5 Expert Tips for Already Good Public Speakers

Posted September 17, 2012 by Marcy Twete in On the Ladder

Because public speaking is the #1 fear among Americans, we recently brought you the article “Public Speaking for Career Girls.” And as discussion of this article circulated on LinkedIn and Twitter, we realized that even though these tips were great for new speakers and those who might be generally uneasy when it comes to public speaking, we left our a large group — those who are already good (even great) public speakers.

Inc.com solved the problem for us with the article “Already a Decent Speaker: Here Are 5 Expert Tips.” Our favorite tip is their interactive audience tip:

Shake It Up

No matter how incredible your presentation is, your audience has a limited attention span. Find opportunities to make the presentation entertaining and interactive. You can field questions, use technology like TextTheMob to poll your audience, or break into smaller groups to do an activity.

Definitely check out Inc.’s full article. But to piggyback on this idea, we’re giving you five of our own tips for already good-to-great speakers.

  1. Get interactive. Many speakers wait until the end of a presentation to take questions from the audience. Only truly great speakers can keep their flow going while taking questions and interacting with their audience from beginning to end. Give it a shot, and it might make you a better speaker.
  2. Get to know the audience before your presentation. If you’re presenting at a luncheon or dinner, you will likely  have time to meet people and network with the audience prior to speaking. Don’t sit in the green room during this time. Get out there, say hello, and learn some names. And if you can, incorporate some of those people, their stories and their names into your presentation. It makes you more approachable and your presentation more personal.
  3. Don’t hog the spotlight. If you’re a truly great speaker, you want to be surrounded by truly great speakers. So the next time you’re asked to speak at an event, think about bringing in a second expert or speaker with you. Sometimes conversations between two people are better than lectures from one.
  4. Give it all away up front. It’s an interesting technique, and I’ve seen many great speakers use it. You start your presentation with something like “I’m going to tell you the most important takeaway you need to know from my presentation right now — and then we’ll dive deeper.” If you solve the math problem early, your audience might just be more in-depth listeners to the nooks and crannies of your formula later on.
  5. Get paid! If you’re a great speaker and find yourself constantly being asked to speak for free, it might be time to start charging. Talk to some speakers in your area and find out what works for them. Get yourself a website and you’re on the right road!

About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."