I once shared with a wise guy my lofty ambition in life.
Idealistic me: I want to change the world! But where should I begin?
Wise person: It starts with yourself, my young Padawan.
This – my friends – is the first lesson I would like to share with you as well. Awareness (of self). The big “A”. The most important “A” I would say. And it is as applicable to life as it is to public speaking. Unsurprisingly, it has been emphasized through the history and mouths of numerous sages and normal people (like myself). Your ability to see yourself as how others see you increase your success in life and in this case, your public speaking skills.
We all have our strengths and weaknesses. But the question is do you know ALL your strengths and weaknesses? Here’s how I look at it.
- A known weakness is useful as it gives you an opportunity to improve or compensate.
- An unknown strength goes unexploited is way too unfair to you and your audience. And it prevents you from taking your speech to another level (unless you prefer to be a mediocre speaker) And if so, I suggest you skip this blog.
- An unknown weakness (or a blindspot) can kill your audience’s interests immediately and trust me, you will feel like killing yourself too.
Yet most of the time, we just prefer to pride ourselves with our sweet sweet known strengths. Don’t you?
Until you know your own speaking capabilities, you will never be able to figure out how to improve. That explains why the billions of speaking resources out there aren’t exactly useful to you (I believe). It is like giving you access to a room full of world best armory without the knowledge of using them. The techniques great public speakers like Richard Jadick use may work for you, and may not. You have to adjust it to your reality.
Imagine yourself being lost. What will be the first question your friend will ask you when you ask for directions? That’s right – it is WHERE ARE YOU NOW? I can give you the most accurate compass and the most detailed map ever, but if you do not know where you are, you will NEVER figure out how to find your way. And the same goes for improving your public speaking skills. Know thyself – know what your strengths are and how they work for you. Know what your weaknesses are and how they work against you. Know what your audience likes and dislikes about your speech. That’s the starting point I invite you to take!