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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