Good Public Speakers Are Really Good Models

by drjim on July 23, 2013

Who knew that modeling was an important public speaking skill?

Who knew that modeling was an important public speaking skill?
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In order to become a better public speaker than you are right now, just exactly what do you have to do? If you are like most of us, you probably said “become more like…” and named a famous public speaker that you admire. Well guess what, that person is going to help you to reach the next level in your public speaking ability…

Why Modeling Works

Just to be clear about what we’re going to be talking about here: it’s not about how you can make it to the catwalks of Paris or London. Rather, we’re going to be talking about how your next speech can start to look like it was being given by a public speaker that you admire.

Modeling is really about having you draw inspiration from someone that you believe does a good job of speaking in public. It could be Suzy Orman, Tony Robbins, or even the late Steve Jobs. Wanting to be able to speak like one of these famous speakers is a perfectly natural desire. We all understand the importance of public speaking, now we just want to get good at it.

The key is to understand why we want to go to the effort to model them. We don’t really want to be them, rather what we want to be able to do is to get the same results from an audience that they do. We want our audiences to laugh, cry, and get motivated to do what we are asking them to do. The ability to make that happen is where the real power of modeling comes through.

How To Model A Public Speaker

If I’ve been able to convince you that modeling a speaker that you admire is a good thing to do, now comes the hard part: how to do it? It turns out that there are only three areas that you need to focus your modeling on.

  • Presence: How we stand and how we move while giving a speech is an important part of who we are. When you want to model a speaker, you need to take the time to study their on-stage physical presence. How do they enter the stage: do they stride in and take it over or do they start in the background and move forward? Do they stay in one place or do they move around a lot? Watch and learn.
  • Voice: As speakers we don’t have a lot of tools with which to deliver a speech. However, our voice is something that either helps us or hurts us when we are giving our next speech. Watch how the speaker that you want to emulate uses his or her voice. Things that should stand out include how loud they are and if they vary their sound levels. How fast they talk and if they change their pace during a speech. Finally, listen to see if they speak in a higher or lower tone during their speech to indicate excitement.
  • Words: Ultimately, the goal of any speech is to paint a mental picture in your audience’s head. You want them to be able to “see” what you are talking about. How does the speaker that you want to be like accomplish this task? Do they use lots of big words or do they use common everyday words that we are all familiar with. How good of a mental picture do they paint?
  • What All Of This Means For You

    In order to move from where you are in your public speaking skills to the next level, you need to identify a public speaker that you admire and would like to emulate. Then you need to model them. The ability to constantly be working to become a better public speaker is one of the benefits of public speaking.

    Modeling works because as we pretend to be someone, our skills and techniques develop and we actually start to take on some of the skills that that person has. Taking the time to copy a speaker’s physical presence, their voice and their words will allow you to “become them”.

    If we don’t change, then we risk remaining the same forever. Take the time to find a speaker that is the speaker that you would like to become. Study them and then the next time that you give a speech model their best qualities. By doing this you’ll be able to first pretend to be a better speaker and then become the speaker that you want to be.

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

    Question For You: What can you do to show that you are not trying to pretend that you are somebody that you are not?

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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 a perfect world, we would always be given plenty of time to prepare for our next speech. However, you and I don’t live in a perfect world and that means that because of the importance of public speaking all too often the opportunity to give a speech will just suddenly show up. My question for you is simple: will you be ready?

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