Are you an entrepreneur? Have you ever been invited to a conference, university or church to share the secrets of your success?
Did you scratch your head and say, “dang, but I’ve never spoken before! How am I going to do this?”
Twenty-one-year old professional speaker Pedro De Abreu shares the secrets of crafting and delivering a perfect speech that will have people talking about it and you long after you are gone.
1. Be Yourself
Do you remember back in middle school when you approached an old friend and told him that you liked a certain girl in your class? What was the first thing he told you about how to approach her?
He probably told you to be yourself. The sad truth is that we more often than not reject this and see it as a lazy advice. Quite the contrary.
Audiences can see from far away whether you are authentic or not, whether you are trying to emulate someone else or whether you are being yourself with them. The magic that happens when you are yourself is that your audience will become more open, and, in turn, be themselves with you and love you for respecting them enough and not being fake.
Have you ever heard a speech where the speaker was clearly trying to emulate someone, even faking his or her voice afraid to show his or her real self? Whoever was on that stage looked pathetic. It’s not worth it. Audiences will love you and respect you if you are honest with yourself.
Remember, they don’t care about what you have to say, but they care about whether you believe what you have to say. The way to believe in your message is to be authentic.
2. Understand your Audience
You wouldn’t go to the beach in jeans, would you?
There are a few universal principles that every audience will be able to relate to. Study your audience thoroughly. In doing so, ask yourself these questions:
- What do they like?
- What do they dislike?
- What are some issues that we both face on a daily basis?
- What kinds of solutions could I offer them?
- What kind of value do I bring to the table?
- What are their fears and how can I help them?
If you answer those questions and adapt them into your speech, your audience will listen to you and support your all throughout your delivery.
3. Involve the Audience
A speech is a two-way dialogue with the people who are listening to you. And what kills the dialogue? You kill the audience involvement when you start reading a manuscript. Why? Because you start focusing on the piece of paper more than you focus on your audience.
A simple solution I like for not using a manuscript and speaking more freely is to do what Abraham Lincoln used to do in his closing arguments: he had a small piece of paper with bullet of points which reminded him of the stories he had to tell and points to convey.
4. Dress Well
Dress twice as much as your audience does. This shows respect towards yourself and towards them. Not only that, but you will feel good about yourself and have a better delivery. After all, they are listening to you because they want to be like you.
5. Tell Stories
Out of these seven points – after “being yourself” – this is by far the most important one. You can be a database of numbers and vomit them in your audience or you can be entertaining and memorable.
People are entertained by stories. That’s why we go to the movies. Tell memorable stories with passion and enthusiasm. After you tell a story, you emphasize a point you want them to remember.
For example, say you are speaking on leadership, instead of telling them that “the second point of leadership is…” tell them about a time when you took a leadership initiative and about its outcome. Then you tell your point and how it affects them.
You will be amazed at how powerful story-telling can be. Five years after you’ve given your speech, no one will remember your name, but they will remember how you made them feel through a story you told them.
6. Think of Yourself as Valuable
The most important dialogue you have is the dialogue that takes place in between your ears. It’s also that internal dialogue that will determine how far or how short you will go in life. It’s the same for a speech.
If you ask yourself, “who am I to give them a speech?” you will certainly be doomed to fail.
If, instead, despite of your qualifications, tell yourself, “Who am I not to give them a speech?” you will achieve all the success you’ve ever wanted.
Think about this, if God considered you valuable enough to give you the struggles you’ve had, then you should consider yourself valuable enough to pass your knowledge along to others.
7. Get in Front of the Mirror.
Practice, practice, practice. Most people think that they can just get in front of an audience and wow them at no cost.
Great speakers make it look too easy. The secret here is that it is all too simple, but for it to be easy you must practice your speech until you’re exhausted.
After you’ve practiced it enough times, you’ll create what actors call “the illusion of the first time,” which is the impression you get from trained actors that they are doing something for the first time. After they have practiced a script for so long, they become natural at delivering it, creating the illusion that they were somehow born to do what they do.
The truth is, like everything else, it takes time.
In the words of philosopher Baltasar Gracian, “the crutch of Time can do more than the steely club of Hercules. What is done immediately is undone just as fast, but what must last an eternity takes that long to do.”
It won’t take you an eternity, but a few hours that will seem like it.
Pedro’s Next Post: 7 Mighty Leadership Characteristics for Entrepreneurs
Pedro De Abreu in Action!
From Nick Tart: I’ve only dabbled in speaking and it’s something I’d like to do more of. I’ve talked to a number of professional speakers in the last couple of years. Like Pedro said, there’s a lot more work that goes into it than the audience realizes. Here’s a taste of Pedro’s talk:
To book Pedro De Abreu for your event, click here.
Photo by: marcusrg.