How To Be A Better Speaker

I dropped out of my speech class at Oklahoma State in 1963 the night before I was scheduled to give a speech to the class the next day because I was so terrified. I finally fixed that problem years later. Everything is hard before it is easy.


It is so important to inspire your audience when you give a talk.  We all need to learn to do this in our own way, but there are some ways to improve upon how you do it.

Know Your Audience
One thing I always do is to think about whom my audience is and what I can say that they will connect with.  I think I have done about every job in the hospitality business, so it is easy for me to figure out what examples and stories to tell to hold the interest of the audience. Personal stories are always a hit and especially one’s about children.  Do your homework on your audience, and you will be on your way.

Be Yourself
Don’t try to be someone else.  Be yourself.  Don’t try to get up and act like an orator unless you are really, really able to . . . because phoniness can be spotted a mile away.

Get There Early
If you can get to where you are speaking and meet some of the audience at the coffee break or listen to the speech before yours, you can pick up some great examples and material to work into your talk.  Just meeting and talking with some of the other people there will give you some material and good stories such as, “As I was telling your president at the coffee break, my grandchildren are perfect; and he said his were too.”

Learn From Professional Speakers
Watching professional speakers can help you learn some great techniques.  I love to watch speakers on television to learn some new techniques.  I love to watch speakers who are passionate in the delivery of their material to learn what they do to engage the audience.  You can do this too.

Tell Stories
This is the one most powerful thing you can do!  You have many stories in your life that will make relevant points with your audience.  Your customer letters and employee stories will give you endless emotional material. It is all around you if you just look for it.

Speak With Your Entire Body
Show your passion for your subject, and use your voice, your story, your face, and your body movement to show the passion you have for what you have to say.

A speech teacher told me once to speak only about things I was passionate about and always tell stories.  This was excellent advice.  Try it.

Practice, Practice, and Then Practice
One reason why I have continued to teach the Time Management course all these years is that it gives me a forum to practice and to enhance my speaking skills.  I was terrified to give a speech in my early career.  In fact I dropped out of my speech class the night before I had to give a speech in college because I was so scared.  I knew that I would have to overcome that fear, but I did not really start working on it until I was around 32 years old.  I waited too long, and I am sure that a lot of people out there in my early career would agree with that.


So, as I said a few weeks ago in one of my blog posts, “What should you be working on now that will payoff later?”       . . . Lee

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