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10 Secrets to Be an Awesome Speaker

Updated: Jul 26, 2021

1. You are a salesman- Think like a salesman because that is what you are trying to do. Sell your idea like you are trying to sell a car or a software package. Get them to believe that if they don’t have your product, they will be missing out on the greatest opportunity.

“The 2 keys to a great speech are content and presentation”

2. Push their emotional button- What is their ESP, which is their Emotional Selling Point. What will push someones emotional buttons.

“Teaching is reaching, not preaching”

3. Let them know what you are telling them- Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell it to them, then tell them what you told them.

“If you can’t clarify to yourself what you are speaking about, you will never be able to clarify it to someone else!”

4. Get to the Point!- Don’t get stuck in the weeds. People only have so much bandwidth to listen. If your story gets to long OR takes away from the main point, tighten it up. Flesh out your ideas, which means to give it substance, or to make it fuller or more nearly complete.

Always be tightening it up and improving your talks. If you are satisfied, you’re dead”

5. Connect to the audience- Make a connection to everyone in the room and get the audience to like you. Get to the venue early and talk to audience members on a more personal level. They will like you even BEFORE you speak. Your bar for giving a great talk just went down.

6. Get to their heart- If you don’t get to their heart, you won’t affect their brain and they will not make a change. Rabbi Yisroel Salanter, the Rabbi famous for his guidance on character building said:

"The Greatest distance in the world is between a persons mind and their heart”

Someone can believe something's intellectually true but unless they find a way to internalize it and return it to their heart, to know it with complete clarity, it will not affect their actions.

“People won’t remember what you told, but they will remember how you made them feel”

7. Make it personal- Use situations that are personal to you because they most likely have the same issues snd connect to you easier.

8. Life itself is a class!- You can learn a lesson from every situation you encounter in life.

9. Use the Movies- Use inspiring movie quotes. Example: Shawshank redemption “Get busy living or get busy dying”.

10. Things NOT to say- What should we learn together? What do you guys think about this idea for my next class? If you don’t act like you are in charge, they will not take you as seriously.

Don’t look like you are lost or flustered! Teach like you are an actor in a live show. It is okay to be lost and pretend that you are just gathering your thoughts.

“You are being looked at as the expert in a subject, so therefore you ARE the expert, even if you’re not”

11. Dress the part- If you are going for job interview, you are really selling yourself. You would dress is a way that you think the interviewer would like. If you knew they loved blue shirts, what color shirt would you wear? Blue! Dress in a way that you think your audience will like.

12. Distractions will distract- There are 2 types of distractions, the ones you can control, and the ones you can’t. The best speakers can make it through any distraction, but you really have to know your content well.

Distractions that you can control

•Your dress should be sharp, no stains, tucked in shirt, tie on straight.

•Your teeth should be checked for spinach and use a paper towel on your face to wipe down the shine. You will get sweaty anyway, but start off not shiny.

•Make sure your phone is off. It is best of you have a clock in the back of the room. Avoid looking at your watch because it is distracting. I will sometimes ask an audience member to let me borrow their watch (Again, connecting to the audience). That person now feels like they are helping with the program).

•Avoid any food set up from happening while you are talking.

Distractions you can’t control

• Baby crying in the room. “They say a crying baby is just like a great idea; They should both be carried out”

Cell phone ring-“Can you take a message for me?” “Is that my mom? Tell her I’ll call her back”

People talking-I will speak right at them

Texting-Just assume they are taking notes.

Questions that are off topic or difficult to answer. Tell them you speak to them privately, then run out of the room when you are finished. :)

13. Make it sticky- Use memorable phrases, lists, mnemonics, or acronyms. Preferable no more than 3 bullet points. People can only remember so much.

“Always be thinking of acronyms, phrases and rhymes to use in talks”

14. Be funny!- Everyone likes funny people. Do it in a way you are comfortable with. If you are going to tell a joke, You must practice it over and over. If you have to explain it, don’t tell it! Better no joke than a bad joke. Timing is everything! I make up songs that may be corny, but they are certainly memorable.

15. Speak to the back of the room and over enunciate your words- The reason to enunciate is your voice falls apart as it travels. You have to talk like you are speaking to the back of the room.

16. Eye Contact!- Look at every person in the eye as you speak. Also make to sure to NOT speak to one side of the room. I have seen this on several occasion and found it very annoying. Always be slowly moving back and forth.

“Eye contact makes you to appear confident, even if you aren’t!”

17. Read your audience- You can get a lot of information from facial cues. Be aware of your time. I find it irritating when speakers go over their time limit. If someone wants to hear more, they can always ask you afterwards.

18. Ask questions- This is to try to engage the audience. If you can’t get them to engage, then stop asking. My best classes is when people engaged with me. Don’t do what I used to do, ignore them and say ah-hu. Really try to listen and do your best to answer them. If you don’t know, tell them “It is beyond my pay-grade”.

19. Change your volume and cadence- The best ending is when you are able to bring your audience in at the end. You know if you are doing this when you lower your voice to almost a whisper, start to talk slower, and then lean on the podium to get closer to the audience. You will see your audience lean in to you to be closer to hear you. This is when you know you have them and you can hit them hard with your ending. When their hearts are open, they will more likely take in what you have to say. As a speaker that is probably the best feeling you can get.

20. Repeat important points- When you have a line that is an important part of your talk, repeat it, but repeat more slowly and in a different volume.

21. Get them to believe in themselves- and how they can change the world. Be positive! Use examples of how others have changed the world. Give examples and analogies.

22. Be an agent for change- If you don’t change your audience, you didn’t succeed. Try to get them to leave with something they can do!

23. Use your skills- Some people have booming voice, some have a beautiful accent, big hands, funny or cute songs, some are naturally funny; whatever skill you have, use it!

24.Overdo whatever it is that you do- Make the smile bigger, the face funnier, the impersonation bigger, the sound affect overboard, the dance wilder, etc

Questions to ask yourself before you speak

Summarize your talk in one sentence.

What word do you want your students to say when asked about the class?

What is your selling point? How will you convince them to buy what you are selling?

What parable are you using to sell your product?

What are the 3 points that you are giving over to sell your product?

What is your closing line?

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