In a discussion group recently, one of the participants expressed a desire to overcome his lack of confidence when he has to speak to a group. When I mentioned that I had written a whole book on the subject that includes a raft of helpful tips for overcoming fear and building self-confidence, his immediate reaction was, “Oh, I don’t like sexy, thank you.”
My immediate reaction was, “Who doesn’t want to be sexy?” But then I thought, “Wait a minute. What does being a unique & sexy speaker mean to him?” Obviously not what it means to me!
Understanding is such a slippery thing. I know what I mean when I say it’s desirable to be a sexy speaker. But not everyone understands what I mean or is even curious enough to ask. Being sexy is a ‘different strokes for different folks’ concept. For some people it conjures up beautiful people, party time, and a lot of physical fun and games. For others it’s a state of mind, a feeling of attractiveness, of possessing an appealing aura and presenting an admirable persona to the world. The definition of ‘sexy’ is different and special depending on who’s talking or whom you’re talking to. But any way you look at it, ‘sexy’ is a loaded word.
So here’s my definition of ‘sexy’ as it relates to public speaking:
Whenever you open your mouth to speak,
and someone is listening, you have the
opportunity to influence and to inspire. To
be influential and inspirational... that’s very sexy!
Think about the speakers you’ve heard that really moved you, the ones that made you want to get up and rush to do what they asked. Or made you laugh and cry and feel good inside. Who marched across the stage or stood so confidently in the front of the room that you couldn’t take your eyes off them and you hung on every word.
Attention getters? Yes. But it’s more.
It felt as if they were speaking right to you. They made your spine tingle and gave you something memorable that would stay with you long after both you and they had left the room. What they said and the way they said it were unique and special and, even if you couldn’t remember many of their words and phrases a week later, you’ll never forget the surge of good feeling you took out of that room with you. You were influenced and inspired by their presence, their style and their energy.
Now, if that isn’t sexy, I don’t know what is.
Can you have that effect on an audience? Why not? It takes practice. It takes desire. It takes the belief that you have something important to share, you have a gift to give, and that gift is the information you’re offering from the front of the room. Your gift is unique to you. No one else can deliver it as well as you can. No one can influence and inspire your audience in just the same way you can. You have the power and the ability to wow the audience in your own personal way.
You can, if you believe you can. And that kind of confidence is extremely sexy!