Past, PRESENT, and Future: Which among these three is most important in public speaking? [Wednesdays: “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”]
Let’s have an activity!
Rub the top of your head using your right hand while you pat your chest using your left hand.
Try doing that for at least a minute.
Quite hard and confusing, isn’t it?
Don’t worry. You’re not the only one who’s felt that way.
Unless your coordination skills are well-developed, you will naturally feel confused as you rub the top of your head and pat your chest at the same time.
According to Dale Carnegie in the book, “The Art of Public Speaking,”
“Some psychologists argue that no brain can think two distinct thoughts, absolutely simultaneously―that what seems to be simultaneous is really very rapid rotation from the first thought to the second and back again.”
This statement is true. When your mind is actively working and thinking, it loses grip on one idea the moment its attention is directed to a second or third idea.
In public speaking, there are times when a speaker tries to think of the succeeding sentence or thought while still talking about a particular concept.
When that happens, there’s a high chance that his or her concentration will trail off. Instead of focusing on the present moment to deliver enough punch to a message, he or she might end up reducing the impact of his or her talk and losing the audience’s attention.
As a speaker, what’s one of the things you can do to avoid this?
Concentrate your mental energy on the PRESENT sentence or thought!
Remember that your audience’s mind follows yours closely. This means if your concentration is divided as you present or discuss different points, your listeners’ attention will also be divided.
So… how can you fix your concentration on the present moment during your speech or presentation?
Here are 3 stages that can help you level up your “one-pointedness” in public speaking:
The first stage to enhance your concentration is to make a deliberate decision to think about one thing at a time.
When your focus is divided while you’re presenting in front of an audience, there’s a tendency for you to get lost or jumble all thoughts running in your head.
That will make you feel more stressed and anxious throughout your talk.
On the contrary, concentrating your mental energy on one concept at a time in your speech or presentation will help you make your message more organized and impactful.
That will also make you feel more relaxed as you deliver your speech or presentation.
If you’re set to speak, then SPEAK―with focus and purpose.
Instead of juggling various thoughts in your head or thinking about what the audience feels about your talk, FOCUS.
Choose to be fully in your presentation.
That way, you’ll be able to make an impact with your message, sustain your audience’s attention, and leave a lasting impression.
An effective “do” stage is where the one-pointedness in your speech or presentation happens.
… and when we say “effective,” what we mean is being able to stay on track despite all the internal and external distractions.
Some speakers experience different kinds of distractions as they present. However, what’s commendable about them is they don’t let those disturbances influence their way of delivery.
Apply that in your own public speaking experience, too!
If you experience distractions during your talk, always refocus yourself back to what you have to do and say.
Another tip to have an effective “do” stage is to do your homework―plan ahead, research about your topic, and practice your speech or presentation well.
Think of yourself as a storyteller who’s going from one part of a story to the next. If you know the story or discussion by heart and mind, you’ll be less likely to drift away from your outline or talking points while presenting in front of your audience.
This is the stage where you tell yourself, “That’s it. This is the end of this part of the story.”
From there, start shifting your thought and mental energy to the next part of your speech or presentation.
It’s important that you take time to give yourself a pat on the back (not literally, though) whenever you end a section of your talk to motivate your mind to concentrate again and prepare for the next segment.
One of the ways to prepare yourself for another important part of your talk?
Taking a pause between major segments in your presentation!
In a previous “Speak on the Shoulders of Giants” article, we talked about how the Power Pause helps generate audience anticipation and emphasize a point or an awesome idea.
When you take momentary stops during your speech or presentation, you have time to to focus on what you have to say next and gather yourself for an effective punchline.
Incorporating this technique into your talk will compel your listeners to anticipate what you’re going to say and at the same time, rechannel your concentration as a speaker so you can deliver your messages powerfully.
In public speaking, you concentrate by withdrawing your attention from anything else and focusing on getting your message across effectively.
Center your thoughts and energy on the present moment to avoid dividing your concentration and lessening the impact of your talk.
In the words of Dale Carnegie,
“During the moments of actual speech, SPEAK―DON’T ANTICIPATE. Divide your attention and you divide your power. CONCENTRATE―and you will win.”
Take note of the concentration tips mentioned above and deliver a strong and impactful speech or presentation from beginning to end!
About The Dynamic Marketing Communiqué’s
“Wednesdays: Speak on the Shoulders of Giants”
In a meeting with one person
…a boardroom with five people
…or a huge venue with hundreds of people
—whatever the situation or setting, it’s very important to learn and eventually master the art of public speaking.
No matter what, you always need to effectively get your message across.
What good is a presentation with awesome content if you don’t deliver it properly?
Every Wednesday, we publish different tips, insights, and secrets on how you can improve your presentation skills to captivate your audience and lead interesting discussions.
The need for great presentation skills applies EVERYWHERE.
(Small meetings with your team, big meetings with your boss, an important marketing pitch, speaking engagements for events with a big audience, etc.)
Learning these skills is not just for the corporate world. Being in other industries such as the Arts, Information Technology, Medicine, and Education while knowing how to present well will definitely give you an edge.
Have that advantage.
Hope you’ve found this week’s public speaking tip interesting and helpful.
Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s Speak on the Shoulders of Giants!
Head of Marketing
Valens Dynamic Marketing Capabilities
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