How To Be a Speaker Who Leaves a Lasting Impact
Want to be a speaker who leaves an impact? Want to inspire people far beyond your time on stage?
These words from Theodore Roosevelt may inspire you to strive to be your best:
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
This quote is an excerpt from one of President Roosevelt’s most famous speeches, ‘The Man in the Arena.’ The gist of the speech is that it is easy to criticize and find fault in others. The credit should go to the person who actually has the nerve to stand up, take a risk and try something new or different.
Make the Most of Your Mistakes
This advice is perfect for speakers, whether you’re a novice or a veteran. If you’re new, it’s important that you get up and speak wherever and whenever possible. It’s easy to find reasons not to speak…
You’re inexperienced; you made a major blunder the last time you spoke; your writing isn’t perfect. As World Champion speaker Darren LaCroix has said, “If you are willing to fail, you can try anything.”
The next time you start to talk yourself out of giving a speech, ask yourself this question… “Who really cares about those imperfections?” Neither you nor I will probably ever speak before a joint session of Congress or an international TV audience. You’re simply giving a speech, about a subject that is important to you and may bring benefit to the audience.
What Sets You Apart From Other People
The fact that you are willing to stand in front of a group of strangers and share your story puts you into a select group of people. Remember, the audience consists of people with very lives. They’ve taken the time to drive to the venue, park their cars, [and possibly, deal with inclement weather]. Do you believe that they’re thinking “I hope this speaker is lousy. I hope she gets embarrassed, and completely wastes my time!”
Of course they don’t. They want stories and ideas, delivered in an entertaining fashion, information that can make their lives better.
You’re not going to change their lives on a grand scale, so don’t put pressure on yourself. Get up, speak, make mistakes. Then, review your presentation to learn what you did well and what can be improved. Make adjustments and then get back up to speak again.
I promise you that this simple and magical formula has worked for the best speakers in the world. It will work for you, too.
It’s About More Than Speaking
In fact, this formula has already worked in your life. You stumbled and made mistakes when you learned how to walk. You mispronounced words when you learned how to speak. You made mistakes when you learned how to drive a car [hopefully not the type of mistake that involves insurance companies].
This formula works for public speaking, too.
Ask anyone who is successful – speakers, athletes, business owners. Their success started when they ‘got in the arena,’ used this formula, and kept repeating the process until they succeeded.
There is nothing new about this message. You’ve probably heard it countless times.
I leave you with this question… as a speaker, are you “Getting in the Arena?”
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