When your boss says to you, "You've got to give a speech next week,"
does your heart sink to the floor? When your department manager says,
"I'm counting on your talk next Tuesday to get our new project off with a
bang," do you want to run for the hills or sink into a rather large
hole and not come up until Wednesday?
In this world of advancing technology where texting, emailing and keeping up with social media seem to be the communication methods of choice for practically all of us, with so many electronic means at our disposal you'd think the need to contact each other the old fashioned way, face-to-face, would be rapidly becoming obsolete. What a surprise to find that when sharing information, people still want to look each other in the eye and hear a real human voice, which explains why many people are discovering that they really need to know the art of public speaking.
Even though a blast email and a slide program may be more efficient ways of sharing certain kinds of information with large numbers of people, the need to know how to stand in front of the room and speak to people in groups is exploding like a mushroom cloud. Why is this?
Here's an idea. Is it possible that giving a speech in front of a roomful of people you don't know and will probably never see again... or worse, that you do know and will have to face at the coffee machine tomorrow... is one of the sexiest ways to communicate known to modern humankind? Where would civilization be if men and women hadn't learned to talk?
Back in the good old days, several millennia ago, human communication took the form of one grunt for "yes," two for "no," and three for "Keep your distance, you stink!" Fortunately, over time, we've progressed a lot further than that.
When you think about it, most human beings look pretty much alike. Our head, neck, shoulders, arms, torso, legs, and feet all come in a few standard colors with some variations in a pretty narrow range of sizes, from short to tall. We dye our hair and wear different clothes to make us easily identifiable. But what attracts us to each other and keeps our species going great guns is not whether we're tall or short, blonde or brunette or which pair of pants we put on that morning. By far the sexiest thing about us is what we say and how we say it.
The essence of getting to know people is learning what they think and feel. What is important to them? What do they believe is appropriate, ethical, acceptable behavior? The essence of communication is the ability to express what we think and feel in a way that will draw others to us and encourage them to agree with us or at least respect our point of view.
When you get up to speak in front of a group of people, you're expressing the best part of yourself. You're giving them the gift of you... your knowledge, your beliefs, your talent, and your generosity. You're influencing and inspiring them, letting them understand that what you have to say is going to benefit them. They're going to be more knowledgeable when they leave than when they came in. They're going to take home something valuable that they didn't have before. The more compelling you are, the more enthusiastically you share the benefits you're offering them, the sexier you will appear.
When you're offering your audience something that will enrich them, your voice is the sexiest tool in your arsenal. Their attention will be riveted on you, and they'll come away with something they can then share with others. They'll remember you as the one who first gave it to them.
Wow! What a gift! To be remembered as someone who influences and inspires with the power of your voice! Think of Franklin D. Roosevelt, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself!" John F. Kennedy, "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country!" Martin Luther King, Jr., "I have a dream!" What they said and how they said it is what makes them memorable.
Seems to me there's nothing sexier than that!