Only if you are lucky, you are going to speak just at your wedding! But, chances are that in your life, you will have to speak a lot more! Wait as long as you want, but eventually you will need to speak and you better be prepared! That is something I would have loved to hear earlier.
I never imagined that I would need to speak in public and I never imagined how important it is to be able to do it! That is why lately, I’ve been thinking about what I would have loved to know earlier in my life. I’ve come to 3 key ideas.
First, I always wondered the great speakers in history from Aristotle to Martin L. King to Steve Jobs. I thought they had something you are born with. A gift! But, no! Even they had a beginning. Even Steve Jobs was nervous to the point of throwing up on his first appearances. Somebody once said that the only way to get good at anything is by being bad first. “Trying, failing, learning… repeat!” is the name of the ultimate game.
“All great speakers were bad speakers at first.” Ralph W. Emerson
Second, the only way to get better at public speaking is by speaking in public. As Gary Vaynerchuk says: “You can’t read about push-ups. You gotta do them!”
Practice, Practice Practice!
Third, nobody likes being told what to do, but in this case is the best (only) way to improve. Always ask for feedback! A good rule of thumb is to only use the advice you get when you feel it makes you or your speech stronger. Feedback is always well-intentioned, the secret lies in identifying the golden nuggets. You get better at identifying them with time and practice.
Crave for Feedback!
Finally, a bonus. Remember Zig Ziglar’s words: “You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
Start, because eventually somebody is going to get married; You! Or your siblings! Or your friends! Or your children! Or your boss… is going to ask you to present the new project to the team! Or to the board! Or…
Start as soon as possible… or better said, start as long as you can!
You have been warned!
Any other advice you wish you knew earlier? Please post it below in the comments, so we can continue learning together. And share it with somebody you feel may need a warning.