Seven Skills of a Successful Speaker

Do you want or need to be a good Public Speaker?

The art of good communication is achieved by using many skills and attributes, most of which can be learned or aquired fairly easily if taken step by step.  Even more so if we gain the help of a good coach or mentor. How many of the following skills do you already have and how difficult do you think it will be to gain or improve those that you lack?  The following list is not in any order of priority as confident speaking involves the use of some or all of these attributes at different times for different reasons.  If you learn or adopt the points outlined below, you will be well equipped to connect with an audience and get your messsage across in a relaxed and positive manner.

Preparation.

Good preparation involves a lot more than just assembling facts and figures etc. for a talk it includes making sure your presentation does it’s job,  i.e. teaches your listener something new, motivates them to take action, convinces them about a proposal, or maybe just entertains them. It includes knowing something of the demographics of your audience and what type of venue you will be presenting in, also learning what the organisers require of you and what your listeners expect from you.

Enthusiasm.

Sitting through a presentation lacking in enthusiasm is like listening to a piece of music played by a bored musician, all the facts (notes) are there but presented with no ‘feel’ or ‘heart’.  Without enthusiasm, nobody will benefit from the occasion – not even you!  If you have a choice, speak on subjects that you are passionate about – and let it show!

Knowledge of your subject.

It quickly becomes apparent when a speaker ‘waffles’ his way through a talk about a subject that he knows little about. As an important part of the previously mentioned ‘Preparation’, it is wise to research your subject so that you have a good working knowledge of it.  It also helps to know the degree of expertise that your audience has, so that you can ‘pitch’ your presentation at the right level.

Use of appropriate language.

In line with the previous paragraph, a good speaker will use ‘appropriate’ language, that is, words and phrases that fit both the listener and the subject.  Don’t use unnecessary technical jargon or expressions which are ‘over the head’ of your audience, and at the other end of the scale, avoid flippancy and innapropriate humour, which could detract from a serious subject.  A growing trend also to be avoided like the plague is repetition of ‘fill ins’ like err, uhm, and the aggravating “You Know” or “Like”, which seem to take up more and more speaking time these days.

Sincerity.

Nothing destroys a speakers’ credibility like a false air of sincerity.  “Seriously, folks, our product will make you look 10 years younger after only 5 doses – or we will refund the full $10,000”  Yeah, right!  If you do not believe in what you are presenting then,  a)  you shouldn’t be making the presentation and,  b) you shouldn’t expect your listener to believe either!

Confidence.

By the time you are introduced on stage, your research, preparation and practice should allow you to feel confident (even if still nervous, – that’s fine), so that you can concentrate on what you are there for – to enrich your listener with the message that you have to deliver.  When you feel and look confident, both you and your audience will be able to relax and enjoy the presentation

Last but by no means least is the skill of;

Listening.

Strangely enough to be a good speaker you also need to cultivate the skill of listening.  When being given the project, ‘listen’ to what is required of you.  Listen to the people that you meet when in conversation before your presentation, and listen to your audience for live feedback during your talk.

The points made above are a very brief summary of some of the important skills to learn in order to become a successful communicator.
They are well worth learning and developing and will help to improve your presentations whatever your level of expertise.
Each of the points above and many more, are covered in more depth in other Blog posts and in the free, “Mini Guide to Confident Speaking” featured on the site.

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Click: Here to access my free “Mini Guide to Confident Speaking”

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