Speakers Love Speaking?
I get bored when I listen to many other people speaking as well. Few speakers can actually capture my attention these days. Why do I get bored listening to myself speaking? Does the same thing happen to you? Do you get bored listening to yourself? Wait a minute, aren’t speakers supposed to love hearing themselves? Certainly not me! One reason is that I am constantly mulling over things in my head. Without being conscious of it, I tend to take a subject, some piece of news or other, and looking at it from different angles. Zooming in and zooming out. All my speaking has already been done in my head, as it were. That’s at least one reason why I get bored speaking. Do you get bored too? If you don’t, please let me know!
How do we learn to love speaking?
This is something we all need to develop – a love for speaking. Yes, we ought to be listening more than we speak, of course, and we also need to speak up and speak to at the appropriate times. Truth be told, many of you reading this actually do have a fear of speaking, meaning public speaking as well. How do we overcome that fear and actually learn to love speaking?
What’s my message?
“Know thyself, know thy enemy; in a hundred battles thou shalt never be in peril.” This oft-mangled quote applies here. Part of knowing ourselves is in knowing our message. It’s not enough knowing our own message in our heads. Whatever message we speak to others will only have an impact if we are living it. That’s the best marketing principle, by the way. Do I really believe what I am broadcasting? Do others see me walking the talk? Can they hear me talking the walk? If you truly satisfied with your answers to those questions, you have a very powerful message.
A little piece of Reality
In a world constantly hammered by the din of hollow, raucous, crass and often meaningless messages, people do want us to be real. Whether we hold their hand or kick their butt, all they want is for us to be genuine. This need is so great that we don’t even have to ask the question “Who needs to hear this message?” If our message is characterized by highly benevolent value, then everyone will want to hear it at some time or other. If that’s your message, you don’t have to memorize it. You don’t have to rehearse it. It flows out of you and refreshes your listeners. You’ll be giving them what they need, not necessarily what they want. That includes fetching some people a sharp crack on their skulls.
Ask people questions
One of the activities elementary school children participate in is something called “Show and Tell.” I suppose that is one reason why we generally have this uncontrollable urge to tell people things. Children are often asked “What did you learn in school today?” Perhaps we should all learn from Middle Eastern culture and ask our children “What questions did you ask in school today?” Ask people questions. Do not worry about asking stupid questions. All successful consultants ask stupid questions. You would be amazed at the number of great answers to those stupid questions. Even more amazing is the number of greater questions that arise. So never fear that you will embarrass yourself or others with stupid questions. Go ahead, Hunk, ask away!
Speak on subjects you’re not very familiar with
This one is my personal favourite. I am very tired of people asking me “So what’s your specialty?” Now, that is a really stupid question! Would you enjoy talking about the mechanics of how you brush your teeth every time you are asked to give a talk? Yes, we do need to teach our children how to brush their teeth, but do we need to do that for the rest of our natural lives? We talk about lifelong learning. How is this manifested in the way you speak? Do you constantly look for topics that you would personally find challenging to speak about? Don’t share your personal secrets to success all the time! Share about your struggles and how you handle dilemmas. Talk about the last time you faced uncertainty and how you made decisions to move forward anyway. Talk about the times you decided to wait when everyone around you was clamouring for some sort of positive action. Cater a large portion of your talks for Q & A and don’t avoid those tough questions. Share that you may not have all the answers, and this is how you will conduct yourself, this is what you would do if you faced whatever situation people ask you about. Share what you don’t know about a field that is not your specialty, ask a few clarifying questions, and then share about what you think you would do. People appreciate that.
Yes, I get bored listening to myself speak. I get very enthused sharing about what I don’t know, but determining what I would do anyway. I hope this has helped you somewhat. Go forth, ask people hard questions, get hard questions from others, and share about what you would do!