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:
- 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.
- Make sure your body language is warm and welcoming and look them directly in the eye.
- Grab them in the beginning with your opening statement. You need to hook them and start off with a bang.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.