As a professional speaker, your duty is essentially “speak to serve”, meaning the objective is not to benefit yourself but to benefit your audience. Being an effective keynote speaker rests on your ability to inspire, motivate, and effectively persuade your audience to act on your ideas. Include these 6 strategies to your public speaking to help you give your absolute best to your audience every time.
1 - Research Your Audience
Some of the best motivational speakers understand the value of getting to know who will be listening to them. What are your audience’s likes, dislikes, and interests? If you know them, you'll be able to shape your talking points in order to have a better connection with the room. If you don’t connect with anyone, then your speech will not be remembered.
2 –Practice Makes Perfect
No one wants to sit through a boring presentation, especially when the presenter isn’t confident. How many times have you seen someone mess up their TED Talk? Practicing a few times before the session won’t cut it. The best TED talks are so great because the speakers practice relentlessly (sometimes hundreds of times) and they almost always internalize the content. When you practice enough, you can deliver your speech as though you’re having a conversation with a close friend.
3 - Be Audience-Centered, Not Speaker Focused
If you’ve researched your audience enough, this part should come easily. Instead of asking yourself what you want to say, change your perspective and think about what your audience would want to hear. What takeaways can you give them? How will you make them remember what you have to say? By answering these questions, you'll ensure that you don't miss any essential details in building your speech.
4 - Share Meaningful Stories
It’s no secret that storytelling has proven to be one of the best ways to connect with audiences, no matter the medium. When professional speakers share stories, it helps them connect with their audiences. Make sure you perfect your story to allow the audience to learn its underlying message.
5 - Make It Personal
Whatever the topic, people like it when you personalize how you communicate with them. It’s more than just changing out the city name or event location, it’s about tailoring your speech to address their specific needs and interests. When a speaker adds a personal element to his or her words, they have a much better chance of capturing their audience's attention and retaining it.
6 - Read the Cues
Being a public speaker means you need to know when your message is being received by the audience, and if it is resonating with them. Look into the audience for their feedback. If the group isn’t engaged, then alter your messaging or presentation style or run the risk of being forgotten as soon as your audience gets home.
While TED Talks and Speakers have been enthralling audiences for years, public speaking is not easy. It is a skill that takes years to learn, but by implementing the strategies listed above, you can improve your public speaking and presentation skills. Your ability to persuasively sell your ideas will be the single greatest skill that will help you achieve to become a better motivational or public speaker.