I am lucky to have been born with an interest in speaking BUT I definitely honed this craft for many many years. When I was giving the speech at my graduation of St John’s University, I was “trained” on how to do that speech even though I had been traveling the country with the Speech and Debate Team and won many trophies but still needed training to be ready to stand in front of 1,000’s of people to give a speech. Ironic but not really. The methods of speaking changes with audience, focus, topic and more.
As someone who “performs” every semester for the past 13 years so approximately 26+ semesters (summer sessions, too) and over 1000’s of students, I can tell you with certainty that speaking gigs or any time you need to communicate with a group of more than 2 that results will vary wildly and that past success is no predictor of current results. For instance, I can give a similar lecture for my course twice and each time it is different because the listeners are different.
And yes, I use the word “performs” about my public speaking and teaching skills. I am doing more than sharing lessons – I need to keep many people focused and interested. In my opinion, the worst thing you can do as a speaker is “bore” your listeners.
Here are my lessons on how to be an engaging speaker:
With my company, I tend to give many presentations and talks around topics such as blogging, being entrepreneurial, college and career readiness. I find that the most important thing to do to keep an audience’s interest and focus is to be as energetic and passionate as possible but to beware going too far in either direction.
What do you think about my quick rules for making presentations "exciting"? Happy Hunting!
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Lisa Vento Nielsen