Learn from the best! Now that you know the benefits of public speaking skills and that big speakers have acquired their skills through dedication and hard work, you are ready to learn some tricks from them. These exemplary public speakers can give you notes:
Guess what – Steve Jobs, hailed as one of the most remarkable corporate storytellers ever, did not start out as the blessed speaker you think you know. His first TV interview in 1978 shows him nervous and terrified. Even later, when he was already known for his calm and composed personality in front of large audiences, his thunderous tantrums could slip through when things didn’t go according to plan. The simple truth behind Jobs’ seemingly effortless public speaking is rehearsal and repetition. His presentation of the iPhone in 2007 is considered one of the best business presentations ever delivered. Steve Jobs told a story that simplified a concept, sold the benefit and inspired the audience – all lessons you can still learn from him to improve your public speaking.
Martin Luther King
Martin Luther King Jr. is widely regarded as the greatest speech of the twentieth century. It was a high point for the civil rights movement and contributed to King winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Here are some speaking qualities of Martin Luther King worth emulating: he spoke with unshakeable confidence in a voice that through cadence and pacing added passion to his delivery. He built intensity through rhythm and repetition, yet was not afraid to ditch the script when he saw an opportunity to fully connect with the people.
At age 25, Taylor Swift is not the highest paid woman in the music business by sheer chance or accident. She has proven to be very cunning at honing her own brand using social media and yes, public speaking. When you have secured dozens of trademarks of your own phrases (such as “This sick beat”), you’re doing it right. Part of the Taylor Swift success story is her focus on her customers, that is her fans. People connect with her because they can relate to her lightness and enthusiasm. Above all, Taylor Swift doesn’t take herself too seriously and always remains committed to her fans, acknowledging and thanking them – an honest gesture often overlooked in business.
Robin Williams was funny in a unique way that simply cannot be imitated, but you can still learn a critical communication skill from him: spontaneity. He was present in the moment and took whatever came at him, making it work for him. No need to try to outwit him, but train yourself to sharpen your mind and add physical expression to your words using your body as well as props. It is always possible to add humor in the moment to a prepared speech and still stay on track and inspire your audience at the same time – as Robin Williams’ 1998 Acadamy Awards acceptance speech exemplifies. During any speech, the unexpected can and will happen. Instead of aiming to be prepared for everything, take advantage of the spontaneous.