It doesn’t take much time to see the parallels between parenting and public speaking. Here’s what I’ve discovered in the last few years since I became a parent.
Before I had children I didn’t know how to act around them. I remember thinking more than once, “What do I say to this kid?” Then when I had a couple of my own it became, “How do I shut this kid up?” Politely…of course There is a lot of wiggle room between those two extremes. Luckily, as a parent, you have had experience with your own children, as well as with other parent’s kids. You discover different ways to engage each child based on their interests, experiences, and location. This is very similar to engaging with an audience. Every audience is different. They have their own interests, experiences, and venues. Being able to engage different people in different ways is important for being a successful speaker.
Before you present in front of an audience, you first need to decide what you want to say, where to say it, and for whom you’re going to say it. As an outreach professional, I have spoken to a wide range of audiences. From kindergarten classes to professional meetings, I’ve juggled explaining complex issues (e.g., crater impact asymmetry on Jovian satellites) to straightforward concepts (e.g., water flows downhill). For this blog, I’ve decided to make things as straightforward as possible and summarize all presentation venues into four basic categories: 1) classroom, 2) meeting, 3) ceremony, and 4) event. As you may guess, each category has its own priorities and expectations.
Parenting & Public Speaking. Together
The behaviors, experiences, and techniques parents use everyday can improve YOUR NEXT BIG SPEECH. Whether it be using silly voices or just playing with the kids, these actions improve self-confidence, stage presence, and audience engagement. And that’s just the beginning…