Great Speakers Have Unshakable Confidence
Truly professional motivational speakers have developed an underlying confidence that is clearly evident when they are both on and off the stage. Even when circumstances within their presentation are seemingly out of their control (unforeseen technical problems, mistakes with handouts, etc.), such speakers are able to overcome momentary setbacks and not be overly rattled or unhinged. They are consistently able to make matters right again – they solve presentation difficulties because they were so well prepared that they anticipated potential trouble and had a contingency plan – and they make light of it in front of their audience. This all contributes to their unflappable confidence, and they end up turning seemingly awkward situations into moments that further empower and embolden them. True professional speakers have an unfailing ease in front of groups of people, even when everything seems to be going wrong for them. In the case of troublesome or disrespectful crowds (it happens!) they have methods for taking control of the situation with authority and composure that puts them back in command of their surroundings.
Confidence Can Be Learned
Although some people are born with an abundance of natural confidence, most of us have to learn, grow and develop it. And though a person may be confident generally, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will naturally translate to motivational speaking. There are many ways to increase public speaking confidence, however the easiest way to do so is to practice your presentation and delivery. Nothing replaces the experience of gaining composure and public speaking ease than actually giving your presentation in front of a live audience. In the beginning, this can be achieved by joining Toastmaster’s and by volunteering your speaking services around your community. Any professional speaker will tell you that they have reached their present ability level not because of having read books on the subject of speaking (though that may indeed help), but rather because they have had years of speaking experience in front of
‘Master speaker qualities’ are not easily taught or conveyed to younger or more inexperienced speakers, yet as beginners starts to gain confidence and skill in handling themselves, their message, and their audience, they will inevitably develop poise, inner strength, and unfailing self-belief. As more presentations are given and the speaker’s business grows, so too will their ability to express passion and convey an impressive strength of presence in all their public speaking endeavors.
Sincerity In Your Message
As a professional motivational speaker, you should always be striving to demonstrate sincerity and a deep conviction in what you are saying. A good way of consistently expressing sincerity is by talking only about what you already know and have already experienced. Nothing comes across as more hypocritical than preaching to your audience about what they should be doing, when you yourself have yet to accomplish it. An effective method for basing your message on sincerity and authenticity is to include many personal stories in your presentation. This is an approach that is used by top speakers because they understand that personal stories deeply engage their audience. Since true experiences are not conceptual but are rooted in reality, it is much more likely that audiences will feel your message is realistic, sincere, and directly applicable to their own circumstances. You should certainly adopt this technique when you start a motivational speaking business.
Using Stories To Enhance Your Presentation
There is real power in telling true stories to a live audience. One of the best and most frequently employed strategies for using stories during a keynote speech is based on personal tales of triumph over adversity.
If a speaker tells a story about a time in their life when they were struggling or facing great challenges, and then imparts knowledge that was gained and lessons learned from overcoming their circumstances, it can be very powerful for audience members who relate. In this way, someone who is striving to become a motivational speaker becomes a conduit for empowering others who are now faced with similar problems that the speaker already undertook. If the speaker portrays the stories honestly and clearly, it will captivate the audience and spur them into action – exactly the point of hearing a motivational speaker in the first place.
Truly masterful speakers do not rely on using props like handouts, slides, or digital projection of any kind. Rather, they are so magnetic and charismatic that there is no need to divert the attention of the audience. That said, there will be times when supportive visual aids make sense to highlight a given point or message.
However, some of the most accomplished speakers use very simple props to aid their presentation, including the use of whiteboards and red markers. This is a good approach because it keeps the focus of the audience constantly on you, rather than on a handout or a digital visual image of some kind.
It is very helpful to the audience to clarify the main points of a complex issue or thought with simple, succinct written thoughts on a whiteboard. Though digital projectors can be useful at the right time, it is important that speakers learn to not rely too heavily on the use of such visual aids. When seeking to become a motivational speaker with a good presentation, make yourself the central focal point and your audience will ultimately be more deeply affected by your presentation.
Professional Speakers Have Presence
One major difference between those who speak as a hobby and paid motivational speakers is that the professionals often possess tremendous presence. If you speak on an unpaid basis, it isn’t required that you have a riveting stage presence, a commanding delivery style, or a message that is highly inspiring. By contrast, professional motivational speakers take time to focus and hone their presentation and stage skills. Eventually they become deeply balanced and comfortable in front of an audience. They can forget feeling self-conscious, overcome their fears, and concentrate fully on giving an outstanding keynote presentation. This characteristic of self-possession represents one of the main hallmarks that distinguish paid motivational speakers from their unpaid counterparts.
Paid Motivational Speakers Have Passion To Spare
All great presenters have a passion for their topic and can deliver their message with feeling and sincerity. However, presenters of a high caliber very often have an extra special energy inherent in their keynote address, and an added degree of passion. It is this extra element of inspirational energy that makes a speaker truly great, and masterful motivational speakers have developed it deeply. As audience members, we are highly aware of when a speaker is sincere and connecting from the heart, but many new speakers have not yet overcome their inner jitters and lack of confidence to a thorough enough extent that they can achieve this standard. Beginner speakers should therefore strive to become highly attuned to recognizing this ‘passion propensity’ in experienced speakers, and are well advised to attempt to bring it out from within themselves when they are first striving to become an effective motivational speaker.
There is an ineffable quality about experienced speakers. They have poise and deep self-belief. New speakers who are starting their professional speaking business should spend time developing their presentation skills so that they can learn to feel comfortable in front of large groups of people. If you have a strong on stage presence, people will truly listen to what you say, but if you combine that with a sincerely heartfelt passion, audiences will begin to be inspired by what you say. That combination is where the magic and power of a motivational speaker meets.
Hiring a speaker is an important process, but one that can be quite demanding and stressful. When looking for a keynote speaker, it is important to find an experienced speaker who is able to adjust their performance to different subjects, and that are able to meet time requirements and the specific needs of an event.
You also need to think about details like expenses and technical issues, as well as whether there are any back up choices that can be approached if an original speaker cannot make the booking. In all these cases, it is worth using a speaker bureau, who will provide support and expertise for covering different problems and queries. Some of the key things you need to know when looking for an after dinner speaker consequently include:
1 – Range of Knowledge
If holding a specific event for a profession, you want to find an after dinner speaker that has a range of knowledge suited to that event. However, it is important to find someone that has a wide set of subjects that they can speak on with some authority, while also being able to lighten the mood of an event with jokes and anecdotes.
2 – Experience
Ideally, the speakers that you hire will be experienced and able to deal with any problems that might arise during the course of an event. However, this might not always be the case, and you need to weigh up whether you’d rather take a risk on a more inexperienced speaker if they’ve had positive notices from an agency or other clients.
3 – Flexibility of Subject
The best after dinner speakers are those who tailor their speeches to the needs of different events. You may want a speaker who will tell more anecdotes, or you might want someone that can deliver a topical keynote address that shows the extent of their specialist knowledge.
4 – Flexibility over Time
Speakers may have a prepared speech that runs to a particular time, but most will be able to fit around your event schedule. Provide this information well ahead of an event, and make sure that there are enough opportunities to make up time if there are any last minute problems to resolve.
5 – Expenses
Different speakers will have different needs depending on their cost and past arrangements with an agency. You may have to arrange for a hotel, as well as transport to and from a venue, as well as for food and expenses, and the size of a preparation area. Some speaker agencies will have a ‘capped expenses’ policy for extra reassurance to the client that expenses will not spiral out of control.
6 – Technical Issues
It’s always worth specifying technical issues well in advance of a speaker arriving at a venue. By doing so, it is possible to test out slides, projectors and microphones, and to arrange to have a technician handy on the day or night to fix any problems.
7 – Interaction with an Audience
Some speakers will be happy to take questions and interact with an audience after their speech. Make sure, though, that the structure of the night is checked with them first to see what they’re comfortable with.
8 – Back Up Choices
This may seem like something of a nightmare scenario if you’ve already spent a lot of money on promotion, but sometimes an after dinner speaker will have to cancel an event due to an emergency. In this case, it is worth arranging for some back up choices that can step in at relatively short notice. Inspiring Speakers Bureau will be ready to organize a suitable replacement speaker at short notice.
During my senior year of high school, I made a fairly bold decision that was out of character for me. I decided to join my school’s speech team to participate specifically in extemporaneous speaking, also known as extemp. This is a popular competitive event in the United States where students must speak informatively or persuasively about current events or politics. In extemp competitions, participants are given three topics or questions and must choose one and prepare a seven minute speech on the selected topic. Participants are given 30 minutes to organize their thoughts and ideas and are allowed to use previously organized magazines, newspapers, journals and online articles.
I would like to share the many benefits I was able to reap by participating in extemp speaking. I enjoyed the experience so much that I continued participating in extemp competitions while in college. I encourage all students to consider taking part in extemp competitions.
Extemp Speaking Forces Flexibility
As opposed to delivering a memorized, rehearsed speech, an extemp speech is an entirely different animal. You will only receive 30 minutes of preparation time before having to deliver your speech in front of a panel of judges. It’s entirely possible that you accidentally skip an important part of your introduction and instead jump straight to your main points. You have to remain calm and flexible in this case. Extemp speaking really forces and teaches you the art of adjusting on the spot. This is such an important life skill. Life is busy, hectic and stressful. It is important to learn how to remain flexible in all situations.
Extemp Speaking Improves Your Mental Sharpness
Extemp speaking really forces you to be able to juggle multiple thoughts and ideas. There is a real pressure component involved when you are delivering your seven minute speech before a panel of judges. This only increases the challenge you face in terms of being able to convey your main points in a concise, coherent and efficient manner. If you stay committed to it, extemp speaking will improve your mental sharpness and enable you to effectively handle several, often complex, ideas simultaneously.
Extemp Speaking Can Significantly Boost Your Confidence
I started this entry by saying that it was out of character for me to join my high school’s speech team. I was actually very shy and reserved before I ever participated in extemp speaking. However, after participating in many extemp competitions over the course of several years, my confidence and public speaking abilities have improved tremendously. I have no trouble delivering speeches before small or large audiences. I actually look forward to giving speeches now.
The key to being successful at extemporaneous speaking, and at other things in life for that matter, is to really visualize success. Imagine yourself confidently delivering your speech in front of the judges before you actually do so. I encourage all students to participate in extemp competitions. The experience can be so rewarding.
Ruben Edwards is a public speaker, web content strategist BabyChangingStation.com. Ruben is very happy that he decided to participate in extemp speaking. Today, Ruben delivers speeches on such topics as social media and website creation.
1) Define Your Expertise And Establish Your Speaking Topics
Everything that has been said thus far about positioning yourself as an expert and tailoring your services to a specific market is now your top priority. What will you speak about, and equally (if not more) importantly, who will you speak to? The question is more easily answered than you might think. Ask yourself:
• What are you passionate about?
• What are you experienced in?
• What are you knowledgeable about?
• What have you gone through that is unique or unusual?
• Have you undergone a unique challenge and prevailed?
• What major life failings have you endured, and what did you learn?
• What career success did you achieve? What was special or unique about your career trajectory?
• What valuable insights can you relate to others about your personal life experiences?
• Have you ever overcome life-threatening illness, or triumphed over a life threatening circumstance?
I could ask you questions like this all day long, but the point is that you have to discover your speaking topics on your own. It has to be something that you have a deep desire to express and relate to others. You need to become very clear about what you want to be presenting on as a professional speaker.
2) Seek Out And Discover Your Niche Market And ‘Desperate Buyer Only’ Audience
The other question of course is who will you speak to? Remember what I stated earlier about ‘desperate buyers only?’ That’s who you need to focus on developing your message for.
• What specific groups or associations need to hear your message?
• Who is the main audience for your information? Is it most pertinent to corporations, philanthropies, colleges and universities, or youth groups? What other types of groups?
• Where do those that need to hear your message congregate – offline and online?
• Do they have the available budget to pay you to speak to them? Specifically, are funds allocated for speakers in their meetings and events?
• Are there multiple similarly-minded groups around the country (or even in another country) that you could continually be hired to speak to?
• What opportunities exist to develop products and other informational materials to sell within your chosen market niche?
• Is your chosen market ‘evergreen’? That is, will the issue or information that you are addressing with them still be valid, relevant, and in demand for many years to come?
• Who could currently be seen as a speaker competitor in your niche market? Does the market seem saturated with other speakers who present on your topic?
• Is your chosen market finding other means of addressing or fulfilling their need for your information in ways other than hiring professional speakers?
• Is your niche market growing and expanding, or is it in decline? What are future prospects? If it is a business, is the industry it is apart of financially stable? If it is an association or philanthropy, are they growing or shrinking?
As you can see, many of these questions require some extensive research on your part. Get online, ask questions, make phone calls, and don’t be afraid to test the waters. You can ask personnel whether they have ever hired professional speakers, or if they have a budget for such things. Don’t hesitate to find out how they have been handling the issues that you wish to address, or even if they are aware of their importance in the first place.
NOBODY CAN DO THIS LEGWORK FOR YOU! You have to do this research by yourself, and I suggest that you take this early task very seriously. This is a major aspect of the ‘foundation laying’ stage!
Many great speakers provide a speaking service that fills the holes in for markets that didn’t even realize they had holes that needed to be filled. Nothing is preventing you from becoming this same kind of trendsetting professional, and it’s often easier than you think.
We will be exploring making contact with outside prospects in articles to come, but for the time being you need to work on whittling your message down to a very tightly focused niche. Conducting solid, extensive research is invaluable, and if done thoroughly, it will pay your speaking business huge dividends for years to come!
Some people are born speakers. Seemingly on a whim, they’re able to get up on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people and deliver a confident and apparently well-researched exposition of anything from commodity-price trend forecasts in the out years to the merits of owning a three-piece suit. If that doesn’t sound like you, don’t fret. Just prepare as best you can with these 10 easy-to-remember tips.
1. Exude Confidence
Whether you’re practicing your speech in front of the mirror, waiting in the wings to go onstage, or delivering your monologue with the spotlight in your eyes, confidence is key. In fact, it’s often the best way to fool your audience. If you act like you know what you’re saying, those listening will assume that you do.
2. Make Eye Contact
This goes hand-in-hand with exuding confidence. No matter how big it is, talk to your audience as if it were a small group sitting across the table from you. Know your speech well enough that you’ll need to glance at your notes only infrequently and choose specific audience members with whom to meet eyes from time to time.
3. Defer Questioning
If you’re speaking to an intimate group in an academic or boardroom-type setting, audience members may periodically interrupt you to ask a question. Keep your flow by resisting the urge to indulge them. Instead, leave some time open at the end of the speech for a back-and-forth.
4. Control Your Motions
Nervousness can breed any number of strange habits. To control unprofessional-looking nervous tics like watch-checking, body-scratching and shifting back and forth on your feet, remember the statue game you played as a kid.
5. Strong and Silent
Don’t “um” and “ah” your way through your speech. When you’re practicing your speech, replace each “um” with a silent beat that allows you to collect your thoughts without distracting the audience.
Nervousness can cause dry mouth and hiccups, two unpleasant conditions that will obviously interfere with your ability to make a confident, coherent speech. Fortunately, a simple glass of water can cure both.
7. Store Knowledge
Learn enough about your speech’s topic that you can’t possibly cover every detail in an entire speech. You’ll sound more confident and will be able to mix in unplanned facts if you lose your train of thought.
8. Don’t Apologize
In your mind, your nervousness will magnify your speech’s perceived shortcomings far beyond what your audience is capable of noticing. As such, there’s no need to apologize publicly for awkwardness or inconsistency.
9. Connect with the Audience
If it’s appropriate, take a moment to introduce yourself before you begin. Speaking on a familiar topic will calm some of your jitters and get your audience invested in you and your speech.
10. Message First
Remember that your audience showed up to hear your message, not your voice. Rather than obsessing over how you look or sound, focus on delivering a coherent talk that informs and entertains.
If you let it, public speaking can be absolutely terrifying. It can also be eminently rewarding and educational both for you and your audience. These 10 starter tips should tip the balance in favor of the latter.
Brandi Bradley writes full-time for education blogs nationwide. She writes for www.marylhurst.edu where you can find out more about their online mba degree program.
I come to the world of public speaking from a different perspective than most. I have a graduate degree in Theater. I have had many occasions to speak in public and have relied on what theatrical people refer to as “method” acting. The relevant point is that the reason for speaking must be real. I cannot pretend to give a speech. I cannot expect members of the audience to behave as if listening to me is a worthwhile way to spend their time unless it really is. As a speaker, I have to believe four things.
I Have a Reason to Speak
If I do not have a reason to speak, how can anyone have a reason to listen? Perhaps I want to provide information. Then everything I do and say should reflect that. I have to fill my speech with pertinent facts and, if appropriate, analysis. I must create an outline that lets me work through the information in a logical, reasonable way. I might provide examples. Everything should focuse on what I am trying to accomplish because that is reason I am giving a particular speech.
What I Am Saying is Important and Meaningful
If I do not believe that what I am talking about is worth hearing about, who will want to pay attention? I need to focus on the information and create a speech that makes it meaningful and relevant. I look for a rationale that explains why I should care about the subject. If I do not care about the subject, why should anyone else? The more I care about the topic, the more likely it will be that the audience will, too.
The Audience Respects Me
I have no business passing myself off as an expert in a field unless I really am. If I have confidence and respect myself as a professional, the audience will follow my lead. This does not mean I have to brag or list every single thing I have ever accomplished in my life on a program bio. It means I recognize I have worked to achieve a measure of success in my chosen field. If I believe I have earned their respect, it will show in the way I present myself to them. That aura of self-assurance helps an audience feel at ease which makes it easier for me to do what I need to do.
The Audience is Interested in the Topic
While Rosey Grier, who played defensive end and tackle as a professional football player, may have done needlepoint, it is a good bet giving a speech on the finer points of needlepoint will not get much of a reception if the audience is full of football players. That means I need to understand my audience. Who are the people I will be speaking before? What can I learn about them in order to make sure I address their needs? If I am assigned the job of explaining needlepoint to a room full of football players, then it is imperative I find a way to present that information in a way that makes sense. For instance, I might explain that if they want to give a gift of needlepoint, this information will help them make a better selection.
There are many aspects to speaking. This is just one of the many components that contribute to the creation of a successful speech. Mary Jo Roberts teaches online at College City when she is not teaching, she is giving motivational speeches.
Make a direct and brief introduction by providing the gist of your presentation. The speaker must come prepared by articulating the essence of his speech. It should be stressed that delivering a speech is not all memory work but requires in-depth understanding of the chosen topic. This will give the speaker’s discourse a general picture of the presentation for the benefit of the audience.
Build a strong stage presence. It is essential that the speaker shall be able to establish a well-grounded authority as a resource person. A professional speaker is invited to grace an important event to share his or her knowledge, expertise, training, education and personal experience. It is highly probable that the audience will be very attentive if the professional speaker has an enigmatic charisma.
Speak in a clear language. The medium of expression is also vital to be able to deliver a successful speech. The speaker or orator must speak in a language that is known to the audience. He or she must pronounce the words as clearly as possible and the voice must be in a rich deep tone for the audience’s pleasure.
Infuse body gestures while delivering your piece. In order to engage the audience, the professional speaker must not only use his voice to captivate the listeners. Another way to make a lasting expression is by practising proper decorum before the crowd. The body movements or actions will add more effect or drama to the speech which can give substance to the presentation.
The content of the speech must be based on facts. It is important that the subject matter of the speech must be based on genuine events that have occurred. The cornerstone of every successful speech is the substance of the presentation. Anything fictional injected in the speech will have the tendency to waver the interest of the audience.
Create a light mood. It is important to draw the audience’s attention by making the mood as lively as possible. It is expected that the audience will be more receptive if the speaker maintains a level of professionalism, yet infuses vibrancy and vigour. This will ascertain the audience’s participation.
Remember to end the presentation with a powerful closing remark. The final words of the professional speaker shall determine if it will leave an impact on the audience. It is important to keep in mind that the main goal of the speaker is to persuade and inspire the audience. Practise makes perfect. So it is essential that the speaker exerts the best effort to achieve a high-level performance.
Make it a joyous personal experience. At the end of the speech, the speaker should be able to foster a positive attitude. Every presentation shall become stepping stones toward reaching your goal in becoming a professional speaker.
In yesterday’s post on blogging, one of the tips to creating quality blog content was to always use proper grammar, spelling and punctuation.
I can’t emphasize enough how important this practice is. Incorrect spellings, unorganized sentences and improper punctuation all take away from your authority and credibility as a writer and professional speaker. They make you look sloppy and careless. So you should always be sure to proofread your online content before publishing it. And when in doubt, get a friend, family member or colleague to give your work a second read. Clean, clear and concise writing will always add an air of intelligence, experience and professionalism to your writing.