Make Public Speaking Easier with this ONE Gift (Guest Post by Bronwyn Ritchie: www.YourStoryMatters.today)
No matter how much we love or hate, endure or relish public speaking, we would all love it to be
easier to plan and present successfully.
And it can be, if you just apply this one particular perspective to every presentation – the
perspective of giving a gift.
My family is a small family, and we love giving gifts to celebrate special occasions like Christmas and
birthdays. We spend time trying to find a gift that will make the other person happy or be useful for
them. We try to find the best wrapping paper for that person and that gift. Then, on the special
occasion, we spend time giving and receiving. If we are giving, we talk about why we bought this
particular present, how we thought it would be most suitable. If we are receiving, we examine the
present and find its value and contribute to the process by discussing that value and how much we
appreciate it. There is a lot of humour and a lot of pleasure in this process, and it strengthens the
bonds of our little family.
Imagine being able to bring that sort of pleasure and easy success to your public speaking. With the
gift-giving perspective it is possible. Make every speech a gift-giving and you create for yourself that
ease and a much less complicated path to success, as you plan and present.
It provides you with a baseline from which to work. It provides you with a framework for achieving
your goals in your presentations, for creating clarity of thinking and for presenting with confidence.
Turn your speech into a gift-giving. Present whatever it is that you are proposing, as a gift.
Whether it is a plan of action for your audience to follow, a system to implement, or a way of
thinking to adopt, present it as a gift, something of value, something your audience will enjoy and/or
Here are 5 ways you can use this concept every time you plan and speak to make the whole process
1. Overcome nerves. Most of us who suffer from nerves do so for two main reasons. We fear
being judged and we fear mistakes. Turn the focus away from yourself and your
performance and towards the gift and your giving and you take away the fear. Now the
focus is on your generosity, your gift and how you can best package it for your audience.
There is no “fail” because the focus is on the gift and not on the “performance”
2. Clarify your message. If you have to articulate what your gift is, for yourself, and for your
audience, you are forced to be very clear. Your message needs to be, basically, “Here is my
gift to you”. Then all of the points that you make and all of the structure of your speech –
everything - focuses on explaining its values and the joy of giving and receiving. The whole
presentation is focussed on the one message. This will make it so much easier to tighten up
your content and make sure you only use what is relevant to your message, and the
outcome you want.
3. Create engagement. Gift giving is a recognised social behaviour. As long as people can
trust that you have no nasty strings attached to the gift, it is a social situation they are
familiar with, a situation they can relax into and enjoy. It is akin to storytelling in its ability
to have an audience tune into your wavelength and drop their distrust of your message.
4. Encourage reflection. Putting your message in gift-giving terms really allows you to
encourage your audience to reflect on it. If you can get them to see whatever it is you want
them to do, think or believe acting in their lives it is far easier to get them to take ownership
I’m sure my Dad was visualising himself using the notebook I gave him at Christmas-time
when I was a child. It fitted into his shirt pocket, it fitted the leather holder he always used
and it had a space for his pencil, all of the things he needed to keep track of his purchases.
My husband, on the other hand, looked carefully at the jumper I knitted him one year, and
noticed all too quickly that one arm was longer than the other. I had finished it the night
before … and really haven’t done much knitting since! … which brings me to the next point.
5. Focus on audience needs. We choose our gifts carefully (usually) trying to find something
that we can enjoy giving and that the recipient can enjoy and/or find useful … and that their
friends and acquaintances will approve. (And it is very difficult to enjoy, use or impress with
a jumper with one arm longer than the other!) So if you see your presentation as a gift-
giving, you will choose to ensure you are meeting your audience’s needs and wants – as you
do when you give a gift. No longer will you be tempted to present just who you are, what
you have done for them and what its features are, but rather what you are giving them and
what its benefits are – for them, one of the basic steps to success.
So when you next present and give a speech, what is the gift you will give? Start there and the rest
of the process will fall into place. Enjoy!
Kwesi Millington helps speakers, presenters and youth to connect with their audiences and master their messages using the power of storytelling in their speeches & presentations. He is a Certified Public Speaking Coach & Youth Mentor.