Does trying to become masterful in public speaking ever feel like you’re going in circles? For a long time, it felt like that to me too. It was frustrating to see speakers who wanted to be paid or advance their business with heroic stories, world changing messages, and passionate missions not land their presentations successfully with their audiences.

I watched and coached plenty of professional speakers, and to my amazement, they aren’t masters of everything in public speaking either.

And these professionals still get their point across, transform audiences, and get gigs.

So, what’s the difference between professional speakers, and the rest of the world?

It’s the first circle in the 5 Pillars for Public Speaking diagram.

It’s Intention.

You see Intention is what holds 3 of the other public speaking pillars in place – Clear Content, Authentic Delivery, and Audience Engagement. Wanting to improve in one of these 3 areas became a sign to me to check if the speaker had a clear intention.

Whether you write down or say out loud your intention, or even if you’re not aware of one, an intention is still operating the outcomes of your public speaking; an intention is what determines your success level at choosing the right words, remembering your talk, and using appropriate voice and body cues.

If you take nothing else from this post, know that setting a conscious intention for your next presentation is THE key to knocking it out of the park.

In creating a diagram to represent the areas of public speaking, it simplified how to take stock of where speakers want to improve. The three inner circles are easy to identify and measure subjectively. Speakers would come to me and say “I want to be clearer with my message,” or “I want to know how to move on stage.” They’d do a talk in front of me and I’d give them feedback on where they could improve. We’d work together a bit, but the quality of their confidence and presence never WOWed them or their audiences. They didn’t achieve their goals.

I had been coaching a personal development coach to create their signature talk. Confidence on the stage and clearly conveying their ideas were their number one focus for improvement. This speaker would type out, verbatim, what they wanted to say, ‘highlighter pen’, ‘bold type’, ‘enlarge text’ important phrases and then laminate the pages. This dedicated speaker was improving, but was getting stuck in their head at crucial moments and felt constricted and ridgid. They were really not trusting themself, their passionate message, or their audience.

At the same time I was doing my own inner work creating intentions for my life and business. I was working on a process to deepen my focus from what to why. One day I was creating a reusable set of deep questions for this client to create presentation content when a light bulb went off in my head!

What was missing was the heart of the speaker, the why, the love for the audience. The place in us that is always knowing, always remembers even when we are scared or stressed.

Our intention.

None of the other parts of public speaking can be improved or mastered without the correct Intention.

Armed with their new intention, the next time this speaker spoke to a group of potential clients, they lit up like a fire cracker. They said it was the best talk ever – and they hadn’t even finished writing their content.

A while back, I gave a talk that didn’t land well with a group of networkers. I tried to go to blame or shame, anything not to see my own responsibility in not doing well. Ever gone down that spiral. After taking a humility pill with a coach pal of mine, I saw what prevented me from being in truly connection to them and delivering a talk that served their highest good; my intention.

I could go on, and on about how intentional public speaking has served me and my clients. What will serve you most now is to go out and try it. I invite you to play with it.

As a gift for getting to the end of this post, here are the 7 questions to create your own public speaking intention, from the Public Speaking In Alignment with Who You Are blog post.

I always have space in my coaching calendar for conversations with people who have a world changing message, are willing to play big, and are ready and willing to do the inner work to transform from beginner to master. Get in touch with me to see if an invitation for a complimentary coaching experience with me is something that will powerfully serve you.