It’s About Being Selfless
I can safely say that most the frequent question I get is –
“What Qualities Make a Great Speaker?”
It’s a simple question, but it has NO one answer. You have to break it down and prioritise all of the component parts that make a great speaker. From all of that analysis and brain-wracking, I can safely say that a great public speaker makes it their sole focus to GIVE.
It seems like a simple and somewhat smart-ass answer. But again, you have to analyse what a great speaker is ‘Giving’. When you are standing in front people and you are speaking, you are there to give. You are giving your view(s), analysis, opinion(s), belief(s) and value(s).
Hold this thought in your mind – ‘your sole purpose and all encompassing goal when addressing an audience is to GIVE.’ This is what all your deliveries should strive to be about. When crafting, practicing and delivering what you have been asked for by an audience; You must make it abundantly clear in your mind throughout that you want to give selflessly to the listener or viewer.
If you give yourself and your product on stage with genuine and emotional connection, you have already succeeded as a competent speaker. You can ooze confidence and knowledge when presenting but it will be a dull and less than rousing delivery.
However, a combination of knowledge and genuine selflessness to your audience will create an emotional anchor and much more memorable experience for your audience. Any perceived lack of confidence will be blurred or ignored by the simple act of genuinely connecting and giving more to the audience than you wish to take from them.
Confidence is a belief in yourself, it can be built and self appointed. I have watched the most arrogant and cocky of people present to their superiors. In some cases so brazen that they have ignored research, skipped practice and just turned up on the day, self assured that they are so good, they can’t possibly be critiqued. WRONG.
Not to say I enjoy someone being humiliated and belittled in a room of their peers. However, sometimes people like that need to be reminded that they only as good as the product they deliver. If they had remembered to GIVE. They would have given more effort, passion, knowledge and value to their audience. TAKING from an audience is the quickest way to lose credibility, integrity and respect.
You have been given the opportunity to stand in front of people, because your views, experiences and knowledge are respected and valued by your peers and superiors, hence why they have given you a platform on which to impart your wisdom. TAKING from them and using their good faith to further your aims will be a short lived plan. GIVE to your audience everything and more, confirming that their trust in you is well deserved. They will GIVE you back so much more value in respect and future opportunities.
Giving is more important than confidence, gravitas and impeccable presentation skills. The foundation of any Public Speaker should be to GIVE more than they TAKE, the rest is nurtured by a central theme of Giving.