Ideas To Words
The other day I attended this rather interesting lecture. It was downtown at the Learning Annex, where they have pretty interesting talks from time to time. Sometimes they sound pretty interesting, but the speaker is not quite as energetic and charismatic as you’d hope.
Once I went to see a lecture that was about Greek history and politics that surrounded the era of Plato, and how it led to his various philosophies. It sounded great on paper, and they must’ve had some pretty decent writer come up with the marketing material, but the speaker just didn’t give the topic justice. Most agreed that he was uninspiring, to say the least.
It’s amazing the difference between knowledge that’s in your head, and the knowledge that comes out of your mouth. I don’t know if you’ve ever had the experience of getting ready to say something, and when you think about saying it inside your head, maybe even hear yourself saying it in your own voice, it sounds really fantastic and persuasive and eloquent. Then when you open your mouth and spit it out, you sound like a complete dufus. People look at you as if you’d just announced you discovered mustard for the first time.
Then maybe you backtrack, thinking maybe you didn’t set it up enough, and your point didn’t quite fall on ears that were ready to accept your magnificent insight. So you begin to give your background preamble, only to feel the bored stares of your friends and colleagues. Suddenly that brilliant doesn’t seem that brilliant any more.
It’s like that old skit that Jim Carrey did, way before he was famous, on the old show “In Living Color.” In the skit he played some rich snobby guy, on a date with his girl to see a hypnotist. The hypnotist called him up on stage, and put him in a trance. While in a trance, he’d only be able to cluck like a chicken, no matter how hard tried otherwise. So he did, and everybody got a good laugh. Only the hypnotist had a heart attack and died while Carrey’s character was still under a hypnotic trance.
Then the scene flashed forward twenty years, and the once pompous rich guy was a homeless bum on the street, still only able to cluck like a chicken. They showed him begging for money, and somebody gave me a dollar. So he went to the nearest fast food place to buy a hamburger. You could hear him practicing in his head:
“Ok, take it slow. Just say one hamburger please. One hamburger please.”
Then when he opened his mouth, all the came out was a cluck.
It makes you wonder how many brilliant minds are out there, wandering around, with brilliant, perhaps world changing and enhancing thoughts in their heads, but without the skills to persuasively verbalize them.
And I’m sure you’ve known a few people that had powerful skills of persuasion, and magnificently eloquent speaking skills, only their ideas were crap, or worse.
Adolph Hitler is considered one of the greatest public speakers of the twentieth century. You don’t have to understand a word of German to watch videos of his speeches and see how charismatic and persuasive he was, and how he could powerfully move a crowd. Of course, his ideas were poison, and it’s a tragic shame nobody put a bullet in his brain before he had a chance to do the horrible damage that he did.
I don’t know if you’ve ever read a powerfully moving book, only to find the author speaking either in person, or on TV. Many times it’s a disappointment, as effective writers are seldom as eloquent in real time as they are in print.
It’s been long believed by evolutionary psychologists that after language became part of the human repertoire, the leaders of the various tribes around the world weren’t the biggest, and the most aggressive, as in our non language using cousins, but the most eloquent and verbally persuasive. Even tribal chiefs today in various areas of the world where Stone Age life styles are still practiced are the most persuasive with words and other speaking skills.
It’s no secret that in order to become a leader of any of the world democracies today, you need to be a fairly persuasive and charismatic speaker. Even if your ideas aren’t all that great, you can sometimes get yourself elected if you can talk a good game.
It would make sense then that developing powerful verbal skills could give you a leg up in almost any field. The more you can persuasively convince others of your thoughts and ideas, the more you’d be worth to whomever you work for. For salespeople this concept is a no brainer.
As I realized in the lecture I attended recently on Greek history and the development of Plato’s ideas, you have to have a strong pre-set intention to learn in order to get through a less than effective speaker. If you are on the fence, if your neutral about any of the ideas being presented, then a speaker is obligated to not only grab your attention, but effectively lead you to naturally come to the conclusion that he or she wants you to come to.
This can be difficult, but there are plenty of ways to learn how to do this. Toastmasters has long been recognized as a great place to practice your speaking and persuasion skills. Many of the public speaking skills you’ll learn at toastmasters will easily translate into one on one skills of salesmanship.
Of course, many people are deathly afraid of getting up to speak, let alone committing to doing it on a regular basis in order to improve themselves. But in a competitive world, every edge can help. There are plenty of ways to get over you fear of public speaking. Some of the audio programs available through the link below can go a long way to eliminate your fear of public speaking altogether. If you’re interested in improving that area of your life, give it a go and see how it works out. They have a 30-day money back guarantee, so there’s no risk. You owe it to yourself to try it out for a couple weeks just to see if it can help.