If you're tired of public speaking coaches and TED Talks bombarding you with ideas about how to communicate better, you can get a leg up on the competition by consulting someone who knows you best: your dog.
Man's best friend is chock full of public speaking lessons, from networking to voice control. Watching dogs and their owners play will arm you with a fresh perspective and a new outlook on your communication skills. Here are the top four public speaking lessons gleaned from your neighborhood dog park.
1. Confidence Breeds Confidence
When a dog enters a dog park, his excitement is palpable. He jumps, he runs, he approaches other dogs. And those other dogs adopt his behavior. His enthusiasm is contagious.
Just like your furry friend, your audience will mirror your behaviors--from facial movements to general excitement. The positive feedback your audience's brain gets from mirroring your positive emotions will make an emotional connection between audience members and your message.
After all, friendly dogs get more pets and a confident speaker invokes confidence in her audience.
2. Be Unapologetically Authentic
When a dog enjoys his favorite chew toy in the company of people or other dogs--he cannot contain his pleasure. He drools, runs in circles and digs fruitlessly at the same spot in the carpet. Dogs are unapologetically authentic. They just don't know how to be anything other than themselves.
A public speaker can develop an authentic speaker personality that he or she embodies while on-stage. The key to finding the fine balance between your speaker persona and the real-you is to be your authentic self but add in a level of professionalism and confidence required of a respectable speaker. Think of it as turning the energy dial up on the day-to-day you from a 5 to an 8.
Don't be afraid to channel your inner wacky dog and be yourself--just make sure you're communicating effectively.
3. Use Your Canine Intuition
Dogs seem to have the uncanny ability to read each other. They know when it's okay to approach another dog. They also know when it's okay to take it a step further and sniff that dog's butt without being bitten.
This awareness of self and others benefits all public speakers. Knowing when your body language comes across as overly aggressive or too passive can save a speaker from alienating the audience. Just as a dog knows exactly the message his butt-sniff or wagging tail sends, speakers must be aware of the message their body language sends.
4. Close Neatly and Cleanly
What is just as important as taking your dog out for their daily walk? Being respectful of and cleaning up after your dog does his business.
Close your speech neatly and cleanly. Just like vacating the dog park, this crucial last step will ensure you leave a good impression. Tie up loose ends and leave those other park attendees wanting more--from both you and your dog.
Let a dog's life teach you how to captivate your audience and spread your message. And they say you can't teach an old dog new tricks.