How Do I Become A Good Public Speaker?
“How Do I Become A Good Public Speaker”, is a question I get asked a lot, and of course, there is a lot to it. You need to be able to tell a story. You need to be able to make an impact. Avoiding “death by Powerpoint”, goes without saying. You also need to have memorable and ‘sticky’ content. And, of course, you need to build a relationship with your audience.
There’s all this and more. In this blog,I want to concentrate on something which you cannot do without if you really want to be considered by your audience (the only people who really matter) as a good public speaker. In fact, if you get this right you will probably be described as not just a ‘good publi speaker’, but as one of the best public speakers your audience has ever seen.
So, what am I talking about?
I am talking about KNOWING your audience.
When you know your audience, and I mean REALLY know your audience, you differentiate yourself in all sorts of ways. When you know your audience, your entire presentation speaks to their hearts and minds. It is important to understand that you have to do both.
I have seen plenty of speakers who rely on appealing to the audience’s minds. This is typically your ‘death by PowerPoint’ presentation. A bit dry. Over-reliance on facts and evidence. Makes sense but is BORING. The problem here is that if you do not connect emotionally with your audience then they won’t ‘buy’ YOU. Whether you are selling yourself, an idea or a product/service – people buy on emotion.
However, emotion on it’s own is not enough. I’m sure you have seen inspirational speakers who connect with their audience. You may have been uplifted and moved. But you haven’t bought their stuff, because there was something missing.
Emotion wins, Logic justifies.
If you have any doubts, let’s imagine you are going out to buy a car, or a watch, or a phone. You have a budget in mind. The problem is when you get to the shop/showroom, you see something you REALLY love, but it is 50% more than you had planned to spend.
The salesperson talks to you about the features of the product that is within your stated budget, but the problem is that you have seen the other one, the one you really want. The one you can imagine yourself wearing/driving/using. You know how great you will feel.
But it’s more expensive. A lot more expensive. So, what do you do?
Well, nine times out of ten you will buy whatever it is. And THEN you will justify it with the facts, the evidence. “It will last longer than the other one”, “It has more features”, “I will save money on the running costs”.
Here’s the thing. You need both. You need emotion AND you need to tie that emotion to the facts, the benefits, the potential results.
The Importance of Knowing Your Audience
And the point is, that when you know your audience well, then you know what is important to them. You know what keeps them up at night and what they want. You know what thoughts run through their mind.
When you know your audience – you can speak directly to them. People only buy what they really want, and if you know what that is, and can connect what you have to offer, to what they want – then you are a good public speaker. And always remember that people generally do not buy what they need. They buy what they want. Sometimes, but not always, that is also what they need!
Your job as a public speaker is to connect with your audience in a way that makes them move in some way. You are there to make a difference. You are there to entertain, educate, inspire or motivate. And if you know your audience well, you can get away with not being the most polished or experienced public speaker. If you take the focus off yourself and put it on your audience and how they feel, then you are already better than most of the speakers they will have seen!
So, now, how good a public speaker are you?