“Public Speaking is easy – it’s just ABC”. I wanted to believe the instructor on…
She handed the 80-year old cricket ball to the leather restoration expert. “It was given to my father in 1939 by Birmingham Parks Department for outstanding achievement and now it’s very tired and worn”.
One of my favourite UK TV programmes is The Repair Shop. It’s a reality show in which members of the public bring their treasured items to be repaired and rejuvenated. Items such as old teddy bears, clocks, toys, small items of furniture, even an 80-year-old cricket ball!
The TV company has brought together a team of specialist repairers, some of the best in the UK. One will be working on clocks and watches, one restoring old furniture, one a specialist working with teddy bears, another with dolls, or leather, and one working with metals, for example.
For me there is so much to like. The talent of the repairers, the way they seem to tackle each challenge with the same quiet enthusiasm, the teamwork where each willingly provides his or her unique skill when more than one discipline is required, and their modesty. And I love watching them achieve the end result, which is often quite extraordinary. Often the owners are in tears when reunited with their beloved restored belongings, which may once have been a treasured possession of a mother, father or a grandparent.
But for me what’s really extraordinary is there’s no sense of the monetary value of the item; only the desire to restore it. Although the members of the public don’t pay, clearly the restorers are paid by the TV company. But what’s very clear is the love with which the experts ply their trades; you can see it in their reaction as the restored items are handed back to their owners. It’s almost as though they do the work just for the feeling of satisfaction that their skills are able to help other people.
I understand that feeling, from a ‘public speaking’ point of view. Years ago, as a shy incompetent speaker I would never have believed it would be possible for me to look forward to talking to a group, simply because of the feeling that I’ve got something to say of value for the audience. Many of you will have experienced a similar feeling I’m sure; sometimes, almost by accident, we hit the ‘sweet spot’ in our speaking.
Over 40 years I’ve seen so many people from all walks of life be able to move an audience simply by speaking from their own life experience. It is a wonderful feeling to be able to do that. And it’s not hard in a technical sense; you don’t have to have spent a lifetime developing the skills. It’s just about knowing what to say and how to say it.
And the business value? Audiences need to be moved. If you’ve ever done any pitches for your business you’ll know that logic alone won’t do it. That Dragons’ Den audience, for example, have to be moved in some way as well as see the logic in your proposition.
So, today, if you, or a member of your team or family, would like to raise your game in speaking and be able to move an audience more often, I’d love to help you do that. It needn’t be expensive as the principles are not difficult to get. And it could make a big difference to you and your business. If this has made you think, let’s have a chat about it. Please do get in touch – email or by phone – +44 7889 167486.
Meanwhile I’ll carry on watching the talented craftsmen and women in the Repair Shop, and wish I’d made more effort in the woodworking lessons at school!