There comes a point in every professionals life when it is their turn to speak. Maybe you have been asked to present your idea at the monthly board meeting, or you have the chance to speak at a conference in your community. Perhaps it is the TEDx event hosted by your local university and you have a topic you are just burning to share with the world!
No matter the situation, the bigger question is, are you ready to stand up and speak?
I became a professional speaker at seven years old. OK—that’s a stretch. But it was my first audience on a pretty grand stage no less, telling a joke to an in studio audience waiting to see a gameshow. I killed it! And I have been chasing that high every since. Ok again, a bit much.
Here is what I know today, some thirty something years later: It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how great your idea is, how fiercely you believe in your cause—if you cannot articulate your thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a way that other people say “Oh wow, tell me more!” then be prepared to feel disappointed with your outcomes.
One of the primary ways we do this is with public speaking.
So, that begs the question: how do you become a great speaker?
I have coached thousands of people to speak on every stage you can imagine. There are THREE things you need to master to become a knock em’ dead speaker and get your standing ovation.
1. Structure and flow is the number one thing I work with a speaker on. Surprised? Well, like an Oscar winning movie director, speakers who impact their audience know that how they lay out their content matters a lot. It can make or break a talk.
2. Connect data to story. You hear a lot about the value of storytelling. But the most brilliant of speakers USE story to illuminate something bigger. They connect their story to data, facts, figures, statistics. Becoming a great storyteller is a worthwhile investment and it takes work, but go one step further. Learn how to make that story have impact.
3. Always answer “the big so what?” in your talk. Every single person in your audience must be able to connect the dot between your talk and their life. They need it to be meaningful for THEM. We are all inherently selfish in this way. Ask yourself, what does my audience lay in bed at night and think about? Can I solve a problem for them? Or make their dream come true?
Tackle these three things and you will be ready when it is your turn to stand up and speak!