“Have fun!”

That was the words I found myself saying to two of the other speakers of the conference I spoke at earlier this week. (The conference was LEAP – a great HR conference in Bucharest, Romania with enthusiastic 700+ attendees (www.LEAP.ro).)

I could, of course, have chosen anything to say to them, but I picked “Have fun”, and in this episode of Professional Speaking I want to share why I think that is the best advice to tell a speaker before going up on stage.

So why is that?

Enjoyment is contagious. (Now, in these COVID-19 times the term “contagious” is perhaps not immediately connected to “joy”(The Coronavirus is serious stuff), but “contagious” is still the best word I can think of. A person having fun at their job (be that a bus driver, a waiter or a speaker) will affect the mood of the people around that person.

Having fun makes you less nervous. And being less nervous makes you relaxed. A relaxed speaker creates a relaxed audience.

Having fun makes you less stuck up on yourself. And that means you focus less on yourself and the single best advice for being a great speaker is to focus more on the message and the audience than on yourself.

Having fun makes you improvise more. When you are having fun it’s easier to laugh at your own mistake, easier to see new things you could do in the spur of the moment, and makes you more creative. All things that make a speech better.

Audiences find it easier to connect with a speaker whom they can see is having fun. And connecting with an audience is so important.

I could go on. A speaker having fun will communicate a message better. And it is true for virtually all topics. Even the most serious ones. (Do a test at the next conference you attend. Rate all the speakers you hear during one day on who you thought was the best speaker of the day. And also rank who how fun you think they had on stage. I am pretty sure that you will see a very clear correlation.)

So, did I tell myself to “have fun” too? I did. Did it work? I think so. (Not only for me but also for the two speakers I gave the advice to.)

I personally especially remember one woman of the many people who came up to me after my speech at LEAP who said: “I loved your speech.” and then added: “You have a very special, positive aura around you.”

Those two sentences combined into one feedback to me is what triggered this post. They show a very clear relationship between a speaker having fun on stage and the audience enjoying the speech. Now, this might sound like almost native advice, but I am surprised about how often speakers go up on stage and their “joyometer” is turned way down.

So the next time you go up to deliver the speech – for 700 or for 70 people – tell yourself to “have fun” right before you go up on stage. Then smile a huge smile and walk up that stage.


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