Yesterday, I gave the speech, “Who is Abhi,” the second time in a week. I found that my performance the second time around was boring. Why was I not consistent? I went into the workshop, hoping to find some answers.
Kiran Patel, an award-winning speaker, shared with us “three essential energies” in her workshop, “Bring Your Speech to Life!”
The three energies were:
- the energy of your message
- the energy of your audience
- the energy of the moment
There were many questions from the audience during the workshop:
- How do you engage with a virtual audience and still have their attention?
- What if your audience is more logical than emotional?
- What if your audience doesn’t find your speech interesting?
I asked her how to capture “the moment” during a speech and deliver the same speech with the same excitement level every time? Her answer was useful to me: Even though my message and storyline might be the same each time, my audience is different. Realize that when you deliver the same speech with a different audience, with different reactions, it’s actually a different speech. You can’t separate the speech from the audience. My appreciation to my audience changed in that one-hour-workshop, especially after the following exercise.
After Kiran explained to us what the three energies were, she separated us into break-out rooms to share our prepared message to our randomly assigned teammate. Then she brought us back into the main room and took us on a five-minute-meditation journey to get connected with our experiences related to that message. After that, we delivered the same message to our teammate with a newfound appreciation.
I was skeptical at first, because meditation was used to calm our thoughts (and quite frankly, I’m not very good at meditating). “Why are we using that as a technique in public speaking?” I wondered.
It was a challenging five minutes for me – my thoughts wandered. I worried about others’ experiences in this workshop. I noticed my legs were tight from working-out. I felt the heater in my room blasting. I tried not to open my eyes and peek at Kiran.
Nevertheless, I stayed put and pressed on, confronting my distraction, one second at a time. After two to three minutes of struggle, I finally channeled my thoughts into focusing on the feelings that I had when I first felt the prepared message. I remembered what it felt like to be in that moment when my overwhelming emotions turned into tears and oozed out of my eyes.
After going through that exercise, I was much calmer and more focused. When I delivered the same message to my teammate the second time around, I was more connected to my experience. My audience felt the difference and reacted accordingly. How connected I am to my message and how well I can relate to my past experiences could significantly influence how I tell a story.
Thank you, Kiran for an inspiring evening. A meditation-style-workshop may not be for everyone, but it worked well for me and many other attendees. We are here to provide you the tools to be the best speakers. For those who are interested in our future toastmasters club meetings, we have two regular meetings, followed by a workshop, every other Wednesdays 7-8pm PST. See you soon virtually. <3
Written by Renee Yao, Women L.E.A.D Toastmasters President