Whether it’s speaking to a group of peers at a company meeting, a group of potential clients, or a group of seminar attendees who are there to hear you share your knowledge, being a good public speaker can really pay off.
To be truthful, I was nervous about speaking in public when I was younger. Actually, terrified would be more accurate. However, I eventually overcame my fear and now get paid very handsomely as a featured speaker at business events.
The good news is that anyone can learn to be a good public speaker. Knowing how to capture the interest of your audience is a big part of it – and here’s one very effective technique for doing that: Tell them a story.
For example, at one conference, the main point I wanted to get across to my audience – a group of small-business entrepreneurs – was the importance of not overestimating their resources. But instead of boring them by trying to prove my point with a lot of statistics, I related a news story I’d recently read in a local South Florida paper.
It seems that the mangled remains of a giant snake had been found in a swamp. The snake apparently attempted to eat an alligator… and then actually exploded (partially digested alligator chunks were mixed in with the mess), because the alligator was just too big for the snake. “The snake,” I said, “had made the common – and sometimes fatal – mistake that I’m trying to keep you from making: overestimating its capacity.” The story got a big laugh, made my point in a way that my audience would remember, and completely won them over.
Next time you’re going to make a presentation, consider illustrating your point with a story. It’s one of the most effective public speaking tools I know.[Ed. Note: Paul Lawrence is an accomplished public speaker and a successful business author. Get information about his course on how to make money with public speaking here.]