Flexibility is the Key to Your Speaking Power
“Be clear about your goal, but flexible about the process in achieving it.”– Brian Tracy
When I was in the Air Force, we had a saying. “Flexibility is the key to airpower.” Did you ever think flexibility is the key to your speaking power? It is!
Below are three powerful results when you are flexible in your speaking:
Your Confidence Increases
There is a quiet power as a speaker in knowing whatever challenges are presented in your presentation; you have the presence of mind to solve them “on the fly,” most of the time without the audience knowing it.
This quiet power manifests itself in a rise in your confidence. Confidence in your presentation delivery is one of the best benefits of being flexible in your speaking.
In the rare occurrence when your audience notices something has not gone as planned in your presentation, the best way to alleviate your and your audience’s tension is to use self-deprecating humor. The audience will laugh with you and not at you.
So, increasing your confidence is an excellent benefit of being flexible in your presentation. Another benefit is your audience engagement will increase also – always a plus for a speaker
Your Audience Engagement Increases
Every battlefield commander knows their battle plan is valid only until the first contact with the enemy. After contact with the enemy, the best military combatant commanders know flexibility and improvisation will win the battle.
Similarly, your plan for your presentation is valid only until your first contact with your audience. From then on, you will have to be flexible in your presentation if you want to engage with your audience to the fullest.
You achieve engagement with your audience when you adapt your presentation to their needs which may not be evident until you deliver your presentation.
You will feel where your audience wants you to go during your presentation by observing their body language as you speak. Your audience’s smiles will tell you whether they are accepting and liking what you are saying. If they are frowning, there is a good chance they either don’t see where you are going or disagree with what you are saying.
An experienced speaker can read their audience’s body language and adjust their speech to transform their frowns into smiles. Do this, and you will engage your audience on a deeper and more personal level. As a result, you will improve your speaker at a quicker pace.
So, increasing your confidence and audience engagement are excellent benefits of being flexible in your presentation.
A third benefit you will enjoy in your presentation flexibility is improving your presentation at a faster pace.
Your Presentation Improvement is Faster
The Greek philosopher, Socrates, said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.”
Like the unexamined life, the unexamined presentation will not help you improve your next presentation. Only when you examine your presentations deeply can you see what you have to do in your next presentation to make it better than your earlier presentations.
To truly improve, you must be willing to examine your presentation performances in great detail. Keep the good parts and work on the parts that need improvement. Doing this quickly after every presentation will put you on the “high road” of success.
Have you ever thought the unexamined presentation is not worth improving? What do you think this means? It means being flexible while examining what went well in your presentation puts you on an ever-increasing spiral of continuous speaking improvement.
Flexibility allows you to try in practice and before an audience rhetorical devices you may think were beyond you, such as stories, pauses, and varying the tone of your voice.
Of course, being flexible in your speaking doesn’t mean you will always be successful, but you will also increase the number of your successes over time.
Your presentations will become better if you always play to the audience. Flexibility allows you to do this.
This article explained three great benefits of being flexible: your confidence will increase, your audience engagement will increase, and your presentation engagement will increase.
Remember, “Semper Gumby!” Look it up!
Call to Action
Be flexible in your next presentation to:
Increase your confidence in your presentation delivery
Increase your engagement with your audience
Attain presentation improvement faster
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”― Albert Einstein
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster, in 2002 because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals through improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Frank can be reached at email@example.com and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”