John D Rockefeller once observed, “The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.” Just as a small stream of water, given enough time, can succeed in carving out a large canyon, it is correctly performing the little tasks in life that add up to great accomplishment.
This is because of the additive effect of action upon action, all in the same direction. They combine across time to yield a vast effort: small items in the past when individually performed (and performed well) but tremendously large and powerful when viewed together in the present. Each of the tasks do not need to be individually large or unusual. According to Rockefeller, they can be common things.
Common Thing: Eye Contact
Nothing can be more common when speaking to another than to look them in the eye. Simple respect asks that we do that–engage and connect visually with someone when we want their attention and focus. Occasionally doing this correctly is a small thing, but if you consistently maintain proper eye contact with your audience, it will lead to effective communication and mutual respect. Strive for direct eye contact 95% of the time, for 3-5 seconds at a time, and don’t forget to include those on the sides and corners of the room.
Common Thing: Use Names
Also, it is common to use someone’s name when we speak with them. Dale Carnegie maintained, “Names are the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” It is a common courtesy to remember and use the names of those we address. No one likes the uncomfortable feeling of forgetting a name we should have remembered. When you, as a speaker, use the name of one person in your audience, an unusual result occurs. A connection is made to the entire group. When you do this with several other audience members, the effect is multiplied.
Common Thing: Speak from the Heart
Lastly, it is very common for humans to become passionate and stirred in their souls when they are moved by meaningful concepts and ideas. An audience feels the emotion of the speaker when they see it on their face, observe it in their body language, and detect it in their voice. This conveys real, authentic, heart-felt passion, not only for the message that is being presented, but also for the listeners. You can show this only when you sincerely desire that the audience receives and resonates with your message and zeal. Nothing is more common than this – sharing your mind and heart with another through effective dynamic, passion-filled communication.
Dynamic speakers would be well served to remember, practice, and implement these three common things. Do them well: make eye contact with the audience members; call out people by name to connect with them and others; and demonstrate your deep passion for your message and desire to convey that message to your listeners. In life, and in dynamic public speaking, “The secret of success is to do the common things uncommonly well.”
The Common Things in Dynamic Speaking – today’s CommLink. Be sure to look for more Dynamic Speaking principles, techniques, and best practices from P H Tyson & Associates.