Habits of Highly Effective Professional Speakers
Are you looking to enter the field of professional speaking? Or maybe you want to captivate your audience during your next speaking gig. Regardless of whether you are just starting out as a professional speaker or have been speaking to audiences for a while, there is always room to learn and improve so that your next public speaking even is unforgettable.
There are many reasons why companies and organizations hire professional speakers. Sometimes it is to motivate their staff, while at other times it is to garner new investors or customers. Regardless of the reason why you are hired to speak at an event, the following habits can help you up your game.
Have a Clear Purpose
You won’t get far at a public speaking gig if you do not have a clear purpose of why you’re there in the first place. This is why it is important to meet with the organizers of the event beforehand to discuss what outcome they are looking to achieve for their event. More often than not, companies simply want a professional speaker to motivate their employees and help boost their morale. In time, even the most motivated employees can lose sight of their purpose. It will be up to you to help them recognize and remember their “why.” But, that is only going to be possible if you know yours.
Begin with the End in Mind
This is somewhat similar to the first tip. The best professional speakers always start with the end in mind. That’s because the only reason why you will be there is to move your audience. Some of the questions you should ask yourself is; what do you want your audience to think, feel, and do once the event is over? Many professional speakers write down their closing statement beforehand to make sure their entire presentation helps to reinforce that specific message.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
Another important habit that separates the great public speakers from the mediocre speakers is preparation. While the novice public speaker might rehearse their presentation a few times and call it a day, the professional speaker knows the importance of staying on your toes. Rather than memorizing a few lines or talking points, which can be a recipe for disaster, successful speakers know the importance of rehearsing their presentation and tweaking it along the way to make it even better. While you’re at it, it’s also advised to rehearse dealing with some of the difficult questions because you are bound to get asked a few during the presentation. If you find yourself speaking to a difficult audience, then you might not want to wait for the question to be asked to think of an answer on the fly. Preparing your presentation beforehand is always the best way to go.
Focus on the Opening, Middle, and Closing
There are three parts to every professional speaking event; there’s the opening, the body, and the end. While these three parts are not equal in time, but they are all important. More often than not, speakers make the mistake of focusing solely on the body of their presentation, which is a big no-no.
The way you open your presentation is crucial since that will be the first impression for your audience and will decide how your audience feels towards you throughout the presentation. To be an effective speaker, you need to use your words carefully to capture the attention of your audience and establish rapport from the get-go.
The closing is the final part of your presentation and should always be the strongest. This will allow your audience to remember what you have said long after the event has ended. It is important that the closing you use helps to reinforce the message and what you want your audience to do next.
Learn to Pause
One of the telltale signs of a novice public speaker is that they are often nervous while they are on stage. A nervous tends to keep on talking since they are afraid of silence. That said, silence can be your friend if you are a professional speaker. This is mainly because you cannot convince anyone by keeping on talking. But rather, you can convince your audience following a poignant quote with a pause, which will be far more effective. It also allows your audience a chance to consider your words and reflect on them, even if it is for a moment. Experienced professional speakers use pauses more often and for longer periods during their presentations, which not only helps them appear more confident, but also lets their audience know that they are comfortable with how they feel about their ideas.
Maintain Eye Contact
Perhaps, the most important part of professional speaking is being able to maintain eye contact. This also happens to be the trickiest part of public speaking as well; too little eye contact and you may appear to be aloof to the audience; too much eye contact and you can easily come across as creepy or weird, or both.
One of the mistakes that novice public speakers make is staring too often in their notes or on a screen. If you want your audience to pay attention to what you have to say, then you should make sure that everyone is listening. And the best way to do that is by maintaining eye contact with your audience throughout your presentation. Be sure to look at every person who is sitting in at the front few rows so that they feel engaged and will be encouraged to listen to your presentation without feeling left out or bored.
Platforms such as People Connect help professional, and novice public speakers connect with companies and organizations that are looking for professional speakers. All you have to do if you’re a professional speaker is sign up to the platform and get access to all the latest information on speaking opportunities near you. For companies, finding professional speakers for your next big event has never been easier. There’s a simple sign up process on People Connect that gives you access to all the best public speakers in your specific niche that you can hire for your next event.