Monday, March 4, 2013

7 Tips for Speakers & Wannabe Speakers

When I hear a speaker, I listen with two body parts: I fine tune my heart, to hear what God is saying that might change my life. And I listen with my brain, so I can assess what works and what doesn't as a speaker interacts with her audience. Because I am also a speaker, I want to learn from others what works and what doesn't.
At a recent women's conference, I made these notes to myself:

  1.      DO smile a lot, to engage your audience. Genuine smiles cover a multitude of mistakes.
  2.      Transparency endears you to your audience. "I have a confession to make" piques my curiosity, but DON'T give too many gory details, or I want to run out screaming.
  3.      DO engage your audience on a personal level. Ask questions, have them give 30-second shoulder rubs to each other, and address a few by name.
  4.      DON'T draw attention to your actions that don't fit with your message. "Oops--my microphone is slipping, I need to fix it," or, "I'm going to get a drink of water here," etc. Just take care of it, and trust your audience to understand.
  5.      If you chose a short dress, DO wear pantyhose. Bare legs look unprofessional for a speaker at a larger venue than someone's back yard.
  6.      Even a funny, engaging story needs to be concise and to the point. DON'T ramble and repeat, or we lose interest.
  7.      DO show us how you put the principles into practice in your own life, to convince us you know what you are talking about.

When you hear a speaker, read a book, or watch a movie, do you listen with more than one body part? How does what bugs or excites you reveal about your heart, or the speaker/author/actress?

P. S. For a list of my speaking gigs, please see my Speaking Schedule Page on this site.