Some of you are gonna call me a hypocrite when you hear me say this, but I'm gonna just be transparent with you. I can't stand it when people call public speaking a soft skill and I even have courses about soft skills here on Udemy where we talk about public speaking, but here's where I hate it. You call something is soft skill. And it sounds like a soft little puppy. It's warm. It's fuzzy.
It's not quantifiable. It's just something you're supposed to. Like and frilly little thing. No, there's nothing about public speaking that isn't just as quantifiable. That is hard data driven quantifiable as any aspect of mathematics, physics, accounting, or chemistry. Here's what I mean by that.
All those things you can test. You can add up your numbers, does it add up? You're building a new bridge does it fall down? When a car dries up? You can actually test these hard sciences well It's exactly the same with public speaking, and presentation skills. If you have a presentation to give to 30 clients or prospects or customers on Thursday, test your speech to two or three colleagues Tuesday at lunch.
Ask them what do they remember? Do they remember your key messages if they don't remember your messages, you now have 100% empirical evidence that your speech is completely worthless. I want you to take that speech you prepare, tear it up and throw it in the trash can it does not work. If you tested a bridge to go from two cities over a major river, you put it up and the design instantly crumbled and and five cars plunge to their death, the people inside you wouldn't then say, Okay, well, let's now build this bridge in real life in front of to larger cities and a larger river, the fact that it doesn't work well, you know, let's just do it. No, no one would ever do that. Why in the world do we think it's acceptable to give a presentation?
When we have no evidence it works. Here's how you do it. you've practiced your speech on video. And you have two ways of doing this. Send the video of your very best presentation to a couple of colleagues, maybe in a different city, maybe in a different continent. Don't tell them what you're going to do in advance.
Just ask them to look at it and to email you. When they've looked at it. Then call them up. Call them through Skype, phone, anything else? Don't ask them what they think of your presentation. They'll tell you Oh, it's great.
You're confident you're comfortable, completely worthless advice. Ask your colleagues, what do they remember from your presentation? And they might start off by saying well, you were very smooth and comfortable and polished. politely politely say, it's not what I asked. I want to know what messages do you actually remember from this presentation? Because I ask people that all the time.
And so if they say something like, well, TJ, you are great, you are professional, you are smooth, confident. And I know my speech was a complete, utter failure. If people can't tell me exactly what my messages were, exactly what the stories were exactly what slides there were, it means I didn't communicate. So, one technique, take that last video that you did in the previous exercise, which I'm confident you did. Just email the video to other people and ask them to take a look at the other thing. That's an even better way of doing this is your presentation is on Thursday.
Get a couple colleagues together Tuesday. Maybe you're in a shared workspace, you can find someone who doesn't work. For your company, but whose mindset whose knowledge base is similar to that prospect or customer you'll be speaking with, say, Hey, come on by for lunch, I'll give you a sandwich for free on me and give them your presentation. Don't tell them advance, you're going to be testing. Don't let them take notes because chances are your real life customers and prospects you're speaking to aren't taking notes of what you said. Just give them your presentation.
Then, as I mentioned, ask, ask what they remember. Ask every message that sticks. Now the good news is if they tell you messages, they remember and it's the messages you cared about one of your initial five, fantastic. Let's celebrate you now have empirical evidence, hard factual data that the way you are presenting that information works. Keep it keep it in the speech and when you're getting It have the confidence knowing. It's not about luck today, it's not about whether you're on today you already have tested, you know, you're giving your audience material that works.
Test your slides the same way. The slides that work, the messages that work, the stories that work, meaning they're actually remembered, keep them use them. Anything that doesn't work, throw it in the trash can, let's keep retooling it till we have something we know that works. People don't like to do this. Most people don't do this. Your colleagues are not doing this.
Your competitors are not doing this. Guess what? It costs nothing but a little time. And this is frankly time that most people spend typing and typing more and more bullet points on a PowerPoint slide that no one's ever going to look at. So use your time effectively. It will pay off for you