5 Key Ways to be an Effective Speaker

By Emily Grimm

Speaking in front of any crowd can be a difficult task.  Here are a few easy steps to best spread your message.

Photo Credit: Noelle Smith

Photo Credit: Noelle Smith

1. Know your audience

As a key speaker in any session, it is crucially important to know your audience.  When traveling to a conference regarding a certain demographic, keep your performance in mind.  Certain age groups are not drawn to a monotone, lecture style speech.  This style may appeal to a legal conference of Ph.D. scholars, but not a group of 19 – 22 year olds.

 2. Push for insightful questions

As a keynote speaker, it is crucially important to push for intuitive questions.  Audience members are always going to have questions and it is important to separate the engaging thoughts from the irrelevant perspectives.  Still address these questions, but do so in a timely manner.

 3. Don’t be constrained by structured time

If you are allotted an hour for your speech and questions, don’t feel constrained by structured time.  Timing your statements down to the first 30 minutes exactly and then opening for questions is a bit expected.  Break the time molds to keep your audience focused.

Photo Credit: Noelle Smith

Photo Credit: Noelle Smith

4. Engage with the audience

While it may be convenient for some to stand at the podium and address the audience, it resembles a college classroom setting. If a speaker is walking around the room, coming up to individuals, asking them questions, it then keeps the audience alert and interested.

 5. Be humble

Typically in any formal speaking session, a speaker will have an introduction preformed by another colleague.  This is an overview of your accomplishments, so leave the resume sounding details out of your address.  Since you are a speaker at a seminar, the audience is already well aware of your qualifications.

– EG

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