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Essential Qualities of a Good Speaker

In his book, The Training of a Public Speaker, Grenville Kleiser claimed that the key qualities of a good speaker included:

  • goodness,
  • mildness,
  • pleasing,
  • humane,
  • insinuating,
  • amiable,
  • and charming to the hearer

He went on to say, “the morals of the orator may shine forth from his
discourse and be known in their genuine colors.”

But why those qualities? How do they help a speaker be a good speaker? Here are my thoughts.

Essential Qualities of a Speaker

Be a Good Person

When you are on stage, your presentation needs to be more about being of service to your audience than it is about you in any way. Good people understand this. Good speakers honor their audience’s needs, time and intelligence. They want to give the audience their best and leave them at least a little bit better than they were before the speech.

Be a Mild Person

Have you ever seen an “in your face” prevention? How did that make you feel as a member of the audience. Probably not that good. Being an obnoxious speaker might get you somewhere in the short run, but it will get you nowhere in the long run. Mildness, I believe, in this case, means being gentle and respectful with your message. You need not bludgeon the audience over the proverbial head to get your point across.

Be a Humane Person

The first definition of human, according to the Oxford Dictionaries, is “having or showing compassion or benevolence.” This goes back to being a good person. You need to have compassion for your audience and where they are in relation to your topic. And, if you want to succeed long-term, you need to have their best interests at heart. This means that you give them what they came to the presentation for, in the allotted time, and are honest about the information you share.

Be a Insinuating Person

The term insinuating has a bad rap, for it means to suggest or hint at something, often bad or reprehensible, in an indirect or unpleasant way. However, there is a way to look at this word from a benevolent point of view. Good speakers instill doubt in their audiences about behaviors they might want to change. They do this often with subtlety.

In addition, one meaning of the word is to cause someone, especially oneself, to be accepted by gradual approaches or maneuvers. For a speaker, this means that you ease into your presentation.

  • Someone introduces you and describes your accomplishments
  • You tell a story about how you were once in the audience’s shoes
  • You use humor, vocal variety, and other tools to win your audience over

These are all ways to insulate yourself into the hearts of your audience members.

Be a Amiable Person

Who wants to listen to a grump on the stage? When you are a likable, amiable speaker, your audience is much more likely to engage with you and your topic.

Be a Charming Person

Charming is both how you behave and how you look. As Featured Speaker Bob Bevard says, you want to be the best dressed person in the room. This establishes your leadership. But you also want to be pleasant to listen to. If you have all of the above qualities, chances are you are charming.

So what do you think? Do you agree with Kleiser’s list of qualities? Do you think I translated them well? Let me know in a comment below.

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About the author

Carma Spence, is author of Public Speaking Super Powers. She is fiercely committed to guiding women to Owning their Superpowers and turning their knowledge and interests into a profitable business. She is masterful at helping her clients see what is possible for them and supporting them on the journey from where they are to where they want to be, releasing the Mind Goblins of self-doubt, self-sabotage and second-guessing that keep them stuck.

With 20+ years experience in marketing communications and public relations, natural intuitive skills and certification in using some of the most effective transformational coaching tools available, Carma’s mission and commitment is to unleash the inner power every woman entrepreneur possesses so they can boldly go out into the world, transforming the fabric of people’s lives in meaningful and positive ways.

You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Her website is CarmaSpence.com.