When I was in my early 20s, I met some friends for dinner at the old Roppolo’s Pizzeria near The University of Texas campus. I also met Glenn the Psychic Reader, who predicted my future as a public speaker.
Glenn was on the restaurant patio, advertising his services with a handmade sign. He accepted donations for a reading, so I gave him a couple of dollars and sat down. Because the music was loud, he talked through a plastic tube that went from his mouth to my ear. Don’t all reputable mediums do that?
Glenn told me that he saw me in the future, talking to thousands of people. I shuddered. I had always eschewed public speaking, and this was a worse fate than I had imagined. I laughed it off, knowing that my career as a freelance writer would save me from ever being on stage with wobbly knees and a racing heart.
Fast forward a number of years, and I see that Glenn might have been on to something. Through my work as a content creator and social media director, I do talk to thousands of people, every day, as the brands I represent. Did Glenn foresee the explosion of social media? Can you channel a channel?
Many of the skills necessary to be a good public speaker overlap with creating and sharing good content:
- Create a strong message. Outline the key points you want to make, rather than taking a scattershot approach.
- Understand your audience. Share content that they find interesting and useful.
- Use a clear voice. Let unique ideas and enthusiasm come through!
- Be concise. To quote E.B. White, “Omit needless words.”
- Engage. Give people a chance to participate and share their own experiences as they relate to your message.
I will embrace my title as a “public speaker,” even if I’m not on stage. Or maybe my time in the spotlight is yet to come? I’ll need to find Glenn and ask.