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How can you engage an audience, even if you're feeling nervous about public speaking; and even if you're not a 'natural entertainer'? There's a secret to really engaging public speaking that most speakers don't seem to have heard...
No. Not the cheesy (but awesome) 80's song by Kool & The Gang but to use the quality of Freshness - one of the six qualities of an inspiring speaker - in your public speaking.
Freshness in your material and in your speaking style can keep people engaged even if your content might not be considered the most "exciting". This begins with a whole new mindset. A way of thinking in which you are not a public speaker who talks, but an engager who is giving the audience an experience.
When we were young we think we can be and do anything! From a firefighter to a princess to a cowboy to an astronaut, we believe we can do something and are fully prepared to do so. As we grow older we're taught what is a dream versus reality and "stop thinking silly things" and "don't be ridiculous". We're taught how to behave properly and keep our feet on the ground and head out of the clouds please.
No wonder so many people are loathe to step out of the "norm". We're taught that we are to stay in the confines of our social roles, hiding away our authenticity; freshness may be an awful lot to ask. Sometimes it's difficult to even smile when speaking, let alone add a new element of "fresh".
Replace negative thoughts with ones that will encourage a fresh perspective:
Cognitive scientist Paul Thagard made a list of habits highly creative people utilize. You can apply these to your own public speaking. To get creative Professor Thagard suggests:
Freshness is all about a grand leap outside of what is comfortable. As Eleanor Roosevelt said "You must do the thing you cannot do."
Make sure your fresh ideas are relevant, unique and learning orientated and you'll be sure to engage your audience. Through this freshness you can touch the very hearts of your audience and leave them with a very powerful and unforgettable message.
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