You’ve probably seen great speakers and you’ve probably seen horrible speakers. There are speakers who you wish would keep going and then there are speakers who you’re practically begging to stop. So what separates the two? What do the great speakers do differently than everyone else?
Great speakers aren’t great by accident. They become great the same way Michael Jordan did…practice. And when they practiced, they had these five things in mind…
1. Open Strong
Public speakers know that they need to start a speech strong.
The second they start their presentation, they need to instantly capture attention or it’s all downhill from there. Some great speakers will start their presentation with a pattern interrupt which basically pimp-slaps your brain so you pay attention.
But if you want to make a great presentation then you need to own the stage the second you walk out.
And maybe you’re not walking onto a big stage, maybe you’re just making a presentation in front of a few people…that means you have to REALLY open strong because smaller groups are harder to control.
When you’re speaking to a smaller group, the group is much more likely to interrupt you because they see the presentation as a conversation rather than a speech. Think about what happens when you’re in a conversation with just one person. You talk, they might interrupt, they talk, you interrupt, you talk, they talk, etc etc. But when you’re a professional speaker who’s on a big stage….the only person who talks is the speaker.
So if you have a small group then you need to really open strong.
2. Keep Attention
It’s one thing to grab attention, it’s another to keep it.
Great speakers keep attention in a variety of ways. Maybe they tell stories, include more pattern interrupts, use demonstrations, etc. If you’re making a presentation, you have to be a very compelling person to keep the attention of your audience. And just because they’re looking at you doesn’t mean you have their attention.
Attention is a mental activity.
Someone can be looking at you but thinking about what they’re going to eat for dinner. Or they might be wondering what to wear to a party that’s coming up.
If you want to keep attention then you have to be compelling. If you’re relying on your presentation to do the work for you then it will be hard to keep their attention but if you’re a compelling personality, people will listen no matter what you say.
Think about what happens when a celebrity walks into a room; They instantly draw attention. Or even better…think about what happens when Lady Gaga walks into a room. She draws even more attention. At the beginning, she would grab your attention but if nothing else happened then you would go about your day.
But what if she came up to you and sat on your lap…well not only did she draw your attention but she’s keeping it (and hopefully she isn’t wearing a meat outfit when she sits on your lap).
3. Doesn’t Depend On Powerpoint
There’s a difference between using powerpoint presentations and depending on powerpoint presentations.
A lot of speaker depend on powerpoint presentations. You’ve seen it. These are the speakers who go to the next slide, look at what they wrote, and just read to the audience what’s on the slide.
You can tell that the speaker doesn’t remember their presentation because they’re taking cues from the powerpoint on what to talk about. And more often than not, they didn’t even make the slides look pretty.
But great speakers don’t depend on powerpoint.
If they use a powerpoint then they use it as an added bonus to what they’re saying.
So maybe they’re talking about something and a picture pops up…you have no idea what the picture means…but then the speaker starts talking about the time Lady Gaga sat on their lap and now you can make it out.
Speakers that depend on powerpoint aren’t great speakers because they’re more focused on the presentation rather than being a great presenter.
4. Get Their Point Across
Great speakers know how to get their point across.
Whenever you’re making a presentation, if you’re not getting your point across then you’re wasting everyone’s time. Unfortunately, there are plenty of people who have a hard time getting their point across because they only see things from their perspective.
And what’s worse is that the people who don’t get their point across always blame the other person for being too stupid to understand them.
If someone doesn’t understand you then it’s not their fault, it’s yours.
One way to get your point across is to use simple language.
The one thing you don’t want to do is what the legal system does. Have you seen the language they use to describe thing? Learning the legal language is like trying to decode a CIA message. But most people do this without thinking about it. They have their “industry” language that they use when making a presentation and people just stare at them (because nobody wants to look like a dummy by asking what that word means).
The more simple you can make something, the easier it is to get your point across when making a presentation.
5. Close Strong
I don’t know about you but I hate movies with bad endings. Great speakers know that they need to end strong because if they don’t, it’s like having a great movie with a horrible ending…a huge let-down.
A bad close can ruin a presentation.
Maybe you’re trying to sell something and you mess up at the end…nobody’s going to buy.
Or maybe you’re just giving an inspirational speech, everyone is pumped, and then you make a stupid remark.
Either way, if you don’t close strong then people will think your entire presentation sucked.
You’re only as good as your last game