Public Speaking – Don’t forget to BE HUMAN

This is an AI generated transcript so please forgive any errors and spelling mistakes. 

Are you adding the human touch to your speeches? We’ll explore that a little bit more in just a moment.

First of all, my name is Shola Kaye. I’m a public speaking coach, professional speaker and also an entertainer based in London. I have clients all around the world, typically organisations and individuals.

Now we all know that the robots are here. There’re here and there are going to be more of them coming, but you don’t need to be one. There are plenty of them around and what do I mean by that? Well one of the things that makes us as speakers different than perhaps using Siri or Alexa to recite a presentation is the fact that we are human, Siri and Alexa and robots are not.

Public Speaking – you don’t want to sound like a robot

The important thing that we need to include in our presentations is some aspects of our humanity. It might be just a little snippet of our lives, it might be a full-blown story it doesn’t necessarily matter, of course stories are important, but it’s really super super relevant that you include some aspects of your humanity and your personality when you’re speaking.

What do I mean by that? Well just recently I was working on a project with a company and they had a bunch of coders who were making some very technical presentations at a big company conference. I was brought in to help them to shape up their presentations to basically get them ready for this conference and to give them the confidence to stand up and speak in front of their peers. And obviously do a good job.

One thing, when we’re used to making technical presentations or presentations for work we can get bogged down (the presentation obviously has to contain a certain amount of serious detail and information that is relevant to your industry peers). But just because that is the purpose of the presentation, it doesn’t mean is that we shouldn’t include anything about ourselves, about our personality, about our daily lives, about the way that we personally speak or think and behave on out in our day-to-day business.

Public Speaking – aim to be both business-like and personal

The reason for that is people are obviously there to hear the information to learn more about the industry or the latest developments but they want to be able to relate to the speaker. If you go out and you’re pure hundred-percent business and it’s all “boom boom boom… here’s the information… goodbye” you’ve missed out on an opportunity to connect with your audience.

I’m not saying that you’ve got to tell a slushy story about some important thing that happened in your life, in your personal life, when you’re speaking to a bunch of coders, or if you’re an accountant and you’re speaking to the board. But just a little smattering of personal information can be enough to turn your presentation from being sort of very dull, not necessarily dull, but being extremely business-like to being well-rounded. You can be business-like and personal at the same time.

One example is when I was working with this group of coders and technologists, one thing that we did is we watched a few presentations from people who were doing very well in their industry. One presentation in particular, again it was it was very business-like and very technical, but the speaker took a couple of moments – the key moments – where he talked about his journey, his flight from London to I think it was Australia where this presentation was taking place.

Public Speaking – you don’t have to be an expert storyteller to be successful at this

He talked about his thoughts on the flight. He said “I was sitting on the plane, I was thinking about XYZ and it made me think I should… etc”. The detail isn’t important, just the fact that he was telling us about his thoughts while he was on the plane. Pretty much everybody in that room would have been on a plane before so instantly they to get to think “oh yes you know when I was on the plane last time on my vacation to France…” or “when I was on a plane last time…”. So it gets them to connect with the speaker because it’s a shared experience and they’re thinking “oh yes, I have a bond with this speaker because I’ve been on a plane too”.

The next thing that speaker did is you talk a bit more about the technology. Then he mentioned that that morning, before he got to the conference center, he was at breakfast in the hotel and he was thinking again about something else. Okay, all of us have had breakfast, right? So we’re all thinking “oh yeah so you have breakfast okay yes I’ve had breakfast too”. It happens almost on a subliminal level but just those little snippets are enough to get us to relate to the speaker rather than someone who comes out and it’s all about “fact fact fact… numbers numbers numbers… goodbye”

See, you don’t have to be an expert storyteller. Of course it helps but if you could just drop in “I was on the tube this morning thinking about this…” or “while I was putting my daughter to bed last night it occurred to me that I should share with you…”. And those little snippets can be enough to turn your presentation from being workman like and of course effective still, to you being as a speaker seen as someone who’s relatable. It doesn’t take a lot, just that is enough.

Public Speaking – sharing a small personal detail will help you connect with your audience

I hope this made a bit of sense to you. You can see how being human and revealing some little snippets about your humour or your day-to-day life can turn your presentation into an experience of connection with your audience. Of course, you can go further and you can share full-blown stories.

If perhaps you’re not comfortable with doing that, or you’re in a situation where you’re sharing very technical information, or it’s with very senior people and you don’t feel relaxed enough to share a full story, then at least just those few little poles of detail of personal detail can be enough to make that human connection with your audience.

Thanks ever so much for listening and please do get in touch. Connect with me on LinkedIn, Shola Kaye, or go to my website you download one of my various freebies and I hope to see you again on another video blog or podcast.

Take care.


P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are 4 ways I can help you improve your speaking or grow your business:

1 – Get my free guide – 5 frameworks to ace a short speech.

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2 – Connect with me on LinkedIn.

3 – Do you need a speaking workshop or communication seminar for your organisation? Get in touch.

4 – Looking for an engaging speaker for your next event? Find out more.