As speakers, not many of us will actually ascend to the degree of Winston Churchill, or John F. Kennedy.
But there are things you can – and should – be doing to turn into a memorable speaker and stand apart from the crowd.
What distinguishes you?
One day, sooner rather than later, set aside some quiet time to review your speaker “persona.” This includes assessing your substance, your expertise in conveying a discourse or introduction, your visual appearance, and your likeability.
In experiencing this introspective exercise, honestly assess if you have what it takes to be a powerful, memorable speaker.
Content. Begin by investigating your content. Is it accurate to say that you are a topic master that individuals should tune in? You might be astounded to find that you’re failing to stay aware of new developments. You’ve delivered a similar generic presentation so regularly that the substance has grown stale.
Clarity. Is your image fluffy? You’ve tried to become an expert in too many areas because you need to contact the biggest conceivable audience and be a star presenter. In any case, you can dilute your message and your image by spreading yourself too thin.
Learn what you’re best at – and most popular for – and build your image so somebody can say, “That is Kate Jones. She knows more about migration law than anybody else.”
Delivery. You can be the premier expert in a subject and then fall flat on your face if you are a poor presenter. You may require help from a mentor inside your organization or an outside trainer . She will assist you with building up your key messages so you keep your crowd locked in. You can likewise learn methods about how to utilize visual guides and props to convey a hard-hitting talk.
It’s imperative to build up a consistent presentation style that is unmistakably you so you appear to be the master that you are. Your non-verbal communication and the words you use should add to your gravitas and individual brand.
Appearance. Appearance is an important component of your persona. Hillary Clinton is known for her pants suits. As presidential candidate and afterward Secretary of State, she wore them to convey her seriousness of purpose.
Madeleine Albright, her predecessor, on the other hand, wore a distinctive pin on her suit lapel or dress to brighten up each outfit. After leaving office, she compiled a book with a photograph of each pin and the story behind it.
Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, would hardly be recognizable without his hoodie. Also, the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple, consistently wore a black turtleneck and jeans. These casual outfits have become symbols of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
At a New York Women in Communications event – Coffee & Discussions: Ladies in the Workplace – it was interesting to take note of that each of the five women on the stage wore some color and certainly didn’t blend into the background. They were all open and conversational and used great examples from their careers. They not only shared their many successes but also some of their biggest failures and lessons learned from each. The occasion was a tremendous success.
Likeability. This will always be one of your toughest challenges. Likeability can be elusive.
People may like the substance of what you state, and admire how you look, but they have to like you. How you make them feel is critical. Do you appear to be a “know-it-all?” Do you try to make audience members feel good about themselves and respect their points of view? Do you show feeling and uncover some of yourself?
You can’t build a wall between you and your audience. It’s important to show some vulnerability and to let the audience in. Authenticity is key as an audience will block out a speaker who they feel is on automatic pilot talking with no feeling. Your audience wants to know you are a caring human being. The most memorable speeches move audiences.
Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech brought thousands of participants at the March on Washington to tears in 1963. His words rang out yet Dr. King’s passion and humility are what launched a crusade and created his enduring legacy.
Have you taken an introspective look at your presentation style lately? What actions are you taking to refresh your speeches and bring true passion to your delivery?