Secrets To Successful Speaking That My Dog Has Taught Me

by drjim on September 11, 2012

 Dogs can be great coaches, you just have to know how to listen

Dogs can be great coaches, you just have to know how to listen

In our quest to become better speakers, we are always looking for both feedback and mentors who can show us the way. I know that I’ve looked high and low for folks who have skills that are better than mine and who are willing to take the time to show me how I can be a better speaker. I believe that a good mentor is more valuable than an audience with good listening skills or a set of effective presentation tips. It turns out that one individual who was more than willing to provide me with the guidance that I needed to become better has been living in my house all along. He’s my dog.

It Takes A Team

No matter if I’m out in the front yard with my dog playing fetch or if I’m taking him on a long walk, in order for both of us to get the most out of our time together it’s going to take a team to do things successfully. I need to be communicating clearly to him what I want him to be doing and he needs to be doing it.

When you are giving a speech, it’s going to take a team for your speech to go well. No, you don’t get to tell your audience to listen to you, but if you can find ways to interact with them and keep them involved in your speech then they’ll be a part of your team during the speech.

I’ve Got Other Things That I Could Be Doing

Any of you who are dog owners know that any time that you ask your dog to do something for you, there is always something else that the dog could be doing – sleeping! What this means is that if I’m going to ask my dog to do something besides sleeping, then I had better make it more interesting than the alternative!

The same can be said of your next speech. In this age of the smartphone and the tablet computer, your audience has many other choices that they can make instead of listening to your speech. The responsibility is on you to create a speech that is more interesting than your audience’s alternatives.

Presents Are Always Appreciated

My dog will do just about anything to receive a treat from me. Since he’s a Boxer, just the thought of getting a treat will cause him to start to drool and very quickly a puddle will form on the floor under his mouth.

Your audience wants a treat also. No, not the food type of treat (although that might be appreciated), what they want is valuable information that answers a question or provides them with a skill that they did not already have. Make sure that the topic that you are talking on is interesting enough to get your audience to show up and then deliver on the promise of an information treat for your audience.

What All Of This Means For You

As speakers, what we try to do every time that we give a speech is to communicate with our audience. We know about the importance of public speaking and we want our audience to experience it. It turns out that this is not an easy thing to do. What we need is practice and we need someone to show us the way. I believe that I’ve found a great mentor who can help me to do this – my dog.

He’s taught me that in order for anything that we’re going to do together to be successful, I need to remember that we are a team and we both need to be involved. My dog always has other things that he’d rather be doing (sleeping), but if I make what we are doing interesting enough, he’ll participate. Treats are what my dog lives for. If I want him to do something, all I have to do is to bring a treat and he’ll feel like he’s been given something worthwhile and he’ll participate in what I want him to do.

No, a dog does not make the best audience for your next speech. I mean after all, who has ever received a standing ovation from man’s best friend? However, the relationship that we have with our dogs can teach us a lot about the kind of relationship that we want to develop with our next audience. After all, isn’t that one of the real benefits of public speaking?

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: What is the best way to get your audience involved in your next speech?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site www.Toastmasters.org. Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In our quest to become better speakers, we are always looking for both feedback and mentors who can show us the way. I know that I’ve looked high and low for folks who have skills that are better than mine and who are willing to take the time to show me how I can be a better speaker. I believe that a good mentor is more valuable than an audience with good listening skills or a set of effective presentation tips. It turns out that one individual who was more than willing to provide me with the guidance that I needed to become better has been living in my house all along. He’s my dog.

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