It’s about learning the organic process of connecting with people not mechanical box ticking of things “you’re supposed to do”
American actor, director and screenwriter Alan Alda has had quite the illustrious career. Streching four decades, not only has he picked up seven Emmy’s, a Golden Globe and an academy award nomination he’s also learned the tricks of the trade in effective communication.
In this conversation with Big Think, he explains why you should be weary of ‘tips’ on public speaking. Methodical steps like ‘take a pause after every paragraph’ or ‘walk from one side of the room to the other’ may sound good on paper but in practice, nothing will lose an audience quicker than the speaker mechanically following pre-planned pointers and movements.
Alda believes you should first and foremost focus on relating and connecting with the audience. That will inform you in the moment when to pause or when to walk. By learning to react to the audience you can sense whether they understand the point, whether it needs further explanation or whether you can tag on something extra to give it meaning and value.
Most importantly, connecting with an audience on a meaningful level requires an adept knowledge and deep understanding of the subject.
Alda eventually cedes towards the end of the clip and admits there are some ‘tips’ which may be useful in adding a bit of flair and compelling edge to speech after the groundwork is complete.
This is an honest and informative clip that offers intriguing insight without sounding preachy or pontifical.
Watch the interview below: