The KZN chapter had the honour of kicking off the year with Certified Speaking Professional and Customer Service and Sales expert, Paul du Toit. Paul is also one of the Founding members of the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa, a recipient of the Stef du Plessis award and a South African Speaker’s hall of famer. Paul took some time to share the crux of his work at Congruence, where he trains and coaches professional speakers to become and remain truly professional. Key Takeaways from Paul’s talk include:
- A Clear Objective This can relate to what you wish your audience to take away/learn from the engagement or your call to action. Whatever it may be, this objective must be well understood and communicated, so that a speaker can then use this to thread through all of the other factors of their presentation. This includes content and marketing tools etc.
- Content vs. Delivery Often times speakers feel compelled to place a large amount of their preparation time and focus on their content and often neglect their delivery. Paul terms this ‘Contentilitus’ and asserts that no matter how great one’s content is, if it is poorly delivered, value is lost. When, however, a speaker has average content, superb delivery is capable of saving the day. The point here is work on both aspects and ensure that when working to give value to a client, both are on par and none are taken for granted. You’ll be better off for it!
- The Three Keys To Professional delivery Much can be said of aspects that make for ‘killer’ delivery. Paul sums this up into three. Voice, Eye Contact and Gestures. When a speaker is able to optimise these three, he or she can truly deliver to do justice to their superb content. Voice: Using inflections, emphasis and pausing assists a speaker to compellingly communicate their message and attract the full and undivided attention of their audience. If possible, speakers can try recording their speeches as audio files to pick up any voice or speed changes that may need correcting. Eye Contact: Making eye contact demands attention and compels the audience member’s emotional engagement, which in turn influences how they perceive your message. Gestures: Many of us don’t realise it, but gesturing comes naturally to us and human beings, especially when story-telling. Paul advises that because this is already innate, it need only to be polished and practiced. Gestures assist to emphasise and better communicate one’s message. They are a powerful presentation tool when used correctly.
- Story-telling Very few things capture an audience like a good story, especially at the beginning of a presentation. Story-telling should be a speaker’s secret weapon and Paul notes that when these stories are authentic and humorous, they are ground-breaking in helping further drive your message forward. Practicing telling the story is also an art, so speakers must note down their stories and then practice telling them to different audiences. Every good speech is based on a good story and every great speaker has a few great stories to tell.
We often place a large amount of pressure on ourselves to be ‘perfect’ and although professionalism is key, Paul says it’s freeing to remember that your audience wants you to succeed. Your audience is rooting for you and is on your side! How good to know. To further engage with Paul du Toit or follow his work at Congruence, head over to his website: www.pauldutoti.co.za or www.congruence.co.za