As a Coach in Communication, Public Speaking, etc - I'm often asked the question" "Who do you think is a good speaker?" It's a hard question to answer. Some have technical skills, others have a great story but lousy delivery. Those that have both are rare. Here are a few factors that, when coupled with a great story and delivery, make a truly great speaker.
1. A Sense of Occasion - Being able to sense the Tone of an event and how your presence & energy may support and impact that event is a sign of a highly skilled and aware public speaker. Is the event celebratory or somber? Is it formal or fun? Sometimes you get an indication prior to arriving - more often it's something you need to be able to 'sense' when you arrive in the room.
Tool: When you arrive at the event, take a moment. A Breath. 'Be' in the space. Take the temperature, so to speak. Is your audience restless, rambunctious or relaxed? Adjust your energy based on what the room needs.
2. A Sense of Rhythm - Words and text have a rhythm that can serve you well, if you let them. Speakers often make the mistake of speaking too slow, plodding along, imposing pace, delivering every word with with the same weight or at the same rate. The tricky part is; what works for one person may not work for another. Again, it's a sense that needs to be developed. Through practice and exploration.
Tool: Try reading your content a few different ways using different emphasis and emotion. What feels right to you? And as always, a well-placed pause, a recognition of the texture of words & language and/or the use of repetition or alliteration can elevate the most mundane of remarks.
3. A Sense of Humor - Inevitable things will go awry. Technology breaks down, you stumble up the steps, you misspeak, something happens too early or too late - what's a Speaker to do? If you are on the podium, the audience is looking to you for Leadership - or at the very least, guidance. How are you going to handle it? How will you react? Will you fall apart, die of embarrassment or rise to the occasion?
Tool: Accidents can provide opportunity - for humanity, for vulnerability and, often, for levity. Optimize the opportunity by not taking yourself too seriously.
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