In this introductory podcast episode I’m going to talk about who I am, my experiences with public speaking in the past, what I do at the moment and why public speaking is important in my day-to-day and in my job, why I started PublicSpeakingPower.com and where I want to take it and where I want to go with my speaking eventually.
Breaking the myth of public speaking
I want to thank you so much for tuning in.
In future episodes we’re going to talk more specific about how you can improve your public speaking skills. We’re going to talk about everything from overcoming fear of public speaking to what you should do with your hands during your speech to how to give an introduction and all of those different things.
I am learning along the way. I in no way plan to present myself as a public speaking guru, a public speaking expert. But, I am someone who is passionate about public speaking who wants to learn more, who wants to be great at it and eventually, someone who wants to help other people become great at public speaking as well.
I think public speaking is so powerful. I know that it’s listed as one of the biggest fears out there, higher than death. Jerry Springer, hilarious guy, in one of his stand up talks which is on Seinfeld, I saw it the other day, he says, “Public speaking is the biggest fear, more so than death. So, when you’re at a funeral, most people would rather be in the coffin than they would giving the eulogy.”
Obviously, he says it a lot funnier and makes it hilarious as he does.
I’m so surprised. I understand why it is so scary, but I also know that you can overcome that fear and become a better public speaker that it would make a huge difference in your life. There is nothing that has boosted my confidence more than being able to speak in public and being able to give sales presentations as well.
Those two things I think in the last two years have really kick-started my self-esteem, have boosted my progress and just changed how confident I am as a person. I believe that if anyone wants to learn how to become a public speaker they will get benefits on the side like self-confidence, like great self-esteem and all of those things.
Who am I?
My name’s Ryan McLean. I live in Australia. I am in my mid-twenties, but I’m married with two kids.
That effectively makes me 35 or 40 years old. I’m a bit ahead of my time. I got married very young.
I work in pharmaceutical sales, so I spend my entire day speaking to pharmacists and people who work in pharmacies. I also do a lot of public speaking in the forms of group trainings.
I will often, multiple times during the month, will get up in front of a crowd. Maybe it’s a small crowd of ten people, maybe it’s a larger crowd of 30 to 40 or 50 staff members and will get up and will speak to that crowd.
I’m constantly wanting to become a better presenter, both in my one-on-one interactions as a sales representative, and then a better presenter as in the group trainings. I want to be more effective and those sorts of things.
That I what I do, who I am. It’s a hard thing to go into and you’ll find out as you listen to this podcast. Things will come out about who I am and what things I like.
First experiences in public speaking.
What I wanted to talk about was my first experiences in public speaking. Again, as I said, I don’t want to come across as some guru or some public speaking expert because the fact of the matter is I didn’t start out as a great public speaker.
I’m probably a good public speaker at the moment, but not fantastic. That’s where I want to get. I want to be excellent. I want to be able to get up on stage at a Ted conference and give an amazing speech that changes people’s lives. I want to be an effective communicator, but I didn’t always start out being a good communicator.
I remember, one of my earliest experiences was in high school. I was about 15 at the time and I was giving a public speech to be elected as an SRC member, which is the Student Representative Council. At this, I guess group gathering, there was a 150 students.
I got up to tell the students why they should vote for me and why they should elect me for the Student Representative Council. The speech, when I think back on it, I hang my head in shame because it was such a horrible speech. I was trying to give a passionate speech about not conforming and not coming under the tyranny of rules and things like that. I just look back and I was so young at the time and so naïve.
The things that I thought mattered back then didn’t actually matter. I just made a complete fool of myself. My speech was so silly. I laugh at it now, but the worst thing wasn’t my speech.
The worst thing, which I only found out after my friends were laughing at me after we got out of this assembly, was that I spent the entire speech rocking back and forth on my feet, but I was actually making a thrusting gesture towards the entire audience throughout my entire speech.
So one, my speech was terrible, two, I was thrusting at the audience the entire time. Granted to say, I wasn’t elected for the SRC on that occasion.
Again, in year twelve I would have been about 17. I decided to go for school president. The same sort of thing, SRC, but instead it’s a bigger role as school president. I tried to prepare my speech the day before. I had no idea what I was talking about. I would not be good in the role. I wasn’t qualified for the role, but for some reason I thought I ought to go for it and ought to try and get elected.
I made this speech the night before. I rehearsed it and I remembered it and then I’m sitting in the crowd on the day listening to other people’s speeches and I realized how poor mine was. What I decided to do was to completely wing it and to throw out all that I had prepared and just give an impromptu speech.
Granted to say, it was not very good. There was a lot of long pauses, a lot of ums and ahs and overall it was an extremely poor delivery. I can’t really remember, but I’m sure I got made fun of by my friends on that occasion as well.
I had multiple awkward circumstances where I was made of and made an embarrassment of myself in front of a large audience and in high school that’s the last thing that you want to do. I didn’t start out great, but I want to get better with time.
When the passion started
One of my better presentations was actually before I was in high school. This is what really started to get me passionate about public speaking.
I had been to school and learned that we had to prepare a speech to give in front of the class. It was a four to five minute speech. What I wanted to speak on was recycling because it was something that I was very passionate about at the time and something that wasn’t a community focus, it wasn’t something that was done.
I wanted to talk to people about the importance of recycling and how they can do it and how they can get involved.
I came home and I’m talking to my dad about this speech that I’ve got to give and talking about how I want to speak on recycling and my dad starts hammering me, in a good way, with all of these ideas about what I can talk about. How I can talk about clean up Australia today, how I can talk about the different ways to recycle, the different things you can recycle, how you can do it, all these different ideas.
I’m jotting them down on a piece of paper and he’s basically giving me my entire speech.
There was a moment when I’m sitting on the kitchen bench, writing these things down and he’s telling me and I just stopped and I said, “Dad, look, stop. Your ideas are great. I love them, but look, I want to write my speech myself.” At that moment I threw out all of his ideas and I started from scratch.
I decided that, yes, I probably could deliver a better speech if my dad wrote it for me, but I actually want to learn and I actually want to become a better public speaker myself. I want to write this myself. I want to deliver this myself.
I presented it in the class and then I actually presented it in front of the entire school at the time. I didn’t win any prizes or anything like that, but I was very proud of myself of taking that step to say, “No, look, I want to own this. I want this to be my own and I want to become better at public speaking.” I think that’s when the passion really started.
I would have only been about nine or ten. I think it was that one good experience back in year four when I was nine or ten that gave me the courage to do those speeches when I was 15 and when I was 17.
It gave me the courage to keep going despite the fact that I had made a fool of myself.
Moving Into a Sales and Training Role
Then, a couple of years ago I moved into sales. I was always working in the pharmaceutical industry, but I started working for a pharmaceutical company in sales. I started on the phone and then moved up to face-to-face.
I love the face-to-face interactions and I love the group trainings that I get to do. When I’m on the road and when I’m talking to pharmacists and all these staff I want to get the best result for them and for my company as well.
What I found is that you can say the same thing, but you can say it in two different ways and you’ll get a different result. One of the things that I always like to do is try and deliver great insight to my customers and be a valuable resource to them. But, if I say something the wrong way and deliver the insight in the wrong way, well then, my customers aren’t going to get the best out of me.
Why I started PublicSpeakingPower.com
I want to become a better public speaker. I want to become a very effective public speaker. I guess that that is why I’ve started Public Speaking Power.
This is a topic that I’m passionate about. It’s a topic that I’m starting to get good at. Maybe not great just yet, but I’m starting to get better at it, but it’s also a topic that I don’t necessarily understand the finer details of.
I know intuitively how to speak. I know, through practice, that one way of saying something is better than another way, but I don’t necessarily know all the tips and tricks and techniques that all these public speaking experts talk about. That’s something that I want to delve into in Public Speaking Power.
I want to become a powerful public speaker.
I want to be someone who opens his mouth, people don’t just listen, but people’s lives are impacted. I think that’s what it means to be a powerful public speaker.
I think you can be a great public speaker, you can be very refined. You can follow all the right structure and everything like that, but if you’re not delivering a powerful message and actually impacting people’s lives then it defeats the purpose. Well, for me, anyway. I want to be able to have that impact.
The Stomping Ground of Public Speaking
Public Speaking Power for me, I would call it a stomping ground. It’s an area where I get to learn more, I get to share what I’m learning and I get to practice with you guys.
I get to practice recording these podcasts about public speaking. I get to practice becoming better and understanding. What will happen with the podcast over time, this being the first podcast, will probably be the worst one of all of them because over time I’ll learn these techniques and I’ll begin to use them in my speeches, in my podcast and I’ll begin to see the results.
I will become more effective, more polished, easier to listen to. Over time I’ll invest in better microphones and things like that, but I really just want to get knee-deep in public speaking because I think no matter what profession I go into, whether I stay in sales for the rest of my life or whether I move into some other aspect, I want to be able to communicate effectively because I believe that leaders have the ability to communicate effectively to a large group of people.
If you don’t know how to communicate effectively then it’s going to be very hard to become a leader and be very hard to have that impacting change.
What’s the next step
When it comes down to where do I want to go eventually, the truth is I’m 25 at the moment – I don’t necessarily know.
At the moment I’m really focused on becoming better at what I do, which is sales and speaking. I’m focused on my wife and my family and providing for them. I’ve got two little kids. Really, this is just coming a side passion of who I am.
Where do I want to take this eventually? Eventually I would love to be able to get up and speak in front of crowds. I would love to be able to train people. I would love to be able to work intimately with people maybe as a public speaking coach and teach them how to refine their speech, how to become better.
But, that’s so far down the road that I don’t know whether it will eventuate or not and I’m still forming ideas of where I want to go, where I want to take this, will I end up doing podcasts every single day and build up this website.
I’ve got ideas of a membership site that I’d love to build to help reinforce the message that I’m giving and to give even better content and video content and examples to my membership site. That’s something that I’m considering down the road.
The answer to where do I want to eventually take this is not 100% clear, but as the website goes up, as the podcast listeners, as you guys start to filter in you will give me feedback as to what you want. You will give me feedback as to what you will need help with.
Again, as my journey progresses, as I learn about speaking, as I learn about the important areas some things will strike accord with me and some things won’t sit well with me. The things that strike a chord, I will run with those and the things that I don’t agree with or that don’t say well or that I don’t think make an impact, those I can just let go.
That will define where I take this eventually. At the moment nothing’s set in stone. We’re going on this journey together to become better public speakers, to overcome our fear, to become more polished, to have an impact and be powerful.
Again, I just want to thank you dearly for tuning in to listening to this podcast. I hope that this is giving you some insight into who I am and what this podcast is all about. I look forward to delivering great content moving forward. Thank you so much and I will speak to you soon.