On the heels of delivering many of my Keynote Speeches, I am often asked what traits make a public speaker successful, which is what inspired this blog.
After extensive research and pondering my 12 years of keynote speaking experiences, here are the four top traits of the most successful public speakers:
1. They exude confidence.
No one wants to see a nervous and emotionally anxious speaker at the front of the room. Great speakers exhibit a fully confident demeanor and know their topics thoroughly. This confidence is infectious and translates into the audience fully trusting and believing the speaker.
2. They know their audience and tailor their presentation accordingly.
Great public speakers fully understand the needs and desires of their audience. When I coach aspiring speakers about the speech content and delivery, I always reveal the fact that half of the typical audience desires emotional stimulation, while the other half seeks intellectual stimulation. As such, great public speakers provide storytelling, humor, and sensitive examples to fulfill the former group’s desires. Conversely, great public speakers proffer the scientific research, often using statistics, to satisfy the latter group’s wishes.
3. They have a very engaging presentation style.
Great public speakers clearly articulate their words and use voice inflection effectively. An engaging presentation style includes using voice tone, storytelling, humor, body language, and audience interaction. In short, they get the audience laughing and crying.
4. They use customized and engaging presentation software and videos.
Ninety-five percent of public speakers use Powerpoint for their presentations, a very effective presentation software. But great public speakers take the time to customize the presentation based upon the audience and their desires. Their videos are colorful, entertaining, and most importantly, not too long. Long or extended videos tend to distract the audience from what should be the center of attention: the keynote speaker.