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How to Improve your Public Speaking- a Puppy’s View

Any of my clients will tell you that I always emphasise the importance of preparation for speeches and presentations.

I like to research and prepare well for everything. So, when we decided that it was time to get a new puppy a few weeks ago, I went into full preparation mode. We are first-time puppy-owners, so it was important to get this right.

I drew up my list of what characteristics the puppy would have. Two elements were essential.

  1. The breed needed to be quite small
  2. We didn’t want a very lively breed

But, as Robert Burns said, “The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry”

We fell in love with Millie on sight. As a cross between a Labrador and a Cocker Spaniel, she is not small, and is definitely very lively. In this case, my preparation was in vain…..

I have noticed similarities between puppy parenthood and public speaking. Click To Tweet

However, in these past two weeks I have noticed similarities between puppy parenthood and public speaking. Let me explain.

  1. It is all about Millie

Millie has taken over our world. Everything we do is viewed through a puppy lens.

In public speaking, it is all about the audience. All of your content should be looked at through the audience lens.

All of your content should be looked at through the audience lens. Click To Tweet

We have adapted our kitchen area to make sure that it is puppy-friendly. As a speaker, you need to adapt your content to make sure that it is audience-friendly. Is your content relevant to this particular audience?

  1. Boredom is the enemy

A bored puppy is not good. When Millie gets bored, she gets into mischief and nothing is safe!

How do you keep the audience focussed when there are so many distractions in their environment? Click To Tweet

A bored audience is also not good. If you are presenting virtually, it is even more of a challenge. How do you keep the audience focussed when there are so many distractions in their environment? Creating content that is designed to be relevant and engaging is a crucial part of the planning process. Build moments of engagement into every presentation, especially if you are delivering it online. You could use humour, anecdotes and quotes in your content. If you are delivering virtually, you could use polls, breakout rooms and the chat function. Keep your audience listening, engaged and interested.

  1. Tone matters

We are training Millie to behave and we have noticed how responsive she is to our tone. When we want to encourage her, we add extra emphasis to the phrase “GOOD GIRL Millie”, and if she starts to pull on a slipper or nip at our shins, she hears a very firm “NO!” The change in tone catches her attention.

Speaking in a monotone is guaranteed to have the audience reaching for their phones and switching off from your presentation. Click To Tweet

As speakers, we need to add vocal variety to our presentation, so that we can catch the audience’s attention. Tone is one way in which we can do this, as well as pitch, pace and pause. Speaking in a monotone is guaranteed to have the audience reaching for their phones and switching off from your presentation.

When you are preparing your next presentation, think of Millie! Your audience is central to everything you do, from the planning to the delivery. Ignore them at your peril!

Contact me to find out how I could help you with your public speaking skills.

#UnlockingPublicSpeakingConfidence

2 thoughts on “How to Improve your Public Speaking- a Puppy’s View”

  1. Maureen – I just love the analogy here. It works so well. I’ll be thinking of this the next time I run one of my workshops. One difficulty though. I always take with me a Toblerone bar to give as a prize for the audience member who spots the deliberate mistake. If I follow your analogy, I might, in error, substitute it for a Bonio biscuit. Might not go down well 😉

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