The most commonly mentioned “superpower” among the 80+ speakers I interviewed for Public Speaking Super Powers was the Power of Passion. Having a passion for your topic is important because when you have it, you are able to bring enthusiasm and energy to your presentation. Alas, there are going to […]
Category Archives: The Power of Passion
As I mentioned in my last post, I recently read an article by leadership authority Roxi Hewertson, President & CEO of the Highland Consulting Group, that listed five things great leaders do, as well as five things failing leaders do. I also shared that what I found so interesting about the article was how the information could easily be applied to public speaking.
In my previous post, I shared the five things great speakers and leaders have in common. Today, I’ll head in the other direction.
Five Things Terrible Speakers Do
They Are Self-Absorbed
“Failing leaders just don’t pick up on or value other people’s signals,” says Hewertson. “Or, if they do, they don’t care, all demonstrating a fundamental lack of empathy.”
One of the super powers many of my featured speakers valued was the ability to read the audience. When a speaker fails to pick up on — or care about — an audience’s emotional response to his or her presentation, that speaker fails miserably.
I recently read an article by leadership authority Roxi Hewertson, President & CEO of the Highland Consulting Group, that listed five things great leaders do, as well as five things failing leaders do. What struck me was how the information could easily be applied to public speaking.
The first thing Hewertson commented on was focusing on attitudes and behaviors when evaluating how you are performing. “These are the biggest differentiators between great leaders and failing leaders because they demonstrate the four core emotional intelligence metrics: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. These four factors are directly correlated with attitudes and behaviors that work for you or against those in a leadership role.”
The same can be said of speakers. Those who approach speaking with the right attitudes and behaviors that respect and engage an audience, that support being of service to the audience, are those who have more gigs on their calendar and more call backs to the same clients.
Five Things Great Speakers Do
They Know Their Emotional Landscape
Successful speakers understand their own emotions and recognize how those emotions, and the behaviors they generate, affect themselves and the audience.
By Featured Speaker Daniel Hall
Being an approved cruise enrichment lecturer is the greatest gig on the seven seas. The deal is simple: you furnish the cruise lines three or four 1-hour lectures on subjects you love and you get a free cruise for yourself and a companion. The best part is the lectures are usually scheduled on sea days so you’ll have every port day totally free to explore. Further, you cruise as a passenger (not a crew member) so you’ll get every other passenger perk, too.
Although it is relatively easy for anyone willing to try there are some pitfalls to becoming an approved cruise lecturer. Here are the things you should watch out for:
1. You don’t do your homework. Learn which cruise lines have enrichment lecturer programs and what topics they generally seek.The cruise lines will know if you aren’t asking intelligent questions. You’ll only be able to sound intelligent about their programs if you’ve done your homework. Being labeled as an amateur because you have not done the required up front work will be the kiss of death to your application.
The funny thing is, no matter how skilled or professional a speaker is or becomes, they can still fail to get their message across. I remember one time hearing a very well known and respected inspirational speaker and leaving the talk wondering why people loved him so much. His presentation was stale and lacked passion … which was pretty much what is speech was about.
That said, you can be a mediocre speaker and still be very effective if you avoid these 5 pitfalls that even the pros sometime fall into.
Talking to Your Peers
Some speakers forget that the audience is not filled with their peers, people who know the topic on a deep level. Most of the time, your audience is going to be brand spanking new to your topic — or at least your take on it. To avoid this pitfall, get to know your audience’s level of knowledge on the topic before you give the speech so that you can tailor it to their level of understanding. This way, you’ll not only be able to hook them into the topic more effectively, but communicate your message using words, stories and imagery that they will respond to.
From 1994 to 1997 there was an animated show called The Tick about an unlikely superhero with the brawn and intelligence of, well, a tick. In one episode, excerpts from which are shown below, The Tick and his sidekick Arthur are teaching future superheroes the tricks of the trade. […]
You’ve got the perfect speech … on paper. You may have even presented it a few times with decent results. But you want more. What can you do to take this presentation to the next level?
I’ve been there before. When I was competing in high school with my earthquake speech it was good enough for me to get into the finals and place 5th most of the time. But I was never able to take it higher. I wish I had known these three things then!
1. Know your audience.
In order to connect with your audience, to get them to truly engage with your presentation, you need to know and understand them. If I’d had a better handle on what the judges where looking for, as well as who they were as people, I might have been able to tweak my earthquake speech to better meet their needs and earned more points in the process.
Before you give a presentation, do your homework on your audience. What makes them a group? What are they looking to gain from your presentation? What are their “hot topics” and “hot buttons”? Do they have inside jokes? What things do they have in common that you can pull from to create meaningful illustrative anecdotes?