Do you get sweaty palms, an increased heart rate, or feel like you are going to faint when you have to make a presentation in front of an audience? Would you like to improve your public speaking skills and enhance your blogging at the same time?
Public speaking and blogging are similar in many ways and particularly because they both require you to make an immediate connection with your audience. Additionally, how you choose to present yourself, whether speaking publicly or blogging, will ultimately determine how people view your tone, your image, and your brand.
Some other complimentary similarities between the two include:
- You are putting yourself out there in front of the masses (sometimes this invites criticism)
- Public speaking and blogging are both acquired skills (for most)
- You must be able to effectively communicate a message
So it would stand to reason that if you improve your public speaking skills then your blogging talents would be enhanced too.
How do you feel about public speaking? Would you rather be doing anything else other than standing in front of a group of people and delivering a presentation?
Now that we are into the New Year many of us (including myself) would like to take our blog to the next level in terms of gaining more subscribers and possibly increasing our online income generation. If you would like to really improve the overall quality of your site there is one skill that you can work on that can have a direct correlation with improving your blogging talents.
Of course, I am talking about the ability to effectively communicate a message and make a presentation in front of a group of people, or speak publicly with authority and confidence.
When was the last time you had to stand up and speak to a group of your peers or colleagues?
Many people are apprehensive about standing in front of a crowd and delivering a message but if you can conquer the fear of public speaking you can absolutely improve your blog. As noted above the two are inherently related.
When I was younger and in high school, and even into college, I was a horrific public speaker. I had NO idea what I was doing and I lacked the relevant skills that were required to be successful. For most, public speaking is an acquired talent. My ability to present to a group of people was gained as a Peace Corps volunteer where I was continually asked to make speeches to large groups of people, and in a completely foreign language. Attending graduate school also helped to increase my skills.
If you are not the most dynamic public speaker do not fret because there is hope. However, there are also a few tips and tricks that are specifically related to blogging and presenting, which can have you creating improved posts by the end of today.
Like it or not, blogging is public speaking
That’s correct, every time you publish a post you are speaking to the global public via the internet. The number of people in the world with online access is certainly a much larger audience than any of us will ever have the pleasure of standing in front of, so it is pretty amazing.
Take Darren Rowse, of ProBlogger, for example. I don’t know what his daily visitor stats are, but he has almost 40,000 subscribers, so everyday he is delivering a presentation to thousands of people via his blog posts. Pretty impressive don’t you think? When you approach it that way, public speaking isn’t so bad after all.
What traits do all great public speakers have in common and how does it apply to blogging?
All of the most effective public speakers that I have ever witnessed have some common qualities, and the same is applicable to blogging. If you have the time some day I strongly recommend that you watch one of the many Seth Godin videos that are available on YouTube.
Dynamic public speakers and bloggers typically:
- Know their topic and are well prepared
- Display confidence when speaking or writing
- Take command of the audience
- Speak with an authoritative voice
- Engage the audience
- Add a touch of humor
- Maintain a high level of energy
Additionally, along with the above, top bloggers (and public speakers) are able to communicate their message in a succinct and easy to digest manner. In the past I have had to present to many government officials and in a way they are a lot like bloggers because they don’t want to waste time and they typically have a short attention span. Rather, they are only interested in the valuable information that you have to tell them and they are not interested in fluff.
Successful blogging is no different. In fact, of all the blogs that I read daily; ProBlogger, Seth Godin, Doshdosh, AnyWired and Zen Habits, the writers are true masters of their craft. The authors consistently produce posts that are delivered with a commanding tone, an authoritative voice, a solid message, and they successfully engage the audience and make you think.
Practice makes perfect
If you are not too confident in your public speaking I would encourage you to practice as much as possible. There are Toast Masters’ meetings all over the world and if you are not familiar with them they are a group of likeminded people who gather together to work on their presentation and public speaking talents. In time, you can become comfortable in front of a crowd and even enjoy speaking to groups of people.
When I know that I have to make a presentation, or draft a blog post, there are some general guidelines that I always follow in my quest for success. Here are some tips to start you on your way toward improved presentation skills and blogging:
- Start with your title and create the post from there
- Use visuals as a support mechanism to enhance your post or presentation
- Get someone to provide constructive criticism by watching you practice, or proofreading your post
- Connect with your audience or readers immediately
- Never apologize if you are bombing (only apologize if there is a technical issue)
- Make your points and support them with examples
- Provide information of value
- Seek input from the audience or your readers
As a final tip I would like to add that there are always going to be negative people and naysayers who will try to criticize what you are doing, so whether you are blogging or presenting, don’t listen to them and focus on the positive every time!
Remember, presenting yourself in the public domain is nerve wracking but with a little attention to detail and the proper preparation you should be blogging and speaking in public like a professional orator in no time.