"One axiom of public speaking is simple. Don’t just make your speech interesting make it the most interesting speech your audience have ever heard. It’s not that difficult."
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If you want to get only a little better at public speaking then don’t read Stand and Deliver: How to Become a Masterful Communicator and Public Speaker, as it’s designed to make you a truly great communicator. And if that sounds a bit OTT (over the top), when you see the name Dale Carnegie in the title you know that you are going to be in for a treat. Dale Carnegie wrote the renowned book How to Win Friends and Influence People in 1936 – a milestone that spread his principles across the globe. Dale Carnegie Training writes this one, a service I was ashamedly unaware of before seeing this publication. Founded in 1912, Dale Carnegie Training has evolved from one man’s belief in the power of self-improvement to a performance-based training company with offices worldwide. They focus on giving people in business the opportunity to sharpen their skills and improve their performance in order to build positive, steady, and profitable results.
This book is just engorged with good stuff, like a big juicy red pomegranate ready to explode its seeds of insight. Don’t be a PowerPoint presentation puppet, read this and gain recognition and kudos in your field using the banquet of tricks and tools offered here. This is a succinct master class for beginners and will also delight regular speakers with its joyful enthusiasm for the subject matter.
The Big Idea
Know Your Stuff!
"What are the principles? The first is actually quite obvious and maybe that’s why so many speakers seem to forget it. It can be stated in a single short sentence, know what you’re talking about."
Yes, simple enough, but have you ever considered writing out at least fifty questions about your topic? Fifty is described as the minimum and you are advised to think of as many as possible over a twenty-minute period. This is a bit of a brain storming exercise that enhances whatever it is that you know. So what, you might be thinking, I could do that easily. And that is precisely the point. Everything in this book anyone could do easily.
Mr. Carnegie believed that speakers should know forty percent more about their topic than they shared in a presentation. And he was probably right! The onus is put fairly and squarely on you to do your homework and master the information for your presentation. Then when you have digested all the tips on being your very own expert the book goes on to develop your ability to DELIVER!
"Even a raw beginner can manage a successful opening by using a story to arouse curiosity."
There is something about the pace and tone of the book that encourages you to be involved in the process and engage with the teacher. Simple advice is the name of the game and we are all enabled to take a look at what we do now and how we can improve it. Starting with the preparation, there is a logical progression through to questions, answers, and reflection at the end. It is apparent that while you are learning some real top tips on overcoming stage fright, using humour, and motivating your listeners you are really learning much more about becoming a polished communicator.
The book consistently gives you ideas, like begin with something interesting in your very first minute, not the second. Not the third. The first. An example is shared from one of their students that begins with the sentence Eighty two years ago, and just about this time of year there was published a little story that was destined to become immortal. And in the next paragraph there are various facts given with the reader continuing to tease you until you, the recipient, are guessing but ultimately really curious about which story is being referred to – which incidentally for the record was Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The point being made is who is not susceptible to curiosity?
And if you want to hugely increase the impact of what you’re saying, simply mention that you read your information while you were on an airplane. It’s almost like magic but it’s true that just associating your message with certain settings and experiences has a major amplifying effect.
Creativity and the Magic Formula
"In just the short time required to read this chapter, you can learn an absolutely surefire method for making your talk memorable for your audience and lead them to make immediate and positive changes based on it. All this is made possible by the speaking technique that Dale Carnegie called the Magic Formula – and once you start using that technique you’ll see that it is a magic formula."
This book acknowledges that many of the examples and case studies refer to icons of the past, however it also tips its cap to the present. The magic formula offered in Chapter 10 acknowledges how the old advice—introduction, middle and end—is still relevant and to be respected. Somehow though we need to accommodate our ENTERTAIN NOW CULTURE. The Magic Formula is a technique for creating connection, motivation, inspiration and action for your audience in the shortest time when necessary, and here it is.
1. Describe a personal story that describes a positive change in your life.
2. Ask for action and do it right now.
3. Refer to one specific benefit to the audience.
The Magic Formula is described as a framework for public speaking that has served thousands of participants in the Dale Carnegie organization. It is said that this formula will make you into a polished speaker in the shortest time. The emphasis on creativity and finding ways to improve your thoughts while observing all the markers given to you is relentless.
There are no excuses accepted if you want to be a great public speaker; the map is given to you in full colour, post codes and all. You are invited to take just one hour a day five days a week and devote that hour to your development as a public speaker. The most important thing the hour accomplishes is to deeply embed your goal into your subconscious mind. The message is clearly you can accomplish this.
Nothing in this book is rocket science but it is firing on all cylinders rocket fuel. It will help you power your way to the front of the queue when top performance speakers are needed. Make sure you have a monster notebook to draw out and retain the bountiful ideas that are leaping off every page. This is an ideas manual that you can return to many times ultimately helping you to develop your own signature style. I will end with a quote from the great Dale Carnegie himself, which says ‘There are always three speeches for every one you actually give. The one you practiced, the one you gave and the one you wish you gave.” Is he right about this too?