Leveraging Enthusiasm

Leveraging the Power of Enthusiasm

Written by Guest Blogger Jay Miller

It was all very last minute. As I recall, I had only a couple of hours to prepare. In fact I was rehearsing my speech in the car on the way to the event. But when I stood up to speak there was no fear. There was no worry about the mistakes I might make. There was just this sense of amazement about what I had learned, and an intense desire to share it with my listeners. I felt carried along on a wave of energy and enthusiasm. I remember how my listeners’ eyes were shining, how their faces were bright, and there was a sense of wonder and discovery in the room.

It was certainly not the most thoroughly prepared or the most polished speech I’ve ever given, but it was, without a doubt, the most memorable, and it taught me the power of enthusiasm to bring a topic to life and create a memorable experience for your listeners.

Enthusiasm isn’t the only trait you have to cultivate in order to be a good public speaker, but it’s certainly one of the critical attributes. Lots of things can go wrong onstage, but enthusiasm will cover a multitude of errors. Your ability to feel and express enthusiasm can make the difference between you being memorable or forgettable.

Enthusiasm - a critical attribute

It was all very last minute. As I recall, I had only a couple of hours to prepare. In fact I was rehearsing my speech in the car on the way to the event. But when I stood up to speak there was no fear. There was no worry about the mistakes I might make. There was just this sense of amazement about what I had learned, and an intense desire to share it with my listeners. I felt carried along on a wave of energy and enthusiasm. I remember how my listeners’ eyes were shining, how their faces were bright, and there was a sense of wonder and discovery in the room.

It was certainly not the most thoroughly prepared or the most polished speech I’ve ever given, but it was, without a doubt, the most memorable, and it taught me the power of enthusiasm to bring a topic to life and create a memorable experience for your listeners.

Enthusiasm isn’t the only trait you have to cultivate in order to be a good public speaker, but it’s certainly one of the critical attributes. Lots of things can go wrong onstage, but enthusiasm will cover a multitude of errors. Your ability to feel and express enthusiasm can make the difference between you being memorable or forgettable.

Real enthusiasm comes from inside. It’s the result of immersing yourself in your message until you’re possessed by a sense of its importance and its significance for your listeners. You have to be able to answer these questions:

  • “Why does this matter?
  • Why should I spend my time talking about this
  • and why should the audience spend their time listening?”

You also need to be able to answer the question, “What is my motivation for sharing this message?” Your answers have to change the way you feel and your state of being. They can not just be an academic response.

Once you feel something for your message, how do you express enthusiasm? Well, first of all, you express enthusiasm by opening up and allowing it to flow, not tightening up and working hard at it.

You can proclaim loudly, with a straining voice and veins standing out on your neck, “This is exciting!! This is something you should NOT do!” But if it’s all bottled up, under pressure and fighting its way through six layers of tension, your listeners probably aren’t feeling all that much. It’s just “sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

By contrast, if you’re able to say, “This is exciting. This is something you should know,” and it’s resonating from your core, flowing easily and generously, with you as an open conduit and nothing getting in the way, then it’s much more likely your listeners are feeling something.

enthusiasm - allow it to flow

Enthusiasm invites you to be fully engaged while investing energy in the interaction with your listeners. The person who stands at the front of the room and says, “It’s exciting to be here today,” with a flat voice, a blank face, and little to no body movement is obviously not communicating enthusiasm or passion, no matter what words are used.

Most speakers I work with have very little sense of what they’re actually giving to their listeners when they speak. They think they’re smiling, but they’re not. They think they’re filling the room with their voice, but they’re not. They think they’re using gestures effectively, but they’re not.

It turns out that your own perception of what you’re putting out there is often unreliable, and doesn’t match what your listeners are actually seeing and hearing. So expressing enthusiasm means giving yourself permission to put a little more energy into that performance than what might feel natural or what is typical for you. What feels like too much to you is often just right for your listeners.

Enthusiasm - fully engaged

Enthusiasm doesn’t just happen. It won’t fall out of the sky, and you can’t expect your listeners to bring it to the interaction. YOU have to bring enthusiasm into the room, so find it in yourself and give yourself permission to put it out there into the room. Then watch how your listeners respond.

I sometimes wonder whether, after all these years, I’m still trying to recapture the magic of that speech I described at the beginning of this article. I know that sometimes I’ve come really close and other times I’ve fallen very short.

I also know that, to the extent I’ve been able to feel the importance and significance of my message, while opening myself up and generously investing energy in the interaction with my listeners, the more remarkable things can happen and public speaking can become a powerful way to influence the lives of others.

Bio

Jay is a speech coach providing training in voice, public speaking and executive presence for a wide range of corporate and private clients. He has over thirty years experience in the field of voice and speech and over twenty years in private practice.

Jay loves helping people become more effective communicators. He’s passionate about caring for people and helping them grow. Jay helps individuals discover more of themselves and urges them to be more fully available whenever they communicate with others. His ideal clients are dedicated leaders and successful professionals. Most importantly, they are enthusiastic, open‐minded, achievement oriented and committed to personal growth.

Learn more about Jay here:  https://voiceandspeech.com/

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Dan Ram ignites the stage as an in-person event and virtual event EMCEE & Speaker at over 100 events a year.  He has shared the stage with international luminaries including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities.  Level up your communication skills through his course and mastermind  Speaking Success.  If  you want to make this the year that you master your personal brand, check out Dan’s Full Service Personal Branding Agency. His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.

2 thoughts on “Leveraging the Power of Enthusiasm”

  1. I love the case you make here for NATURAL enthusiasm. I often hear words like charisma, enthusiasm, and energy thrown around without the caution that those attributes should flow naturally from you in correlation to the confidence and urgency of your message! Great guest post!

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