Alex Kouts | The Art of Public Speaking (Episode 393)

If you’re serious about advancing your career and yourself, you have to be serious about your communication and speaking skills. Here, Alex Kouts (@akouts) gives us the edge we need to communicate well.

“The best ideas not communicated do not exist.” -Alex Kouts

The Cheat Sheet:

  • What is the Rule of Threes and how does it apply to communication?
  • How many presentations are given every hour around the world?
  • Alex explains how and when to use humor in communication.
  • Learn how to properly use visuals when speaking.
  • What the Challenger disaster can teach us about slides.
  • And so much more…


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Supposedly, human beings fear public speaking more than anything — including death! Our guest for today says there are sociological and scientific reasoning for that fear; he also explains what it is and how we can overcome it.

Alex Kouts, a former guest of The Art of Charm, returns to talk about how public speaking has an impact on our communication. He also shares how public speaking can improve our communication and make a difference in our lives, even if we aren’t giving a speech or presentation. Listen in for all of this and more on episode 393 of The Art of Charm.

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Alex Kouts has been giving public speeches and presentations for a very long time, and he’ll be the first to tell you he still gets nervous. The nerves are far less than they were the first time he spoke in front of an audience, but they’re still there.

From a scientific and sociological perspective, it makes perfect sense for Alex and for the rest of us to fear public speaking. Back in our caveman days, if we spoke in front of the tribe and said something stupid, we were kicked out. And back then, if you were kicked out of the group, there was a very real chance you would die out in the wild on your own.

Obviously that’s no longer the case for us as humans, but the fear of speaking in front of groups still exists. Today Alex shares some practical tips for making the experience more comfortable for everyone. Here, we cover several topics including the importance of body language and the hows and whys of rewarding your listeners.

On the topic of body language, Alex shares this rule with us: the 7-38-55 rule. Seven percent of our communication is translated with our words, 38 percent with our intonation, inflection, and vocal expression, and 55 percent is translated through our body language. Clearly, body language is important.

He goes into detail on what to do and what not to do with your body while speaking, but one important question many people ask is what to do with their hands. Alex says not to point to the audience, don’t put them at your side, and don’t cross your body with them. Instead, move your hands in context with what you’re saying and use them to emphasize the important points.

Another trick Alex gives away is the reward system. He often starts his speeches or presentations by telling his audience he loves questions — loves ’em! He explains to his audience what he’ll give them if they do raise their hand and ask a great question. So he sets them up: he tells them what he wants them to do, tells them what their reward will be, and then rewards them when they do it.

In this episode, he gives a few terrific, real-life examples of the reward system, plus he shares how to use visuals during a speech and why all of this matters, even if you aren’t going to be giving a speech any time soon. Alex and I dive in deep on those topics and more, so listen in to hear it all.


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AJ Harbinger - author of 1159 posts on The Art of Charm

AJ Harbinger is one of the world’s top relationship development experts. His company, The Art of Charm, is a leading training facility for top performers that want to overcome social anxiety, develop social capital and build relationships of the highest quality. Raised by a single father, AJ felt a strong desire to learn about relationships and the elements that make them successful. However, this interest went largely untapped for many years. Following the path set out for him by his family, AJ studied biology in college and went on to pursue a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology at the University of Michigan. It was at this time that he began to feel immense pressure from the cancer lab he worked in and began to explore other outlets for expression. It was at this point that The Art of Charm Podcast was born.

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