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← Disrupting public speaking | Laura Penn | TEDxEcoleHôtelièreLausanne

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Showing Revision 27 created 01/14/2017 by Ellen.

  1. I haven't always been
    a public speaking coach.

  2. Believe it or not, I'm a scientist
    specialized in conservation biology,
  3. which is the science of protecting
    wildlife and wild places.
  4. Six years ago, I was sitting
    in an auditorium
  5. that looked a lot like this one,
  6. listening to a string of presentations
    given by colleagues
  7. who had just returned from field missions
  8. involving the conservation
    of various plant and animals species.
  9. One after another, the presentations
    were unbelievably...
  10. awful,
  11. mechanical,
  12. monotones,
  13. unrehearsed,
  14. soulless.
  15. For me, they were BAD, which stands
    for "broken and dysfunctional."
  16. They were ticking off every single box
  17. of what not to do
    while speaking in public:
  18. speaking too fast - tick;
  19. saying too many "ums" and "ahs" - tick;
  20. spending more time
    looking at the screen behind them
  21. than at the audience
    in front of them - tick;
  22. I felt numb, disengaged,
  23. and totally uninspired.
  24. Looking around me, I realized
  25. that I probably wasn't the only person
    in the audience who felt this way.
  26. No, my fellow audience members
    were busy doing all sort of things:
  27. some were taking power naps;
  28. others were crossing
    their arms and legs tightly like this
  29. and looking up at the ceiling,
    thinking about who knows what;
  30. and others were shifting uncomfortably
    in their chairs looking ill at ease.
  31. You know what this feels like, right?
  32. All you have to do
    is to remember the last BAD -
  33. broken and dysfunctional presentation -
  34. to know what this feels like.
  35. And I'm willing to guess that you probably
    don't have to think back very far
  36. to remember this presentation,
  37. because the kind of presentation
    that I'm talking about
  38. is ubiquitous, it's happening everywhere.
  39. In boardrooms, classrooms,
    and auditoriums - except this one.
  40. All over the world, all the time.
  41. In presentation, after presentation,
    after BAD presentation,
  42. and most of the time, we, as the audience,
  43. just sit there, politely listening,
  44. watching, waiting, wanting more.
  45. longing for movement and laughter,
    and human connection.
  46. Why do we accept such a low standard
    for public speaking?
  47. Why is it okay to deliver
    BAD presentations?
  48. These are the exact questions
    that I was asking myself,
  49. as I was sitting in the audience,
    listening to my colleagues,
  50. drone on and on and ooo-n
    about their subjects.
  51. And I started to feel irritated.
  52. And then that feeling changed to anger.
  53. I got angry.
  54. I was angry that such
    precious information was spilling
  55. so carelessly from their lips,
  56. like gold dust draining from one's hand.
  57. Gone.
  58. Public speaking is one thing.
  59. But conservation is a crisis discipline.
  60. Species live or die
    based on presentations like these.
  61. Critical funding,
    global support and awareness,
  62. community consciousness;
  63. all of these things rely
    in such a large part
  64. on how conservation professionals
    are speaking about the issues.
  65. And then, it happened.
  66. I was hit by a lightning bolt idea.
  67. "What if," I thought to myself.
  68. "What if I could put together
  69. all of my experience
    as a conservation biologist,
  70. with all of my experience
    as a performing artist?"
  71. Because I've been dancing
    and doing theater for 20 years as a hobby.
  72. "What if I could put
    those two things together
  73. in order to fix this speaking problem?"
  74. What if
  75. I could help to promote conservation
    through effective public speaking?
  76. And that's exactly what I did.
  77. Today I live to disrupt
  78. the broken and dysfunctional
    status quo for public speaking.
  79. And I'm working, not only
    with the conservation community,
  80. but with anyone who's willing
    to put in the elbow grease,
  81. the sweat, and yes, sometimes even tears,
  82. to learn the magnificent art
    of effective public speaking.
  83. That's right, you heard me say "art"
  84. because I believe that public speaking
    is a performing art,
  85. like theater, and dance, and music.
  86. A speaker's art is the effective delivery
    of the spoken word.
  87. In order to be successful, the speaker
    has to both create compelling content
  88. and perform that content
    in front of an audience.
  89. Performance is what makes
    your presentation interesting,
  90. so that people pay attention.
  91. Performance is what makes
    your presentation memorable
  92. so that people inhale
    and absorb your message.
  93. And performance is what makes
    your presentation stirring.
  94. So that guess what? People give a damn.
  95. In short, performance is what makes
    your message matter.
  96. And by the way, I'm not talking
    about the kind of performance where
  97. you go all out on stage
    in front of the audience
  98. and act like somebody
    you are not, uh-uh.
  99. I'm talking about the kind of performance
    where you stay authentic to who you are,
  100. but you have polished, and honed,
  101. and refined those elements,
  102. which I believe, constitute
    the performance of public speaking.
  103. There are four such elements:
  104. The first one is appearance;
    this is all about what you look like,
  105. from the outfit that you are wearing -
  106. because what you are wearing's
    a part of your performance -
  107. and it goes on to include
    how you walk into the space
  108. and what presence you radiate.
  109. And then, there is voice;
    your voice is an instrument,
  110. and your job as a speaker
    is to play it, and play it well,
  111. creating melody that the audience
    wants to listen to.
  112. And then, there is body;
  113. when you are speaking,
    you are not only speaking from your mouth.
  114. No, what else are you speaking with?
  115. You're speaking body language, of course,
    your dancing body language.
  116. As a speaker, you need
    to be fluent in this language,
  117. understanding what gestures
    and positions mean
  118. so that you know which ones to use,
    and which ones not to use.
  119. And then there is
    audience connection, of course.
  120. This is all about creating
    a relationship with the audience
  121. so that you form bridges
    between yourself and them.
  122. And this begins by you doing your homework
  123. so that you know who
    the audience is in the first place.
  124. That way, you can take on their needs
    and interests, and speak to them.
  125. Those are the four elements that constitr
    the performance of public speaking.
  126. And those are the four areas
    that your job as a speaker
  127. is to enhance and polish like a diamond.
  128. Now, I'm sure that you can imagine
  129. that doing all that polishing
    takes a lot of effort and time.
  130. But just as with any skill,
  131. whether it's learning how to bake
    the perfect lemon meringue pie,
  132. or reciting Shakespeare,
    or skiing moguls, like Edgar did,
  133. public speaking is no different:
    it requires practice.
  134. And then more practice,
    and then more practice after that.
  135. But the good news is that
    it can be mastered.
  136. And as George Leonard said
    in his book called Mastery:
  137. "Mastery is available to anyone
  138. who is willing to get on
    the path, and stay on it."
  139. So there is hope.
  140. But there is one method
    that is a little bit easier to take on
  141. than all of the stuff
    that I've just described here.
  142. This is one of my favorite methods
    to teach because it's sort of a short cut.
  143. It prevents you from having to go through
    the hoops of fires of these areas,
  144. and it allows you to switch on
  145. the performance
    of your public speaking, right now.
  146. I call it putting on a new hat.
  147. You see, hats have a magical power.
  148. Hats can make you imagine things,
    and believe things,
  149. and most impressively, to do things.
  150. I first tuned in to the illustrious power
    of hats back at university
  151. when my best friend
    and roommate Sarah and I
  152. had a whole wall of our student apartment
    dedicated to silly hats.
  153. There were big ones, and blue ones,
    and tall ones, and small ones.
  154. A hat for every occasion.
  155. Sarah and I would use these hats
    to help us to do stuff.
  156. So when it came time to study for exams,
    I had a favorite study hat.
  157. It was my Dr. Seuss hat, which was tall,
    with red and white stripes.
  158. You may know it from
    "The Cat and the Hat."
  159. This hat, I believed,
    I had a responsibility when I wore it.
  160. And that was that I needed
    to fill its tall column with knowledge.
  161. So I studied harder.
  162. And then after the exam was over,
  163. I'd put on my other hat
    which was my relaxed hat,
  164. my floppy, velvet, lovely hat
    that made me chill out.
  165. You get the point.
  166. Hats have a magical power,
    but the really neat thing besides that,
  167. relating to hats,
    is that they can be invisible.
  168. People who are broken
    and dysfunctional speakers
  169. are wearing an invisible hat that says,
  170. "I'm a boring presenter,"
  171. in big, bold, tattered letters
    on the front.
  172. This ugly hat, it makes them give dull
    and unremarkable presentations
  173. that are neither interesting,
    memorable, nor stirring.
  174. In short, that are not performances.
  175. You can choose to wear a hat like this too
    if you don't care about your subject
  176. or the audience,
  177. or whether or not
    your message is memorable.
  178. This kind of hat, it works everytime.
  179. Or, if you do care,
  180. you can choose the kind of hat
    that I am wearing right now.
  181. Do you see what it says
    in big pink letters on the front?
  182. If you can't read it
    from where you are sitting,
  183. it says, "I'm a performer!"
    Exclamation point!
  184. This magnificent moss green velvet hat,
  185. shaped like the Matterhorn mountain,
  186. with a crooked tip, and a peacock feather
    sticking out at the top,
  187. this sublime hat gives me magical powers.
  188. It gives me permission
    to take up space on this stage,
  189. and to be a larger version of myself.
  190. This hat allows me
  191. to take risks and experiment
    with how I use my voice.
  192. And how I use my body
    so that my messages can come alive.
  193. And this hat gives me courage
    so that I can interact more with you,
  194. so that we can have
    a more meaningful connection.
  195. I love this hat.
  196. And the good news
    is that you can have one too.
  197. All you need to do
    is to imagine it, believe in it,
  198. and then the most important part is
    you need to surrender to its powers.
  199. Make a ritual ceremony
    out of putting the hat on.
  200. Begin by imagining the hat.
  201. What does it look like?
  202. Design it. Create it.
  203. Make it peculiarly you, like Jeremy said.
  204. And then slowly put the hat on your head.
  205. When it touches your head, poof!
  206. You transform into a performer!
    Exclamation point!
  207. Let that energy take over.
  208. Enjoy yourself and be present
    in the moment.
  209. If more people wore hats like these,
  210. and if more people
    regarded public speaking
  211. as the performing art that it is,
  212. then I believe, that broken
    and dysfunctional presentations
  213. would be a thing of the past.
  214. And we would revolutionize how we speak.
  215. Thank you.
  216. (Applause)