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Master the Art of Public Speaking: Proven Tips from History’s Influential Speakers

Why some people are good at Public Speaking while others flounder, comes down to various factors and the following links which some of the most successful Public Speakers in human history share….

  1. Storytelling

Whether it’s long or short, being able to tell a story is very important in public speaking.

Some people don’t learn lessons and prefer to gather important facts and make conclusions just from black-and-white facts and figures.

Others thrive with a story that ‘paints a picture’, as it were, and triggers vivid images in their minds. If they can see it in their head, then they can connect, make meaning, and reach clearer conclusions.

You can tell a good story because you understand the valuable lesson you want shared, while recognizing and understanding the key figures to introduce and emphasize – finding ways for people to see themselves in the people or scenario. 

I tell stories about my experiences with bullying in the corporate world, my climb in the media and entertainment space, and my triumphs and failures in sports. 

I do this at different times while pacing and remain steadfast about one thing: Value!

I read my audience before they’ve even walked through the door – researching the client and their brand, their market, and their event KPIs; All the time tailoring a speech or Emcee segment with stories of value to my audience.

I’m booked and busy, so clearly my storytelling is working!!!

  1. Commanding a room

Just like teachers in a classroom, and parents with their children (furry or otherwise), if you lose control of a room, it is very hard to wrestle control back.

Any Public Speaker worth their salt needs to be able to command a room.

Authority isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone, but if you can stand up for yourself one-on-one, then you can adapt that momentary commanding ability to the room at large. One of the key methods to control a room is: NEVER let your voice waver!

Even if you’re nervous or emotional, rather be self-deprecating and admit to it in a humorous way, or cough to clear your throat and buy yourself time to get control of your nerves.

When you are speaking in public there are diverse personalities in the room with you, and while some may sympathize and even empathize, there are some who won’t take in the value of anything you say because they don’t place as much value in a figure who doesn’t ooze some measure of confidence or authority. So, your masterful command of the room is what will ensure your event KPIs are met.

Success will come from the value they see when they witness that you are in control and capable of directing the room like the conductor of an orchestra.

  1. Communicating, even in the silence

To some, gestures and weighted silences are unplanned, organic happenstances. To others, these are manipulation tactics, and in Marketing and Public Relations, they are tools to an end.

In Public Speaking, gestures, and weighted silences lend credence to your messaging.

Masterful Public Speakers use them as an extension of their storytelling, a means of showcasing their uniqueness, as well as claiming and maintaining command of the room. Think of how the late Queen Elizabeth could quieten and rally a crowd by simply raising her hand; How her smiles on the palace balcony or her assured stoic face during televised speeches, reassured an entire nation.

One movement, one sigh, a glance, or even a handshake, all speak.

Your job is to make people listen and hear the right message.

The most successful Public Speakers communicate in silence – you need only look at the likes of Barack Obama or watch the closing arguments of lawyers on television or in court, to understand the value of gestures and weighted silence.

What can you say with just a well-timed silence!?

  1. Calm and carefully paced eye contact

You already have experience with the science of eye movement and understanding the power of eye contact. You are aware of it when you’re disciplining, convincing, flirting, and even eating. Eyes, and how they move around or remain still, are fascinating. It’s also an important facet of Public Speaking.

When you’re maintaining steady eye movement and keeping reasonable eye contact, you can establish a rapport with your audience, and you can make them feel seen, and involved – which encourages them to receive your message more willingly.

The best example of excellent Public Speaking, where eye contact plays a pivotal role, can be found on your Netflix, under “Stand-Up”. Stand-up comedians make use of eye contact to emphasize a specific part of their joke or story, to enhance the humour or to get a reaction from one or several audience members, and for a host of other reasons. 

There is also a matter of trust and reliability that is associated with eye contact as many individuals don’t trust a person who cannot maintain eye contact and trust even less if someone has erratic eye movements.

So, steady and paced eye contact around the room is one way you can level up your Public Speaking game, for sure!

  1. A stellar personal brand

Every effective Public Speaker has what is known as a personal brand.

It’s what people are saying about you, even when you aren’t in the room. 

As successful speakers who impact people when they’re speaking, this is inescapable, and so you need to control the narrative; And that’s where developing a stellar Personal Brand comes in!

A Personal Brand is useful in various ways – most important is getting your audience to connect with you and your message through the combination of who you are, where you come from, what you do, and how you are relevant to them. This is what will keep people interested in your narrative and your goal.

It also needs to be packaged just right so you and your audience, and your clients are always aware of who is in front of them and what your purpose is.


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