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Category: Public speaking

From notes to navel.

The essence of taking good notes is that it leads to thoughtful actions.

The hard labour of capturing, applying and refining our learnings.

Doing the deeper work of digesting the needle moving insights is worthwhile.

Make every minute ring

If you care enough for your audience then you will make the extra time to clean the ugly first version, cut the fat, cover-up the goof-ups, amplify the moments of wow, clarify new words, concepts or name drops, align the overall narration so it’s worth listening, sharing and relistening.

An easier way to feel the pinch of the rough edges is to magnify it’s seemingly small impact by the size of your audience.

If the ah’s, um’s and long pauses suck up 2 minutes of your episode with an audience of 10,000. Then it’s a collective drain of 2-weeks worth of time, energy and attention! Nevermind the distraction and irritation it causes to your listeners.

Refine until it’s your best work. It will never be perfect. Yet, it can still be your best work.

Go and make some Galata.

Words that are illegal.

Some words open your audiences’ mind, evoke a unique image, emotion or sound in their awareness and are engaging.

It takes efforts from a communicator to wisely articulate their message.

Then, there are words which are generic, worn-out and mind-numbing. These are a sure sign of a lazy intellect, poor preparation and are insulting to an eager audience.

Consider these illegal words: try, amazing, interesting, great, but.

What if you paused for a moment and thought for a specific word that was visually powerful, emotionally relevant and sounded right to your audience?

Today is a good day to ban words from your vocabulary that don’t stimulate your imagination, fail miserably to engage your audience and are illegal for you.

PS: Replacing them with fancy alternatives, jargons, heavy sound words is a wasteful effort.

Instead exercise your mind to articulate precisely in the present moment.

Point of annoyance

A curiosity-driven conversation has a dangerous pitfall.

In a brain-picking interaction there is a point of annoyance which you need to watch out for.

Here’s how I have prevented the annoyance to build up or have diffused it:

  • Pause significantly between questions. Let her wrap her head around the response. At times she will add a deeper perspective. (It’ll also amaze her that you are giving it a thought!)
  • Crack them up with a silly, scientific or a silent joke. If you are poor at comedy announce a disclaimer!
  • Match their breathing. This connects you two deeply and helps you gauge their comfort levels.
  • Leave them wanting to share more! Stop at a high point. The last impression got to be a lasting one.
  • Like Larry King says, ‘Drop the I from your questions.’

Precise practice.

Wrong practice makes you a disaster!

Imagine, a speaker dying in front of a packed room, an athlete slacking at the last moment.

Our practice has become casual. Stepping up during the performance gets more stressful, difficult and taxing!

What if we practised like its showtime? Precisely at 110% every time, time after time, all the time!

Stop inventing silly.

We are always inventing:

  • Things to do to avoid the meaningful work.
  • Excuses to cover-up.
  • Stories to fool ourselves.
  • Comebacks that we will use the next time. (It never comes!)

What if, we paused and inquired: Am I inventing things to do to avoid the important?

If it’s a yes, now is a good time to make a not-to-do list and commit to it.

Skip the smooth transitions

Growing up I observed an interesting practice during prime time. We in parallel watched 3 channels! Usually: cricket, news, and an Ekta Kapoor serial.

We optimised TV time to suit everyone except the advertisers!

Why not use this insight in public speaking? Instead of designing smooth transitions that are limiting (and boring) jump across a broad range of topics, p.o.v’s, ideologies and leave it to us to be surprised, engaged and capable to process it.

Don’t smoothen your speech to a point that it loses its edge!

4 ways to enjoy yourself on stage!

If the world enjoys you and you don’t then you are missing out on…you!

The trade-off for enjoying oneself is worth making.

Agreed, not laughing at your own jokes makes them weirdly funnier.

But, you are better off enjoying them with the audience. If you are serious about enjoying your jokes then laugh in spite of the audience because it’s funny to you!

While the audience claps for you, raise that right hand above your head, bend it backwards and pat yourself!

Acknowledging oneself is better than playing humble.

Instead of dismissing, rejecting or redirecting appreciations accept them with a 32-watt smile and a simple “Thank You!”

Receiving well-wishes wholeheartedly is better than belittling oneself.

Pause and take it in! Go off-script, off-schedule, off-the-grid to look at how far you’ve made it. Reflection is a beautiful way to enjoy one’s efforts.

In short, enjoy yourself while you are on the journey.