This is the challenge with which today’s public speakers are faced. You are speaking to people who can tune you out any minute by turning their attention to their mobile devices if they don’t find you interesting enough. And it is utterly pointless to ask them to put away their gadgets for your sake, because they won’t. So what is the solution? The responsibility falls to you to win the attention of your listeners away from the attractions on their devices.
By his ability to speak before varying audiences and evoke the exact emotions he intends to evoke; laughter, joy, sadness, passion, tears, fear and then hope, belief, trust and then tears again; Barack Obama rose from obscurity to the highest and most desirable office in America, nay in the world! That is why his story has often been equated with that of the great Cicero; they both emerged from obscurity and maximized the power of Public Speaking to fulfill personal ambitions and to effect social changes in their societies.
For anyone who would make the shift to the next level, there must be a preparation stage. This involves analyzing your present strengths and weaknesses, identifying your interests, researching the new field into which you intend to proceed and developing new skills necessary to thrive in the next level. While you’re getting prepared, you need to keep your eyes out for opportunities and continue to develop yourself and build a culture of excellence.
“Thank you for more than a lifetime of challenge, opportunity and friendship. If I had won this award five years ago or twenty years ago, I might have been a richer speaker, but not a better speaker”. His final words of advice to intending speech contestants was “a good speech is like a good book or a good song; it is memorable and creates an emotional connection”.