When Colin Powell spoke, people asked themselves “Is he always this good?”
Skills bring structure to experiential knowledge, which means a wise person will formalize accumulated knowledge into a series of steps that, if followed, will lead to good performance.
For instance, let’s take Colin Powell and other accomplished speakers; the wise person will realize that great speakers always seem to start by telling the audience what they are going to say. Then they proceed and do exactly that. They close by reminding the audience about what they have heard. This sequence becomes the most basic skill of public speaking:
- Always start by telling people what you are going to tell them
- Then tell them
- In summary, tell them what you have told them
Follow this sequence of steps, and you will be a better speaker.
If the smart person studies a little more, he/she will soon realize that Colin Powell, (as with other great speakers) was not speaking extemporaneously. On the contrary, he knows exactly what messages he was to deliver and what stories he was going to tell, and more than likely he had practiced those messages and stories out loud to himself, playing with the words, the emphasis, the timing. Our smart person might then take this insight and formalize it into the second skill of public speaking.
- Write down any message, or story or fact or example that resonates with you and your audience.
- Practice saying it out loud. Role-play actually saying the words in front of the audience in the space you will deliver it in.
Honing these skills enables you to avoid trial and error and to incorporate into your performance the best discoveries from the best performers. This structure and preparation of your message allows you to connect with your audience.
Because, the success of a communication is not just what you say — it’s how well you connect with the people in the room.