Five More Quick Speaker Success Secrets

Mar 27 2014, 2:27pm CDT | by

I’ve seen a lot of speeches recently, coached and written a good number more for clients, and given a few of my own. Here’s the rest of my latest list of good speaking habits, dos and don’ts, and lessons from the front, five more this time, for a total of ten in two posts. And that’s the extent of my math skills. So here goes, in no particular order except perhaps passion.

1. Talk to the Back of the Room, But No Farther. Too many speakers, blinded by the bright lights, talk only to the folks directly in front of them. It’s both physical and psychological – if you talk to the back of the room, everyone will feel included. If you talk only to the front of the room, you will cut out the back half of the room and they won’t care about your speech. But don’t shout to reach those nice, friendly people in the back – another common failing – let the expensive audio equipment do its job.

2. Limit Your Fake Audience Interactive Moments. Everyone knows these days that audience interaction, like storytelling, is a good idea. But there are lots more people making excuses, or undertaking fake interaction, than are actually doing it well. Good audience interaction is difficult.

So limit your fake audience interaction – “Show of hands, how many of you have a smart phone?” I’m going to go out on a limb here and say no more than 3 show-of-hands moments per speech. The reason is that it’s OK as a warm up to real interaction, but used repeatedly and it becomes a way of treating the audience like children. The audience will start to resent the endless polling if there’s nothing more to the interaction than that.

If you’ve got a very large audience, real interaction becomes riskier and more difficult to do. The audience will feel intimidated about speaking out in front of thousands of other people. So there a few more show-of-hands moments are fine. (Although rock stars manage to do it…..But then the payoff in bragging rights for the fan is huge….)

3. Don’t Steal Other People’s Stuff Without Attribution. I saw a speech recently – the speaker will remain nameless – whose entire speech consisted of clichés stolen from other speakers. The climax of the speech was an exhortation from the speaker to the audience to “think outside the box.” Murder is never justified, but if I’d had a gun….Don’t do it; figure out what you know, what’s yours, and share that with the audience. If you don’t have anything original to say, don’t speak. I believe that the compact between speaker and audience inherently carries with it an obligation for the speaker to share something original.

4. Don’t Sell from the Stage. I realize that many speakers take on, say, a breakout session for little or no compensation – perhaps a free pass to the conference and travel expenses – with the understanding that they can market their wares from the stage. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be explicit. If you’re authentic about what you do, and share something original and interesting, people will ask you afterwards to connect with them and business will result. I believe that selling explicitly violates the speaker-audience understanding and makes it impossible for the audience to hear you as anything other than a shill.

5. Don’t Play It Safe. Speaking is difficult, and demands a lot from a speaker even if said speaker doesn’t try very hard and doesn’t connect with the audience. So you might as well go for it. Making the goal of a speech not to offend the audience is not a good enough reason to talk to that audience. Standing up and withholding your passion is not a good enough reason to talk to that audience. Giving an audience only half of your best is not a good reason to talk to that audience.

If you’re going to go to the bother, then go for it. Go for broke. Change the world. Anything less is a waste of your time and theirs.

A footnote from the last post – what do you do instead of Q n A at the end? If you’ve got, say, an hour, stop at 20 minutes and 40 minutes for 3-5 minutes of Q n A. Then, stop 7 minutes from the end, take 3 – 5 minutes more of Q n A, and then wrap up, so that you control the close, with the remaining 2 – 4 minutes.

Source: Forbes Business

 
 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Mali confirms two new Ebola cases
Bamako, Nov 25 (IANS) Mali has confirmed two new Ebola cases after the death of five people due to the virus, the country's public health ministry has said.
 
 
Toddlers remember good times for life
New York, Nov 25 (IANS) According to researchers from the Utah-based Brigham Young University, babies are more likely to remember an incident if there is a positive emotion or affect that accompanies it.
 
 
Garlic, broccoli may speed up cancer recovery
London, Nov 25 (IANS) Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have found that selenium - naturally found in garlic and broccoli - slows down immune over-response, improving treatment against cancers such as melanoma and prostate cancer.
 
 
Protein 'switch' to turn off Alzheimer's identified
Washington, Nov 25 (IANS) Blocking a protein that acts like switch to wake us up may help prevent Alzheimer's disease, new research has found, pointing towards a new target to prevent this devastating brain disorder.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Christian Bale jealous of Ben Affleck?
Los Angles, Nov 25 (IANS) Actor Christian Bale, who is best known for portraying Batman in "The Dark Knight" trilogy, says he felt jealous when he saw actor Ben Affleck taking over the character in his upcoming film "...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Zayn Malik wants to quit One Direction?
Los Angeles, Nov 25 (IANS) English pop band One Direction's member Zayn Malik is reportedly ready to give up his glamorous lifestyle for a quieter life with his fiancee Perrie Edwards. The 21-year-old is said to be...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Black Friday 2014 Sales You Can Shop Now
While most Black Friday ads said that Black Friday 2014 sales start on Thanksgiving Day, we already seeing a dozen Black Friday sales that you can shop now. The first Black Friday 2014 sales have launched already on...
Read more on Black Friday Countdown
 
Modi arrives in Nepal for Saarc summit
Kathmandu, Nov 25 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Modi arrived Kathmandu Tuesday afternoon in a special Indian Air Force aircraft to attend the 18th Saarc Summit Nov 26-27. He was escorted by three other aircraft while...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
I'm good with diapers: Ryan Reynolds
Los Angeles, Nov 25 (IANS) Actor Ryan Reynolds, who is awaiting the birth of a baby from wife Blake Lively, says he is "good" at changing diapers. The 38-year-old and Lively are expecting their first child together...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
David Beckham happy to have Victoria as wife
Los Angeles, Nov 25 (IANS) Former footballer David Beckham is proud to have a wife as caring as Victoria Beckham, who "really understood" him when he injured his ankle and couldn't play in the 2010 World Cup tournament...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
When Emily Blunt made her husband cry
Los Angeles, Nov 25 (IANS) Actress Emily Blunt says her husband John Krasinski got emotional while watching her in forthcoming film "Into The Woods". The 31-year-old says her he ended up crying while watching her in...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Robert Downey Jr's dad proud of him for beating drug addiction
Robert Downey Jr's father is more proud of him for beating his drug addiction rather than his acting success. Robert Downey Sr's achievements are to be celebrated by his 'Iron Man' star son and 'Inherent Vice' director...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
Oscar Isaac to star in X-Men
Oscar Isaac is to star as the main villain in 'X-Men Apocalypse'. The 35-year-old actor has been cast by Bryan Singer in the superhero sequel - the follow-up to 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' - as a new powerful mutant...
Read more on Movie Balla
 
China's swimming body backs Sun Yang
Beijing, Nov 25 (IANS) The Chinese Swimming Association (CSA) Tuesday said that it believed tainted swimmer Sun Yang is innocent although he failed a dope test in May and was consequently banned for three months. The...
Read more on Sport Balla