Let us recall the wise words of the Australian writer Allan Pease: “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” To find out how to present ourselves well, we turn to the opinion of an eminent specialist – the world champion in public speaking Mohammed Qahtani.
In order to make a good impression, self-confidence may not be enough. We need the knowledge of certain techniques and the skills of having a dialogue with the audience, just as the rules of a personal conversation with an individual.
Mohammed Qahtani, the 2015 world champion in public speaking according to the Toastmasters club, says this is not enough. You should establish mutual trust. Your friendly message gives your opponents a sense of satisfaction.
Qahtani lives in Saudi Arabia and works as a safety engineer. He became a member of the above-mentioned public speaking club thanks to his friend’s recommendation.
The club is a place with relatively simple rules: everyone comes there to work on improving their communication skills and develop leadership skills. As planned by the organizers, this knowledge will help to bring the life of every member of the club to a new level.
This is exactly what Mohammed needed. He devoted himself to classes and attended the meetings of the club members to become more successful as a speaker and show the best result.
They say if you have a clearly set goal, you will definitely succeed. And this is what happened: having coped with the seven rounds of intense struggle at the international competition that lasted for six months, Qahtani became the undisputed champion, leaving behind… Are you ready to hear this? The remaining 33 thousand contestants.
As a winner, Mohammed has the right to give advice to those who are aware of how important it is to choose the right words that will find their way to the hearts of listeners.
1. Tell yourself: “I’m better than those who have spoken before me”
Triumph came to Qahtani after he had paid considerable effort: the man was born with speech impediments, namely stuttering. He has not managed to completely get rid of the symptoms, but Mohammed is convinced that the need to go on stage and keep the floor in front of a large audience gives him strength and helps to overcome communication barriers.
Mohammed gradually became more confident when he started to listen to the club mentor’s tips. One of them is to say to himself that he is better than all the people whom he is going to address with a speech.
Many will probably think that Mohammed has joined the club of inveterate egoists. Do not jump to conclusions! Having uttered this phrase in their mind, people seem to set a task before them and get an additional incentive to act decisively: they convince themselves of success and say to themselves they have enough courage to go on stage and perform in front of all the others, who do not dare to do the same. This is similar to the shift of consciousness that takes away the fear of being humiliated at one point. So what can you be afraid of, if the audience admires you?
2. Identify the main idea that you will stick to during the speech
When you write the text of your speech, make sure that it has the basic idea that will be as meaningful as possible.
Qahtani’s appeal is simple and easy to understand: we must be aware that the words we utter are endowed with immense power. But the responsibility for the way we use this power – for the good or for the evil – depends on us entirely.
3. Your style of communication with the public must inspire confidence
One of Qahtani’s friends once said to him that when you go on stage, the audience in front of you is the only thing that really matters. The rest has absolutely no value. Do not think about how you look like, where exactly you are standing on stage during the speech, what tone you use to pronounce the words – remember only about the audience.
Theoretically, you need to improve your speech all the time to make sure it sounds refined enough and is delivered without a hitch. Nevertheless, during the speech you should not worry about anything, except the people sitting in the hall.
Sharing the secret of his personal charm, Qahtani advises to let the words sound sincere and come straight from the heart. He adds that a speech is obliged to encourage a person to act.
4. Use your strong points
Do you remember the good and instructive cartoon “Kung Fu Panda”? All the characters in it are endowed with this or that quality, which has helped them to become a strong and fearless warrior. This very principle is taught in the Toastmaters club.
Nature has given the gift of eloquence to some people, while others have a nice voice; yet other people possess some charisma. Use your best qualities to advantage.
Qahtani has an excellent sense of humor. He was lucky: when a student at the University of Arizona, Mohammed tried to master the “stand-up” genre and thus got used to treating many life situations with humor.
What does it mean? If the then student from Saudi Arabia had not seemed funny to anyone, he would not make jokes during his public speeches today.
5. Learn to control emotions
Qahtani usually starts his speech with a joke for the audience to laugh and relax a little. Believe it or not, he would prefer to continue his speech in the same spirit, turning his appearance on stage into a stand-up performance. However, it is impossible to talk about serious things by resorting to mere humor.
The same would happen if the speech is too serious and therefore too difficult to understand. The audience will leave the hall with mixed feelings rather than happy.
No matter what style you choose for your public speech, it is important that it should inspire hope in people’s hearts. After all, it is this feeling that drew them to you.
6. An honest audience is your main coach
If you are not a member of the public speaking club, do not lose hope. Practice speaking to one or more people, who can appreciate you objectively, without flattering or prejudice.
In the draft version of “The Power of Words”, Qahtani used many elements that he found extremely important and essential to the ultimate success of the speech.
He willingly shares his experience. According to Mohammed Qahtani, the experience of addressing an audience is truly invaluable. He advises to take into account every single opinion about your training speech without exception and pay attention to every impression people may get because ultimately you are writing this speech for your listeners.
7. Use visual images
Qahtani is convinced that the quality of public speaking will suffer if to learn the speech by heart, word for word. Instead, he suggests visualizing parts of it, using visual images during the performance on stage. It helps to get closer to the subject of the discussion and talk about it in a relaxed manner.
Let’s sum up. Is it important which topic you will speak with the audience about? Undoubtedly, yes. Are the words that you want to use important? Sure. However, one of the most important elements of a successful public speech is the speaker’s confidence that people believe and, most importantly, trust his opinion. Only in this case they will leave the hall with hope for the best. And this is the speaker’s ultimate goal.