The Secret of Great Charismatic Speakers and on how you can attain this.
“Many great speakers and entertainers” do this. These were the words of Johan Simons a few years ago. One of the quests in the popular Dutch television programme “Zomergasten”. Johan Simons has been a Dutch theatre director for over 25 years. Nowadays he works for the Municher Kammerspiele, an authoritative theatre company.
I was cheering on my couch, cause this famous director was explaining what many people do not realize or aren’t conscious about. It was as if Simons and I were speaking the same “secret” language.
After showing a film fragment of Toon Hermans (Dutch entertainer/stand-up comedian), Simons remarks: “What he does is going into himself and then going out again to the public”. “Many great speakers do this”. As an example, he mentions Obama. “This is also a speaker that has a lot of contact with himself”.
What is Simons talking about?
He is talking about attention and focus. The attention and focus of great charismatic speakers and entertainers is not only aimed at the public, but also on themselves!!!
Simons continues: “It means that I speak to you, but at the same time I also have attention for myself”. “To verify, does this still work, what shall I do next?” Great speakers and entertainers are continuously checking up within themselves”. “He (Obama) goes completely inside, reflects and then goes outside again”. “This is the characteristic of a great speaker and entertainer”.
The above description might give you the impression that this is a very complex process that might take ages. But, this process can be done is split- seconds and yet makes all the difference. It has nothing to do with working hard (although it is a continuous process). It is a matter of being able to broaden or change focus, be it inside, outside or broadening it and having focus on yourself and the public at the same time.
To make it more concrete for you, I will explain to you how I first learned about changing focus and its magical effect. The story of my first massaging lesson. While massaging my fellow participant, I was truly not having a clue of what I was doing. I looked around, trying to look at what others were doing. Then the teacher paid me a visit. Before you start, she said, first make contact with yourself. Meaning, feel yourself, focus, have attention for your hands and fingers. Starting from there, go into contact with the person who you are massaging. All of a sudden it went effortlessly! Like great speakers and entertainers. It worked like magic. So, simple, yet so effective.
Using a baseball metaphor. It is about touching base first. Or actually, never really leaving it and keep on touching it and at the same time remain open to what is happening outside of you. Mind you, you are the most important tool when presenting! So, tuning into it is crucial.
Now this seems very simple and it is. However, for many people it is difficult to apply. Simply, because we are so focussed on the outside world all the time or go into our minds and stay there, that it has become almost impossible to keep into contact with our base.
Yet regaining this connection, is what is needed to be truly effortless and powerful at the same time as a speaker.
And this all starts with taking your time to speak and awareness of this attention. This might seem simple, but I tell you this is quite a challenge, when 50 people in the public are looking at you in full anticipation.
How to remain close and into contact with yourself when the situation does not feel that comfortable? How to prevent yourselves from falling into prevalent pitfalls like, talking quickly or being already 3 steps ahead in our minds, while still pronouncing a previous sentence?
How can we learn to become like great, charismatic speakers and thus stay into contact with our base when we speak?
It all starts with taking our time to speak and becoming aware.
And as an extra support we might want to learn “Presentation Zen”. Presentation Zen is a tool I teach students and if students adapt this they tend to slow down while speaking, since they all of a sudden become far more conscious of what they say.
They in general find it easier to let pauses or silences play a part in their presentations and they tend to become more themselves while speaking.
In short, they become great charismatic speakers in their own right!
- Do you want to become a great speaker in your own right?
- Do you want to know, how it feels to experience freedom when you speak?
- Are you motivated to get the most out of your career by using your speaking potential and learning how to use it in the best possible way?
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