Sunday, March 16, 2014

7 Things Great Speakers Always Do

Most of us will never have to give a State of the Union address or even a commencement speech but during the course of life, the opportunities for speech-making are plentiful. If you work in a leadership role at work or with an organization you may as well prepare now for your next speech. 

A well written (and delivered) speech stirs the heart, provides an argument for action and unites people for a specific purpose. Before you take the podium, review this short list of 7 things that great speakers always do.

Great speakers keep it real. Listeners know when you aren't being sincere. You can't speak from a perspective that you don't have. Give your speech from your unique perspective. It's good to study other great speakers like Martin Luther King Jr or President Ronald Reagan but you should always be you.

Great speakers choose their words carefully. In most speeches, you must rely solely on your words to create mental pictures. A great speaker can cast a vision with a few words. Do away with extraneous, flowery language but do be descriptive.

They rewrite multiple times. Speech writing is a process that great speakers must work through. Like a book or an article, it's a rare event to get everything right, right from the beginning. Prepare to rewrite, maybe several times.

Great speakers know the power of a well-placed pause. Winston Churchill was the master of the pause. When giving a speech to the British citizenry or the allied troops, Churchill did not get in a hurry. That's a good technique to follow. The pause commands attention.

They aren't shaken by the unexpected. From hecklers to a disruptive sound system, the show must go on. Great speakers must never let the audience see you sweat.

Memorable speakers take you on a journey. Anyone can tell a story, well almost anyone but a good speaker doesn't just share anecdotes. He takes the audience on a journey. Your speech should have a beginning, middle and an end. In between, you talk about the journey.

They practice, practice, practice. Before mount the dais, do practice. Some speakers talk a mirror, a spouse or a trusted staff member. However you do it, do practice!

Please share on social media if you found this post helpful. If you have a comment or question I would be happy to discuss. 

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