Habits of Talented Speakers

There’s this traditional way of speaking that many people think is the normal way to speak. It involves telling your audience everything you’re going to say, reading note cards or slides, trying to state everything possible on the topic as quickly as possible in a loud voice, awkwardly looking around the room to make eye contact, restating everything you said, awkwardly ending. It’s a data & fact driven presentation.

What habits are influencing your teen currently doing in their speaking? By starting to develop better habits, they will be eventually find themselves automatically doing a better job when they prep for and present a message.

Today, I’ve rounded up 25 habits of talented speakers.

Let’s get to it!

  1. Use stories

    Great speakers EMBRACE the power of a personal story and wield it like a sword…to cut through boredom & bland. They know stories are what makes their speech worth listening to. They are full of emotion…and we humans love that! It’s how we remember things. As appropriate, speakers use them to transform their presentations!

  2. Be generous with time and passion and energy

    Good speakers know they’ve got to bring their best energy to their audience. When they’re performing, they have to prepare ahead of time, get rest, eat well, and warm up to make sure they’re present…and able to focus on giving their audience the love they deserve.

  3. Put Your Audience First

    Without them….speakers know they’re NOT communicating anything. Before deciding how they want to present information, they consider their audience. What is the best way for them to pick up what the speaker laying down? Great speakers make a plan and then strive to use the best content and delivery for their specific audience!

  4. Accept imperfection

    Speakers understand the growth process. They are imperfect humans too. But, they use their imperfect ways as a benefit, rather than a disadvantage. They accept that they will make mistakes, look stupid, make gross sounds accidentally….but that it’s okay. They just keep going…and try to be better next time.

  5. Translate content for audience

    Great speakers do more than just tell their audience facts and ideas from a book,….they bring them to life! They make the content understandable for their audience…and use their own perspective and interpretation to show how the content is relatable and/or useful to the audience.

  6. Adjust the way you think about speaking when you’re nervous

    Talented speakers have learned how to communication with a group nearly the same as they do in a conversation with one person who’s a friend. They have stopped seeing the audience as a mob of critics with pitchforks ready to pounce.

  7. Stay on Message

    Speakers work hard to create content that will serve their audience, so they’ve learned that rambling won’t help them. They stick to their speaking topic and save the off hand remarks or ideas for another time off stage.

  8. Use Props and Visuals

    Clever speakers know that thoughtfully used props and visuals are more powerful than what they say. This can include showing a brief movie! These keep the audience’s attention. They wonder what you have that prop or visual for… and stay awake! They also help them to retain or understand information faster.

  9. Memorize the outline

    Know where you’re going and how you plan to get there.

  10. Know WHY you’re speaking

    Those speakers who keep your attention so well have a goal. They have a point they want to share. They do everything possible to reach that goal…which often is to help their audience in some way.

  11. Identify the Opportunity to Grow

    Good speakers know that they can grow each time they speak. They strive to improve and accept the challenge to work hard each time they speak.

  12. Ground Yourself

    Be like a tree, stand in your spot firmly. (Even if you move to another place) Great speakers don’t wiggle their feet around nervously. They confidently plan their feet in the ground wherever they are on stage. They know it will give them power and keep their audience from getting distracted by extra movement.

  13. Visualize yourself doing well

    Speakers get nervous, but rather than sit in a kiddie-pool of their own doubt before speaking, they visualize themselves doing what they planned, their rehearsed movement, smiling, and being successful at the end of it all.

  14. Take Risk

    Talented Speakers do things that may be emotionally or physically risky…in the hopes of connecting with their audience. The may tell a vulnerable story about a time they messed up. They may have more energy than any of their peers… Whatever it is, it can feel scary…but they know it has the possibility to better engage and teach their audience.

  15. Make clear choices and stick with them

    They know they could do anything on stage… Once they do make a vocal, physical, or imaginative choice on stage, they see it through. For example, they don’t start off with energy, notice the audience looks tired…and decided to quit trying.

  16. Rehearse

    Experienced speakers know that rehearsal is a series of steps…and actions that help them to experiment and refine their presentation. It’s not a single action. It’s a process that makes them a better speaker.

  17. Infuse Yourself

    Memorable speakers turn regular topics into something special…that you can’t imagine anyone else doing probably as well. They take the opportunity to use their unique personality, perspective, and creativity to put their spin on the message.

  18. Be Present…and in the moment

    Speakers who know what they’re doing put any unnecessary part of their mind on hold to present. They focus on the task of speaking…and listening so they can be emotionally available for their audience. Even if they are stressed out about a test later that week, they set it aside for a while, warm up…and allow themselves to be present in that exact moment.

  19. Give your audience the benefit of the doubt…they’re not as judgy as you think

    Speakers know their audience isn’t full of haters. More likely…it’s full of people who want them to succeed. They don’t want to be bored. They ignore the ONE dude up in the front looking annoyed…and pay more attention to the room of nodding and smiling faces.

  20. Know your stuff

    Strong speakers HAVE to prepare. They have to know their topic, stories, have rehearsed it thoroughly. They don’t wing it because they can improvise. They know they serve their audience best when they are ready to go!

  21. Edit & Cut out

    Epic speakers simplify their content. They have noticed that people don’t want MORE. They want what’s important. They make it easy for the audience to see and understand the message, options, issues, and perspective by ruthlessly editing and cutting out content that isn’t serving their goal for that speech.

  22. Use Humor

    Good speakers know that humor is a superpower. Even if they aren’t naturally funny, they can find ways to lighten the mood at the perfect moment. They know that the height of listening is after a big laugh…and take advantage of this knowledge.

  23. Be consistently great

    Enduring Speakers try to do the best they can. They are always be trying to be better. Over time, they know they can create a reputation for doing good work. Audiences start to perk up and listen if they just HEAR you’re on coming up. Speakers know they train their audiences to expect excellence.

  24. Interact with your audience

    Fabulous speakers know that they are the leader in that moment and can interact with their audience. They can help their audience to stay engaged by using wise interaction that helps them to stay alert, laugh, smile, and keep listening.

  25. Create a Reason for them to Desire Change

    Powerful speakers help their audience to WANT or DESIRE to change. They use their many speaking skills, content, structure, goals, to help their audience to experience some personal insight for themselves…that can lead to change.

 

Woo!! You made it through all 25. Time to implement and take action. Which of the 25 habits do you want to get better at? Which ones are you good at?

I challenge you to write down 1 habit you’d like to get better at, then make a plan on how to do it! Once you make your plan, come back here and write “Did it” in the comments.