8 Keys for Successful Public Speaking

Contributed article to: The Six Figure Coach online magazine

They say public speaking is #1 on the list of the greatest fears people have.  I of course make my living at speaking in front of people so I am always amazed by this number, however it wasn’t easy getting to that point.

Although I have always loved performing, getting on stage in front of people or having all the attention focused on me when I am presenting wasn’t that comfortable. However after being a Speech, Theater and Broadcasting major at Emerson College and having to do 17 public appearances a week through classes, I got over it.

And when I went into my first business at the age of 21 with no money for promotion, it was the quickest and easiest way for me to get known. By the time I went into professional speaking 21 years later, I had done 10,000 free speeches.

It’s how I built my first business, what allowed me to work in 50 countries and 49 states all expenses paid, and now let’s me do 12 radio shows a month and TV appearances all over the country.  You too can become an outstanding presenter just by following some of the things I  list below:

  1. Try to position yourself at the door when they come in. Shake their hand, greet them warmly and try to use their name so you remember it.
  2. Make sure your body language is warm and welcoming and look them directly in the eye.
  3. Grab them in the beginning with your opening statement. You need to hook them and start off with a bang.
  4. Be professionally dressed. You are the authority figure and need to look it. It doesn’t matter if it’s informal or not, you can still look professional.
  5. Be sure to tell a story to emphasize a point. People don’t necessarily remember facts but they do remember stories. So make sure you tell one that ties to what you are saying and tell it with enthusiasm.
  6. Personalize as much as you can. The more you can tie it to the people In the room, the better the connection will be for you.
  7. Try to give them just 3 key things you want them to remember. Most people can’t grasp more than 3 points and by the time you give them along with the story, they don’t need much more. If you want to add to that, I suggest you cover them when you have your appointment.
  8. Use a variety of voices—softer, louder, faster and slower. You also speak at different rates of speed depending on where you are. The Northeast speaks 180 to 200 words a minute, and the South is down to 140 to 160. However we listen at 400 to 600 to 800 words a minute so people are finishing your sentences before you do.  So you better have variety.

One of the things I learned in studying broadcasting was to use baby books and take the part of all the characters.  From high baby voices to low strong males, it is a great learning process. Plus you use sound words like “thump” “stomp” “crush” etc. Great training!

All of these things have gotten me ready for my broadcasting career and I recommend you all think about doing some radio and TV so that people get to know who you are. When you manage your message, you manage your money.

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