Five Characteristics You Need to Succeed as a Public Speaker

This is a guest post by Arman Sadeghi. Arman is an entrepreneur, professional speaker and founder of Titanium Success. He has a degree in molecular and cell biology from the University of California at Berkeley. Arman has a passion for healthy mind, body, and spirit. He speaks about, and coaches people on, personal development and success.

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Great public speakers are not born, they are made. They are not perfect. It is the desire to advance their public speaking skills that draw them closer to perfection. The art of public speaking goes beyond reading from cue cards. Fortunately, if you have the passion, learning about the essential qualities of professional speakers is a great way to becoming one yourself.

Public speaking can be terrifying if you don’t have the qualities or the eloquence to inspire. If your speaking skills are not on par, chances are that your presentation will not effectively relay your message. The following five essential qualities of all public speakers will bolster your presentations to inspire, influence and make a consequential impact on your audience.

Microphone symbolizing public speaking; five characteristics you need to be a good public speaker

1. Confidence

Confidence is the mother of all the other attributes that makes a successful presentation. A public speaker who exudes confidence is viewed as being more confident, accurate, knowledgeable, intelligent and likable than a speaker who is less confident of what they are saying. It’s natural to be nervous, but to excel in public speaking, you have to overcome your nervous jitters.

If you find yourself feeling a little nervous before a presentation, find a way to let it go as the audience will never see it unless you let it loose. Engaging your audience in the presentation is one of the ways of overcoming fear. The key is to practice, practice and practice. If you do a decent job here, confidence will flow naturally.

2. Passion

Passion is a strong feeling of enthusiasm for something. In order to effectively communicate your speech, you need to have a passion for the subject. If the subject cannot exhilarate you, chances are that it will not excite your audience. Without passion, your speech is meaningless. Passion elicits emotions that flow naturally. Emotions move an audience and effectively convey the message.

Emotions cannot be faked. Raising your voice and using gestures cannot take the place of emotions. You need to radiate a level of sincerity in your emotions that will belch the words out of your mouth in order to move your audience. In order to find passion for subjects that don’t excite you, you will need to dig deeper to find things that interest you.

3. Introspection and Self Awareness

To be a successful public speaker, you must first understand who you are and what your strongest qualities are. Most successful speakers work to capitalize on their strengths. Is it humor that adds taste to your presentation? Or is it that storytelling talent? Understanding your strength as a public speaker will enable you to effectively engage the audience.

Professional public speakers also find ways to improve on their weaknesses. To get started, you should make a list of all your best traits that make you exceptional. Think of how these traits are expressed when making a presentation. You should also make a list of those traits that you think are lacking in your presentations. Then you should devise ways of improving and incorporating the traits in a clear and concise manner that will make your presentation engaging.

4. Being Yourself

Always be yourself and not a duplicate of a “would be”. No one can replicate you better than yourself. No matter how much you have rehearsed for the speech, if you don’t act like yourself, your audience may see you as insincere. They may perceive that your whole idea is to try to capture attention by copying a famous person or trying to take their place.

Think of it this way: If you create a website and overload it with copied or duplicated content, it won’t attract much traffic. Authenticity is very important and goes hand in hand with the perceived credibility of whatever you are marketing. In order to be yourself, you should speak with a natural voice. Practice your speech but don’t memorize it.

5. Engagement with your Audience

A good speech should be conversational in nature. It should engage the audience as much as possible. This helps to eliminate the element of boredom. It ensures that the audiences are not on phone or laptops searching the web as you speak. You can get them to put the phones down by creating an engaging atmosphere. You can achieve this by painting a picture through storytelling, making fun or by conducting some regular body-relaxing activities.

Sources

The Muse – 4 Qualities of Amazing Public Speakers

Magnetic Public Speaking – The Top 9 Characteristics of Amazing Pubic Speakers

Ellen Finkelstein – 12 Steps to Becoming a Charismatic Speaker

Inc. – 14 Must-Haves to Be a Great Public Speaker

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12 Replies to “Five Characteristics You Need to Succeed as a Public Speaker”

  1. You make a great point that if the subject you are speaking on does not excite you then it will not excite the audience. I can imagine that if you are listening to a speaker talks about something and you can tell that they have no passion, that it will be incredibly difficult to be able to hold their attention. I would love to listen to a motivational speaker in person sometime, I feel like that would be a great experience.

  2. Great list John. I would take Passion/Being Yourself/Enganging with the Audience as the Most basic ones to have for any speaker out there. I have watched plenty of speeches where the speaker although confident the content and his ability to really get the audience going with the topic was lacking, and his confidence was solely based on having the knowledge, but there was no passion.
    Thanks for sharing, John!

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John delivered a keynote address about the importance of public speaking to 80 senior members of Gore’s Medical Device Europe team at an important sales event. He was informative, engaging and inspirational. Everyone was motivated to improve their public speaking skills. Following his keynote, John has led public speaking workshops for Gore in Barcelona and Munich. He is an outstanding speaker who thinks carefully about the needs of his audience well before he steps on stage.

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I was expecting a few speaking tips and tricks and a few fun exercises, but you went above and beyond – and sideways. You taught me to stand tall. You taught me to anchor myself. You taught me to breathe. You taught me to open up. You taught me to look people in the eye. You taught me to tell the truth. You taught me to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. I got more than I bargained for in the best possible way.

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HR Specialist, World Health Organization

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CFO European Dairy Supply Chain & Operations, Danone

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Senior Sales Manager, Sunrise Communications

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Director of the Jura Region, BKW Energie AG

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