Passion surPasses Perfection, Polish and Poise when Public Speaking – By Peter Dhu

“Public speak with passion; Ensure your presentation is passionate; Make sure you let your passion come out”. This is all great advice as passion is one of the keys to public speaking and presentation skills. Without passion a polished and perfect presentation may fall flat and may not connect with your audience.

Passion helps you to:

1. Demonstrate that you believe in your message and the message is important to you
They say the first sale is to yourself when public speaking. You must believe in your own message or in the change that you are speaking about. Passion allows you to demonstrate that you believe in your own message. If you remain too calm, with little emotion and little energy then the audience may not be convinced that you believe what you are saying. They may perceive you as fake. Passion helps people see that you believe in your own message.

2. Show congruence between what you do and what you say
Congruence is when your body language, your words, the way you look, and what you do are all aligned. Passion is part of your non-verbal communication and is seen in your face, eyes, body, voice and breathing. Congruence helps you sell your message and helps you build trust and rapport. A non-passionate person explaining a message, a change process, or a new safety policy may not look congruent. Passion helps you maintain that congruence with what you are saying.

3. Show that you are audience focused
Remember that public speaking is not about you, it is about the audience. Public speaking is about serving the audience and giving them information, knowledge or messages that they need. Public speaking is about helping your audience. If I say to you “I am here to help you, trust me”, with no enthusiasm or passion in my voice and body you will not believe me. If I focus on myself and my nerves and worry about making a mistake, or if the audience likes me or not, then my passion will be absent, and my focus will be on me. Passion helps you show that you are here to serve your audience and you care about them.

4. Show that you care about this topic
When you see football fans interviewed after their team has won, you can clearly see and hear the passion in them. They care about their team. They care about their topic, about their cause, about their issue. Be passionate about your cause or your issue when speaking. I love to help people find their confidence and speak up and share their messages even though they are nervous. I don’t want anyone to remain silent because of fear of public speaking. This is my mission, helping people find their voices. I need to demonstrate passion around my cause, around my mission. You need to demonstrate your passion around your topic.

Now passion is not fake, or contrived or artificial, rather it should come spontaneously when you present and do public speaking. And it is a great self-indicator, because if you do not feel passion when you are presenting on a topic, then maybe you are not the right person to be speaking about this topic. Passion needs to be genuine and authentic and appropriate for your audience. Coming on stage screaming and shouting, pounding your fists, or sounding like an evangelical preacher, may not go down well with some audiences. So, a word of caution. Be passionate, be spontaneous, but make sure it fits with your audience culture, audience expectations and the size of the audience.

Passion is an essential ingredient in successful public speaking. It surpasses perfection, polish and poise.

Comments 4

  1. Thankyou Peter and Violet.
    A good summary and reminder that passion cannot be separated from sincerity.
    It is good to see “passion” has been allowed to come out of the woodwork and is now legitimate and valued.
    Once upon a time – in the not too distant past – a passionate person was decried, told to “get real”, to “face facts” etc. as a way to devalue the ideas they were presenting. How the wheel turns.

    1. Thanks Mary and I agree with your comments.
      Authenticity, genuineness and passion go hand in hand these days.

  2. Thank you, Peter, yes I agree passion needs to be genuine and gives verve to a speech.

    But Peter, what about for a person who stutters where in fact the very energy desired for a good speech actually goes against one, often resulting in blocks?

    1. Marie, I think the stutter creates a struggle in us and we become self concious.
      When we focus purely on or audience and on being of service to them, I think the passion can still come through even when stuttering.
      Remember the spoken word is only one way of demonstrating passion for a topic or cause.
      Passion in public speaking sometimes gets confused with loud energetic speaking and fast paced speaking and an energetic thumping of fists or jumping up and down.
      Your smile, what you wear, propts, certificates, memberships, can also demonstrate passion and let people know that you do care about this topic.

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