7 Ways to Become a Grade-A Speaker

Speaking at a Canada Convention
Speaking at a Canada Convention

When I provide individual speech coaching, and when I direct presentation skills seminars, I emphasize these 7 necessary steps for speaking with poise, power, and persuasion.

1. Adopt an upbeat ATTITUDE
Form a mental picture of success. Anticipate your audience’s unbroken attention, laughter, and applause. Assume you have something worth saying, and that you will say it well.

2.Focus on the AUDIENCE
This way, you won’t become excessively concerned about yourself. Remember, audiences want you to succeed. They aren’t critics, they are your cheerleaders. Embrace them–then they’ll embrace you.

Listeners don’t want to wonder if you have a pulse. So don’t read or recite your message. . . tell it, as energetically as you would describe a fun weekend. Move away from the podium, gesture freely, vary your voice, just as you do in casual chit chat. Create what actors call “The Illusion of the First Time.”

Remain on the lookout for audience feedback. When you detect confusion, restate your point. When you see listeners nod in agreement, let their support energize you.

Even adults love “once upon a time.” People remember and learn from your stories, not statistics. Paint word pictures, giving a “you are there” feeling. Use suspense with the skill of a novelist. Paul Harvey carved a grand speaking career as a master story teller.

6. Sharpen your APPEARANCE
Although casual and sometimes sloppy dress have gained some acceptance, your audience wants you to dress a notch or two above their norm. Tasteful, professional clothing reflects that you respect them and the occasion. Not surprisingly, you will gain confidence and energy as well.

Do something different from other speakers. Examples: unusual props, impersonations, games, regular audience interaction, or magic if that’s your talent. Note: Every season, new TV shows succeed because they become distinctive.

Next time you speak, try these “7 A’s.” They work. Your audience will give you an “A” grade for sure.

For more great tips about speaking, order my audio CD, “How to Become a Dynamic Speaker!” My Web site’s shopping cart accepts major credit cards, and you are not required to have a PayPal account. Here is the link to the shopping cart:


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3 More Ways to Control Your Stage Fright

Is stage fright controlling you? Do you avoid speaking situations because you are afraid you’ll get poor ratings from the audience? Or do you avoid promotion because the next step up would require more speaking obligations?

Then I hope you have seen my earlier video, “Six Ways to Control Stage Fright.” If you haven’t watched that yet, here is a link to the You Tube version:


Or you can visit this blog’s archives to see that video. Go to June 2008, and you’ll find “Six Ways” there.

Note that the “Six Ways” video has attracted more than 10,000 viewers. Quite obviously, stage fright is not just your problem or mine. Everyone (even professional speakers like me) experiences some level of fear about facing an audience.

Recognizing that I have learned and used other valuable tips for controlling your stage fright–tips I have shared with my executive coaching clients–I produced another video for you.:

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In this new video, you’ll notice that I invite you to visit my Online Coaching page, where you can consider signing up for this year-round program, very modestly priced. As the name implies, you will have access to numerous training materials that I provide through the Internet. Use this link:


Also, I call attention to my individual coaching service, where you get one-on-one advice. Your coaching plan could include in-person consultation, telephone consultation, assignments, DISC Personal Style Analysis, and additional learning opportunities. The link to the coaching page on my Web site:


I welcome your comments, and other blog readers will, too. So after watching this video, you are free to comment. Just go to the end of the blog entry and click NO COMMENTS if none have been made, or if comments have been made click 1 comment, 2 comments, or whatever the comments button says. The comments section will appear.

One more relevant thought regarding stage fright. A friend sent me this wise statement: “If you stumble, make it part of the dance.”