I’ve just spent the weekend at the Professional Speaking Association’s annual convention. It was a joy to be on the other side of the stage for once and an excellent opportunity to learn some gold dust tips from some of the world’s best.
Here are some of my favourites for anyone who wants to raise their profile and deliver world class presentations from the stage:
1. A word of warning from media coach and reputation management specialist, Alan Stevens: “Be controversial, but always justify what you say”. Beware of fake news and “Google-proof your speech by looking up every line for accuracy”.
2. Marketing gold from Bryony Thomas “I often see people on stage and they have lots of answers. My main keynote is a series of 13 questions. Because your answers to your biggest questions are going to be better than mine”.
3. Fabulous tips from Penny Haslam on raising your profile as an expert: “Don’t be part of the news, comment on the news”; give examples to illustrate your points but be careful of going into too much detail, ie “the Titanicdote”.
4. If you want to make a massive impact from the start of your talk, build in a disruptive opening. Networking and sales expert, Andy Lopata beautifully demonstrated the disruptive opening, by planting a ‘heckler’ in the crowd, which was all part of the act.
5. From international speaker and speaking mentor, Steve Lowell, “If you want to stand out as a speaker and engage your audience in your solutions, you need to bring their attention to a problem they didn’t know they had and the cost of this. Present a snapshot of your audience’s world they hadn’t seen before”.
6. On inclusion and diversity, from the extraordinary Rikki Arundel: “Be yourself. Break the rules. Extraordinary moments are happening to you all the time. You need to be prepared to share them”.
My number one learning from the whole experience was that, if you want to succeed as a leader and professional speaker, you need to have a group of people around you who ‘get’ the joys, the challenges and the BAU practicalities of ‘bringing it’ in your role and will, most importantly cheer you along every step of the way.
What are your top tips for speaking from the stage. And how are you getting the support you need?