We have all had the dubious privilege of listening to a speaker who was obviously not excited about his topic. Do you remember how boring it was? Did their message inspire you to action? I doubt that anyone’s life has ever been transformed by a speaker who was not passionate about their topic. That is certainly not what you or I want for our audiences.
Someone once asked me how it was possible to develop passion in their speaking. I will tell you what I told them. Before I do, however, let me give you the following observations:
- Everyone is passionate about something.
- Everyone speaks passionately about the things that matter to them: even if it is only in a one-on-one conversation.
- Passion is not just a positive emotion. It involved both positive and negative feelings.
With these things in mind, let me offer you the following tips for developing passion in your public speaking:
- Learn to identify personally with your subject. If the subject means nothing to you, you will have a difficult time speaking excitedly about it. Before giving your presentation, or even before accepting the invitation to speak, it would be wise to ask how this topic relates to you personally. Have you ever related a story to someone about something that affected you personally? If so, you probably did so passionately. This is what good public speaking does.
- Be confident in your knowledge of the subject. Insecurity kills passion. There is no substitute for preparation. Public speakers who make their deliveries look effortless very likely spent a great deal of time studying and rehearsing their subject.
- Deliver each speech to only one person. No matter whether you talk is to one or one thousand, pick out one person and speak to them. This person may even be imaginary. Think about the type of person your subject can help. Think about their family and their fears and dreams. How can your talk help them? Once you know the answer to this, then deliver your speech to that person, even if they are not in the audience. This works because we usually have no trouble being passionate in a one-on-one conversation. Make all of your public speeches one-on-one conversations, and you will succeed in delivering them with energy and enthusiasm.
- If possible, refuse to accept speaking engagements on where the subject matter is boring to you, or contrary to your beliefs. You may be able to fake enthusiasm to a degree, but your audience will not be fooled for long. Speak about what you believe in, and your audience will hear it.
These four thoughts, if applied, will help you to generate the kind of passion that will make your next public speaking event a great success.