Being a speaker and sharing your wisdom from the stage isn’t for everyone! For some, the idea of being centre stage in front of an audience without a script to read from is one of the most terrifying things they can imagine!
But, for those of you who like the idea of being a public speaker, it’s a really great way to share your content and be seen as someone who has something valuable and interesting to say.
A captive audience
Most speaking ‘gigs’ give you the opportunity to speak to a captive audience, anywhere from 20-40 minutes.
There will be people in the room who are already interested in the particular topic you’re speaking about and may even already know about you.
Equally though there’ll be many who haven’t heard about your particular area of expertise before. This gives you a great opportunity to introduce yourself to a whole new audience.
So how do you get speaking opportunities?
If speaking from the stage is your dream, you’ve possibly been visualising yourself in front of audiences of hundreds or even thousands of people (perhaps even with a standing ovation thrown in for good measure – I mean if you’re going to dream you may as well go for it hey?!). But realistically, for the majority of people this size of audience is not their first experience, so you need to be prepared to start small.
Now, if you’re already making a name for yourself in your particular space, it’s possible that speaking opportunities will come to you. However, if you’re just starting out, you’ll need to seek them out for yourself.
So, when you see or hear of events you know you’d be a great fit for, don’t be afraid to reach out and ask if they have speaking slots available. Networking groups are also a great place to look as they often want guest speakers.
Big or small, any speaking opportunity is a great way to significantly raise your profile and share your knowledge.
Top tips for being a great speaker
Being an effective and powerful speaker isn’t just about waxing lyrical about your chosen topic.
There are some other key factors you also need to keep in mind…
- What’s the outcome the event organiser wants for the audience? You need to ensure you meet their objectives not your own
- What type of audience will you be speaking to? It’s crucial to tailor your content to fit
- Ensure your content tells a story – otherwise it can be deadly boring, and you might look out on an audience that’s nodding off. Let’s be honest, no one wants that experience!
- Do not read a script – this is such a big no-no! Even if you have slides of some description, treat them merely as visual pointers for both you and the audience. As an audience member it’s so dull when someone just regurgitates what they can already read for themselves! And while we’re on the subject of slides, check this out for the things NOT to do with powerpoint – it’s old but it still gives the best guide that I know of.
- Practice, practice, practice – the more you practice the more comfortable and natural you’ll look and sound. The best speakers take you on a journey by injecting plenty of personality and tonal light and shade into their talks. Hand gestures and a certain amount of working the space in front of the audience also helps to keep them interested.
- Get audience feedback – a great way to ensure your audience is engaging with you and to get some real-time feedback on how your content is landing, is to get them involved. Ask questions they can agree to with a hand raise, give them exercises to do and give them points to ponder throughout.
And don’t be afraid to ask for feedback from the event organiser as well. Feedback helps you to craft your skill and grow into a more rounded and engaging speaker.
If you know you want to be a speaker but are unsure what to share or how to translate your passion into content for a talk, book a free content review call. We’ll help you come up with ideas that might just get you that standing ovation you’ve been dreaming about after all!