Public speaking is an art. And even the most successful business owners are at risk of boring their audience, if they don’t understand the key components to keeping people engaged.
So, how can event planners and corporations hire a speaker who not only provides value, but also captivates the audience?
And how can professional speakers improve their performance, to become an in-demand keynote speaker?
Sure, practice and preparation are part of the process.
But, according to Bobby Glen James, a professional keynote speaker and President of SpeakUp Speakers Studio, the real secret to success as a professional speaker comes down to three key components: entertaining the audience, educating the audience, and inspiring the audience.
I. Entertain the Audience
After you’ve put in the hours of work necessary to assemble a presentation or plan an event, you don’t want to see attendees asleep in their chairs. This blow to the ego can be avoided if you understand that keeping the audience entertained is imperative to any presentation.
Keeping Your Audience’s Attention
Entertaining speakers and presenters do something that holds the attendees attention, such as:
- Keeping the energy high and having fun.
- Making a statement that will start a conversation with the listeners
- Telling a story in an engaging way, rather than just verbally vomiting facts all over the audience.
- Sharing contradictions to the norm
- Surprising audience members
- Instilling confidence and trust. The audience must truly trust you in order to listen to you.
- Taking photos and video of the audience and sending the images to the attendees after the event, to keep them talking long after the event is over.
- Introducing a game or puzzle into the presentation that must be solved by listeners by the end of the session
- Making the audience get out of their seats
- Including jokes or funny stories in the presentation, to keep people listening.
It’s worth mentioning that being authentic is also vitally important to connecting with an audience. People can spot fakeness a mile away, and authenticity leads to connection and building rapport.
II. Educate the Audience
Make sure what your presentations are teaching is useful to your attendees. Having an entertaining presentation is great, but good speakers also teach the audience something of value, without inundating them with endless data.
Here are a few ways the best speakers help their audiences retain information:
1. Know your audience! Send pre-event surveys to your attendees so you, as a speaker, can zero in on topics they want to explore. If you know what they expect and want to learn, you can exceed their expectations.
2. Use different types of teaching methods that will engage all types of learners. Consider:
- Interactive tasks
- Group activities
- Most importantly, use storytelling to spice up your facts and data. Facts tell and stories sell; this is something good speakers never forget.
3. Let your audience teach, as well. If your event is a workshop, have listeners write or draw a concept that was shared and allow them to process it with other members of the group.
4. Change up the presentation space. Add bean bag chairs, exercise ball chairs, standing tables, colorful diagrams, amazing lighting features.
5. Props often increase the amount of information that is remembered by the audience. Professors from the University of Leicester say that visual aids can enhance the impact of a presentation.
III. Inspire the Audience
If you take one look at the most inspiring speeches ever made it becomes obvious how contagious inspiration is.
Bobby Glen James says, “There are a lot of public speakers but only 10% truly engage the audience and inspire their audience to action. In order to be inspiring, you must risk being vulnerable. If people aren’t taking action with the information they learned, what’s the point?”
Whether you’re a professional speaker or an event planner, making sure your audience is inspired by a strong call to action is the last step in the professional speaking trifecta.
When you’re hiring a keynote speaker for an event, don’t make the mistake of hiring someone with the most impressive business credentials. Hire a speaker who’s an expert at entertaining, educating and inspiring an audience.
The worst thing you can do as an event planner or professional speaker is end up with a bored audience.