Channel: Muslim Life Hackers
Series: Muslim Life Hackers - Season 3
Joining us on the show this week is brother Omar Usman, the co founder of Muslim Matters, Qalam Institute and Debt Free Muslims and one of the instructors of the Khateeb and Sisters Public Speaking workshop by the Qalam Institute. In this episode, we speak all about public speaking, including how to deliver a powerful speech regardless of your personality type, the art of speech writing and ways to receive honest feedback.
You're listening to the Muslim life hack his podcast.
Assalamu Aleikum, I'm a from Earth and welcome to season three of Muslim life hackers podcast. The Muslim life hackers podcast brings together individuals from all walks of life to give their insights on an area to help you live better, achieve more and succeed in this life and the next. If you're new to the show, make sure to check out our episode archives over at Muslim life hackers.com, where you'll find all the episodes from season one and season two. Now, let's get started.
We speak to Brother Omar Osman. He's the co founder of Muslim matters, column Institute and debt free Muslims, along with being one of the instructors of the Hatim and sisters public workshop by the column Institute. In this episode, we speak all about public speaking, including how to deliver a powerful speech regardless of your personality type, the art of speech writing on ways to keep improving, I highly recommend you give this a listen, even if you're not going to be doing a speech anytime soon, as there are many lessons you can take away and just generally improving your communication. Plus, we'll be sharing an exclusive resource special to Muslim life, hackers
audience, but you'll have to stick around till the end of the episode to find that. So without further ado, here is the interview.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself some of the things that you do.
So my name is Omar respond. I work full time in the corporate field. And I'm involved with a couple of different projects mostly under the umbrella of Calum Institute. So that would be thicker social media, that free Muslims Muslim strategic initiative and also hit the workshop. Oh, wow, that, that sounds like you've got quite a few things, Ronnie. Yeah, keeps you busy. Yeah. So our topic today is about public speaking. And I know that there's a lot that can be said on this. But that wants to tackle this by using an example so that we can make it practical and see some of the steps that go into creating and delivering a speech. So how does that sound? Sounds good. Great. Okay, so someone
has been asked to give a speech at a gathering that's coming up. So that speech, they need to ensure that it captivates the audience. It doesn't put people to sleep or doesn't cause people to, you know, grab their phones during it. And most importantly, it achieves its purpose, be it inspire people or cause them to take action or just make them love, whatever the speech is about. So that's the task, what is the first step from here. So the first step, and the first step may not sound like a big deal. And it may sound a little bit nuanced, but it's probably the most important part. And that is putting yourself in the shoes of the audience. Now, most people when starting out, if you
give them that task, and they're not an experienced speaker, they'll say things like, well, what if I get nervous? What if I forget what I'm going to talk about? What about if I do this? What if I do that? What do I say? And the problem with all of those questions is it keeps the focus on the speaker, as opposed to the audience. So in starting out, you have to start out with the mindset of the audience, the audience is giving you their time to listen to you speak, what are they getting out of it? So first and foremost, you have to define the purpose? Is it to leave them with some type of information? Is it some type of action item? Are you trying to persuade them from one point of
view to another? Are you trying to leave them with some type of general inspiration? None of these is more correct than the other? It depends on the setting. But you have to identify what that purpose is, and then figure out the best possible way to achieve that purpose.
Yeah, that's true. Because some sometimes when he approached his whole speech thing, it's like, it's kind of needy be like, I'm gonna get nervous, I'm gonna get the right. It's like, how do I get good speech? And the question that you should be asking is, how does the speech help the audience? Yeah, that's true. Yeah, there's a big difference between the two, you know, you can be a very polished, a very polished speaker, speak very well. Use great rhetorical devices have very polished content. But if it doesn't help the audience in any way, they won't care. There's a lot of politicians who speak very well, but nobody cares about what they have to say. Okay, that's true. And on the on the flip
side, there's a lot of people who maybe don't speak with a very high level of sophistication, but they're extremely effective speakers whose message reaches the audience.
So you have to you have to start out by defining what the actual point of the speeches and then you construct, what's the best way of getting there to achieve that purpose. So can you tell us the process of creating a speech like is there such thing like say, the best way of researching and putting the content together?
I mean, the best way is going to be whatever way works. The process that we teach, for example, in the theme training and sisters public speaking, is to always isolate a topic sentence. So think of it this way if you're giving a 30 minute speech and someone walks
At the very end, and they only hear one sentence that kind of summarize the talk, that one sentence should be enough to add some kind of value. So to get out of the theoretical and into the practical, you have to first really isolate the difference between a subject area and a speech topic. So, for example, let's take
a Holika format, right? Okay. So a subject area would be forgiveness, or patience or seeking knowledge. But if I just came up and told you forgiveness, that's completely meaningless. Yeah. If, if I gave a if I gave a 30 minute speech, and then asked you what was the speech about and you said, forgiveness, that doesn't communicate anything.
So the example I always give, let's say, for example, I give a cookbook, and my mom is at a dinner party on Friday evening, and someone asks her, oh, what was Omar's clip about today's she should be able to give them in one sentence what it was about, she's not going to repeat 20 minutes of the clip or 10 minutes or even five minutes, but she will give a one sentence takeaway. So the most important part of the speech is engineering, on purpose, what that one sentence takeaway is going to be so that when a person has finished listening to your speech, they know what that takeaway is. So the subject matter might be, let's say forgiveness. But the one sentence takeaway may be something
like, Allah subhanaw taala forgives your sins no matter how great they are, if a person heard only that one sentence, at a bare minimum, at least conveys some type of meaning and some type of significance. So the first part is crafting. What is that one topic sentence. Now once you've got that topic sentence, now you reverse engineer out the rest of your speech. So now you're going to come up with your introduction, your main points, your concluding statement, or if you're utilizing the story, you know, whatever it may be, there's multiple ways of putting it together. Yeah. But that topic sentence now becomes a litmus test, every single thing that you speak about has to align
with that topic sentence. If it doesn't, then you take it out. And this is the difference, where, especially in the Islamic realm, everyone's quoting the same sources, everyone has the same if in the same Hadith, one person gets up and we say that was cliche, that person was rambling, that was recycled, we didn't understand the point of the talk. Someone else gives a talk, utilizing the exact same sources and everyone sharing it on Facebook and is going viral. Yeah, there's a distinct difference between the two and it comes down to your communication and preparation skills. And so when you have that litmus test, what it does is, now you're quoting some piece of supporting
evidence, and unprepared speaker, in quoting that evidence, they may pick up on something else that's interesting and go off on a tangent that's unrelated. They might think it's super cool and super beneficial. But if it doesn't serve the point of the speech, you leave the audience confused, like, what were they actually talking about? What was I supposed to take away from it. Whereas once you're focusing on that topic sentence, you may have evidences or supporting points that could go in multiple directions, but you put that common thread in every single thing that you're talking about. And it becomes very clear to the audience, what the takeaway message was. So that, so that one, one
line that you crafted earlier, is that repeated throughout the speech choice is just there for you. It's up to you, you can repeat it.
Or if it's obvious enough, then you don't need to continually say but that's it's gonna, there's no one way or the other, it'll just be based on that speech and your style. That makes sense, that actually gives a very focused way of creating a speech because that's sometimes just that tasking is very overwhelming, I can't invest. And that's the importance of you're also of your topic sentence being specific. Because no matter what subject you research, you're going to find volumes and volumes of material. And then the question is, well, how do you whittle it down? And the easiest way of doing that is having a super specific topic sentence that automatically eliminates the material
that you don't need.
So we took that's actually writing the speech and just before we deliver it, do you do you say that dot points are better or like writing the actual speech word to excite because I know that it really it depends on the experience level of a person. So one, so one thing that we should clarify before before jumping into that.
A lot of people have you ever seen like a press release, like when someone's reading a statement to the press? Yeah, it has a certain tone, informality, and then you'll hear a person give a speech, and it might be like a 10 or 15 minute speech, but they present it in the same way like a press statement being read, even though it was supposed to be a casual speech. And so it has this very weird form out like a very awkward formality. It's like what happened to us and so
The tendency of a lot of people is to memorize their speech. So they want to write it out and memorize it. And that's actually a sign of someone that hasn't prepared properly. And we can jump into preparation a little bit more if you want. But it's basically someone that they don't have a full grasp of the material. They only know that surface level that they have memorized. And so if they're giving that speech, and let's say a baby starts crying, and they lose their train of thought, they're gonna have a very difficult time getting back on track. So the best way of, of preparing is you want to shoot for what's termed I can't remember which book this is from, but
there's a term called rehearsed spontaneity. And what that is basically is you want to know the material so well, and you've got it all mapped out in your head, that each individual delivery of that speech will be spontaneous in the sense that it won't be word for word the same, it'll have the same structure in the same main points. But there's still some casual pneus and spontaneity to the delivery. So it's just like, if I got up and gave the same speech 10 times each one, the core of it would be the same, but the actual delivery would be slightly different. Now how you get there, that's where that preparation process comes in. So if a person is an inexperienced speaker, they
aren't used to speaking in public, or they haven't given a lot of speeches, yeah, I would recommend that they go ahead and write out the entire speech doesn't have to necessarily be word for word, but just write it out in as much detail as possible. So let's say you're giving a 20 minute speech, maybe you actually write out
10 pages of notes, okay? Now, what you're going to do at this point, is you're going to get up and practice giving the speech, maybe it's going to be three times, maybe it's going to be 30 times, but you're going to keep practicing that speech, until certain parts of it become firm and concrete in your mind. And you know, I'm not going to overlook this point, I understand exactly where I was going at this part. Yeah. And then you're going to make a draft to and draft to, you're going to go down from 10 pages to maybe five pages. And the five pages that are left are the parts that you're still that still are not concrete in your mind. And you're going to keep going and keep whittling it
down. Until you get ideally you want not more than a half a sheet of paper, that's down to bullet points. When you become an experienced speaker, and you're speaking about material that you have a large comfort level with, you may be able to jump directly into just making the bullet points. But starting out, you might need to write it out and keep practicing it until you can whittle it down to the bullet points. And now if someone's thinking after hearing this, that sounds like a lot of work. It is. Yes. And that's the only way to present well as you have to put that work into it. Yeah, but but it gets easier with time. I mean, the more you get, the more you practice, the easier it gets.
And like I said, you'll be able to bypass some of those initial steps, the more experience that you get, but it takes practice.
Yeah, I'm writing writing the speech. What what's weird, especially when you don't know the subject matter that well, it does help in a way like clarify what you want to say. So there is a clarification for yourself. Right? Yeah, exactly. It helps you It helps the your thought process kind of lets the speech marinate, so to speak. So you you have the flow in your head, the more that you practice it, the more that you'll realize, like, okay, here's an awkward transition, or this point doesn't really make any sense. And it gives you a lot of flexibility to fix up your speech. Okay, so if you're writing your speech that you can pre plan jokes, right?
Well, joke writing is a completely different skill than speaking.
The entire speech like say you want to fake it, kind of like sprinkle it with your VA? Can you prepare that too? Or is that going to be like, no way you can but you know, is risky. If it's not funny, then it can fall really flat. Give you That's true. Okay, so if that's the case, then how can you keep the audience captivated if your speech, the content itself is quite dry. So this is a really interesting point, actually. So a lot of people assume that you have to have humor to keep people engaged. Okay. And I've heard this to people like, Oh, you should just sprinkle in a couple of jokes when you're speaking to keep people engaged. And the reality is, when something's You know,
when something is entertainment, we're naturally engaged. When something is funny, we'll watch it when something serious, it's a lot harder. Yeah. So we assume that the best way of, excuse me captivating attention on something serious, is by mixing in something funny. That's really not the case. It's
it's actually very difficult to do that. Because like I said, comedy itself is a skill. Yeah. And so you have to be sure that your jokes are well put together and that it's actually going to land and you know, here's the thing.
If people study stand up comedians, there's actually a lot of public speaking lessons in that. Because when you watch a stand up comedy special, that's let's say, 60 minutes long, that is probably the most rehearsed public performance that you're going to see, for every one minute of material that makes it into a special that's, you know, broadcast on TV or Netflix. The comedian has usually put in at least one or two hours of testing that joke in comedy clubs, getting down the timing, and the wording and all those things. There's a video by Jerry Seinfeld on the New York Times website, where he's talking about how he constructed a joke about Pop Tarts and how it took
him almost two or three years to put that joke together. And how, by the end of it, he was literally shaving off syllables on the delivery. And he knew exactly how long the pause at which part and where the audience would laugh and how hard they would laugh and all these things. It's all actually very scientifically put together, now, circling back. And the reason the reason that I kind of went into that tangent is just to show how much work gets put in into a good speech. Now, in terms of how do you captivate the audience's attention? How do you compete with their smartphone, and keep them listening to you, then this comes back to that initial question of why is this speech important to
the audience? If I've come and given you 30 minutes of my time, what are you saying? That is of importance to me? Yeah, that's true. And so really the answer again, it comes back down to preparation, when the audience is taking to their phones, and and here's the thing, this is kind of a blessing and a curse. But anytime I sit in a speech, I almost more than listening to the speech, I pay attention more to the delivery of the speaker, and the reaction of the audience. And so if you start picking up and when you do that, you start noticing very quickly, what are the cues that make the audience take to their phones, right, and there's always going to be a couple, but there's also
kind of a breaking point, we see a lot of people just start getting disengaged with the talk. So what did you notice it that way. So what you notice in there is that, and I know this is gonna sound very, like cliche and unsophisticated. But really all it comes down to is that the speaker is either a not relevant or be not prepared. And the audience can tell. Yeah, and so if I'm sitting in a speech, and I can tell the speaker hasn't put in the work to give the talk that they're speaking about, I will stop paying attention. Yes. But on the opposite side, when a speaker has put in the work, and they've put in the preparation, they're giving you something that's relevant to you, you
will stop and pay attention because you don't want to miss it. And that has nothing to do with how entertaining a talk is. It has to do with how relevant the content is to you. And that's the responsibility of the speaker is to craft content that is so relevant to the audience. And it's so good that they can't afford to ignore you in favor of their phone. Yeah, that's true. And now that that is setting the bar very high, but when you get up on stage, that's the name of the game. Yeah. Because I mean, I remember
there was, there's something about public speaking that I read, and the person was saying about it was they said, how people are investing their time. So you need to be respectful of that. Right. And there's one quote that I read that said, basically, if your speech is not worth practicing, it's not worth delivering. Yeah, it's, that's actually a really good quote. And so that's, I mean, that's what it comes down to, like you can tell when, and you know, here's the funny thing. I'll tell you.
A lot of, I've heard a lot of people brag and say things like,
they'll say things like, I don't know what I'm going to speak about until I get up on stage. Yeah.
And they'll brag in the sense that I'm so good. I don't need to prep, I don't need to prepare, I can just wing it. And the problem with that is that the audience can tell when you're winging it.
And it kind of gives you a false sense of security. And if they can tell that you're winging it, they're not going to pay attention.
There's another thing that I think that I came across is that people who think that they're naturally good communicators are often the worst, because they won't put in the work to get better.
Yeah, and so they kind of coast on this reputation of thinking that I'm a good speaker, I can just make it up as I go along. But people can see that, you know, and he can think back to this any speech that you've sat in, where you felt the speaker didn't give it their full effort, and you tune out? Yeah, that's true. So it's so the whole thing about if people lose interest in the middle of the speech, then it's not got to do with the way you're presenting it. It's more so got got to do with that. You didn't actually put that effort in beforehand. You didn't put the effort in right? The vast I mean, the vast majority of issues that come up with speaking so getting nervous and stage
fright, worrying about forgetting what you're going to say or running out of material.
These are probably our
Say the most common things that come up in terms of fear of speaking, all all of those concerns are solved with good preparation. The more that you practice a speech and rehearse it, the less nervous you'll be right, you're the first time you do something, you're extremely nervous, the fifth time you do something, you're not so nervous. So if you've practiced it 50 times, then when you get up and deliver it, you'll be much less nervous than if it was your first time to deliver that talk. By the same token, running out of material, losing your train of thought, Well, those things are fears that can cripple you if you haven't practiced your speech. But if you've practiced your speech 50
times, and you already know that I've done the speech successfully. 50 times I know the talking points, I know that I have enough material, I've timed it. Well, then now when you get up to actually deliver it, you're not worrying about those things, because you've already proven to yourself that they're not an issue. Yeah.
But say before the speech, you get nervous, and you get very anxious before getting on the stage. I mean, does that does that happen to everyone, I just like to the people that are giving this speech for the first time kind of thing. I mean, I've been, I've been speaking in public regularly, probably for over 15 years now. Yeah. And I can tell you for so for example, the first time I gave football was when I was 19, or 20.
And the first time I did it was in the machine I didn't get I didn't get the stepping stone at the MSA or the college campus.
And the first time I did it, I remember my hands were shaking so bad that you could hear the papers in my hand roughly on the microphone.
And I felt like I was gonna fall over. Now, fast forward 15 years, okay, now, I've got a lot of speaking under my belt. But the nervousness doesn't completely go away. So I may be giving a talk. And mentally I know, okay, I've done it a million times. Got it down, I've practiced that I've done all those things. But physically, I might still feel some anxiousness. Right, and you know, whatever your nervous things are, that everyone knows what it is for themselves. But you still get that feeling of nervousness, even if mental, you know that you're okay.
The only thing is, everyone still gets it. To some extent, it goes down with more experience that you get, the more that you prepare, the more that you've worked at it.
But sometimes you're just gonna have it and you know, you just have to deal with it.
Yeah, truth is, no, there's no magic, there's no magic bullet that will get rid of the nervousness. But you can mitigate it significantly. And the best way to mitigate it significantly is with the preparation process. What about the thing in which people say, when you're giving a speech, you can kind of like, explore that area, and kind of familiarize yourself with the setting, does that help or just sort of this?
I mean, all those things. Here's Okay, so here's the thing, right? So everyone gives you lots of random advice. Yeah, you know, your breathing techniques, or do this or do that and all that stuff.
To me, that's the equivalent of,
you know, if you google this example, you will find the backstory. But it's the equivalent of asking Stephen King what kind of pen he writes with? Yeah, you know, what kind of pen he uses almost inconsequential. I'm sure he uses like a very nice pen. But the real answer is the preparation process, or is like asking a basketball player what kind of shoes they wear, and then going out and getting those same shoes expecting that your game is going to improve, like know your game is going to improve. If you sit there and you know, shoot 1000 jump shots every day, for five years, your shot will get better, changing your shoes isn't going to make much of a difference. Now, once you
improve your shot, and and all these other things, maybe the shoes will give you a little bit of a tweak that will maybe jump you from, you know, let's say if you're at let's say just out of 100. If you're at a 85 maybe it'll take you to 86 or 87. Right. But most people try to bypass the zero to 80. And focus on the small tweaks. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And so all these all these things like, Oh, this type of breathing exercise, or Tony Robbins jumps up and down on a trampoline, and it's like, Okay, well, maybe that takes Tony Robbins from 95 to 96. But you can't neglect what took someone from zero to 80. He said, because they don't want to put in the hard work about preparation. So
they'd like that is that's exactly what it is. That's literally exactly what it is. Anytime that I have worked with someone on speaking and told them this is what you have to do. They don't want to put the work in. Because it's everyone and I don't know why I don't know why there's I guess a glory to speaking in public. But everyone wants whatever perceived glory that they see from being on the microphone or on the stage. But they don't want to put that work in that comes with it. Yeah,
that's it and that's why they're all a lot of hams are looking for some kind of a shortcut like oh,
just teach me like a special technique to do this. And it's like, well, there's no technique, you just have to maybe just practice your speech 75 times.
Actually Google up like the top 10 tips for public speaking.
Right? And, and you know, and the thing is that people, and there's so much bad advice on the internet, but the people who write that stuff, they don't even do that, either a they're not, they're not successful speakers themselves. And they're just writing a random top 10 list to get traffic. Or they're a successful speaker who's just kind of like, Oh, and by the way, I do this, this and this when I speak. So let me just put those down as tips. Yeah. And they haven't. And they're maybe not even able to assess a lot of the other work that went into it, because they haven't properly deconstructed it. So what? So what is the worst advice you've seen out there about
Imagine the audience is naked is probably the worst. Yeah, the second worst is, tell them what you're going to tell them, tell them then tell them what you told them. That's probably the worst speech construction advice I've heard. Definitely makes sense, huh, that doesn't make sense. I mean, I didn't get it. So people say that the way to effectively speak is to tell preview the topic, deliver the topic and then reinforce the topic. Okay. And problem is most people don't do that. Well. And then this is where the smartphone thing comes in. If I recognize that, that's what you're going to do. Once you've told me what you're going to tell me. I stopped listening, because I don't
want to hear it two more times. Yeah, True. True. So that's where and I guess maybe I can go a little bit deeper on kind of what we were talking about before. This is where good speech construction becomes important. And so
when I say speech construction, that means that you have to be very intentional about how you put things together. So most people understand the basics of let's say, you tell a story. And then you have a couple of lessons that you learn from it, right? That's one way of putting a speech together, or listed listed. Let's use this as an example. introduction, three points in conclusion, right, everybody understands that as a basic crux of an essay, or a speech or whatever, whatever it may be.
Now, anyone can do essay, three points conclusion, that's not rocket science. But what makes your speech captivating, is if you really hone in and utilize that formula to tell tell a story, or we have some kind of narrative, right? So a bad speaker, or an average speaker, I should say, an average speaker will do intro three points, in conclusion, and call it a day, an advanced speaker will sit down and do the intro the three points in the conclusion. But they'll spend as much time developing the segue in between point number one and point number two, as they did developing the points themselves. And the reason that that's important is the more that you focus on that
cohesiveness and making sure that there's a flow from point to point that makes it easier for the audience to follow. And you're intentionally mapping out exactly how the audience is going to follow along with your speech. And so when you have that, it becomes easier to listen to an easier to follow along with, as opposed to someone that gets up and says, point number one is bla bla, bla, bla, bla, and they talk about it, they finish the point, and then they go, and point number two, it's a very overt structure that's harder to follow. Also, you think by numbering The point is easier to keep up with. But the thing is, you keep breaking your own flow. And so it's almost like
you're giving people a break in between, as opposed to having just one cohesive narrative that maybe has an underlying structure. But you woven it together so well, that they don't see it. So what's an example like, of actually putting it together? Okay, so one, let's say that you're giving, let's say, you're giving a talk about the importance of doing small good deeds consistently. Okay, so now there's a number of points that you could make regarding this. And just to cut to the chase, I'm gonna give you two points that may come up in the speech. What number one is establishing, establishing the simple fact that doing small good deeds is important. Another point may be that you
should focus on establishing a good deed as opposed to stopping a bad one, right? Yep. And so here's the thing. So you may have these points, they may have come up in your research. Now the average because there's going to throw in the points and label something point one, label something, point two, label something, point three. And advance speaker is going to sit down and say, Okay, I've got these two points, what order should they come in? And so let's say I'm going to talk about I'm gonna say, Okay, well, first, I need to establish the importance of it. And so maybe I'm going to quote ahaadeeth, talking about the importance of doing small good deeds. And now, let's say in another in
another book, in my research, I came across the fact that someone said that to form a good habit. You have to focus on just doing the good habit, not giving up a bad one, right? Yeah. So now I need to sit down and quit.
Think how do I bridge these two points together? And so now I can, I can now draw on other experience other research and say something like, Okay, first, I'm going to speak about the importance of doing a small good deed consistently, I'm going to, quote, a beat as evidence about it. And then I'm going to transition by saying, this is something that all of us know and understand. And yet we're not able to implement it. So what is it that holds us back, one of the things that holds us back is that we get very caught up in trying to eliminate a bad habit in order to start a good one. But really, what we should focus on is just establishing the good one and
letting the bad ones take care of themselves, you know, something along those lines? Yeah, it's one sentence, right? Understand is one sentence, when you hear a person speak is not going to sound like much. But that little bridge that goes from one point to another, it just keeps the audience moving along that track. Yeah, that's a very good transition, because it's like you're just tying it together. Right? It doesn't show the overt structure of going from one point to a second point. It just sounds like a cohesive narrative that's logically flowing. And it also supports the main. And it also supports the main, the main topic premise, exactly, which was
the importance of doing a small good deed consistently. Yep. Yeah, that makes sense, by the end, by the way, that that
I'm giving you a shortcut on something that I prepared earlier. But 111 reason that that point is used about focusing on a good one instead of a bad one, is when you're preparing a talk, one of the things that a speaker has to keep in mind is what are the objections to my speech, right, I'm serving the audience, if I'm going to try to convince the audience that they should perform this one small, good deed, I have to now figure out what is going to hold them back from implementing this advice. And in doing that brainstorming, you start coming up with more points, such as focus on doing a good deed instead of getting rid of a bad one.
So this is all again, this all boils down to your preparation and the more that you prepare, and the more that you think about your topic and research and critically look at it, the more that you number one, your talk will flow better. But number two, you come up with deeper and more relevant points that the audience will appreciate and be able to utilize. Yeah, yeah. So in in that preparation, you'll pretty much be asking yourself, what what can audience get out of this? What are the objections to this speech? And just that kind of presses will help you craft the speech? Pretty much. Right? And the other thing is someone listening might say, okay, we keep talking about making
it relevant to the audience. What does that mean? Right? How, like, how can I tangibly understand whether this is relevant to the audience or not? Yeah. And so in order to do that you've got to establish? So there's five basic questions. Number one, what is the message? Right, that's the topic sentence. This is that this is what it's about. This is the message number two, why should anyone care? Right. So number one is what the message is. Number two is, why is this message relevant to a particular person? You might come and talk to me about?
The importance of, you know, something, but if that's something is not relevant to my life, I'm not gonna care. Yeah. Nobody's nobody's like a good thing to talk about. Right? I mean, take climate change. Climate change is important, but people don't understand why it's relevant to them. Yeah. So that's a bad part of communication. You have to make people understand why it's relevant, and they should care about it. Right. So what is the message? Why should anyone care? Number three, what are the counter arguments someone may have? Right. So let's say we're going to talk about the importance of reducing global warming. That's the message. Number two, why should anyone care? Now I've got to
figure out a way to make it relevant. Well, if we don't, you know, combat global warming, you know, A, B, C, D, E, F, G, these are the consequences. Yeah. Now, number three, as a speaker, I have to anticipate a person is going to say, Well, I heard
XYZ, that go against what you're saying. So a speaker has to preempt those objections, and say, Well, I know someone might be thinking this, this and this, but in reality, here's the answer to that. And so you answer their objection beforehand. Otherwise, if you have an objection that goes unanswered, the audience member won't make it with you to the end of the speech, right is as if the speaker is like you're holding the hand of the audience, and you're crossing the street. Okay. So our objective is to go from one side of the street to the other side of the speech by the end of it.
If there's an objection, it's almost like there's a cone in the middle of the road. When the audience gets to that cone. Unless I pick it up and move the cone out of the way. They're not going to make it with me to the end to the other side of the street. Right. So those objections are like cones that the speaker has to manually lift up and keep the audience moving along.
Now number four. Now number one, two and three, that makes a good speech. Okay, what's the message? Why should anyone care? and answering the counter arguments that makes a good speech? Okay, what makes a great speech? is number four, can the audience apply what I'm telling them? Is there something that they can do after that show some fulfillment of the speeches of the purpose of the speech? And number five, can the audience share what I'm telling them? Can they actually now take the speech and convey that message to somebody else? If they've done that, then I have a great speech.
And this, by the way, is what everyone on the internet is chasing in terms of making things viral.
That's so simple yet. It's so simple, but but you see the amount of work that goes in, and most people just simply are not willing to put in the work.
Wow. I really liked that like this five points. So it was what what's the message? Why should anyone care? What are the counter objections? Can the audience apply it? And can they share this with others? Exactly. Great. So so the things like say, when you're delivering that speech, I mean, I'm just gonna take a different tangent to that. Like, if you're delivering speech, and you just suddenly blanked out or something happens, like, say you had like cards and they dropped or something. It's something that you didn't anticipate happen, like, how would you actually get back on track? Okay, so
I use the example here of a GPS. Okay, so, are you in Melbourne or Sydney? Or where? Sydney? You're in Sydney? Okay, so I'm gonna visit from America to let's say, Sydney, okay? I know absolutely nothing about the roads there. I don't know, the highway system. I don't know anything, right. But I'm gonna show up at the airport, I'm gonna rent a car, and I'm going to turn on my GPS application, right? And then I'm going to put in the GPS, look at how do I get from the airport to my hotel. Okay, now I start driving, and the road is closed because of construction. So I'm going to exit off of the highway. Now the GPS is going to keep saying, get back on the highway, get back on the
highway, get back on the highway. But I can't because the road is closed. And so I'm going to drive around aimlessly for like 15 or 20 minutes, hoping that at some point, the GPS is going to say recalculating route, and give me an alternative way of getting back on the highway. Right? Now, if I'm in Dallas, and I'm driving, let's say, from my house to the other side of town, and on my way to the other side of town, the highway is closed, I'm going to exit off, and I don't even need my GPS, I'm already gonna know well, if I okay, I'm on walnut Hill, I'm gonna make a left on walnut Hill, that's going to take me up to Spring Valley, I'm gonna make right on Spring Valley, that's going to
be parallel to the highway, I'm gonna get back to this other Street, make a right turn, get back on the highway and go about my way, right? Because I have the map in my head, because I know the lay of the land speaking is exactly the same. If I have properly researched my topic, if I'm giving a 30 minute speech, and I've put in at least 10 hours of preparation, when I'm up there speaking, if I lose my train of thought on a particular point, I can almost seamlessly start talking about something else, I can make that left turn on that street and know that I'm going to get to another Street and make a right turn. And I can start talking about that other thing that maybe came up in
my research that I couldn't put into my speech. But now that I've lost my train of thought, I got to go grab that and put it into my speech on the fly. But I've researched it so well, that the audience is not going to notice. I'm going to keep talking. And as I'm talking, I'm going to remember like, Oh, yeah, this is where I was going with that. And I'll get back on track with my speech. But if I haven't put in that research time, and I've just simply researched enough to give a 30 minute speech. Well, now when I drop my cards, and I lose my train of thought, is like that broken GPS, I'm not gonna know how to get back on track until 20 minutes later. Yes, that makes it. So again, it
goes back to the preparation. And so and that's why I'm emphasizing the research process. Because every single one of these things that comes up, the answer is you have had to have just put the work in.
You have to have that library in your head on that topic. And if you don't, then you probably shouldn't be speaking about it.
So how should a speech end? I mean, is that got to do with preparation as well, obviously, it's gonna have to do with preparation, but how can it end on like a strong note.
So you always want to end on a strong note. And that's basically where in your research you have to identify what you feel was the most powerful thing that you came across, right? No matter what you're researching, there's going to be something that you came across to be like, wow, that really had some kind of an effect on me or that really was impactful or whatever.
Maybe now chances are if you're if you're putting in 10 hours of research for 30 minute talk, and this one thing had a huge impact on you, then that's probably what you want to close with, because it'll have that same impact on the audience as well. Yeah. So it's literally it's whatever felt like a high point to you in your research process. That's probably what you want to end on.
That makes sense.
Right? So I mean, so after a person has given the speech, I mean, what's one thing they can do to improve like, for next time, like, actually get get themselves into this habit of constantly improving one speech one another? If there's just one thing you can do, what would it be? Yeah. So this is, this is really important. I'm gonna backtrack for a second and talk about the negative or the, the lack of quality feedback that we have, particularly in the Muslim community. Like it's a problem in general. Yeah. But in our community, a source. So
I don't know if you guys have American Idol in Australia or not? Yeah, let's see if Australian Idol All right, perfect. But you know that on like, the first two or three weeks, right, they'll show they'll showcase somebody, and this person will be like, oh, I've been singing all my life. This is what I've asked them to do. Every time there's a party, they invite me to sing. And all my friends think I'm like, the greatest singer in the world. And my parents think I'm amazing. And there's just no way that I can lose this competition. Yeah. And then they get up and speak. And the judges are like, You're the worst person we've ever heard. Please do a service to humanity and like, never open
your mouth again, you know, and they'll, they'll say these things to them. And then what happens is they show this person having an emotional breakdown. Yeah. Right. They're like, they're, they're legitimately distraught. Because they've been told all their life, that they're amazing. And no one's actually told them, you're terrible. You need to work on this. And so they've gone their whole life thinking that they're amazing. And when they actually get that feedback, they can't believe it. Or they'll disqualify it. Because they'll say, well, these judges are idiots. 1000 people in my life have told me I'm amazing. Who is this one person to tell me that? I'm not? Yeah. And so this is what
happens with with speaking, is, anytime you give a speech.
I mean, I've noticed this, I'll give a speech that I go back and listen to it. And it was terrible. But people come up to you after they're like, Oh, that was so amazing. Right?
And they're Yeah, they want to encourage you. But the thing is, so there's a lot of people who they keep hearing this feedback, and they think that they're good. And they don't need to do any more work. And that's when they start doing things like saying, Oh, I'm so good. I can just get up there and wing it. I don't even have to prepare. That's how good I am. Yeah. Right. Because they're never getting qualified feedback. So I say that, to reinforce the importance of what you're asking in that you have to be extremely self critical in raising the bar for yourself. Because if you don't, you'll become susceptible to that. Because no matter how bad you are, people will tell you over and over
again, that was awesome. That was awesome. That was awesome. So the way that you kind of keep, keep that feedback in check is, number one most important is you have to record yourself when you speak. And let's say you go when you give a talk recorded on your phone, and then on your drive home, listen to it. That's the most painful time to listen to it. Because if you listen to it right after giving it, you'll be able to pick up on every single mistake that you made. And so that will help you automatically prepare for next time. The second thing that you have to do is you have to be able to get qualified feedback from someone. So, you know, for example, with me, it would probably be my
And we're giving HIPAA one time. And you know, and I'm not gonna lie, I thought that I had done a great job. Yeah, obviously, the topic. The speech was not about humility, but it's like, I thought that I did pretty good. And so when I finished my dad was there and I kind of looked him and I was like, I was smiling. I was like, so how was it expected that he will say like, Oh, you did a great job. And he's looked at me, he goes, did you prepare? And I go, yeah, and he goes, Oh, it didn't sound like it. Usually you do better. And so it's just like, was burst, right?
So you have to have people that will give you very real feedback like that another time.
You know, my mom told me she goes
your clip, though, was very angry.
And I was like, No, I'm at the workshop guy. We teach everyone to be positive, have an uplifting message. I've checked off all those boxes. There's nothing negative in there. And she's like, No, you, you know, you seem very negative, or very angry. And then I went and watched the video recording of that particular talk. And I realized that although the content, technically speaking was positive, I had a very glum look on my face, and I didn't smile even once during the entire talk. And so that manifests itself in the way in what she took away from it.
So having people that give you very real feedback like that, anytime I'm preparing a speech,
I will you know what I'm talking about practicing and rehearsing, I'm not telling people something that I don't do myself.
at just a couple of weeks ago, I had to give a 10 minute speech at a dinner.
And I'm, I made my wife sit in my office with me and I rehearsed the speech, like five or 10 times. And she was giving me feedback like, Okay, this point doesn't make sense, this part isn't flowing Well, I don't understand what you're trying to say over here. And you know, just continually reworking it and practicing it. But you have to have people that will, that will give you that feedback.
One thing that we recommend to people that take our word liquidity workshop or sisters public speaking workshop is to create small mastermind groups. So for example, I've got a group, myself, and five or 10, other brothers, that are regular thieves. And we will do that we'll send out our speech outlines and solicit feedback from one another, we'll send recordings of our talks, and solicit feedback from one another because you have to have places of giving feedback where it's kind of like a safe environment where there's not a, you know, you're not going to get feedback from comments on YouTube, right? This is going to be very nice. First, right? But you have to have a
place where you know that people are giving you a critique with your best interest in mind.
So that all is there. But first and foremost, at the very least record your own talk and listen to it, because that will automatically give you what you need to improve on. Yeah, but you have to be consistent with it, you have to do it every time, even if it's pain. I mean, I like I said, I started 15 years ago, and I used to record my talks on micro cassette recorders. Like most people have never even seen one of those. I've used them. Right. And so I have micro somewhere in my parents house, I have micro cassette tapes from like 2001 that are sitting there that have recordings on them. Yeah. Now you can do it on your phone. But the thing is, you have to have that
consistency there. Now, that doesn't mean that I'm somehow like, awesome, because I do that. But at least I can chart the progress and say, okay, the talk that I gave last week, if I look at the recording from something from last year, I should be able to see an improvement. Yeah, yeah, I think it's everything in life, like ensuring that we're improving.
You have to be trending in the right direction. Yeah, definitely. Alright, so we're actually getting close to the ending of our interview, there's been a lot of very good points about pop up pop, obviously, we're gonna be things that you don't really hear out there.
So I just want to ask you the final questions that we ask or like, yes. So the first one is, what are your top three books in terms of what we discussed about? So I'm actually going to give you four books. Okay. Three that had the most impact. And then a fourth, that's kind of a good summarization of the main content. So the first is made distinct by Chip and Dan Heath. And that, I would say, is the number one must read. Everyone has to read that no matter what, even if they're not planning on speaking publicly, just read that book. The basic premise is why do some ideas die and other survive? Yeah, I mean, that's the essence of communication is, if I'm going to communicate
something, I want it to stay in someone's mind. And so they they break that down. So number one is made to stick. Number two is charisma myth by Olivia Fox. I think it's pronounced kabbani, CA ba and he
charisma myth, the basic crux of this book is his charisma innate, or can it be learned? And her argument is that it can be learned and she breaks down in a lot of detail how it can be. And a lot of it comes down to the mindset that a speaker has, you know, we keep we keep hearing things like well, communication is 80% nonverbal and 20% verbal, yeah. Social breakdown, how to control that 80% nonverbal? Yeah, I should read that book now. And I found it to be helpful more than just communicating in public speaking. Exactly. And I will say, and people that are curious, I mean, the very basic gist of it that I can give I can give them is, a lot of it comes down to how the speaker
views the audience. If the speaker views the audience's somehow beneath himself or herself, then no matter how good the content is, they're going to come away with kind of basically like bad vibes, right? Everyone's heard a speaker that was very good and sophisticated, but they got a bad vibe from them. Yeah, that a lot of that comes from the mentality of the speaker. So a shortcut almost to having good charisma and good body language, is to sincerely think well of the audience. And that's actually like a prophetic trait. Yeah. As we find the prophet SAW Selim, always, no matter who he was speaking to, he had, he almost had more faith in them than they had in themselves. And that and
that manifests you know, you always want to keep came and met him and they're like, oh, after meeting him, I just realized this has to be the Prophet of Allah. Right. It's kind of like, what what was it like to meet him that communicated that to somebody?
And a lot of that has to do with that sincerity of the hope that he has and the other person manifests itself. So number one made mistake number two charisma myth. Number three Confessions of a public speaker by Scott Birkin. BRK. Un. And then the last one that provides a good summarization of kind of a lot of these points is everyone communicates few Connect by john Maxwell.
Okay, fantastic. Okay, so the second question is your favorite life hack?
Or final advice, it is funny to take the last the next level, my so I'll give you my favorite life hack that I've been using in general, but also with speaking, okay. And that is that I have shunned most hacks, and I'm very anti hack. I'm using pen and paper instead of electronics. And at least for speaking, I found that it much more quickly crystallizes the thought process in my head of preparing a speech as opposed to typing and reorganizing text.
Oh, that's, that's a good one. So you don't actually type your speech outline on computer anymore. Or say I do this because it's easier to have everything on an iPad. Like I can have all my notes on there. Yeah. But the initial process will start with pen and paper.
That's interesting. Okay, so our last one is wicked, our audience find you online and connect with you.
So one thing I actually direct them to is, I've got a website that started with small consulting us mn consulting.com. Okay. It's not Islamic, per se. It's more, I guess, like a business thing. However, when they put in their email address there, they'll get an E book that I've compiled. That's called the RPM guide to speaking. And so it'll break down a lot of what we talked about research, preparation and mindset. And it'll give a lot of good tips on public speaking. So if they want to get a little bit more, that's an ebook that I've compiled and put together.
Other than that, the easiest or most active or best way to find me would be the physical social media website, pick up social media and on Twitter at Urban, it'd be Homer. Okay, fantastic. And finally,
is there anything else you'd like to mention, but didn't get to do so? I would just say, you know, people who are kind of at the precipice of speaking like they've given one or two speeches, or if they're, if they've listened all the way through this podcast, and at least means they either speak or they feel like they're going to have to speak in the near future. I would say basically, don't overthink it, do your give it your best shot at preparation. But the reality is experiences the best teacher, the more that you practice, the better that you'll get. And don't say no to any Don't say no to any speaking opportunity when you're starting. If someone wants you to come and address a
Sunday school for five minutes, do it. If someone's asking you to speak, to give a three minute talk at a baby shower, do it. The more practice that you get, the more comfortable you'll get and the better that you'll get with it.
Okay, so that wraps up the episode on public speaking. As promised at the start of the show, I have for us listeners something special after the Schirmer was very kindly share with us a resource page that was made for the students who took the hottie and sisters public speaking workshop. It's a list of selected resources to up your public speaking and communication skills. And let me tell you, it's a goldmine of resources. You can access it by going to Muslim life hackers.com slash public speaking and the password, there's actually a password required to access that it's Chicken Tikka. So that's chicken and T i KKA. And it's quite a memorable password and I'm sure you will be forgetting it. And
that is all in one word, and all lowercase. Anyway, do check it out, along with the public speaking guide over at owner's website, which was to ceman consulting.com. I'll link that to the show notes. Now friends, this brings me to the end of the podcast. Until next time, remember the only person you should aim to be better than is the person that you are yesterday, so give it your best today.
Thank you for listening to the Muslim life hackers podcast. If you've enjoyed this episode, be sure to leave a review for us on iTunes by going to Muslim life hackers.com forward slash iTunes