Public Speaking Strategy — Focus on Your Strengths
By Allan Kaufman
When it comes to public speaking, focus on your strong areas. By focusing on your strong qualities, you will build confidence in yourself. Your audience will concentrate on your strengths and perhaps not notice your areas that may need strengthening. Finally, you will have little or no learning curve when you use your strengths.
Your Strong Areas
What are your strong areas? How do you identify them? Consider these:
- Strong, commanding voice.
- Effective vocal variety.
- Engaging eye contact.
- Well-dressed and groomed.
- Effective body language and gestures.
- Effective, message-supporting visual aids.
- Well-organized programs.
- Effective use of humor.
- Audience participation.
- Well-developed message.
- Ability to get and maintain audience’s attention.
- Good story-teller.
- Credibility-building introduction.
Emphasize Your Strong Points
From these public speaking areas, pick one or two that are in your comfort zone and emphasize them. For example, let’s say you have a powerful speaking voice. Use it to your advantage. Maybe talk a little slower so people will pay more attention to your words and wonderful voice.
Or say you dress immaculately. Your audience will definitely focus on the way you look. They may not notice if you are weak in some other area. Your goal is to make sure they keep looking at you.
If you are well-organized and can grab your audience’s attention with a great opening line, question, statement or story, you will have taken care of 85% of a successful presentation. Anything else will be “icing on the cake.”
What if you lack most public speaking skills but you are really enthusiastic? I’ve seen this quality alone make up for almost everything else.
Recognize that most people are not experts in all the above public speaking areas. If you stand out in a few of them, that will pay off for you. Then, invest some of your time in improving the areas that you need to develop. Consider joining Toastmasters International or take a public speaking course.
You also can seek out a speaking coach, such as Allan and Allan, to work with you one-on-one, especially if you have an urgent need where a lot depends on how well you make a presentation. Your coach will help you focus on your strengths and strengthen your weak areas.
By focusing on your strong areas you have little or no learning curve, you build self-confidence, and your audience concentrates on your strong qualities. By concentrating on his strongest quality, Peter Drucker became a successful business consultant. He said, “My greatest strength as a consultant is to be ignorant and ask a few questions.” So focus on your strengths.