Speakers often hide behind a mask when they speak without realizing it. They step on stage, not being totally honest, real, or open, hiding behind their script and their PowerPoint presentation. When a speaker comes on stage with a mask on, the audience cannot connect to them on an emotional level. Instead of being what I call, nakedly authentic, they bring their ego, pride, and protection. The result is a wall of steel that is goes up and is impossible to penetrate. This wall which prevents emotional connection with the audience can cause the lack of sales and future speaking opportunities.
Here are seven ways a speaker can take off their mask and keep it off. I will teach you each one by using the acronym MASK OFF.
M is for Message.
Think about the message you want to deliver and how important it is. That message will end someone in the room’s suffering. That is your sole purpose as a speaker, to provide your audience with a solution to their problems. This requires you to stop thinking about yourself and think about the person or business who you are saving. Focus on this lifesaving message — my MANTRA that I have shared in the previous blog, “You have a message to share that only you can share to people that can only hear it from you. And that message will save someone’s business, life, or soul.” When you think of all that mantra, it is hard to think about yourself and stay in a place of ego. Remember, without your message, someone in your audience will go on suffering. Many speakers think about their message but not the impact and positive effect it could have on their audience. Always remember the mantra before you step on stage.
A is for Authenticity.
Show up being authentically you. Do not be afraid to let people see you as you really are. If you are a man or woman of faith, share it. Calling God other names such as higher power or source would not be authentic for a person of Christian faith. Do not be afraid to say who you are and what your core values are. Another way to share your authenticity and remove the mask is to be honest. For example, if you are a wellness coach but you hate to exercise, come clean, “I work out not because I like, it but because I know it’s good for my body!” By sharing your truth there might be several people in the audience that hate it, too. Now you have an emotional connection with them. Another example is to share what you love! For example, I love dogs. In my talks I share that my hierarchy is God, my husband, and dogs. Sometimes however, it is God, dogs, and my husband (when he is in the doghouse). People laugh and I have connected with the dog lovers in the room.
S is for Self-Talk.
Recognize your self-talk and what you are telling yourself. Before you speak, are you saying to yourself, “I’m nervous, I’m not prepared”? Or are you telling yourself, “I’m the best! I’m going to nail this talk!” Listen to your self-talk. Be honest. If you are not prepared, get prepared. Many new speakers step on stage in fear. That is because they are not ready. Remember to practice at least one hour for every two minutes of your presentation. That means in a 30-minute talk, you need to be practice for 15 hours. When you do that, you can take off the mask of fear because your self-talk now will be, “I am ready, I’m prepared. I have got something to share. There’s someone in my audience that needs to hear this message!”
K is for Knowledge.
When you are thinking about the topic for your speech, select a topic in a category that you are 1) knowledgeable about, 2) passionate about, and 3) there is an audience that wants to hear it.
For me, I am knowledgeable and passionate about public speaking and there is a huge market for it. So that is what I speak about. However, I also love dogs, I am extremely passionate about them and there too is a huge market. Problem is, I do not know anything about dogs except that they are warm and cuddly so that would not be a good topic for me to speak or teach on. Select a speaking topic that has all three categories and deliver it with passion.
When developing your speech, look at current trends and future trends on the topic. For example, public speaking is all I do. I am either speaking or teaching someone else to speak. I do this 24-7. Not only do I know the trends, but I am setting future trends. One of the trends in speaking that I share is that we are leaving the decade of experiential speaking and moving into the decade of what I call naked authenticity which means being REAL. Being who you really are is how you get emotionally connected to your audience. With respect to your audience, bring in your full personality. Sometimes, I will be a little goofy, or I will bring in one-liner jokes for fun. Also bring in your core values. What do you believe in? What do you stand for? If your audience cannot figure out what your values are, they may get confused and not choose to work with you. This could cost you in potential sales.
O is for Observer.
Not only are you a speaker, but you also need to be an observer. Always observe the people in your room. How are they reacting to your presentation? Are they laughing at your jokes? If they looked bored, you may need to change their state. One way to change a person’s state is by having them do something physical. One fun way to do this is to ask them to stand up and go into their hero pose. Give them suggestions like, Superman, Spiderman, or Wonder Woman, then say GO! You can do this anytime during your presentation whether you are speaking LIVE or virtual. It is a great way to change the state of the room and get your audience to physically move. Be an observer with a watchful eye and pay close attention to the people in your room. Sometimes, your mask can be in the form of blinders. Take it off and become the observer.
F is for Fear.
Many people have already quoted that fear stands for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” For me, it is “Fatal Expectations Altering Reality.” That is, thinking something is going to happen that alters your reality and then you act differently. Or you put on a mask. Get rid of the fear for it does not serve you! One way to get rid of the fear is to get trained as a speaker. I often see beginning speakers succumb to fear because they do not know how to speak. They do not know how to develop their speech, stories, or close. If you are going to step on stage it is imperative to get your degree in public speaking and take continuous training throughout your speaking career. There are a lot of speaker trainers in the world. If you would like to learn from me and get your MBA (Mentored by Arvee) visit https://arveerobinson.com/training/speaker-training-intensive/
When are you trained, you can take off the mask of fear and feel confident, deliver great information, and shine on stage.
The second F is for Face.
Taking the mask off your face and showing us who you truly are. Facing your fears, your audience and yourself. When you do that, your mask will fly off.
Learn more about removing your speaking mask on this brief video: