This is a guest blog post by Sandra Schrift, president/owner of CoachSchrift and Associates, a San Diego based consulting, training and coaching firm. Since 1996, Sandra has been coaching speakers who want to become highly paid professional speakers as well as executives and business professionals who want to develop persuasive presentations. In this post, Sandra provides tips to retain your composure while speaking in front of an audience.
Successful speakers do not do all the right things all the time. They often take risks and risk bombing. But all top speakers take daily action, to move towards their goals with many adjustments.
Here are ten ways to be a highly effective speaker.
- Have a passion for your subject(s). If you don’t care about your topic, who will? Make a list of five topics you love. Choose two and be willing to develop a program you are willing to stay with for at least two years.
- Be persistent in your quest to be a speaker of excellence. You must be perceived as an expert with expertise. Demonstrate this through your life experiences, research and the way you customize your material for each audience. You are only as good as your last speech!
- Have the patience to succeed. Is persistence your middle name? Don’t expect to be a success over night. Get support, mentors, a coach to help you master your presentation(s). One speaker said, This is a hard business to make an easy living.
- Speak from your heart. Be authentic. Be vulnerable. Share your mishaps and idiosyncrasies. You won’t be perceived as real until you do this. When you are truthful, your audiences will trust what you are saying. Let your message provide hope for your audience.
- Connect quickly with your audience. You only have 30 seconds to make your connection. So pay attention to your opening remarks. Don’t use jokes they may offend people in your audience. Do use short quotations, a funny story that is relevant to your message, a question or two to get their attention quickly.
- Prepare 24/7 you don’t write speeches, you find them everywhere in hotels, from family experiences, in the supermarkets and restaurants. Retrieve them and retell them. Don’t lose out on great material because you didn’t have your note pad near you. Why not invest in a mini-taper recorder and record ideas as they occur throughout your day.
- Speak to the ways people learn; auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Know your audience so that you can offer the right mix. Research suggests 40% are visual, 40% are kinesthetic, and only 20% are auditory. If you don’t use props or visuals, you will not reach 80% of your audience. Be inclusive and find ways/tools that will speak to 100% of the people in your audience.
- Support your main points with stories most people delineate their thoughts visually. People learn best from your personal stories. They will also do a better job in retaining your message if you tell them a story. Remember when you were a kid. . .you said to your parents, “tell me a story.” When an adult hears your story, they are only a step away from their own story. Become a good story teller and watch your referrals and repeat business increase.
- Make it fun learning is directly proportional to the amount of fun your audience is having laughter is like internal jogging. Inject some humor along the way. The audience wants to lighten up even with serious matters. Reminder—mature adults do not take themselves too seriously.
- Have a reverence for the work you do. It is a privilege to be on the platform. And with this comes an awesome responsibility to your audience. Speaking is an art and a skill. Tap in to your creativity, your wholesomeness, your playfulness.
The Coach sez . . . the key to connecting with your audiences is to live from the inside out.
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