Every entrepreneur or public relations professional or spends a lot of time delivering messages. Whether it’s leading a team meeting, pitching a client or keynoting an industry event, speaking opportunities are ever-present.
That being said, public speaking is one of the biggest fears that most people have, and it’s an art as much as a science. How do you become the successful speaker? Follow these amazing tips and Speaker Success Roadmap by Grant Baldwin in his best selling book.
Your 9-point Speaker Success Roadmap
Select a problem you want to solve. Then do it
Speaking doesn’t start with what you want to say. It starts with the problem you want to solve.
Selecting a problem to solve is the first step in the Speaker Success Roadmap. It is the foundation on which success is built. It seems invisible and unattractive but it is crucial to everything else.
The speech you deliver is the means by which you solve the problem. When people ask you what you speak about, the real question is what problem do you solve and why should it matter to them?
Keep your solution short, clear and simple. The 3-point formula of selecting a problem to solve is:
- Choose an industry
- Identify an interest
- Speak with integrity
Narrow your focus
Your focus of interest will help you achieve clarity. Set your expectations and own them. You will attract more of the kind of client you want, and you’ll fill up your calendar with bookings a lot faster.
Don’t get greedy and try to talk to CEOs, health enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, and married couples all at once.
To narrow your focus, ask the following questions:
- What do I enjoy talking about?
- Can I speak on this topic for the next 5 years?
- Are people interested in learning about this topic?
When in doubt about industry and interest, the key is to watch the market. Pay attention to what industries are looking for from speakers. What are other speakers in your industry talking about? What problems are they solving?
Apply the OPEN strategy and aim for the target
You may be interested in many topics. However, you need to find the intersection between the market demand and your interest, and focus on that.
How do you do that? Ray Edwards, a marketing expert and professional speaker, recommends the OPEN method to determine if your audience is interested in your topic.
OPEN stands for:
- Oblivious: People who don’t know they have a problem
- Pondering: People who are vaguely aware they have a problem
- Engaged: People who are actively seeking a solution
- Needing: People whose problems have become overwhelming
Your target should be people who are engaged or needing. To find these people, you need to look in the right places.
Trying to convince people why they should care about your interest is far more challenging. Find people who are already interested and find a way to get your message to them.
Listen to what people want. But give them what they need
When people are not interested enough to pay you, try the Trojan Horse Method. It means you position yourself in an area that people are interested in so that you can reach more people. Make sure your interest falls within the area you have inserted yourself.
Carry the audience on your back: Clarify of destination
A good talk should always answer two questions:
- So what? This addresses the one thing you want your audience to know
- Now what? This addresses what you want them to do as a result of what they now know.
- Resist the temptation of packing too much into a single talk. You want your talk to leave your audience with a more memorable and enjoyable experience.
In his book “Steal the Show,” Michael Port discusses several frameworks for a speech. Four of these frameworks are: numerical, chronological, modular, and problem–solution. These frameworks help you to structure your talk accordingly.
Find a process that works for you and the audience. There are no hard–and–fast rules. Allow for spontaneity and improvisation. Try new things, experiment, use stories.
Tap on the power of humor
Humor is extremely effective for keeping an audience engaged. But remember, as with stories, humor should be used to move the point of the talk or story forward.
Here are some additional tips for using humor: take an unexpected detour, pay close attention to context, go with the flow, and never tell the audience your joke will be funny.
Put Fear where it belongs
Public speaking is the number one fear for most people, more terrifying than heights, death, flying, loneliness, bugs, or snakes.
The fear of public speaking comes from three unspoken fears, which are fear of the unknown, of embarrassment, and of the worst–case scenario.
To combat these three fears, you need to acknowledge that all good things in life come with the possibility of failure.
It’s also important to understand that excitement is often misinterpreted as fear. For example, while some are afraid of rollercoasters, others are excited about them. Both groups of people feel butterflies in their stomachs each time they go on the ride. Fear causes you to flee from something while excitement causes you to run toward it.
To manage the discomfort that comes from speaking in front of an audience, practice your talk over and over again, and use keywords to good effect.
Read the room
The more you speak, the better you become at reading the room and the audience to know which interactions will work in which settings. Feel out the audience and decide what’s best for them.
Did you know? As of 2013, the average attention span of a human was 8 seconds. A goldfish has an average attention span of 9 seconds.
There are a number of dynamics that determine how your audience receives your message and how well you hold their attention. Start the talk with a strong opening, make your energy match the room.
Build your brand
It is important that you realize that you are the brand, not your product, teaching or company.
What is your brand as a speaker? What are the most important marketing tools you need? How do you establish your expertise and get a client’s attention?
Your brand must be clear. Your brand is the feeling you give your clients or your audience. Start with what you have at your disposal. A brand is something you are continually growing as you go further down the path of becoming a successful speaker.
The acronym S.P.E.A.K. has been expanded to represent:
- Select a problem to solve
- Prepare and deliver your talk
- Establish your expertise
- Acquire paid speaking gigs
- Know when to scale