The Battlefield of Public Speaking
As a business presenter and public speaker, you are fighting a war on two fronts; an Internal war and an external one. A lot of people fall victims in this war and I’m here to change that. I want to show you how to turn defeat into victory.
My name is Eugene and this is what I do. I help to unlock, inspire and enable platform mastery in business people and today I’m bringing you a 12 minute coaching session on how to win in the battlefield of public speaking, using a key principle from The Art of War for Public Speaker’s, published by Moreau Publishing and available January 2018.
Let’s get into it…
Sun Tzu Principle: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
Every speaker, no matter how polished or how comfortable they look, will have fought in the battle of nerves, or against sabotaging self-belief, poor preparation habits, mistaking audience style and knowledge, or against losing control of content delivery, shuffling feet, and unfocused eyes.
For many, standing in front of an audience, of any size, is like being in a war, make no mistake about it.
We know from countless research reports and surveys that 75% of the business population experience fear when they stand in front of an audience. We also know that when a person experiences fear something happens inside them, a little switch is activated… fight or flight.
Here, picture this with me, you are standing in front of an audience… let’s say 200 people… all of whom are staring right at you… waiting for you to start talking. Just staring… watching!
Suddenly you notice your mouth is dry, your palms start to sweat… you hear your heart beating through your chest. Then… your voice, out of nowhere, develops a strange, shaky, nervous pitch, and, somehow… you forget how to start… despite practicing your presentation at least 50 times.
What’s going on?
Let me tell you. The brain is responding to the stress of being in front of all those staring expectant eyes and without any help or permission from you, activates a little ‘engine’ which is responsible for emotions, survival instincts, and memory. This engine sends a message to the adrenal glands… with specific instructions to do something!!!
And that’s exactly what happens. Adrenaline rushes to the heart and lungs to help blood and oxygen pump quicker throughout the body and most of this blood is sent to muscles, preparing the body to respond to the situation… either stay and fight or turn and run! Fight or Flight.
I’m going to give you a simple ‘Control The Adrenalin’ technique at the end of this coaching session that will help you win this internal battle.
Brain Tracy says that “Fully 85 percent of your success as a leader will be determined by your ability to communicate effectively with others.” I know that he specifically said ‘leader’ – so let me quickly clear up any misunderstanding.
If you ever find yourself standing, or sitting, in some cases, and you are talking… then you are at that moment in time… a leader.
How is this? To quote John Maxwell, “Leadership is Influence. Always has been and always will!”
So, we have Brian Tracy and John Maxwell… let me go even deeper… Aristotle. Your job as a communicator, as a public speaker, according to Aristotle… “is to influence change.”
So, following this line… leadership is influence and the purpose of all communication is to influence… Brian Tracy says 85% of your success will be determined by your ability to communicate effectively with others.
That means what goes on inside you will have an impact outside of you. If you are not confident inside, then this will show through your body and your eyes and your audience will feel it.
I’ve seen people lose it on the platform because the inner game shut down. The Internal War consumed them. Platform Pressure… overwhelmed Platform Presence and when they walked off the platform, their credibility and reputation lay gasping for air on the floor.
Game Plan for The Battlefield
So, what can be done? How does a business professional win on the battlefield of public speaking?
The answer is in the Sun Tzu Principle: “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”
Here’s the Six Step Battle Plan: Stop. Smile. Engage. Move. Connect. Repeat.
Here’s how it works. When you feel the battle of inner and outer nerves is being lost the first thing you do is STOP. I mean that literally… just stop. Come square on and face your audience and as you do that, SMILE and ENGAGE eye contact with an individual in the audience and MOVE towards them, all the while CONNECTING with them.
What happens is, your inner and outer battle surrender because of your ‘proactive position’.
Remember, you’re the one who has done the homework. You’re the one who has diagnosed the intel and organised the content for delivery.
The secret to winning the public speaking battle, according to Sun Tzu, is making sure you do your homework… he called it reconnaissance.
Here, let me give you an example of what I mean.
I remember one time I was keynote speaker at a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia. As is my custom, I try to get in and see the venue before the conference starts. This lets me see the terrain I will be engaging my audience on.
Well, I stood looking at this auditorium, seating around 350-400. I knew I had a few ‘External Hurdles’ to overcome. I knew that English was not their first language and while I knew I could safely navigate external hurdle, what bothered me the most was the distance between the platform and the audience…. not to mention the height of the stage as opposed to the floor where the audience would be sitting.
I couldn’t see any stairs at the front of the stage allowing me to access my audience, meaning the only way down from that stage, where I could engage and connect with my audience, was out of sight… out a door at the side of the stage… which would never work.
As I stood and took all of this in, I knew that if I were to stand up on that podium, in this current set up, I would really run the risk of losing a large portion of audience. My reputation and credibility could be at risk… not from an internal source but from an external one.
I’ve learned, over the years, that there are some battles you simply will not win. This would be one of them. There was no way the conference organisers were going to totally change the staging set up just for me. So, I did the next best thing… I asked if I could be introduced and stay on the audience floor. I gave every assurance that I only wanted every member in the audience to have full access to my energy, message, and passion.
They agreed and my keynote session went off like a five-alarm fire!
When you are the speaker, and the external environment is setup to sabotage you, do a recon on the terrain. Look for ways to take control of the situation and if you can’t, then prepare yourself to execute to the best of your ability.
Bottom-line, do your homework. Victorious warriors win first and then go to war.
You’ve been listening to (or reading) a selected coaching session from the 10-Week Create Platform Presence Mastermind’ experience and The Art of War for Public Speaker’s – both published by Moreau Publishing.
For more information on how you can participate in the Mastermind Experience or buy the book and audio programme, please get in touch with me, Eugene Moreau by email. My address is email@example.com