenting, it might be easy to get stuck into a groove of doing things a certain way and think that that is enough.
Is there room for improvement? Like any performer, yes, there is always room for improvement.
Often you might not even realize how or in what areas you could improve until you are challenged to stretch yourself.
What level are you at with your speaking and what could you improve upon?
A lot of my improvement has come through years of experience training and speaking – and I can recall specific times that have challenged me to do better – to connect more, to be more clear with instructions, to loosen up a little, be more real or speak to bigger crowds.
I was thinking last night about a colleague/ mentor and how he helped me to loosen up more when presenting.
Often you don’t realize how tight you were until you do loosen up.
I was working at a training event as an assistant trainer, mostly doing some of the preparatory work with the participants, warming them up and then introducing the head trainer. At one time when he came on, with the music playing, he challenged me to a dance-off.
Now I love to dance, and with that challenge to dance, I suddenly shared a part of a me that until then I usually reserved for close friends and family. I was doing an MC Hammer impersonation, and even did my version of a bum-dance. Boy, did I loosen up.
And up to that point, I thought I was pretty loose and relaxed up there. I had another level inside of me to go. And I’m sure, even now, that there is more.
How can you find that new level and what will that allow you to do with your speaking, your business, your life?
Often the challenge to take your skills to another level come from an external force. In this example, it was from my colleague who was also my mentor and friend.
At other times it has been a challenging participants with difficult questions or feedback that helped me realize that there was still a better way of doing things.
Who or what is challenging you? Here are some suggestions to help take your speaking to another level of success so that you can get the results you want from speaking:
1. Challenge yourself – step outside of your comfort zone, whether it’s speaking for the first time, or doing something a little different. Tell a joke, be outrageous, share a little bit more of yourself.
2. Collect feedback – at the end of your events, ask for feedback. Get them to complete a form to help you on your path for continual improvement. Be open to any verbal feedback. Read my post on feedback to discover what to listen to and what to ignore.
3. Attend a speaker training workshop – improve your confidence and skills with speaking and extend your range of expression. By doing this in a safe environment (where it’s okay to be crazy or silly), you can can learn to step outside of your comfort zone and be comfortable with it.
4. Get a mentor or coach – a 3rd party can see where you are holding back and can see your potential. They will challenge you and help to bring out your best – whether it’s in how you present, or your message.
With all of these, you want to have a desire to improve, to be open to new ways of doing and saying things. Sometimes you just have to try and see how it works for you.
See how being more real; funnier; more serious; more emotional or expressive; has an effect on your presentation and on your audience. Ultimately it is about the audience, and if you can improve your connection with them so they get your message, then do what you can to achieve that.
Good luck and have fun.
Check out my Speaker Training programs to see how I can challenge you to take your speaking to the next level.