Allison Shapira is founder and CEO of Global Public Speaking LLC and author of “Speak with Impact: How to Command the Room and Influence Others.” She teaches at the Harvard Kennedy School and offers keynote speeches, workshops, and executive coaching for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and nonprofits around the world.
What was the process for pulling research together for her new book? Conducting interviews? Pulling from personal experience? Allison has been teaching on public speaking for over 15 years. She has hundreds of stories spanning across just about every industry – giving her the depth of knowledge needed for this book. Allison saw trends of what worked, didn’t work and how to apply that information to the real world and real people. Public speaking is a critical skill in the professional world and it is a skill that needs training and coaching to become good at. Having knowledge and expertise on a subject alone does not make you a good speaker. Speaking clearly and concisely is a craft that demands hours of practice to feel comfortable.
Allison has had some brilliant and academically distinguished mentors, however the people she has learned from and been inspired by the most are in workshops. She is inspired by getting people “over the hump” and seeing scenarios that prove that public speaking is a skill that everyone can execute.
How does she get students over that “hump?” Vocal variety, eye contact and body language are three non-verbal communication elements that are key in giving an engaging presentation. Also, when people believe in what they are speaking on and are passionate about it, they seem to be less nervous and have less anxiety. A good presentation should feel like a conversation with the audience. With that being said, there is no such thing as perfection when it comes to public speaking. There is always room for improvement – Practice, practice, practice.
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