The 3 phases of a speakers’ development are: 1: Their concerns about self. 2. Their concern about their message and 3: Their concerns about their audience.
Many years ago, I attended a workshop with the 1990 World Champion of Public Speaking, David Brooks, who spoke about these three phases. In his talk, he also emphasized the importance of writing out your speeches to have something to edit. Immediately I was hooked. To repeat a few of David’s words of wisdom: “All great speakers refined their thoughts on paper – before they spoke, they wrote.”
Do you know which phase of development you are in presently? You could find the answer to that question by simply looking at one of your recent speeches. Ask yourself, is my speech focused on self, the message, or my audience?
In the first of the three phases of development, speakers are concerned about how they look, how they feel, and how they sound. Concern with yourself in this development phase is where many speakers begin and where average speakers remain.
When a speaker focuses on giving speeches for personal satisfaction, the singular first-person pronouns “I” are noticeable in their writing. The text of the speech will show the number of times they repeated the pronoun “I” instead of the more inclusive, we, us, or you.
Putting your words on paper and editing them will help restructure your sentences to be more message-focused. Focusing on the message is the second phase speakers graduate to as they move forward in their development.
In the second phase of the development process, speakers usually shift their concerns to their message. Speakers in phase two edit what they have written for accuracy, clarity, and brevity. Their focus is on effectively communicating their message. Speakers in this phase put the needs of their audience before their personal opinions, likes, and dislikes. Their focus is on their message.
They also focus how their audience will receive their message. Each sentence is checked carefully for clarity and brevity. Speakers in phase two know the importance of speaking to be understood and to be repeated. They know, what’s evident to the speaker may not be apparent to their audience. Regardless of how beautifully written your text sounds, when in doubt, leave it out.
The third phase of development is where all speakers aspire to be; concerned about their audience. They are confident, comfortable with themselves, concern about their message, and are focused on their audience. To get to that third phase, speakers must free themselves from the expectations of perfection. They are willing to reveal who they are and what they are about to their audience.
Phase three speakers are confident communicating with their audience, even when faced with the unexpected. So, where are you as a speaker? If you are in phase one, the move forward is simple. Change your focus and concerns. Focus on your message and your audience. You will become a better speaker when you know where you are, in the three phases of development as a speaker.