I took a stroll down memory lane the other day, back to my college days, and it really got me thinking about what makes a great public speaker GREAT.
I was out on a walk taking in the beauty of the hills near my home when I had a chance encounter with Bill, another alum from my alma mater. We talked on and on about the experiences we had as students at San Jose State University and ultimately found our conversation honing in on how we totally adored this one instructor, Professor Adams and was bored to tears with Professor Landon. Pretty wild that all these years later, Bill and I could not stop talking about this one amazing teacher. What was it about this guy that made him unforgettable?
Before each of Professor Adam's classes, because we could hardly wait to hear what he had to say, we'd actually get there early. And just so you know, getting somewhere early usually isn't my jam.
Wisdom just overflowed from him like a fountain of joy - his enthusiasm, caring and genuine presence was absolutely contagious. For real. His impact was over the top.
And then there was… Professor Landon… Wuh-wuhhh…
Getting ourselves to Landon’s class was painful. I literally had to drag myself to class and fight just to keep my eyes open. I was bored to tears. He would sit at the front of the room like a robot spewing out the information that he was ‘supposed to teach.’
As a speaking coach, pondering this radical contrast, showed me that it all comes down to this one thing. Caring.
With Professor Adams, both Bill and I felt excited because we knew we were being seen. This prof cared so much about his students that he actually helped me to land my first job out of school. He told Hewlett-Packard to hire me as a marketing maven, and they did.
Now that's caring..
So, if you’re going to speak...
Speak with your whole heart
See your audience. Really see them
Speak to inspire
Speak to motivate
Speak to ignite the light in your audience, big or small
Make this commitment bigger than how you feel about the content or your delivery, and you may happily find people flocking to you like a bees to honey – just like Professor Adams.
Truly, it’s not all about you, and speaking is not just a job or something you have to do.
If you're going to speak, commit to speaking well.
Find your why and do it for ‘them.’
Do it with commitment and heart so that you too can leave your legacy with every speaking encounter. You will change lives. Guaranteed.