Améliorer ses capacités d'orateur - Entrevue avec Jean-François St-Pierre

You will find bellow the english translation of the interview.

Q: What advice would you give students about public speaking?

A: I would tell you that there are three fundamental pillars of this communication that students need to understand. First, it's this element of understanding that it's a relationship and that it's built. Even if I don't know the person in front of me, at least I must have taken the time to think about what they expect from me, what they would like to hear from me, what their expectations are... Already anticipate these questions from what I'm going to say. So to build this relationship, even if you don't know the person you're working with, you have to be able to have thought about it.

Then there is the phenomenon of credibility. This credibility will be built because my body says the same thing as my mouth; Because I know how to show that I was really enthusiastic or serious about a situation; Because at every stage where I had feedback I took it into account and I evolved with it... So there are many factors that encourage credibility. You have to be very authentic to make sure you don't get caught in the middle. People like to know who they're talking to and what they're made of, much better than having surprises. And often you just have one opportunity to make a bad impression. That's what's important. You don't get two chances, it's already too late. So making a bad impression is a bad idea.

Once again, understanding the interlocutor, the credibility, then finally, the structure. What do I mean? How do I want to say it? In what order should I say it? Those are really the three pillars of communication, especially in an activity like Fashion Spectrum.

Q: How can they assess themselves?

A: Register. Look at yourself. If it's a 20-minute presentation, take the 20 minutes, and weigh in on recording. Do and watch yourself. This is the best possible self-assessment tool. It's about making sure that you have a quality product at the end that's going to be there. It's an element that I think is fundamental. People who don't usually do this find themselves lacking words and having weak links between paragraphs or between sentences. If it's poorly written, it's just as true in oral communication.

Q: Has your experience as a columnist contributed to your public speaking skills?

A: I wrote for about ten years for La Presse and the Journal des Affaires. My greatest pride was that at the end of the year, the editor would sometimes change a word, two words or three words in a column, whereas for some of my colleagues, it was full paragraphs. I think the idea is, "Is the structure clear?". Because seriously, you can have serious problems expressing yourself orally, you can be very, very, very shy, so again, structure has a lot to do with it. I think that a less good idea, very well put together and very well structured, will always win when faced with an idea that is brilliant, but is not attached.

Q: How can you give a memorable presentation?

A: Body and face do not lie. Even if I speak and express myself on a project, and I praise it, if I don't have enthusiasm, it will show. Especially in the fashion industry, where we understand that there is a particularly emotional element, we can't remain frozen in front of an idea, in front of a process. On the contrary, rather than being interested only in the brand or the product, you have to be interested in the process. This passion for the process is practically how we create and how we invent. You have to love the idea of finding the process that will work. So you have to put yourself in a state of mind about what is, what could be and how you're going to get from one to the other. It has to take all the room in the person's state of mind.

In fact, the most beautiful smiles I've seen over the years in my competitions is when the students had finished presenting. It's like it's a relief. And the answer to that is, "Why does that relief come at the end?" It should be at the beginning! You've been working on this idea, finally you can get rid of it, it's an extraordinary moment! I think it's also to say "the pleasure is not to finish the presentation, it's to start it". And some people will say "oh, I have the track, etc.". ». So okay, you have to learn how to breathe, you have to calm your nerves and you have to lower the tension. Especially since the students have been working on this project for so long. Why get nervous after 20 minutes? Most of the work is done. You have to be proud of this work. And it's going to generate a lot of body language. It's going to show and you're going to feel it in the presentation. The idea is, what we're going to show you today, we're so proud of it. I talk about it and then I get emotional. That's the big idea. You have to give it a moment. If I say, "Well, listen, we've been working for three months, that's the big idea, and then we think we can implement it that way"... Where's the magic? Where is the communication? I'm here and you bring me a gift. You don't even give me the time to unwrap it, you already give me the instructions. No, no! I want to discover it, give me the pleasure to open it with you, this gift. It's so important, because these moments, they're going to hold them back.

Q: Any final advice?

A: The most important element is to understand that in communication, what people buy is not the idea at all costs, it is the person who gives it. It's me, my personality, my enthusiasm, my willingness to work with my collaborator, my interpersonal skills... These elements will make all the difference. Even if at the beginning we say "yes, but we want to have someone brilliant". Yes, but people will always choose or select someone they want to work with.

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