Communications Insight For More Inspiring Leaders The Public Speaking Challenge For An Olympic Gold Medallist

The Public Speaking Challenge For An Olympic Gold Medallist

 20th Apr 2020

Some years ago, I was in the audience listening to a speech by an arctic explorer. His feats of endurance were remarkable.

So much so, I remember thinking afterwards:

"WOW! That was extraordinary... I could never do that."

So heroic was the storytelling, the true value of the speaker's experience was rendered inaccessible.

At least to me.

I could marvel and applaud - little more.

Those with remarkable achievements to their name - the top sportsman or woman, the self-made millionaire, the creative genius and others - face a formidable challenge as speakers:

Ensuring the value of their unusual experience is accessible to the listener.

Otherwise, the speaker risks leaving the audience with a 'stunt presentation'.

Entertaining and enthralling? Yes.

Of lasting value? Not so much.

Nothing wrong with pure entertainment, of course. A comedian is there to make you laugh, not to make you funnier.

But I suspect we can agree that in the workplace, leadership communication is about winning hearts & minds to some practical purpose... afterwards.

You and I may not have won an Olympic gold medal.

But we face the same challenge when seeking to engage an audience:

Ensuring the value is truly accessible to the listener.

In your messaging, you may have to dig deep to unearth a simple, underlying value, characteristic or insight.

In the 2017 World Championship of Public Speaking, unusual stories featured in both my speeches. But the underlying messages were simple: the importance of Empathy and Honesty.

Another tip is to ensure the 'next step' after your presentation or meeting is very small, simple and easy.

A 'micro-step' taken by a listener beats a 'macro-step' dismissed as too much like hard work.

How might you hone the accessibility of your communication for your next Zoom meeting?!

Succeed in triggering change and you've communication that's truly golden.

 In over 20 years of working in international politics and training candidates, I have never seen a more remarkable improvement in speaking abilities in such a short space of time.

 

Ian Marquardt I Director of the European Women's Academy, ALDE

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