Posted by: Marty Fahncke | December 2, 2009

The secret to public speaking

Late last night I posted the following to Twitter:

@FawnKey 10pm and I just got off the phone booking another speaking gig. You just never know when & where the next client is going to come from

Immediately thereafter, I received this post from one of my connections:

@thriftster teach me the secret to public speaking. I’ve got some good stories that I could use to illustrate a larger idea but I get nervous.

This really got me thinking… What IS the secret to public speaking?

All night I thought about it, until I realized…@thrifster already KNEW the secret!

The #1 most important element to being successful in public speaking is having a great story!  It only takes one good story and you are on your way.  Think about the speeches that have made an impact on you.  Throw out the PowerPoint presentations, the rehearsed verbal pauses, the scripted jokes, and the sales pitches and you’ll find all good speeches are really just stories.  And the best speeches are true stories about the speakers themselves.

So @thrifster, you are more than halfway to becoming a public speaker…you have good stories!

Now you need to learn to tell those stories without being nervous.  The secret for that is just as simple.  Don’t worry about it.   You need to realize that everyone loves a good story.  When someone buys a book, they want to read a story.  When someone goes to the movies, they want to watch and experience a story.  Humans have loved and craved stories since the beginning of time.

Right now, there is someone out there waiting to hear YOUR stories.  So don’t be nervous.  Be excited that you are giving someone what they want!

Marty M. Fahncke Speaking at Truman State University

This is me earlier this year delivering a Keynote speech at a University. It ended with a very happy audience, a very happy client. And all I really did was tell my stories.

One other secret I’ll share.  Well it really isn’t a secret since over 250,000 people around the world are current members, but for some reason many people still don’t know they should do this…

Join Toastmasters.

Toastmasters will provide you a step-by-step process to learn how to tell your story in the most effective and compelling manner.  Even better, Toastmasters will give you a nurturing and empathetic environment in which to learn.  Bar none, the two Toastmasters clubs I’ve belonged to in my career have been filled with the most caring, supportive people I’ve ever met.  Every member is there to help the other members SUCCEED.  Yes, you’ll be nervous the first time you speak. In fact, you probably be nervous the first several times.  But you will learn to control it, and you WILL learn to share your stories.

Click HERE to access a database of all Toastmasters clubs in the country so you can search for a club near you.  Because each club has a different “personality”, I recommend you visit more than one club to find the one that fits your needs.  So choose at least 2 or 3 different clubs to visit.  Once you find the club that feels right, join it.

That’s it.  Two simple secrets to being successful as a public speaker.

One final thought:  Far too many people die with their story still inside them.  Please don’t let it happen to you.

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