Thursday, May 3, 2012

Public speaking as a tool in leadership some unconventional tips from Entrepeneur Magazine

We all end up speaking in front of groups at some point in our careers or in any leadership role.  If you're a strong communicator, you probably know what works for you already and have honed it like the great speakers we know and love. This is a great animated video with some tips on public speaking that can help anyone that has to get up in front of a group of people to speak and keep the audience engaged.

The first time I recall having to publicly speak professionally was at the age of 24 having to get up in front of my peers and commanding officers at a dinner nearing the end of training in the US Marine Corps Infantry Officers Course (IOC). In attendance were many of the groups and base unit commanders, a Congressional Medal of Honor winner (and our former CO of OCS from a year prior), male visitor guests who were invited by staff and students. My peer infantry officers and I were all on the hook to deliver a short speech quoting from a historical figure in the study of military science and/or warfare.

All of my peers chose to quote generals, presidents, kings, and actual historical characters. I chose to go with something more humorous to mark the occasion, using the quote from fictional character, Conan the Barbarian. My notable quote that I delivered was: "A great warrior was once asked what is best in life to which he responds: 'To crush the enemy, to see him driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of his women'. Who was this great warrior? Conan the Barbarian." Quoting this fictional warrior character could have landed me in trouble, but I knew I wouldn't get in trouble when the entire room erupted in laughter, including our medal of honor guest. When returning to my seat, the event coordinating officer, a fairly serious captain and instructor in the course, smiled and just said, "there's always one, nicely done, Dwivedi."

Remember when speaking in public or when presenting something to keep your audience engaged and that humor is as much about timing the delivery as it is the material you choose to present with your sense of humour.   It is also a great way to have fun with presentations and to develop skills in public speaking.

1 comment:

  1. Well stated. I often see people struggle with too much humor to a point that it is uncomfortable. Your example is a good one. I believe an audiance "opens up" to the presenter once they feel comfortable...often that is through humor. Not everyone can pull this off though..know your limitations and go with something that engages the audiance in a manner that comes off real! Humor, real-life example (that may be funny to the audiance), or a famous or infamous quote are all means to accomplish this goal in getting the audiance to smile. That smile is the connection that I always seek as a tell-tale signal I've connected with the individual.