Tony Robbins is an electric public speaker.
For the past 30 years, people have paid hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars each to attend one of the performance coach’s high-energy seminars.
In addition to personally coaching powerful people like investing legend Paul Tudor Jones and President Bill Clinton, celebrities can often be found in his audience.
Oprah Winfrey said that Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within event was “one of the most incredible experiences” of her life, and Al Gore was in the front row of Robbins’ “Why we do what we do” TED Talk, which has now been viewed more than 25 million times online between TED’s site and YouTube.
While public speaking is a skill that can only improve with practice, we asked Robbins what techniques even novices can begin implementing in their next speech. Here are his top three tips.
Robbins said that getting to know your audience and respecting them for who they are 'might sound basic and corny, but I don't see it that way. I want to know, just like when I work with an individual, what do they desire, what do they hate, what do they love, what are they hungry for, what's missing?'
'Because the more you understand what somebody wants, needs, and fears, the more you can figure out how to add value,' he said. Before he speaks at an event or in front of a company, he does his 'homework' and interviews people who will be attending, and has his team fill him in on what the else he needs to know.
Robbins said that in order to leave a lasting impression on your audience, you need to surprise them by going deeper than they predicted. The key to doing this is by truly caring about what you're saying.
'Don't ever speak publicly about anything that you're not passionate about and that you don't actually believe you have something truly unique to deliver,' he said.
'Don't get roped into talking about something that you don't really have passion for, and don't get roped into something you don't have expertise in. Why should somebody listen to you? If you're going to take somebody's time, you better deliver.'
'We've all been put to sleep by somebody who's told us all these wonderful facts that didn't matter because information without emotion is not retained,' Robbins said. A great presenter draws you in and takes you outside of yourself. That's why you need to transport the audience.
And the way to move an audience is by becoming moved yourself, which can only happen if you're being genuine.
'So if you're just giving some frickin' talk you've memorized over and over again, you're going to have a flat affect,' he said. 'If you've just got a bunch of visuals on the screen that are leading your talk, hang up your shoes and get the hell out of there.' Practice your presentation, but give yourself room to improvise.
'You need to be in the moment and flexible to make it real and raw,' Robbins said. 'You'll enjoy it, they will enjoy it, and you'll be memorable.'
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