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By Angela Maiers

Public Speaking: Advice From The Heart

Five Years Later, It’s Clearer Than Ever: We Need to Know We Matter

A friend of mine is doing his first keynote address and asked me for some advice. 

What I thought was going to be a few short tips, turned into something that may be helpful to other speakers and leaders.

Here's what I shared: 

1.  BE YOURSELF---fully and fiercely.  I know this sounds super cliche, but there is a reason it became a cliche.  They  reached out to you because of you!!! There are many people who know  about the topic and are doing great things; but they are not you.; YOU are the value. 

2. SHARE YOUR STORY- People are moved by stories; specifically ones that are authentic and brave.  Your story can "prove" that in spite of all the challenges amidst; there is hope.  

If you want to backup your story with research and data; create a leave behind for participants to explore if they are interested in implementing the strategies and suggestions you shared through your story.

3.  BE CONFIDENT AND FIERCE--I cannot stress this enough.  Say what you believe in a manner that bespeaks the determination in which you believe it. It is great that you reached out to others, but don't let any of the advice you receive or the perception that some of us are "better" than others because they have done more keynotes, etc... Be confident in your value and fierce about your convictions. 

4.  REMEMBER THE WHY (Yours and Theirs) :   I had the great fortune of working with Seth Godin for a year, and the greatest lesson I learned was this:  You are not there to inform, to entertain, to simply make them feel good.  Your purpose is to make an impact.  And in order to do that; you must intentionally (and respectfully) disturb.

Here are Seth's Words:  "The purpose of a presentation is to change minds. That’s the only reason I can think of to spend the time and resources. If your goal isn’t to change minds, perhaps you should consider a different approach."

5. This is a "GET-TO-DO" -- A presentation is a precious opportunity. It’s a powerful arrangement between a speaker and their audience.  Whether it is your first speech or your 500th; we can never forget this.  

THIS is what makes me nervous every time I hit the stage.  Knowing that another's  attention is a something precious and must be continually earned is what keeps me excited to do it again only better. 

It is this conviction and deep belief that a presentation of any size and scope is never an obligation and always a privilege that makes me continue to grow.

 Audiences are far more sophisticated than many speakers give them credit for. They know when you are dialing it in, They know when you are regurgitating content. They know if you are the real deal within seconds. 

They will be patient, kinds, forgiving and will tolerate our imperfections if they know that we are giving it all for them, and we are honored by the opportunity and feel equally privileged to be in their presence.  

I hope this helps my friend.  You are going to rock this;  I have no doubt! 

You Matter,