The Key To Connecting With An Audience

In the February 2013 edition of The Toastmaster Magazine is an article called, The Key to Connecting.  It was written by John Kinde DTM and Loren Eckroth Ph.D.    John has been a Toastmaster for forty years and Loren is renowned for his knowledge and expertise in good, conversation, which he has taught to corporate and government organizations worldwide.  So these two have a deep understanding and experience of what they are saying in this article.   My advice to Toastmasters: read it!

 
There is a great deal written by Toastmasters nowadays about body movement, gestures and use of the stage.   From what I’ve observed, those judging ‘speaking contests’ within Toastmasters take a lot of this to heart.   Those who prance and dance, and do all sorts of things, including even falling down on stage, win prizes for these antics. 

 

My own views – and I’m also coming from forty years of experience as a speaker – are in far closer agreement with the views of John Kinde and Loren Eckroth than they are with much of the current hype about ‘how to use the stage’   “A good speech is a conversation,” gets closer to my opinion of how to inform, persuade, inspire or make an audience laugh – all the general purposes of public speaking.

 
Here is a quote from John and Loren’s article which hits the spot with me.  “Listeners of conversers and audiences of speakers share a common desire: They seek authenticity from the messengers.  They want speakers to be real people who speak from the heart, folks they can admire and emulate.”

 
I disagree with the Toastmasters Editorial Staff’s comments at the end of this article that a speaker needs to “work on those facial muscles,” “Make (the inference being to rehearse) gestures consistent with words,” and “Move with purpose.”   My view?  Let all of this automatically and spontaneously arise out of the speech or story itself.   It will evolve of itself as you grow as a speaker.
 

To get to the point:  Forget about the theatrics, the histrionics, the rehearsed acting.   Present your message from the heart and all of those things like eye contact and movement and gesture will come from the real you, rather than from a contrived self-image.   Then you will be heard at your best, seen at your best, giving of your best.   Then you will evolve to true greatness as a speaker.

About Tom Ware

I'm into speaking to audiences. My particular forte is telling stories. Morevover, I've addressed over 750 audiences and in excess of 40,000 people during the past eighteen years - excluding those I've addressed in my Toastmasters clubs. Additionally, I've presented classes to adults on Metaphysics and Spirituality (non sectarian) and Popular Psychology between 2001 and 2008. I'm an avid writer, been at it for forty-five years. Speaking is a passion, of course, as mentioned above. I started in 1972 with Toastmasters. My speciality is Storytelling and some years ago people began to flatter me with the titles: Prince of Storytellers, and Master Storyteller. Also, Tusitala Tom (Tusitala means Storyteller in Polynesian) I am also into 'serious' meditation (Vipassana as taught by S N Goenka) Started that in 1986. Additionally, I'm an Automatic Writing practioner and have been able to 'channel' for over forty years. Bit about me. Born in London UK and migrated to Australia in 1951. Started my first job day after my fifteenth birthday in that year. I've been a postal worker, sailor, aviation air-ground man, overseas telegraph operator. I've worked for an electrical power-supply company, been a truck driver, a foundry labourer, laboratory assistant, a police radio operator, and office worker - even an Antarctic expeditioner. Worked and lived in a number of countries, but am now 'retired' and enjoying life - probably as never before. I've been married - yes to the same woman! - for fifty-three years and have three grown up children and four grandchildren.
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