Speaking Lesson From a Near-Disaster

When I’m not watching speaking videos, I watch a little bit of TV. One show that’s caught my attention is called ‘Air Disasters.’ Although many of the episodes end in tragedy, not all do.
The last episode I watched resulted in a successful landing. It also reminded me of why organizations write big checks to professional speakers.

Crisis in the SkyHow Speaking is Like Piloting a Passenger Jet

The gist of this story is that a Qantas Air flight took off from the Singapore Changi airport in November, 2010. Within minutes, one of the engines exploded. The plane was the largest and most sophisticated passenger airliner in the world. Yet, it took the combined wisdom of 5 pilots and crew to safely land the plane.
There were many ways the story could have ended in tragedy. 469 people walked off that plane because of an experienced crew.

How is Speaking Like Piloting a Passenger Jet?

This incident sparked a memory. It was a piece of advice given to me by Darren LaCroix, CSP and World Champion of Public Speaking. He told me that “Anybody can speak at a Toastmasters meeting or the Tonight show. Those are the best, easiest audiences to talk to. Professionals are paid to handle the tough situations. Those difficult audiences, schedules gone awry, technology that doesn’t cooperate, etc.”
By no means I am comparing the importance of landing a plane with that of giving a speech. No one has died from listening to a speech – at least no one in recorded history. With that said, speaking is like flying a plane in the following manner:
When conditions are perfect, flying a plane is uneventful and simple for experienced pilots. They know how to take off, make adjustments and land because they’ve done it countless times.
When a speaking venue is excellent, when the audience is eager to hear you and conditions are as good as possible, giving a talk is simple for experienced speakers.
How often do you think this happens?

How Speeches Go Wrong

If your first response is “never,” you’re right! In nearly every speech, something goes wrong. Many of these issues are minor – room temperature that’s a little too cold or hot, not enough chairs in the room, etc.
Once in a while, the problem is big. Examples include:
  • Being asked at the last-minute to shorten your speech
  • Dealing with a power outage that takes away your ability to use technology
  • Having to control unruly audience members
Those are the speaking disasters you’re paid to handle.
So, how can you be ready for the unexpected?
Rehearse, get feedback, makes changes…then repeat the process.

How Much Time Do You Need to Prepare?

Until your speech flows out of you without thinking about it. When you’re speaking, not from your head, but from deep inside. That’s when you’re able to see and feel the audience, and pay attention to what’s happening in the room.
There’s no set answer for how long this will take. Every speaker is different.
 
Are you willing to model the highest-paid professionals? Many will give their talks 200 times before they step on stage for a paying client. That type of preparation puts you in the best-possible position to succeed when inevitable challenges arise.
Is giving a speech as vital as flying and safely landing a passenger plane?
No. But, there is a parallel to the importance of preparation. Be ready when you encounter the unexpected. You’ll put yourself in the best position to land a memorable speech that leaves a lasting impression.

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Are You Ready When Speaking Disaster Strikes? ultima modifica: 2017-04-18T16:38:14-04:00 da Michael Davis

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