How to Unlock Your Speaking Superpower
There are not a ton of people who would love to get up and speak in front of a crowd. But if you’re a business owner then chances are you will have to speak to a group of people sooner or later. Whether it’s teaching people skills they need to have to be successful, inspiring them in their own lives and endeavors, or even just sharing with your friends the type of work you do, it is super important to know how to speak and communicate clearly. I chatted with one of my absolute favorite speakers–Lisa Valentine Clark–and these are her tips on how to unlock your speaking superpower.
If you haven’t heard of Lisa Valentine Clark, she is the podcast host of The Lisa Show, actor, book author, and mom to five. Her passion lies in speaking and communicating with people. She will always say yes when communication styles are involved. I’ve heard Lisa speak live on a couple of occasions and have listened to several of her speeches. She is a masterful speech writer and presenter.
Lisa and I agree that everyone has a story and an important message to share. And this message comes simply from living your life and the experiences you gain along the way. Give yourself permission for having something to say. Don’t let your fear or doubt overcome your desire to speak or the opportunity to grow into who you are meant to become.
How to Unlock Your Speaking Superpower
Oftentimes people think that people who are in the speaking, acting, etc. business then they are an egomaniac. However, when you prepare your presentation it is anything but about you. Yes, you may share stories from your life but whatever you decide to share you do it because you know it’s what your audience wants to hear and can resonate with. Whenever you’re preparing a speech, you should be focused on what your audience’s wants and needs are and how you can get that to them. Your speech’s main purpose is to benefit your audience.
If you’re creating a speech with only yourself on your mind then your speech is not going to be engaging and you will only come off as someone who is into themselves. That’s not someone your audience can relate with. But if you’re sharing stories with the purpose to relate with your audience and help them get the answers they’re looking for then magic happens.
4 Steps to Crafting the Ultimate Speech
Lisa shares the four steps she takes when she is creating some type of speech or presentation. These may or may not work for you, but they are a ton of help for her and are definitely worth a try! These steps will help you know how to unlock your speaking superpower and do it in a way that makes sense to your audience.
Step #1: Brain dump all of your ideas and thoughts onto paper.
Start with a huge brain dump any time you are preparing a speech. This will help you get your ideas into actual words and help identify what you’re really trying to say. It’s one thing to have a fleeting thought in your mind and another to read your thought out loud after writing it down.
Don’t hold anything back during this step either. Free write anything and everything that comes to mind. You never know what you’ll end up wanting to use in your final product and one detail may lead you to a memory that will be a perfect addition to your overall speech.
When you’re writing down your thoughts, do not worry about spelling, grammar, punctuation–any of it. This is your time to freely write your thoughts without the editing part getting in the way. Once it’s all out of your system then you can worry about writing it correctly.
Step #2: Review your notes and annotate what sticks out to you.
Now that you have all of your thoughts written on paper, go back and review what you wrote. Highlight or circle the things you love and want to include. You can also cross out ideas you don’t love or even throw away entire pages that you know will not work.
Step #3: Take a break and move your body.
This step may not make sense at first glance, but Lisa has found that after finishing step two she likes to sit with those thoughts for a moment. She takes a break and moves her body. She’ll go for a run or a walk and think about what she’s written down and has decided to stick with.
The physical movement helps get your brain flow moving and will help you gain some clarity on how you want to move forward with your speech. You could also use this break time to talk to a friend about their thoughts on the subject. Whether they agree with you or not, this will help you really know what your opinion is and how to clearly communicate that.
Moving your body or talking it out with someone may help you feel ready to seal the deal and get to writing or it may make you want to scratch everything and start over. This step is super important because it helps guide you to the best end product you are capable of creating.
Step #4: Sit down and write out your speech.
Now that you’ve written out all of your ideas, picked out the things you love about them, have taken a break away from them, and maybe talked about them with a friend, now it’s time to sit down and actually craft your message.
Most people want to have just one draft and call it good, but it is normal for you to write at least 4-5 drafts before you create the winning one. Yes, it takes more time and mental work, but it will help you create the best speech that is meant for your audience. And think about how much better you will be at delivering it because of all the love and work you put into writing it! When you really believe in something it is so much easier to sell that belief to others.
The No-Fail Framework to Use for Your Speech
Lisa’s first career as an English teacher has stayed with her throughout her life and she still lives by the 5-paragraph essay method! This is a super simple way to organize your speeches and the audience loves it.! The five paragraphs (or sometimes more if you’re speaking for a longer amount of time) take your audience on a clear journey that has a start and a finish. Using this framework as you write your speech will help you organize your thoughts in a way that will be clear when it’s time to give it to your audience.
Paragraph #1: Hook & Introduction
Grab your audience’s attention from the very beginning. You can do this with a story, joke, interesting fact, etc. After grabbing their attention, introduce your topic and clearly explain the points you will be covering throughout your speech. These 3 points will be explained in the next three paragraphs. (Check out my post HERE for more ideas on how to hook your audience.)
Paragraphs 2-4: Body & Explanations
Have an opening statement at the beginning of each of these three paragraphs giving an overview of the point you’ll be explaining. Start with the overarching thought and then break it down in the rest of the paragraph. Get creative with the supporting material you use here to explain your points. You can use stories, examples, statistics, surprising facts, etc. Stay true to who you are and make sure your personality is showing throughout all of it.
For example, if you’re a funny person make sure to include that. If you’re more of a serious person, don’t try and make the audience laugh in a way that you wouldn’t normally do. The most important thing you can do while speaking is show your authentic self because that is when it is the easiest for people to connect with you and resonate with your message.
Paragraph #5: Closing & Summary
Now that you’ve gotten through the meat of your speech, use this closing paragraph to sum up what you talked about. Remind them what your main points are and help them realize the new place they are now that they have received your message.
Speech Framework Cheat Sheet
An easy way to remember the framework for writing out your speech is to think of it like this.
Paragraph #1: Tell your audience what you are going to talk about.
Paragraphs #2-4: Talk about what you said you were going to talk about.
Paragraph #5: Tell them what you told them.
Bonus Tips: What NOT to Do When Speaking
- Waste people’s time. You do this by under-preparing and figuring out what you’re going to talk about as you’re presenting. The audience will pick up on that and feel upset that they are ready to receive your speech but you are not ready to give it.
- Talk about why you are not qualified to give your speech in an effort to show humility. This is not showing humility, this is showing your hesitancy. Be confident in your topic and why you are the person to deliver that message. Even if you do not feel fully qualified to give it, do not share that with them. Focus on what you do know and share that instead.
- Free write in the middle of speaking. If you’ve prepared a speech, give that speech. Making the mistake of adding in something just because it popped into your head runs the risk of embarrassment or confusion. We don’t want you to have any cringe feeling after you’re done speaking! Stick to what you’re prepared for and trust in it until the end.
How to Unlock Your Speaking Superpower
I hope Lisa’s secrets on how to unlock your speaking superpower have given you some insight and encouragement to do the thing that scares you! We just want you to know that you have a message and it’s your responsibility to craft it in a way that can be understood.
There are so many women who have such vital messages that could help solve the ills of society. When you take your message out of the equation, no one benefits. We need women to stop asking permission and to start sharing their influence. When you step up and share your message in a clear and persuasive way, miracles happen.
If you liked this post and want to keep in touch, you can follow Lisa on Instagram @yourfunnyvalentine and me @iammichellegifford. We will continue sharing the best tips and tricks that will turn you into a confident and masterful business owner! We are all about women helping women, so if you’re about that too come join our communities!
Loved this podcast and the show notes. Even though I have spoken in public many times over the years, it’s still something that makes me anxious. I’m so glad to know that we all deal with some of these struggles and hearing such basic advice on the necessary tools to be prepared and overcome the anxiety struggle is so reassuring. Thanks for sharing such valuable content!