The Pattaya City Expats Club (PCEC) speaker on March 15, Claudio Sennhauser, spoke about the “Joy of Public Speaking.” Claudio has been a presenter all his career and he fostered the idea of using three simple principles to make public speaking fun or at least pleasant. Claudio is the president of the local Lion Toastmasters Club meeting in Laem Chabang. It is part of a global non-profit organization that helps people improve their public speaking skills where talking in front of others is a common weekly occurrence at their meetings. He pointed out a great speech is like magic as he then performed a little “magic” demonstration to prove his point.
Principle number one, he said is a speech that is not about you, the speaker; it must relate to the need of the speaker’s audience and answer their question, “What does it mean to me?” If the speaker can meet the listener’s needs, then the message has a much better chance of being heard. Hearing must be more than with the ears; it must be with the heart and fill a need.
Claudio used Steve Jobs as an illustration of this principle. When Jobs introduced the iPod back in the 70’s he could have related all the technical data about the devise and put most of his hearers to sleep. Instead he gave them this image… 1,000 songs in your pocket. Job’s then sweetened that image by posing this comment, your entire music library in your pocket. Claudio said the concept was crystalizing and the iPod was a hit.
Principle number two, is about feelings. He said most people remember great talks and events in their lives, not by what, why or where something happened, but rather how they felt when they heard or experienced it. So, he asserted that feelings do matter and projecting them is vital to good speaking. Before you expect your audience to be excited by what you are saying or selling, he said you need to be excited first! Since emotions are contagious, he advocated using lots of motivating adjectives. Further, he said you should use stories as a basis of connecting with emotions. Stories, not too long, work into the brain and allow the audience to relate to the message.
Principle number three, is to keep it simple. Slides loaded with too much information and too many bullet points are detrimental to the attention being afforded the speaker. Instead of listening to you, Claudio said they are busy trying to read all the stuff on the slide; as a result, you are talking to an empty room at that point. He noted that Da Vinci once wrote, “Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication.”
Those are the 3 principles for effective speaking; 1) it’s not about you, 2) it’s about feelings, and 3) keep it simple. But wait, in true American TV ‘Columbo’ style, there is just one more thing … and that is “Speaking Anxiety.” Its real and its prevalent and probably the number one reason most people cringe at speaking in public. So, he asked, what’s the answer?
Ultimately it is practice, but that is a later stage in the levels of understanding. Using driving a car as an illustration, Claudio described the 4 levels of understanding, three of which need to be attained before the practice stage is set.
A six-year-old may watch his dad drive the family car but has no idea of what he doesn’t know about it (stage 1 called unconscious incompetence). Later as he gets older, he will understand what is being done but doesn’t know how to do it (stage 2, called conscience (aware) incompetence (unable).) Through training, he will later reach stage 3 (called conscience competence, where he can drive but he needs to think about it). Finally, he will reach a level where he doesn’t even give the manipulation of the car much thought at all, thus reaching stage 4 (the highest level called unconscious competence). When you get here as a speaker, Claudio assured everyone that you will be able to talk to anyone most anywhere. So, he said practice, practice, practice!
In response to a question from the audience about how could one practice, Claudio mentioned that for many, it is accomplished by attending the Lions Toastmasters Club meetings. Members practice by giving presentations to the group. More about their purpose and meeting locations can be found on their website at: https://liontoastmasters.org/. Further, information about Claudio and Toastmasters can be found at his website: https://sennhauser.com.
After the presentation, the MC brought everyone up to date on the upcoming club events and others of interest. This was followed by the Open Forum where questions are asked and answered about Expat living in Thailand, especially Pattaya.
For more information about the PCEC, visit their website at: www.pcec.club. The PCEC’s YouTube channel has videos of this and other presentations as well as post presentation interviews of the speaker. You can use Google or other search engine to find “pcec youtube channel” to view the videos.
In the week following this meeting, the PCEC announced that they are suspending their Sunday meetings until at least April 26. This was deemed prudent action to help prevent the risk of spreading the COVID19 Coronavirus which is more likely to occur among a large gathering.