GET IN TOUCH

The Speaker's Handbook: The Ultimate Guide To Developing As A Speaker

This guide will show you how to become the speaker you aspire to be.

After interviewing over 200+ world-class speakers and transforming hundreds of individuals to become confident and influential speakers, you start to notice patterns.

You’re going to discover the success patterns of different types of speakers.

I’m going to help you uncover the mindsets, emotions, and behaviors that different types of speakers have so that you can take these patterns and start integrating them into your life.

PLEASE MAKE SURE TO READ THE INTRODUCTION FIRST.

Let’s dive in.

Kit Pang

Founder, BostonSpeaks

p.s. Our 8-week cohort "The Influential Speaker Program" will be open for enrollment soon for the class of Feb 2024. Whether you're looking to uncover the secrets of impactful communication or brush up on your speaking skills, this program will be for you. 

Table of Contents

  • Introduction - How To Shift Into The Speaker You Want To Be
  • Your Roadmap To Your New Speaking Self

Speakers Breakdown:

The Confident Speaker

The Impromptu Speaker

The Dynamic Speaker

The Business Storyteller

The Persuasive Speaker

 

Introduction - How To Shift Into The Speaker You Want To Be

What we’re talking about is change

Let’s first discuss the “Old Way vs New Way” of change because this guide is based on the new way.

How To Shift Into The Person And Speaker You Want To Be

 

The Old Way Of Changing Your Identity And The Speaker You Want To Be

From coaches, self-help books, and everything in between, this is what almost everyone has been saying about what you need to focus on if you want to change yourself. 

Actions > Feelings > Thoughts > Beliefs > Identity

Most people suggest that for you to change, you need to do it in this order:

5 — Actions

If you want to change your life, start by taking action and doing small things. If you want to become a confident speaker, go speak daily. If you want to become a better piano player, go play every day and so forth.

This is saying that the actions you take shape who you are because eventually, they become habits and the habits determine who you’ll become.

4 — Feeling

As you consistently take specific actions, you start to notice a difference in your emotional response. The momentum gained from your efforts begins to alter how you feel about your pursuits.

3 — Thoughts

As you keep doing the things that help you become a better speaker, your thoughts start to evolve. You begin to see yourself in a more positive light, imagining successful communication and speaking outcomes, and understanding more about what you can do.

2 — Beliefs

This whole process of taking action, cultivating positive feelings, and shaping thoughts eventually contributes to your beliefs and how you see the world. Initially, you might have doubted your ability to be the speaker you want to be, but through regular practice, your beliefs about yourself shift. You begin to believe that you can improve and that you can be that speaker.

1 — Identity

The cumulative effect of these positive patterns shapes your identity. You start seeing yourself as the speaker you want to be.

 

***

This process of transforming your identity through actions, feelings, thoughts, and beliefs can be challenging. That’s because it focuses on an outside-to-inside approach.

Meaning, that there’s a strong emphasis on taking external actions first and then focusing on your inner desires.

It’s kind of like scupting a piece of artwork, you chisel away at the block of marble but yet not know where you’re ending up because you want to take action as fast as possible hoping that it will get you to your desired destination by shaping it along the way. It does work but it’s not as effective as it can be. That’s because without first having a clear image or destination, you’ll go completely off course.

We live in a society where action and hard work are highly valued and often regarded as the driving forces behind success.

We often hear that consistent practice, honing presentation skills, and putting in the effort to speak regularly are key components of success in public speaking.

I want to invite you to take on a different perspective. 

That success starts from the inside out. 

The New Way of Shifting Your Identity And The Speaker You Want To Become

The new way of shifting identity introduces a paradigm shift – it's a journey from inside to outside. Instead of starting with external actions, this approach begins with the core of who you want to be as a speaker, emphasizing a progression from:

Identity >  Beliefs > Thoughts > Feelings > Actions.

 

1 — Identity as the Core

The starting point is cultivating a clear speaker identity – understanding who you genuinely want to be when you step onto the stage or on your next Zoom meeting. This aligns with the idea of shaping a clear identity of the speaker you truly want to be first. Not one that everyone tells you to be.

2 — Beliefs as Foundations

Beliefs serve as the cornerstone of your personal truths – they embody your principles, philosophies, and the guiding commandments that shape your life. When you intentionally revisit and reconstruct your beliefs regarding yourself as a speaker, they transform into the solid foundation of your confidence and effectiveness. These recalibrated beliefs not only underpin your capabilities but also mold the very essence of the speaker you aspire to become.

3 — Thoughts as Shapers

As your beliefs and mindset evolve, you’ll begin to approach each speaking opportunity completely differently because your beliefs become the architects of your thoughts, influencing how you perceive the world and your speaking. This shift in thinking directly impacts the way you feel and act during speaking engagements.

4 — Feelings as Motivators

The transformed thoughts and beliefs, in turn, influence your feelings towards your speaking situation. 

5 — Actions as the Outcome

Finally, the external actions naturally follow, but they are now deeply rooted in a well-defined identity and a set of empowering beliefs. Your actions on the stage or in virtual meetings reflect the speaker you are embodying.

Your Roadmap To Shifting Your Speaking Self

Here’s a breakdown of how to do all of this yourself. However, if you want expert guidance and support on developing as a speaker, check out The Confident Speaker Method.

***

Understanding the speaker you aspire to be starts with an exploration of your motivations and aspirations. Here's your roadmap to clarity:

  1. Know Your Why:
    • Define the purpose behind your desire to be a speaker. Ask yourself why you want to step onto the stage or into a speaking role. Knowing your why provides a powerful foundation for your journey.
  2. Clarity Now - Gear Clear on Your Current Identity:
    • Reflect on your existing identity as a speaker. What traits, habits, or beliefs currently define you in this role? Understanding your current state sets the stage for intentional transformation.
  3. Clarity Future - Gear Clear on Your New Identity:
    • Envision the speaker you want to become. Define the characteristics, skills, and presence you aspire to embody. This clarity becomes your compass for growth and transformation.
  4. Letting Go of Limiting Beliefs:
    • Identify beliefs that may be holding you back in your current speaking identity. Are there self-doubts or negative assumptions about your abilities? Acknowledge these and prepare to release them.
  5. Embracing New Empowering Beliefs:
    • Define new beliefs that align with the speaker you want to be. These empowering beliefs become the building blocks of your new identity.
  6. Actions to Prove Your New Beliefs:
    • Outline tangible actions that align with your new beliefs. These actions serve as evidence to reinforce your evolving beliefs.
  7. Consistent Reinforcement:
    • Regularly reinforce your new beliefs through consistent actions. Celebrate small victories and use them as stepping stones toward your envisioned speaker identity.
  8. Feedback Loop:
    • Establish a feedback loop to assess your progress. Seek feedback from peers, mentors, or audiences. Use this input to refine your beliefs and actions, ensuring continuous growth and improvement.

 

How To Use This Guide:

Each section within this guide is organized into similar categories:

Identity - Definition of “Speaker”:

Understand the essence of what defines each speaker archetype.

Beliefs of Speaker

Explore the core beliefs that shape their perspectives and guide their actions.

Common Speech Skepticisms Holding This Speaker Back:

Gain clarity around the misconceptions and doubts that hold this speaker back

Pattern breakdowns of how the speaker would think, feel, and act based on different situations:

Break down the intricate patterns, deciphering the thought processes, emotional responses, and subsequent actions unique to each situation.

Strategies For Success

You’ll discover actionable strategies you can take to start becoming this speaker

A Note from the Author - Kit Pang:

The perspectives and advice shared in this guide stem solely from my viewpoint. Drawing from my extensive experience working with individuals globally, conducting expert interviews, and immersing myself in educational materials, these insights are crafted to empower your journey in public speaking.

 

The Confident Speaker

Identity - Being The Confident Speaker:

A confident speaker is sure about themselves without arrogance. They are certain about themselves and their speaking from the inside out. The hallmark of a confident speaker lies not in avoiding nervousness, mistakes, or challenging circumstances, rather, a confident speaker maintains certainty in themselves, in their message, and their authentic delivery when confronted with uncertainties, blunders, or unfavorable situations. 

The confident speaker does not need to put on a poker face of confidence just to show an appearance of confidence for others. A confident speaker embraces transparency, by presenting themselves as they truly are—flawed, evolving, and human—they connect more deeply with their audience. Their authenticity becomes the source of inspiration, proving that confidence is not a mask but a genuine reflection of self-belief, resilience, and an unwavering commitment to their message.

Beliefs Of A Confident Speaker:

  • I Can Be (Extremely) Nervous In Speaking Situations:

I don’t need to eliminate nervousness. I’m better with it. It is a natural aspect of the speaking experience. If I don’t get nervous then I’ve gotten too complacent.

  • I’m Human and To Err Is Human

I’m not intentionally aiming to make mistakes. Mistakes happen because I’m putting myself out there and I’m putting effort into what I’m doing. Mistakes are my stepping stones to growth. I’m a human being. Regardless of my skill, experience, and background, I’m imperfect. If I don’t make any mistakes or have any imperfections, how can I still grow and learn?

  • Other People Are Human Too

These other experts, executives, and high-level individuals are people too. We are all equal because we are all human beings. Someone’s title, rank or extensive knowledge does not make them better than other people. 

  • All Feedback Is Personal Feedback

All feedback is personal feedback. If someone does not like how I’m showing up or what I’m saying, that reflects their own beliefs and views about the world. I will be open to their thoughts and feedback with an open mind but I do not take it personally because they are only sharing their personal ideas with me

  • This Speaking Event Is An Opportunity:

Instead of viewing this speaking as a pressure-filled situation, it’s an opportunity for me to do my best, share my knowledge, and connect with others. It’s not "I have to speak", instead it’s, "I get to speak".

  • I Will Be Okay

Regardless of the situation, I will be okay. I will be okay because I know it’s my attitude toward the situation that makes all the difference. I’m capable, worthy, creative, resilient, knowledgeable, and good enough to get through anything. I believe in myself. 

  • I Don't Need To Escape Out Of Discomfort

When I am feeling awkward, uncomfortable, nervous, or bad - it’s okay to stay with these feelings and there is no desire to immediately escape because I embrace these emotions as much as the positive emotions. Let me experience and play with this emotion that I’m feeling right now. 

  • I Am A Confident Speaker

As a speaker, I am confident. I am confident because I believe in myself. I have been nervous, I have messed up badly and I have said the wrong things. And all of this will probably happen again in the future. I’m looking forward to seeing how I will handle myself if and when those situations happen again because they are another opportunity for me to get better at the moment. I have confidence in myself, my speaking, my discomfort, my nervousness, and my mess-ups.

 

Common "Speech Skepticisms (Misconceptions & Doubts) Holding This Speaker Back:

About a month ago, I created this poll on LinkedIn. Let me address the Speech Skepticsms (misconceptions and doubts) behind these statements.

 

Speech Skepticism #1: Appearing Nervous Is Weakness

 “If I appear nervous, I’m going to appear weak” 

There is a misconception that appearing nervous shows your vulnerability and will show you as a bad speaker and leader because you might not have the skills, experience, capabilities, preparedness, or competence.

This is an outdated norm that you’re still holding on to!

  • Feeling nervous is a natural human response, especially in situations where you have to speak and share your ideas.
  • Showing vulnerability, such as admitting to nervousness, can actually enhance a speaker's or leader's relatability and authenticity.
  • Nervousness can coexist with being well-prepared; one does not necessarily negate the other.

Speaking Truth #1: Feeling nervous is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of humanity. It's a natural human reaction. Admitting nervousness can be a strength, showing authenticity and relatability.

Appearing nervous makes you more genuine and relatable to my audience.

What’s more important is your attitude towards yourself appearing nervous. 

Scenario #1: An audience sees a speaker panicking about themselves appearing

Scenario #2: An audience sees a speaker’s attitude of confidence about themselves appearing nervous.

When you have an attitude that shows your nervousness will help and not hinder you, your audience will adopt the attitude that you have as well. 

 

Speech Skepticism #2: Audiences Expect Perfection and Won’t Tolerate Nervousness

“I know my audiences are intolerant of nervousness and they expect impeccable performances."

Ask yourself - have you expected perfection and don’t tolerate nervousness in others when they have to speak?

When people mess up…isn’t there part of you that can see, “They are only human and you wish for them not to beat themselves up.” Or when you see someone nervous, can’t you see the investment of importance they have around the situation or what they want to say?

Audiences typically approach presentations with realistic expectations; they understand that perfection is an unattainable standard. Most people in an audience are quite empathetic and can relate to the natural human experience of nervousness. 

Speaking Truth #2: Audiences generally don't expect perfection. Most are understanding and empathetic towards speakers, even when they show signs of nervousness. They value the content and sincerity more than a flawless delivery.

Audiences place a higher value on the substance and genuineness of the presentation rather than on a faultless execution. 

They appreciate when a speaker is knowledgeable, passionate, and earnest in their delivery, even if it's accompanied by moments of hesitation or nervousness. The authenticity of the speaker and the relevance of the content typically resonate more deeply with an audience than the smoothness of the delivery.

Many audience members often view a speaker's nervousness as a sign of their commitment and investment in the topic or message. It can be seen as a testament to the speaker’s sincerity and dedication, making the speaker more relatable and the message more impactful.

The truth is that a flawless delivery might be impressive but the speaker can connect with the audience through meaningful content and sincere delivery that leaves a lasting impression. Understanding this can alleviate some of the pressure you might feel and allow you to focus on what truly matters – sharing your message in an authentic and impactful way.

 

Speech Skepticism #3: Being Unprepared Ruins Credibility Completely

“If I appear unprepared even once, it would destroy my credibility forever.”

The belief goes that when people see you being unprepared, they won’t think that you can effectively do the job and worst yet, they’ll think that you are someone who’s not prepared so why should they promote you, hire you, or keep on coming to you execute?

The belief that appearing unprepared can completely ruin a speaker's credibility is an overstatement and not entirely accurate.

Speaking Truth #3:  The audience can be understanding, and it allows you to know how to handle these situations that truly define your professionalism."

Audiences generally understand that everyone, even professionals, can have off days no matter how good you are.

If this situation happens to you, how you respond to being unprepared can enhance your credibility. Acknowledging the situation honestly and handling it with grace and professionalism can demonstrate resilience and adaptability—qualities highly valued in effective communicators and leaders. This response can leave a positive impression, showing your ability to handle challenging situations effectively.

In cases like these, share the truth about why you’re unprepared, your audience will understand and appreciate your honesty.

 

Speaking Skepticism #4: If I don’t appear competent, then it's a reflection of my intelligence or overall ability.

This belief hinges on the idea that the ability to speak confidently and competently in public is a universal indicator of a person's intelligence and overall skill set.

This happens because you might believe that people will judge you harshly for not being eloquent, having a bad visible performance, or not saying something in the best articulate way.

Speaking Truth #4: Multiple reasons could be the cause of looking incompetent, let’s look at all these different ways and explore them.

  • Nervousness or Anxiety:
    • Truth: We talked more about this above. Nervousness is a natural response and doesn't reflect on one's actual competence. Many skilled professionals experience anxiety yet are highly capable in their fields.
  • Lack of Preparation:
    • Truth: While preparation is important, instances of being less prepared don't define overall competence. When you rely too much on what you planned, you don’t adapt to what’s going on in the moment. All you could be thinking about is what you have to say next or the way you didn’t say that as effectively as you thought about it in your mind. Too much preparation can make you less effective.
  • Inexperience with Public Speaking:
    • Truth: This is actually true, when you are new at something, you don’t have as much knowledge or experience. What is important is your willingness to show people that you are new and you are here to learn. Have you ever seen someone new to your hobby? And they come in with a mindset of curiosity. And because they are new, aren’t you more likely to want to guide them? So even if you are new or inexperienced, you are giving experts or people who have been doing it longer a chance to help you out and by doing that they will boost their self-esteem. It’s a win-win. 
  • Difficulty Articulating Thoughts:
    • Truth: Sometimes the right words or flow of words don’t come to you. You can come back to it or send an email about this important message you want to get across later. Remember, other people care more about what they want to say and think rather than listening to you. Unfortunately, this is the truth. If you are in the presence of someone who is a good leader, even if you can’t articulate your thoughts, they will make you feel comfortable enough to do so because they care about what you’re trying to say rather than having the best-articulated thoughts.
  • Technical Issues or Unexpected Interruptions:
    • Truth: These external factors are often beyond the speaker's control and are not indicative of their competence.
  • Language Barrier or Accent:
    • Truth: Proficiency in a particular language or having an accent is not a true measure of one's professional competence or intelligence. If you’re speaking and people don’t understand you because of you’re accent, they might be asking you to repeat not because they are judging your accent, they want to hear it again to get the message.
  • Substance Over Style:
    • While eloquent delivery is appealing, audiences typically prioritize the substance and relevance of the content over the style of delivery. People are more interested in what is being said than in the speaker's eloquence. A message that is sincere, well-informed, and relevant can resonate strongly, even if it's not delivered in the most polished manner.

 

Speech Skepticism #5:  Lack of audience engagement is always the speaker’s fault

Speakers often think that if the audience seems disengaged, it’s because of them, the speaker.

Let’s take a step back at look at times when you have gotten distracted in life.

Have you ever scrolled through social media and even though the post, the video or the speaker looked engaging, you skipped it? 

Do you have the attention span of a goldfish?

Or are you telling me that if you are in front of someone who loves to talk about taxes, you’re going to be as enthusiastic about it as they are?

If people seem disengaged, it’s not all about you. 

Speaking Truth #5: You can’t judge your audience’s engagement by its cover and it’s not all about you being a boring speaker

Audience engagement can be influenced by many factors, including the audience's interest in the topic, the setting, and the time of day.

Maybe they have this important email or message they’ve been thinking about all day long.

Perhaps, they’ve been in meetings all day long and their energy is drained out of them

The truth is that maybe they are not yet as interested in the same topic that you’re talking about no matter how amazing you think it is.

And here’s another one, when you are watching an interesting YouTube video, is your face normal or do you always have a super expressive happy smile? Or even when you are reading this right now, what is your face doing?

Many people tell me, “Kit, their faces look like they are bored or not interested.”

Their faces might look like that but they might be engaged and interested on the inside!!

The Confident Speaker’s Patterns Breakdown

The pattern is how this speaker would think, feel, and act based on different situations:

 

Situation #1: My director asked me to speak during a lunch & learn session about a certain topic I didn’t have too much experience with before.

What your pattern could look like:

Thought – I guess I have to say yes because I have to do this, but could there be a way out? Maybe I’ll tell my director I have a call at that time. The nerves are going to mess me up again. Err.

Feeling – Nervous, anxious

Action – Said yes, and started worrying about all the things I didn’t know. Began researching and prepping immediately because I knew I had to prep/practice a bunch for this.

The Confident Speaker’s Pattern:

Thought: I’m honored my director asked me. I’m looking to use this experience to learn even more about this certain topic as I prepare for it. I know I might be nervous and might not know everything but this opportunity will help me grow and get more knowledge as I start talking about it.

Feeling: Hopeful

Action: Said yes, blocked out time in the calendar to prepare, created the slides, and practiced 5 times out loud then left it alone.

 

Situation #2: A meeting with the CEO and Vice Presidents of the company

What your pattern could look like:

Thought: Oh wow, these are all executives, I better not mess things up. Their backgrounds are very impressive. Who am I compared to them? (Imposter syndrome kicks in). Every time I want to say something I shut myself down because the idea is not good enough.

Feeling: Exposed and threatened

Action: Not paying attention to what is being said in the meeting because I’m in my head. I hesitate to speak up.

The Confident Speaker’s Pattern:

Thought: This meeting includes high-level executives, and it's a great chance for me to learn and contribute. Their backgrounds are impressive, which can initially feel intimidating, but I bring my own unique perspectives and skills to the table. Instead of doubting my ideas, I'll see this as an opportunity to share them and get valuable feedback. I know my contributions and viewpoints are my own and can add value to the discussion even if they have more experience and knowledge than I do.

Feeling: Energized and motivated, with a natural hint of nervous excitement.

Action: Actively listening and engaging with the conversation in the meeting. I make a conscious effort to stay present and not get lost in my own thoughts. When I have an idea, I speak up.

 

Situation #3: Have an interview this week

What your pattern could look like:

Thought: I'm getting really nervous because I know I'll be judged during the interview. My skills only match 70-80% of the job description. The pressure to do well is overwhelming, especially because I want this job so badly.

Feeling: I feel inadequate, insecure, and exposed.

Action: I practice excessively for the interview, to the point of not allowing myself any time to relax. This leaves me feeling drained and lacking in confidence.

The Confident Speaker’s Pattern:

Thought: This interview is a great opportunity to bring my best self forward. While I match 70-80% of the job description, I bring other valuable skills and experiences. It's normal to be evaluated in an interview, and it's also my chance to assess if the job is right for me. I’m excited about the opportunity and will prepare well while also ensuring I take care of myself.

Feeling: Motivated and cautiously optimistic, with a sense of self-awareness about my capabilities.

Action: I prepare thoroughly for the interview, making sure to balance my practice with relaxation and self-care. 

 

Strategies For Success - Becoming The Confident Speaker

1. Working on One’s Mindset:

Identify Limiting Beliefs:

- Write down specific thoughts or beliefs that you feel are holding back your speaking confidence. For instance, "I am not engaging enough" or "I always make mistakes."

Challenge and Reframe These Beliefs:

- For each limiting belief, ask yourself if it's based on facts or assumptions. Challenge its validity and reframe the beliefs

2. Developing Speaking Skills:

Self-Assessment:

- Reflect on your past speaking experiences. Identify areas where you feel less confident, such as articulation, body language, or engaging the audience.

Set Improvement Goals:

- Based on your assessment, set specific and achievable goals for improvement.

3. Seeking Feedback:

Identify Trusted Individuals:

- Choose colleagues, friends, or mentors who have seen you speak and whose opinions you value.

Request Specific Feedback:

- Ask for feedback on particular aspects of your speaking that you're working to improve. Be clear that you appreciate honest, constructive feedback.

Reflect and Act on Feedback:

- Reflect on the feedback received, identifying common themes or suggestions. Use this information to adjust your improvement goals.

 

4. Recording Oneself:

Set Up a Recording Session during your next virtual meeting or presentation:

- Set up your phone to record yourself on video or audio, no one has to know if you’re doing this on Zoom. If this is in person, make sure you check if it is okay to record yourself and you can tell people you’re recording because you want to see how you’re coming across as a speaker.

Review the Recording:

- Watch the recording and note areas where your performance differs from your expectations. Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal communication, clarity of speech, and how you engage with the 'audience'.

5. Compare and Improve:

- Compare your self-assessment and feedback from others with what you observe in the recording. Identify specific areas for improvement and incorporate these into your practice.

 

By following these steps, you will be actively working towards becoming The Confident Speaker by working on your speaking mindset and skills.

 

The Impromptu Speaker

Identity - Becoming The Impromptu Speaker

 

An impromptu speaker is someone who can speak without being planned, organized, or rehearsed.  

Another way to say it, the impromptu speaker is a human being who has the ability to speak. If you can speak then you are an impromptu speaker.

The impromptu speaker expresses their ideas, feelings, and thoughts on the spur of the moment. 

 

Many of you reading this might think, but what about…

The ability to articulate my ideas clearly on the fly?

The ability to seamlessly formulate and deliver my points in real time?

The ability to say something fluidly instead of it being a mess?

Or the ability to be quick-witted?

 

This is where it gets interesting, if you’re thinking these things above then it will come back to the beliefs holding you back.

Aren’t you already speaking off the cuff in these everyday situations such as…

When you talk to your family

When you talk to your friends

When you talk to your colleagues

When you talk to your pets

When you talk to Siri

 

And yet when you speak in these situations, do you use any formulas or are you just speaking…without the need to have the best way to say it?

We’ll go more in-depth when it comes to the beliefs section.

 

**I know some of you reading this are looking for the strategy, tactics and formulas on how to say something clear, concise, and compelling, those formulas are in the Strategy Section of The Impromptu Speaker.** 

 

But it’s very important to understand, challenge, and decipher the beliefs and thoughts you might have that will transform you into a better Impromptu Speaker. 

Let’s start with the beliefs of The Impromptu Speaker.

 

Beliefs of The Impromptu Speaker

Natural and Genuine Expression Outweighs Flawless Diction

  • I embrace the uniqueness of my speaking style, knowing that being true to myself is more effective than striving for linguistic perfection. When I can speak naturally and authentically, that is better than perfect articulation or fluidity because natural expression connects with my audience on a deeper level. 

I Speak To Include Not To Impress

  • Instead of seeking comments like, “Wow, you’re so articulate”, or, “You said that well off the cuff, I wish I could do that.” I rather have comments like, “Wow, how did you know how I was thinking and feeling, it feels like you were speaking just to me.” or, “When you spoke, it felt like you understood me.” By focusing on including my audience, I can focus von the impact, not just on the form of delivery.

I Give Myself Permission To Speak Freely, Without Self-Criticism About How Good It Might Sound.

  • When I’m not holding myself back about the delivery, how it sounds or the pursuit of perfectionism over my words, ideas can flow more naturally leading to better insights and solutions.

The Ideas And Words Will Come To Me When I Speak

  • The words will come to me when I let myself be in that moment. I don’t have to come up with an extensive plan of what to say. It will develop as I look at my audience, feel the room and listen to what’s going on. If I only say what I’ve planned I might miss out on what’s actually happening around me. When one is not thinking too hard, that’s when it’s the best. To experience being in a flow state, how can I let myself be? When one is in their “flow state”,  one is not experiencing many thoughts about themselves or their performance, instead, all the focus flows to the task at hand.

Speaking Is An Improvisation Art Form In A Conversation Or On Stage

  • Just like improv musicians or actors, my speaking is building upon what is happening. It’s an art form of adjusting on the spot and using my mess-ups to build on further. I’m not preventing any mess-ups, I’m taking them and using them.

I Can Sound Awkward, Umms, Brainfarts & All

  • It's okay to pause or stumble over words; it's a natural part of speaking and it makes me more approachable. I’m human afterward. Being a good speaker isn’t eliminating, these brainfarts, it happens because I’m human. I allow them to happen.

What I Have To Say Is Important

  • If it's important to me, then it has the potential to add depth and diversity to conversations, as every individual perspective enriches the dialogue. What I have to say is part of my truth, and speaking my truth is essential for my personal self-growth, integrity, and self-respect.

Whatever I Say Is Good Enough

  • Whatever I say at the moment is valuable and sufficient, as it represents my authentic thoughts and feelings. It’s a culmination of my upbringing, my experience, my culture, my knowledge, my world views, and my creativity.

Embracing My Speaking Style Shows Others They Can Accept Their Own Speaking Styles

  • When I speak like myself and own my unique speaking style this shows that I accept and value myself as I am, which in turn can inspire others to appreciate their own unique qualities.

I Am An Impromptu Speaker

  • I can speak like myself in any situation. If people see me speak on stage, in a Zoom meeting or in a 1on1 conversation, they will see me speak in the same way - being me. Not saying I’m not being inconsiderate of my audience, I take in how to adapt to my audience but when I speak I believe in what I have to say, I’m not there to impress with my delivery or perfect word choice and I’m okay showing everyone my human speaking side.

 

Common "Speech Skepticisms (Misconceptions & Doubts) Holding The Impromptu Speaker Back:

Speech Skepticism #1: Perfection in Speaking is a Prerequisite for Impact

"If I don't speak perfectly, my message won't have any impact."

This stems from the belief that flawless delivery, structure, word choice or the way you say is essential for a speech to be effective. However, the focus on perfect articulation and delivery might overshadow the authenticity and relatability of the message. 

You might have accepted this truth because you see others practice and rehearse endlessly for the “perfect delivery” when they have to talk, not leaving room for anything else. Then you might compare yourself to others because you didn’t come across as polished or perfect the last time you spoke and so you beat yourself up for not perfecting how you delivered or what you had to say.

Speaking Truth #1: Connection Trumps Perfection

"Being genuine and true to myself in my speaking style creates a deeper connection with my audience than flawless diction ever could."

The truth is that your audiences often resonate more with speakers who are authentic and relatable. Natural expression, even with imperfections, can make a speaker more approachable and their message more impactful.

When you come across as too polished, too perfect, too well-prepared you become too rigid. Remember Bruce Lee said, “Be like water.”, meaning water is not rigid or unmoving, it is powerful because it has the ability to be adaptable and changeable.

 

Speech Skepticism #2: Spontaneous Speaking Lacks Depth and Value

"Speaking on the spur of the moment means my ideas are less valuable or well-thought-out."

This is a big one for folks. Many people (yes, even you) believe that only pre-planned, thought out or rehearsed messages can convey deep and valuable insights. You might think that without a detailed plan or extensive preparation, you’re bound to fail. You view spontaneity as a risk factor for failure.

You think that if you took the time to think it through, worked out the kinks, flipped it upside down, and looked at it at least ten times, the ideas are going to be so much better. 

Or perhaps, if you have a half-baked idea, it’s not even worth sharing because it’s not fully there yet. (By the way, the legendary Ben and Jerry’s Half-Baked Ice Cream remained the top three best-selling positions ever since it came out, perhaps there is something to half-baked.)

Speaking Truth #2: Spontaneity Can Lead to Genuine Insights

"When I allow my ideas to flow naturally, I can often reach more genuine and insightful conclusions."

This truth embraces the potential of spontaneous speaking to yield fresh and authentic insights, reflecting the speaker's true thoughts and feelings more accurately than a rehearsed speech might. When you are speaking in the moment, you'll fully capture what you're thinking and feeling. Have you ever seen anyone say something really good at the moment and you asked them to repeat it and they couldn't remember or didn't know what they said? That's the magic of the genuine insights that can occur. If you don't leave room for that, they will never happen.

Speech Skepticism #3: Stumbling in Speech Indicates Incompetence

"Every 'umm', pause, or stumble in my speech shows that I am not a competent speaker."

This skepticism is based on the belief that fluency and smoothness are the only indicators of a good speaker, viewing natural speech patterns as flaws.

Speaking Truth #3: Embracing Natural Speech Patterns Shows Relatability

"Pauses and natural speech patterns make me more relatable and human, enhancing my connection with the audience."

This truth acknowledges that natural elements of speech, including pauses and imperfections, make the speaker seem more human and relatable, which can actually strengthen the connection with the audience.

 

Speech Skepticism #4: Audience Expectations Demand Conformity

"I must conform to traditional speaking styles to meet audience expectations and be taken seriously."

This skepticism comes from the belief that audiences expect and respect only traditional, polished speaking styles.

Speaking Truth #4: Diverse Speaking Styles Enrich Communication

"Embracing my unique speaking style can enrich communication and encourage others to appreciate diverse ways of expression."

This truth celebrates the diversity in speaking styles, suggesting that being true to one's own style can not only enhance personal authenticity but also encourage others to value different forms of expression.

 

Speech Skepticism #5: Lack of Detailed Preparation Leads to Failure

"Without a detailed plan and preparation for my speech, I'm bound to fail."

This skepticism arises from the belief that success in speaking is solely dependent on extensive preparation and planning, viewing spontaneity as a risk factor for failure.

Speaking Truth #5: Flexibility Enhances Relevance and Engagement

"Being flexible and responsive in my speech allows me to be more relevant and engaging in the moment."

This truth embraces the idea that the ability to adapt and respond to the immediate context can actually make a speech more pertinent and engaging, as it allows the speaker to address real-time dynamics and audience reactions.

 

Speech Skepticism #6: Spontaneity is Unprofessional

"Speaking spontaneously is unprofessional and shows a lack of seriousness."

This skepticism reflects the notion that only structured and rehearsed speeches are professional and that spontaneity is equated with a lack of seriousness or preparation.

Speaking Truth #6: Spontaneity Demonstrates Confidence and Expertise

"Being able to speak spontaneously demonstrates a high level of confidence and expertise in my subject matter."

This truth recognizes that the ability to speak effectively without relying on extensive preparation can actually be a sign of deep knowledge and confidence in the subject matter.

 

Speech Skepticism #7: Audience Engagement Requires Perfection

"To keep my audience engaged, I need to deliver my speech flawlessly."

This skepticism is based on the belief that audience engagement is primarily driven by the flawlessness of the speech.

Speaking Truth #7: Authentic Engagement Comes from Being Genuine

"My authenticity and genuine expression are what truly captivate and engage my audience."

This truth acknowledges that audiences are more likely to be engaged by a speaker's authenticity and genuine expression rather than the technical perfection of the speech.

 

Speech Skepticism #8: Every Speech Must Be a Masterpiece

"Every time I speak, it must be a masterpiece to be effective."

This skepticism puts undue pressure on every speaking opportunity to be a highly polished and flawless performance.

Speaking Truth #8: Every Speaking Opportunity is a Learning Experience

"Each speaking opportunity, regardless of its perfection, is a valuable learning experience contributing to my growth as a speaker."

This truth recognizes that not every speech needs to be a masterpiece. Instead, each opportunity to speak is a chance to learn, grow, and develop as a speaker, with the focus on continuous improvement rather than perfection.

 

The Impromptu Speaker’s Patterns breakdown

The pattern is how this speaker would think, feel, and act based on different situations:

 

Situation #1: Asked to Give an Unexpected Toast at a Social Event

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

  • Thought: "I don't know what to say. I might say something wrong or boring."
  • Feeling: Nervous, self-conscious.
  • Action: Gives a brief, generic toast or tries to avoid speaking.

The Impromptu Speaker's Pattern:

  • Thought: "This is a chance to speak from the heart and make this moment special."
  • Feeling: Enthusiastic, confident.
  • Action: Delivers a heartfelt, genuine toast, using personal anecdotes or humor.

 

Situation #2: Invited to Join a Panel Discussion With Little Notice

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

  • Thought: "I'm not ready for this. What if I don't know enough about the topics discussed?"
  • Feeling: Overwhelmed, intimidated.
  • Action: Might decline the offer or accept but spend excessive time worrying and over-preparing.

The Impromptu Speaker's Pattern:

  • Thought: "This is a great opportunity to share my perspectives and learn from others. I can rely on my knowledge and experiences. I was invited for a reason and even if I don’t know everything, a 5th grader is an expert to the 3rd grader. If I can give the next step, the next tip or the next stepping block to my audience, that is what matters.”
  • Feeling: Motivated, intrigued.
  • Action: Accepts the invitation, prepares briefly but focuses on being present and engaged during the discussion.

 

Situation #3: Asked to Speak at a Last-Minute Meeting

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

  • Thought: "I'm not prepared for this. I don't know what to say. I might embarrass myself."
  • Feeling: Anxious, unconfident, and hesitant.
  • Action: Decline the opportunity or accepts hesitantly. During the speaking event, I speak very fast to get it over with.

The Impromptu Speaker's Pattern:

  • Thought: "Even though I was asked last minute, I will have things to offer. The words and ideas will come to me as I speak. I’ll adapt to what’s going on in the situation, get a sense of the audience and where the room is at.”
  • Feeling: Excited, confident, and engaged.
  • Action: Accept the opportunity, take 30 seconds to jot down two ideas in bullet form on my phone.

 

Strategies for Improvement - Becoming an Even Better Impromptu Speaker

Embracing and Refining Spontaneity:

  • Let The Words Come To You/Reading The Room
    • When you put yourself in spontaneous speaking situations, look at the audience, and get a feel of the room and a sense of what’s happening. Let the words come to you and speak instead of thinking of everything you want to say. It’s okay to pause in the beginning or whenever you need a chance to not say anything.
  • Reflection on Spontaneous Moments:
    • After spontaneous speaking opportunities, reflect on what worked well and what could be improved. Consider the impact of your words and how effectively you connect with your audience.
  • Leave a section of your presentation unplanned
    • The next time you have a presentation, write down the theme/topic you want to talk about for that 1-5 min section but don’t plan out what you want to exactly say

Leveraging Personal Experiences and Stories:

  • Reflective Journaling:
    • Maintain a journal of personal experiences, stories, and anecdotes that can be spontaneously used for any moments when you have to speak off-the-cuff

Impromptu Speaking Frameworks: To organize thoughts quickly and effectively

  • PREP Framework (Point, Reason, Example, Point):
    • Point: Start with your main point or argument.
    • Reason: Explain the reason why you believe this point to be true.
    • Example: Provide an example or evidence to support your reason.
    • Point: Reiterate your main point to reinforce your message.
  • What? So What? Now What? Framework:
    • What?: Describe the situation or issue at hand.
    • So What?: Explain the importance or relevance of the issue.
    • Now What?: Suggest a course of action or a solution.
  • PEEL Framework (Point, Explain, Evidence, Link):
    • Point: State your main point or argument.
    • Explain: Elaborate on your point, explaining the concept.
    • Evidence: Back up your explanation with evidence or examples.
    • Link: Link back to your main point or the broader topic.
  • The 5 Ws Framework (Who, What, When, Where, Why):
    • Who: Discuss who is involved or affected.
    • What: Describe what the issue or topic is.
    • When: Mention when this is occurring or when it happened.
    • Where: State where this is happening.
    • Why: Explain why this is important or why it occurred.
  • Problem-Solution-Benefit Framework:
    • Problem: Clearly state the problem or challenge.
    • Solution: Propose a solution to the problem.
    • Benefit: Highlight the benefits or positive outcomes of the proposed solution.
  • 3-1-2 Framework:
    • 3 (Points): Start with three points or reasons.
    • 1 (Story): Include one story or example that illustrates your main points.
    • 2 (Minutes): Aim to deliver your speech within two minutes, keeping it concise and focused.
  • STAR Framework (Situation, Task, Action, Result):
    • Situation: Set the context or background.
    • Task: Describe the task or challenge faced.
    • Action: Explain the action taken to address the task.
    • Result: Share the results or outcomes of the action.
  • The Bridge Framework:
    • Present State: Describe the current situation or state.
    • Desired State: Articulate the desired outcome or goal.
    • The Bridge: Explain the steps or actions that will bridge the gap between the present state and the desired state.

 

 

 Identity of The Dynamic Speaker

The Dynamic Speaker is an individual whose influence stems not from a meticulously crafted set of skills, but from an innate energy and presence that captivates and inspires. This natural aura is not a contrived performance but a genuine manifestation of their inner vitality and passion. Their natural body language and voice stem from their authentic self. 

At the core, The Dynamic Speaker radiates an energy that is both invigorating and authentic. They possess an inherent charisma that draws people in, creating an atmosphere of excitement and anticipation. Their presence is not just felt, it's experienced, leaving a lasting impression on the audience.

Unlike speakers who rely heavily on technical skills, The Dynamic Speaker's impact is rooted in their ability to be fully present in the moment. 

The Dynamic Speaker's energy is contagious. Don’t mistake the energy with the rowdy in-your-face energy (it can be if that’s your style) but it’s the speaker’s natural way of being when they are at their best.

This energy is a blend of enthusiasm, sincerity, and a deep-seated belief in their message and who they are. It's this genuine conviction that empowers their words, making them more persuasive and impactful.

The Dynamic Speaker's presence is characterized by a sense of spontaneity and responsiveness. Their presence is a catalyst for change, not because they meticulously plan each gesture or modulation of their voice, but because they are authentically present, passionately engaged, and genuinely committed to sharing a message that resonates at a fundamental level.

Beliefs of The Dynamic Speaker

Energy and Presence Are Innate, Not Fabricated

  • I believe that the most powerful form of communication comes from an authentic source. My energy and presence are natural extensions of my personality, not techniques or strategies I put on. This authenticity is what truly connects with people and makes my message resonate.

Presence is More Than Being There

  • True presence for me is about being fully engaged and connected with my audience in the moment. It's about creating an environment where my passion and energy are felt by others, uplifting the spirits and engagement of those I'm speaking to.

I Can Learn More Body Language And Vocal Variety Skills But I Always Let My Natural Body Language And Voice Shine In The Moment.

  • Learning more skills and growth is crucial for professional development however even with all the best body language and voice tips, I am using them as tools to help my presence become better. I know that when I’m in the moment I rather let myself be in my natural presence than think about exactly what I need to do with my hands, how to stand, how long to pause, fluctuate my voice, or where to look.

Passion Fuels Connection

  • My belief is that passion is the key to a dynamic and memorable speaking experience. When I am passionate about my message, it naturally energizes the room and captivates the audience. This genuine enthusiasm is more compelling than any rehearsed performance.

Empathy Drives Engagement

  • I understand that to truly engage with my audience, I must connect with them on a deeper level. This involves empathizing with their experiences, emotions, and needs, creating a bond that goes beyond mere words.

Spontaneity Breeds Authenticity

  • I value spontaneity in my interactions. Scripted speeches can deliver information, but spontaneous, heartfelt communication creates a memorable experience. This spontaneity makes my message more relatable and impactful. Not to discount not preparing or rehearsing for a meeting or a talk but knowing to always leave room for spontaneity.

Adaptability Reflects Respect

  • Being adaptable in my approach shows respect for my audience. I am attentive to their reactions and adjust my energy and presence accordingly. This flexibility demonstrates that I value their experience and am committed to making our interaction meaningful.

Transformation Over Information

  • My goal is not just to inform but to transform. I believe in using my energy and presence to inspire change and encourage action. It's about leaving a lasting impact that goes beyond the confines of the speaking venue.

Authenticity Is My Signature

  • In a world where many seek to imitate or conform, I stand firm in my unique style. My authenticity is my signature, making my message distinctive and memorable. It's not about fitting a mold, but about breaking it to reveal the genuine spirit of communication.

Leading by Inspiring

  • I see myself as a leader who inspires rather than dictates. My speaking is a tool for inspiration, encouraging others to find their path, ignite their passions, and pursue their goals with vigor.

Transformation Is Personal and Collective

  • I believe in the power of transformation, both on a personal and collective level. My presence and energy are catalysts for this change, encouraging individuals and groups to reach new heights and explore uncharted territories of potential and growth.



Common "Speech Skepticisms (Misconceptions & Doubts) Holding The Dynamic Speaker Back:

Speech Skepticism #1: Charisma and Presence Are Innate, Not Learned

“I either have natural charisma and presence, or I don't.”

There's a common belief that dynamic speaking, characterized by natural energy and presence, is an innate talent that can't be developed. 

Many people look at other speakers and say, “Wow, if only I had their presence and energy…”.

This view implies that if you don't naturally exude charisma, you can never be a truly dynamic speaker.

This belief is a misconception that limits growth and self-improvement.

While some aspects of charisma and presence might come more naturally to some individuals, the reality is that these qualities can be nurtured and developed over time. Presence and energy are not just inherent traits but can be cultivated through self-awareness of what energy you particularly bring out. 

Speaking Truth #1: "Charisma and presence can be developed. It's about finding your unique style and being authentic to yourself. By embracing your individuality and working on your self-awareness, you can develop a presence that is both dynamic and genuine."

Your natural energy and presence are unique to you. Embracing and honing these qualities can make you a more dynamic speaker, regardless of whether they come naturally or are developed over time.

 

Speech Skepticism #2: Energy and Enthusiasm Compensate for Lack of Substance

“If I'm energetic and enthusiastic enough, it doesn't matter what I say.”

Some believe that as long as they deliver a speech with good energy and enthusiasm, the content of their message is secondary. This belief underestimates the audience's desire for meaningful and substantial content.

The truth is that while energy and enthusiasm are crucial, they cannot replace the need for your message. Audiences seek content that is informative, relevant, and insightful.

Speaking Truth #2: "Energy and enthusiasm are powerful tools, but they are most effective when paired with substantive content. A dynamic speaker not only energizes the audience but also provides them with valuable insights and information."

A truly impactful speech combines the speaker's natural energy and presence with a message that is both engaging and informative.

 

Speech Skepticism #3 : Dynamic Speakers Always Captivate Every Audience

“As a dynamic speaker, I should be able to captivate any audience, regardless of the context.”

This skepticism assumes that a dynamic speaker's natural energy and presence are universally effective in every situation, regardless of the audience's interests, cultural background, or the context of the speech.

However, audiences are diverse, and what captivates one group may not resonate with another. It's important to understand the context and tailor your approach accordingly.

Speaking Truth #3: "While energy and presence are powerful, understanding and adapting to your audience is key to effective communication. A dynamic speaker knows how to adjust their approach to resonate with different audiences."

Recognizing and respecting the diversity of audiences ensures that your message is not only delivered with energy but also received with enthusiasm and understanding.

 

Speech Skepticism #4: Authenticity Means Always Being Unfiltered

“I should always say exactly what I think and feel; that's what being authentic means.”

This skepticism equates authenticity with unfiltered expression, suggesting that a dynamic speaker should always speak their mind without restraint. However, this perspective overlooks the importance of tact, context, and audience sensitivity in communication.

Speaking Truth #4: "Authenticity involves being true to yourself while also considering the impact of your words on others. Being authentic doesn't mean disregarding the feelings and perspectives of your audience, but rather balancing honesty with empathy and respect."

A dynamic speaker knows that true authenticity means communicating genuinely while also being mindful of how their message is received and understood.

 

Speech Skepticism #5: High Energy Means High Intensity All the Time

“If I'm not constantly high-energy, I'm not engaging enough.”

This belief implies that dynamic speakers must always maintain a high level of intensity and energy to keep their audience engaged. However, this constant high energy can sometimes overwhelm or exhaust an audience.

Speaking Truth #5: "Effective communication often involves varying your energy levels. A dynamic speaker knows when to ramp up the intensity and when to create quieter moments for reflection or emphasis."

Balancing different energy levels helps to maintain audience engagement and ensures that the message is both impactful and digestible.

 

Speech Skepticism #6: Strong Presence Means Dominating the Space

“To have a strong presence, I need to dominate the conversation or the stage.”

This skepticism equates to having a strong presence with dominating the speaking space, either by talking most of the time or by physically taking over the stage. However, this approach can come across as overbearing and reduce the effectiveness of the communication.

Speaking Truth #6: "A strong presence is about making a meaningful impact, not dominating the space. It involves being confidently engaging, listening actively, and sharing the stage or conversation in a way that respects others’ contributions."

A dynamic speaker knows that their presence is amplified not by overshadowing others but by creating an inclusive and interactive environment.

 

Speech Skepticism #7 : Natural Charisma Trumps Preparation

“I don't need to prepare much; my natural charisma will carry me through.”

This belief undervalues the importance of preparation, assuming that natural charisma and presence alone are enough to make a speech successful. While these qualities are important, they cannot compensate for a lack of preparation.

Speaking Truth #7 : "Even the most charismatic speakers need to prepare. Preparation enhances your natural abilities and ensures that your message is clear, coherent, and impactful."

A dynamic speaker recognizes that preparation and charisma go hand in hand in delivering a powerful and effective speech.



The Dynamic Speaker’s Patterns

 Situation #1: Addressing an audience after a previous speaker who was exceptionally well-received.

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

Thought: "I can't match the previous speaker’s impact and energy. The audience will be disappointed with my style."

Feeling: Intimidation and self-doubt.

Action: Imitating the previous speaker’s style or losing confidence in their own, leading to a less authentic presentation.

The Dynamic Speaker's Pattern:

Thought: "Every speaker brings something unique. How can I leverage my strengths to add value in my own way?"

Feeling: Inspired and confident.

Action: Focusing on personal strengths and unique aspects of their presentation, while acknowledging the previous speaker’s success as a positive setup for continued audience engagement.

 

Situation #2: Preparing for a speech on a topic that isn’t inherently exciting or engaging.

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

Thought: "This topic is dull, and I won't be able to make it interesting. My audience won’t be interested regardless of my effort."

Feeling: Resignation and lack of enthusiasm.

Action: Delivering a lackluster presentation. No feedback from audience.

The Dynamic Speaker's Pattern:

Thought: "Every topic has an angle that can captivate. How can I find and present it in a dynamic way?"

Feeling: Challenged and creative.

Action: Research and find unique angles or connections to make the topic more relatable and engaging, leveraging natural interest and charisma that brings the presentation alive

 

Situation #3: Receiving feedback about a lack of dynamic delivery in a recent presentation.

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

Thought: "I'm just not cut out to be a dynamic speaker. Maybe I don't have what it takes."

Feeling: Discouragement and self-doubt.

Action: Becoming disheartened and less motivated to speak, potentially avoiding future speaking opportunities or not investing effort in improving speaking skills.

The Dynamic Speaker's Pattern:

Thought: "I like my style, my vibe and what I bring. I also know that people have different interpretations of what a dynamic speaker should look like, not that my style is bad. Feedback is an opportunity for growth. What specific areas can I improve to enhance my dynamic delivery according to that person’s personal views? I’m also going to take that person’s feedback with a grain of salt as well. If it’s only this one person giving me this feedback then I’ll aim to seek more feedback to balance it out"

Feeling: Constructive and open-minded.

Action: Reflecting on the feedback to identify specific areas for improvement, seeking more feedback from others or recording myself to see if I agree.

 

Strategies of The Dynamic Speaker

Embrace the following strategies to cultivate and enhance your skills as a Dynamic Speaker.

Harnessing Authentic Energy and Presence

  • Cultivating Self-Awareness: Begin by understanding your natural energy levels and presence. Reflect on moments when you feel most engaged and alive. What activities or topics bring out your enthusiasm? Self-awareness is key in harnessing and directing your natural charisma.
  • Mindful Adaptation: Learn to adjust your energy to the context and audience. Practice reading the room and adapting your delivery accordingly without losing your authentic self. This might mean toning down your energy in more solemn situations or ramping it up in more dynamic settings.
  • Continuous Learning and Growth: Embrace feedback as a growth opportunity. Seek constructive criticism from trusted colleagues or mentors, and use it to refine your presence and delivery.

Balancing Authenticity with Audience Sensitivity

  • Empathetic Engagement: Develop a deep understanding of your audience. What are their needs, concerns, and interests? Tailoring your message to resonate with them requires empathy and a genuine desire to connect.
  • Dynamic Storytelling: Use stories and anecdotes to bring your messages to life. Storytelling is a powerful tool that can make even the most mundane topics captivating. Infuse your stories with your personal experiences and insights to enhance authenticity.
  • Creating Interactive Experiences: Engage your audience through interactive elements like Q&A sessions, polls, or group discussions. This not only keeps the audience involved but also gives you real-time feedback to adapt your energy and content. 

 

 

Identity - The Business Storyteller

The Business Storyteller doesn’t tell stories only for the sake of telling stories. The Business Storyteller use stories to share their message or get their point across.

They harness their own life experiences, as well as the experiences of their colleagues and industry peers to craft and share narratives that are not only engaging but also strategically impactful in a business context.

The Business Storyteller doesn't merely recount facts and figures. Instead, they artfully tell the stories behind the data. They can breathe life into the numbers and charts. They can convey their innermost thoughts, emotions, and actions, transforming them into vivid messages. They recognize that stories have the potential to captivate and resonate with both colleagues and clients, making complex information more relatable and memorable.

Stories are a strategic tool for The Business Storyteller to be used to convey complex ideas, organization’s values, or marketing messages in a way that resonates deeply and builds trust with the audience.

Beliefs of The Business Storyteller

I Can Use Any Experience In My Life As A Story To Serve As A Message

  • Every experience I've had, whether big or small, has the potential to be transformed into a business story with a valuable message. These experiences, drawn from all areas of my life, are not just anecdotes, they are powerful tools for illustrating points, sharing insights, and conveying complex ideas in a more relatable manner. Even if I’m washing the dishes there is something I can use from that experience. 

Stories Are A Tool To Share A Message 

  • I see storytelling as an essential tool in my communication arsenal. To me, stories are not just about entertainment; they are strategic instruments for conveying messages. Whether I'm teaching a lesson, sharing a vision, or explaining a concept, I use stories to make my message more engaging and memorable. As a note, stories are not the final message, stories are used to make my final message more memorable and relatable. Stories are a way to get my message across. 

I Can Use Personal Stories In High Stakes Situations Or Meetings

  • Personal stories in high-stakes business situations or important meetings can break down barriers, create emotional connections, and convey my points in a way that's both impactful and humanizing. I find that sharing personal stories can often resonate more deeply than traditional business talk.

Stories Are As Important As Clearly Presenting Data And Information

  • Stories add context and depth to data, making it more understandable and relatable. When I pair data with storytelling, it becomes more than just numbers or facts. I am the person who brings the numbers, data, and charts to life by giving them meaning through a story.

Emotion and Personal Narratives Drives Decisions And Discussion As Much As Logic Or Reason

  • Human beings are emotional beings, not just rational creatures. When I weave personal stories into my business conversations, I engage with the emotional side of my audience. These stories resonate on a personal level, often creating a more profound impact than only facts and figures. It's about humanizing the interaction and making complex, abstract, or technical subjects more tangible and meaningful. I am also not just sharing information; I am also conveying the values and beliefs behind what I’m saying.

Credibility Does Not Only Come From Expertise Or Technical Knowledge But Also Through One's Stories

  • In a world full of experts and professionals, what differentiates me is my ability to connect and engage with my audience on a deeper level, and storytelling is a key tool in achieving this. When I share stories, particularly those drawn from personal experiences or relatable scenarios, I am doing more than just imparting information. I am providing a glimpse into my perspective, my approach to problem-solving, and my understanding of the world. I’m showing folks that I’m not a robot but a real person. 

If I present only the data, numbers, and information shared, I have to ask myself..”If another person in my organization were to share the same data, numbers, and information, what makes us different?” I know it’s my personality and the stories that I add.

 

Common "Speech Skepticisms (Misconceptions & Doubts) Holding The Business Storyteller Back

Speech Skepticism #1: Personal Storytelling is Less Professional in Business Settings

"If I use storytelling, especially personal anecdotes, in serious business contexts, it might come off as unprofessional or too casual." or perhaps, you think "I might believe that sharing personal stories in business settings is irrelevant and distracts from the main message."

The belief here is that business communication should be strictly formal, data-driven, and devoid of personal or emotional elements. There’s a concern that storytelling might undermine the seriousness or the professional nature of the discussion. Another way of saying this is that personal experiences have no place in the business world, where the focus should be solely on facts, figures, and objective analyses.

Take a step back and question this, where did you learn this from? Is it because you saw others and they never told stories?

Perhaps it’s the opposite, maybe it’s the people you admire that win people over because they tell stories in business settings.

Speaking Truth #1: Storytelling Enhances Professional Communication by Making it Relatable and Engaging

"Integrating storytelling into business communication doesn’t diminish its professionalism, it enhances its effectiveness.

When I use stories, especially those based on personal or relatable experiences, I make complex data or abstract concepts more tangible and understandable. It’s not about replacing data with stories, but about complementing and enriching it. This approach can increase engagement and retention, making communication more impactful. Far from being unprofessional, effective storytelling demonstrates a deep understanding of how to communicate in a way that resonates with and influences the audience. Personal stories when used right will humanize your data, content, and communication.

 

Speech Skepticism #2: Emotional Appeal Undermines Logical Arguments

"I might worry that focusing on emotional appeal or personal narratives in my speeches undermines the logical and factual components of my argument."

This is based on the idea that emotional and personal elements might be seen as less credible or serious than logical and data-driven arguments in a business setting.

According to Psychology Today, "most decisions are driven by emotions, even though most people think that they approach decision-making through logic." And this is probably not the first time you've heard that human beings are emotional creatures.

The flaw in only using logical content and argument is that you're not appealing to the most important aspect of decision-making - the emotional side.

Speaking Truth #2: Emotional Appeal Complements Logical Arguments in Effective Storytelling

"Utilizing emotional appeal and personal narratives in conjunction with logical arguments creates a balanced and compelling communication style.

Emotion and logic are not mutually exclusive; instead, they complement each other. While logical arguments provide the structure and foundation, emotional appeal and personal narratives add depth and relatability. This combination can make my arguments more persuasive and memorable, as it engages both the rational and emotional aspects of the audience’s decision-making process.

 

Speech Skepticism #3: Storytelling is Too Time-Consuming in Fast-Paced Business Environments

"Storytelling takes too much time, and in the fast-paced business world, brevity is key."

This perception is rooted in that time is a scarce commodity in business settings, and storytelling is often seen as a lengthy and roundabout way of communicating. Or perhaps, stories like 5 mins, 10 minutes, or even longer, who has time for that?

The major question you have to ask yourself is, "Are the people in the room going to remember what I'm going to say and are they going to understand my point?" If you're only using facts, people are less likely to remember. Cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner said, "We are 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it has been wrapped in a story." 

So the real question is, what are you losing if you don't tell more stories? And the truth is, not all stories have to be long.

Speaking Truth #3: Efficient Storytelling Can Be Both Quick and Impactful

"Effective storytelling can be concise and still make a significant impact.

Stories can be short, effective, and still pack a punch. You can tell stories ensuring that they enhance rather than hinder the efficiency of communication. A well-told, concise story can often convey a message more effectively than a lengthy exposition.

 

The Business Storyteller’s Patterns Breakdown

The pattern is how this speaker would think, feel, and act based on different situations:

Situation #1: Asked to Speak on a Topic with Limited Prior Experience

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

Thought: "I'm really not sure about this. I don't have enough experience with this topic. What if I make a mistake or don't cover everything comprehensively? I need to get all the pieces of data, while risking information overload and I don’t think I can put in a story because it might take even more time when I have so much info.

Feeling: Anxious, overwhelmed.

Action: Reluctantly agrees but spends excessive time worrying and over-preparing. 

The Business Storyteller's Pattern:

Thought: "This is a challenge, but also a chance to grow. I can use my storytelling skills to weave what I know into one of my main points that is both informative and engaging, even if I'm not a top expert on the subject."

Feeling: Motivated, creative.

Action: Accepts the opportunity, begins researching to get a good grasp of the topic, and then focuses on how to frame this information within a story that is both insightful and accessible. Practice balancing data with a story to ensure the presentation is compelling and informative.

 

Situation #2: Facing a Tough Audience in a High-Stakes Presentation

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

Thought: "This audience is critical and data-driven. They might not appreciate my storytelling approach and could see it as unprofessional."

Feeling: Intimidated, uncertain.

Action: Tones down the storytelling elements significantly, leading to a presentation that feels stiff and less engaging than usual. Might miss the opportunity to make a meaningful connection with the audience.

The Business Storyteller's Pattern:

Thought: "While this audience is analytical, everyone appreciates a good story if it's relevant and well-integrated with the data. I need to find the right balance."

Feeling: Confident, strategic.

Action: Prepares a presentation that blends information with storytelling. Uses personal stories to illustrate key points or to breathe life into the data, ensuring the storytelling is purposeful and adds value to the content. 

 

Situation #3: Responding to Criticism about Using Personal Anecdotes

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

Thought: "Maybe they are right. Perhaps my stories are too personal and not suitable for a business setting. I should stick to the facts."

Feeling: Doubtful, self-conscious.

Action: Becomes more reserved in using personal stories, potentially making communication less effective and engaging. Misses the opportunity to showcase the unique strengths of storytelling in business contexts.

The Business Storyteller's Pattern:

Thought: "Criticism is part of growth. My stories bring a unique perspective and make my points more memorable. I need to ensure they are well-tied to the business context."

Feeling: Reflective, resilient.

Action: Takes the feedback into consideration but continues to use personal anecdotes, ensuring they are directly relevant to the business points being made. Focuses on refining the art of storytelling to align closely with business objectives, demonstrating the value of personal narratives in professional settings.

 

Strategies for Improvement - The Business Storyteller

Analyzing Effective Stories:

  • Watch and analyze speeches or presentations by renowned storytellers. Note how they structure their stories, use language, and engage their audience.
  • After each session, identify elements you can incorporate into your own storytelling style.

Share Stories

  • Regularly share storytelling in a variety of contexts, not just business settings. This could be with friends, family or strangers. The key is to share a story and tie a point back to it.

Her's A Storytelling Frameworks To Get You Started:

Storytelling Framework #1: CAR (Context, Action, Result)

  • Context:
    • What to Do: Set the stage for your story. Provide the background information necessary for understanding the situation. This includes who was involved, what the situation was, when and where it took place, and why it was significant.
    • How to Do It: Be descriptive yet concise. Engage your audience with vivid details or interesting facts, but avoid unnecessary information that doesn't contribute to the core message.
  • Action:
    • What to Do: Describe what actions were taken in response to the context. This is the meat of your story, where you outline the steps taken, strategies employed, challenges faced, and how they were overcome.
    • How to Do It: Focus on the journey, not just the destination. Use active voice and dynamic words to create a sense of motion and progress. Highlight any obstacles or pivotal moments to build interest.
  • Result:
    • What to Do: Conclude your story by sharing the outcomes of the actions. Explain what was achieved, learned, or how things changed as a result of the actions taken.
    • How to Do It: Use results that are quantifiable or measurable, if possible. If the results are more qualitative, explain their significance or impact. This is also a great opportunity to reflect or provide insights.

How-to Steps for Using the CAR Framework:

  • Identify Your Main Message:
    • Before you begin, know the core message or lesson of your story. What do you want your audience to take away?
  • Draft Your Story:
    • Write a brief outline covering the Context, Action, and Result. This helps ensure your story has a clear beginning, middle, and end.
  • Show, Don't Just Tell:
    • In the Action section, show the process, challenges, and decisions. Use anecdotes or metaphors for greater impact.
  • Emphasize the Result:
    • Clearly articulate the outcomes. If it’s a success story, highlight the achievements. If it’s a learning experience, focus on the insights gained.

 

The Persuasive Speaker

Identity of The Persuasive Speaker

The Persuasive Speaker is someone who aims to understand and resonate with the perspectives, beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions of their audience. They are not just speakers; they are empathetic listeners and insightful observers, capable of seeing the world through the eyes of those they are addressing. This deep understanding allows them to tailor their message in a way that is not only heard but felt and internalized by the audience.

The essence of a Persuasive Speaker lies in their ability to guide the audience towards new viewpoints and solutions that align with their needs and aspirations. The Persuasive Speaker is not doing this through coercion or manipulation, but by building trust, establishing common ground, and leading the audience to consider alternative perspectives because The Persuasive Speaker believes that with these other perspectives and viewpoints, the audience will solve their challenges or get to their destination faster.

The Persuasive Speaker is adept at helping people let go of entrenched positions, negative thoughts, and unproductive behaviors, replacing them with more constructive and beneficial ones.

The Persuasive Speaker's strength comes from a genuine desire to help the audience. They speak not to dominate or impose, but to enlighten and empower. Their approach is characterized by respect, sincerity, and a deep commitment to the well-being and success of their listeners. By presenting ideas that resonate deeply with the audience's desires and challenges, The Persuasive Speaker facilitates a transformational experience that can lead to meaningful change and progress. 

How does The Persuasive Speaker do this persuasion stuff? You’ll find out more in the strategy section, it’s about the Subtracting And Addition of Viewpoints.


Beliefs of The Persuasive Speaker

Understanding Is Better Than Convincing

  • Truly understanding my audience is more important than just trying to convince them. By deeply grasping their perspectives and feelings, I can create a message that resonates on a personal level, fostering genuine connection and influence. If I want to convince them, I first have to understand them from their point of view. Empathy leads to empowerment.

Authenticity Builds Trust Being genuine in my communication is key.

  • Authenticity and being real are the foundation of trust and influence. People respond to genuineness, not scripted persuasion.

Diverse Perspectives Enrich Understanding 

  • I value and seek out diverse viewpoints. Understanding different perspectives not only enriches my understanding but also enhances my ability to connect with a varied audience. If I only have my perspectives and aim to get everyone to see my perspective then I’ve lost my ways.

My Message Is Tailored, Not Imposed

  • I tailor my message to the audience's needs and aspirations, rather than imposing my agenda. This approach ensures that my message is relevant and resonant. There’s a great saying, “People don’t care about how much I know until they know about how much I care.”

Listening Is as Important as Speaking

  • Active listening is crucial in persuasive speaking. By truly listening to my audience, I can adjust my message in real-time, ensuring it remains impactful and relevant. I listen to my audience before I speak when I prep, I listen to my audience during my speech or interactions, I listen to my audience when they are going against me or have different views, and I listen to my audience after I’m done talking.

Persuasion Is For Making A Meaningful Difference

  • Instead of calling myself The Persuasive Speaker, I can say I’m A Speaker Who Wants To Make A Difference. The aim is to leave a positive imprint on the lives of those I speak to, empowering them to make changes that lead to fulfillment and success. I see myself as a catalyst for change. By presenting new perspectives and challenging existing paradigms, I aim to empower my audience to embrace change – change that is not just theoretical, but practical and achievable.

I Am A Persuasive Speaker

  • My belief in my persuasive abilities stems from a deep understanding of and empathy for others. I don’t view persuasion as using the slickest skills, wording or prompts to trick others into seeing my views, saying yes to me or buying my stuff. Persuasion, in my view, is not about imposing my ideas, but about guiding others to see the potential in new ideas so that they can grow or the company can grow.

 

Common "Speech Skepticisms (misconceptions & doubts) Holding The Persuasive Speaker Back:

Speech Skepticism #1: Persuasion is Always Immediate and Obvious

"I often think that if my audience isn't immediately swayed or doesn't show instant agreement, my persuasion efforts have failed."

Reflect on this - is change always instant? How often have you found yourself pondering over a conversation or idea long after it was presented?

Audiences may not always show immediate signs of being persuaded. True persuasion often plants a seed that grows over time, leading to gradual change in thoughts and actions.

Speaking Truth #1: True persuasion doesn't always yield instant results. It's about planting thoughtful ideas that can matutre and influence over time.

Persuasion is profound. For some people, it might be immediate because they are in the right conditions. For example, if you haven’t eaten in 3 days and I offered you food, won’t you take it vs someone who just ate 2 hours ago? At other times it's like planting a seed in fertile soil – the effects may not be immediate, but with the right conditions, that seed can grow into something significant and lasting.

 

Speech Skepticism #2: My Persuasion Must Resonate with Everyone

"I sometimes worry that if my message doesn't resonate with every single person in the audience, I have failed in my persuasion."

Is it realistic or even possible to connect equally with every individual in a diverse audience?

Not every message will resonate with every person due to differing backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives. The key is to connect meaningfully with as many as possible, understanding that universal resonance is an unrealistic expectation.

Speaking Truth #2: "While I strive to connect with my audience broadly, I understand that it's not possible to resonate with everyone. Impacting even a portion of my audience meaningfully is a success."

Out of 100 people, perhaps 25 might be saying YES to you instantly, 50 might be moved by wanting to think about it more and the last 25 started shifting their views but might be scared to drop what they think they know is best.

 

Speech Skepticism #3: Persuasion Should Always Lead to Agreement

"I sometimes think that successful persuasion means getting the audience to agree with me or accept my viewpoint entirely."

Is agreement the only indicator of successful persuasion? Can sparking thought or dialogue also be considered a success?

Persuasion isn't just about securing agreement; it's about opening minds to new ideas, fostering understanding, and encouraging thoughtful dialogue. Sometimes, the success of persuasion is in initiating a conversation or planting a seed of change.

Speaking Truth #3: "Effective persuasion can also mean initiating thoughtful dialogue and consideration, not just securing agreement."

 

Speech Skepticism #4:  Strong Opinions are Needed to Persuade

"I must have strong, unwavering opinions to be persuasive, fearing that showing uncertainty or openness to other ideas may weaken my position."

Reflect on this: Is persuasion about imposing strong opinions, or is it about dialogue and understanding?

True persuasion isn't about rigidity in opinions. It involves being open to dialogue and understanding different viewpoints, which can strengthen your persuasive ability by showing thoughtfulness and adaptability.

Speaking Truth #4: "Having strong opinions is less important than being open to understanding and dialoguing with different viewpoints. This flexibility can make my persuasion more thoughtful and respectful."

Have you considered this?  Having too strong of an opinion might have the opposite effect because it's too off-putting or it might seem like you are dominating the room to ensure your voice is the most important.

Effective persuasion is not about having the strongest voice or dominating the conversation; it's about fostering a balanced dialogue where all voices are heard and respected. This approach builds mutual respect and understanding, which are crucial for genuine persuasion. Balanced dialogue, where all voices are heard, is more persuasive than dominating the conversation. It shows respect for the audience and fosters genuine engagement."



The Persuasive Speakers’ Pattern

Situation #1: Addressing a topic that may trigger emotional or controversial responses.

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

  • Thought: "This topic is too sensitive. No matter what I say, it might offend someone or be taken the wrong way."
  • Feeling: Anxiety and fear of backlash.
  • Action: Avoiding the core issues, staying superficial, or potentially canceling the speaking opportunity due to fear of negative reactions.

The Persuasive Speaker's Pattern:

  • Thought: "This topic requires sensitivity and understanding. It's an opportunity to address important issues thoughtfully and constructively. Let me think about what they could be thinking or feeling on their side. I want to make sure when I go in that I create a safe space and ensure respect and understanding will be at the forefront.”
  • Feeling: Curious and hopeful
  • Action: Researching the topic, preparing a balanced and empathetic presentation, and looking forward to creating a safe and supportive environment.

 

Situation #2: Presenting to an audience that seems disengaged or uninterested.

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

  • Thought: "The audience isn't interested in what I have to say. Maybe my topic isn't compelling enough, or I'm not a good speaker. There is a lack of interest from my audience, I better do something good or wrap this up."
  • Feeling: Discouragement and self-doubt.
  • Action: Rushing through the presentation, not engaging with the audience, or ending the session early.

The Persuasive Speaker's Pattern:

  • Thought: "There might be various reasons for their disengagement. Let's find a way to capture their interest and make the session more interactive. I want to understand the audience's lack of engagement and see how I can turn it around."
  • Feeling: Curiosity 
  • Action: Introducing interactive elements, like Q&A, polls, or real-life examples, to re-engage the audience.

 

 Situation #3: Asked to speak on an unfamiliar topic at a company event.

What Your Pattern Could Look Like:

  • Thought: "Ehh holy crap, this is going to be a big event and I have no clue about what I’m going to talk about. This topic isn't my strong suit. I don’t think I can get them on my side.”
  • Feeling: Apprehension and nervousness
  • Action: Take a bunch of time researching and worrying endlessly about how poorly I’m going to do.

The Persuasive Speaker's Pattern:

  • Thought: "This is a chance to engage with the audience on new ground. By understanding their level of knowledge on this topic, I can tailor my presentation to resonate more effectively with them. I’m eager to learn."
  • Feeling: Motivated
  • Action: Begin with understanding the audience's existing knowledge and interests regarding the topic, and then develop a presentation that bridges the gap between unfamiliarity and curiosity, fostering a shared learning experience. At the end, I’ll ask the audience for feedback.

 

Strategies of The Persuasive Speaker

Subtraction and Addition of Viewpoints

Subtraction of Current Views: The first step involves the 'subtraction' or the gentle challenging of the audience's existing beliefs and viewpoints. This is not about negating or dismissing their current understanding but about creating an awareness of the limitations or potential biases in their existing perspectives. The speaker does this by:

  • Identifying Limiting Beliefs: Highlighting how certain beliefs or viewpoints might be holding the audience back or preventing them from seeing the full picture.
  • Creating Doubt: Introducing questions or presenting scenarios that gently challenge the audience's current thinking, prompting them to reconsider their positions.
  • Building Empathy: Showing understanding and empathy for why the audience holds these views, thereby creating a safe space for them to be open to change. 

Addition of New Views: Once there is room for new ideas, the speaker then embarks on the 'addition' phase, where they introduce new perspectives and concepts. This is achieved through:

    • Presenting Alternative Perspectives: Offering fresh viewpoints or different angles on a subject that the audience might not have considered.
    • Providing Evidence and Reasoning: Backing up these new ideas with data, stories, or logical reasoning to make them compelling and convincing.
    • Aligning with Audience's Values and Goals: Connecting the new perspectives to the audience's core values and objectives, making it clear how adopting these views can benefit them or help them reach their goals.
  • Facilitating a Shift in Thinking: The ultimate goal of the persuasive speaker is to facilitate a mental and emotional shift in the audience. This involves:
    • Encouraging Open-mindedness: Motivating the audience to be open to new ideas and to embrace the process of learning and growth.
    • Creating a Vision of Possibility: Painting a vivid picture of what embracing these new perspectives could lead to, in terms of personal or collective gains.
    • Empowering Action: Inspiring the audience to take concrete steps towards adopting these new views in their thoughts and actions.

 

You can become the speaker you want to be and become a better speaker.

To Your Speaking Success,

Kit Pang

Founder, BostonSpeaks

 

p.s. Our 8-week cohort "The Influential Speaker Program" will be open for enrollment soon for the class of Feb 2024. Whether you're looking to uncover the secrets of impactful communication or brush up on your speaking skills, this program will be for you. 

The Confident Speaker Newsletter

The Weekly Resource for Overcoming Public Speaking Anxiety.