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Are you ready to transform your public speaking skills and learn how to speak with gravitas? In this episode of The Quiet And Strong Podcast, host David Hall sits down with communication expert Dr. Susan Laverick to uncover the secrets behind impactful presentations and speeches.

Listeners will discover the importance of identifying a key message, crafting opening hooks, and harnessing the power of storytelling to captivate any audience. The episode also provides essential tips for both in-person and online speaking, emphasizing using body language and using a strong connection with listeners.

Additionally, Susan offers invaluable advice for dealing with the fear of public speaking and understanding the myths surrounding introverts’ abilities as speakers. Whether you’re an introvert or simply someone looking to enhance your public speaking abilities, this episode offers practical strategies and motivational insights that are guaranteed to boost your confidence.

Tune in to learn why preparation is key, how to create audience-centric communications, and the importance of speaking with presence. Be inspired to embrace your strengths, refine your communication skills, and effectively convey your message with confidence.

Listen now to empower your voice…and be strong.

Mastering the Art of Public Speaking with Dr. Susan Laverick


Today, we had an enlightening conversation with Dr. Susan Laverick, a seasoned communication advisor who shared her invaluable insights on public speaking. I can’t wait to share the highlights and key takeaways from our conversation with you.

The Importance of a Key Message

One of the first points Dr. Laverick emphasized was the crucial importance of a key message in any presentation. This is the one thing you want your audience to take away. If you forget everything else, remember this: clarity of your message is paramount. Often, speakers get lost in the details and forget to emphasize their main point. Dr. Laverick’s advice? Always know your key message and make sure it stands out in your presentation.

Hooking Your Audience: The Power of Stories

Opening hooks and compelling stories are significant for impactful speeches. Dr. Laverick and I discussed the invaluable role of storytelling in communication. She provided examples of how individuals could identify and share personal stories to engage and entertain their audience. A good story not only captivates but also makes your key message memorable.

Audience-Centric Communication: Preparing with Purpose

When preparing a speech, always consider your audience, purpose, and desired outcome. Dr. Laverick highlighted the importance of serving your audience’s needs and maintaining a human connection throughout your speech. This involves active listening and understanding your audience before delivering your content. Let’s face it; a speech isn’t about the speaker—it’s about the audience.

“The moment we’re speaking to more than 2 people, we are engaged in public speaking.”— Dr. Susan Laverick

Quiet and Strong Podcast – Ep 180

Conquering the Q&A Session

Unprepared for a Q&A session? That’s where fear creeps in. Dr. Laverick stresses the necessity of Q&A preparation, emphasizing that eliminating the fear factor can be achieved through thoughtful preparation and anticipation of potential questions, including hostile ones. Her advice: be prepared, stay calm, and maintain control over the session.

Tips for Speaking Online

Speaking online is an art in itself. Dr. Laverick shared her preference for standing while speaking online, which helps bring the same energy as if one were speaking in person. Her tips include using body language effectively and maintaining a sense of connection with the virtual audience. Remember, online communication deserves the same energy and attention as in-person interactions.

Introverts and Public Speaking: A Misunderstood Talent

Dr. Laverick and I explored common myths around public speaking, especially for introverts and highly sensitive individuals, like myself. She encourages introverts to recognize their potential as outstanding speakers, highlighting that speaking with gravitas is a learnable skill. Through preparation, believing in the value of your message, and practice, great public speaking is within anyone’s reach.

The Oxygen of Preparation

Preparation is the oxygen of effective communication. Dr. Laverick and I couldn’t agree more on this point. Whether it’s for an interview, a public speaking engagement, or a meeting, thinking in advance about potential questions and having prepared topics to discuss is essential. Dr. Laverick advises against “winging it,” stressing that thorough preparation trumps spontaneity every time.

The Dynamics of Presence and Charisma

Contrary to popular belief, presence is a skill that can be acquired. As Dr. Laverick pointed out, charisma isn’t the be-all and end-all. Presence involves developing communication and gravitas skills, enhancing active listening, and delivering speeches confidently. This is particularly important for introverts, who might need extra support and encouragement to step out of their comfort zones.

The Challenge of Condensing Information

Delivering a 2-minute speech can be more challenging than a longer one. Dr. Laverick explains that it requires meticulous drafting and curation of information to make it engaging and meaningful. Learning to be concise without losing the essence of your message is a vital skill in public speaking.

Beyond the Podium: Everyday Public Speaking

Public speaking isn’t limited to podiums and vast audiences. It includes any situation where you’re addressing more than two people. Dr. Laverick teaches vital techniques for confident presenting to a diverse array of individuals, including ambassadors, diplomats, and students. Effective communication involves active listening, clarity of message, and understanding your audience before delivering your content.

A Journey to Effective Communication

Dr. Laverick shared her unexpected career journey from the BBC to becoming a communication advisor in the peace-building sector. She underscored the importance of effective communication for peace workers in conflict zones. Her story is a testament to the transformative power of good communication skills.

Key Takeaways

  • Key Message in Presentations: Identify the one crucial takeaway you want your audience to remember.
  • Importance of Storytelling: Use personal stories to engage and connect with your audience.
  • Preparation is Essential: Be especially prepared for Q&A sessions, including hostile questions.
  • Online Speaking Tips: Stand up to project confidence and use body language for engagement.
  • Audience-Centric Communication: Focus on serving the needs of your audience and maintain a human connection.
  • Introverts as Great Speakers: Introverts can excel in public speaking by leveraging their unique strengths and preparing extensively.
  • Condensed Speaking: Crafting a concise, impactful 2-minute speech can be more challenging and requires meticulous preparation.
  • Effective Communication Skills: Develop active listening, clarity of message, and understanding your audience.

Make Changes Now

Here’s a summary of actionable steps you can take immediately after listening to this episode of “The Quiet And Strong Podcast”:

  1. Craft Your Key Message: Take a moment to identify the one crucial message you want your audience to take away from your next presentation or speech. Ensure it’s clear and succinct.
  2. Prepare a Hook and Personal Stories: Develop an engaging opening hook and think of personal stories that you can relate to your key message. This will help in capturing and maintaining your audience’s attention.
  3. Audience-Centric Communication: Begin planning your next speech or presentation by considering your audience’s needs, purpose, and the desired outcome. Focus on how you can serve and connect with them effectively.
  4. Stand Up for Online Speaking: If you’re doing an online presentation, practice standing up while speaking. This helps boost your confidence and allows you to use body language more effectively, just as Dr. Susan Laverick suggests.
  5. Engage in Preparation: Spend time preparing for potential questions, including hostile ones, to eliminate fear and boost confidence. This preparation will help you feel more comfortable and ready to handle diverse scenarios during your speech or Q&A sessions.
    By implementing these practices, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a more effective and confident speaker, whether you’re an introvert or extrovert.

Embrace Your Strengths

As we wrapped up, Dr. Laverick left us with an empowering message: public speaking with gravitas can be learned, and introverts have a valuable place in this arena. She can be found on LinkedIn or her website, Laverick Consulting Geneva, for those interested in learning more.

Connections and Links

Dr. Susan Laverick, is a communication expert who delights in smashing myths about speaking in public such as “speakers are born”, “charisma is key”, or “the podium is not introvert friendly”. She develops individual styles and teaches the vital techniques underpinning confident presenting. She trains peacebuilders to powerfully pitch projects, prepares peace laureates for speeches at UN Rotary Day, trains TEDx speakers and mentors emerging leaders. 600 people across the academic, NGO and corporate sectors have experienced her acclaimed flagship workshop, “Speaking with Confidence, Presenting with Impact.” Her proudest moment was being hired by a global peace foundation to develop the communication skills of female peace workers in conflict zones, and to help former armed-combatants to return to civil society by articulating new narratives.

Connect with Susan: LinkedIn
Website: 
LaverickConsulting.com

– – –

Contact the Host of the Quiet and Strong Podcast:

David Hall

Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster

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david [at] quietandstrong.com

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Until next time, keep embracing your quiet strength.

For more inspiring discussions on embracing introversion and harnessing your unique strengths, be sure to follow The Quiet And Strong Podcast. Thank you for listening!

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