Speaking to perfection

first_imgSpeaking to perfectionOn 1 Nov 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Once you have found a suitable venue for your training event, you need tomake sure you get your message across. Stephanie Sparrow and Brendan Barns lookat how to find the right speakerKicking off a training or motivation event with a celebrity speaker iscertainly one way to get a buzz going around the room. But such glamour and excitement does not come cheap – Carol Vorderman, thewoman most British men allegedly want to have breakfast with, can command(according to The Observer) £18,000 for a speaking appearance, and up untillast year, when John Major was less reticent about currying publicity, theformer prime minister was gathering fees of £25,000 to illuminate delegates oninternational affairs. A celebrity may not be what you need. Of course, nobody wants the cheap andcheerful option, as illustrated in a recent episode of TV’s The Office, whenDavid Brent (pictured above) was a paid £300 to run a classically disastroussession on motivation, but taking the podium is no longer simply the jurisdictionof politicians and celebrities – in tough times, business people want to turnto their business peers for inspiration and ideas. Your event may be just assuccessful, and less expensive, if your CEO takes to the stage. Some speakers are quick at getting under an organisation’s skin and candeliver a presentation in keeping with its culture. However, do not leave themto their own devices when it comes to research. You need to do your homework onyour would-be speaker – meet them before the event, brief them fully on whatyou require from their presentation, and also on your company, in particularany issues it is currently facing. You should be suspicious of any guestspeaker who balks at a pre-engagement meeting to exchange information. Word-of-mouth recommendations for a speaker are invaluable. Speakers oragents should be happy to put you in touch with previous clients. And as a final check before you make that booking, consider if the venue issuitable for what you want to achieve. It is not worth spending £5,000 on aguest speaker if delegates can’t see them or hear a word of what they aresaying. What makes a good speaker?1. Humour – This is the best way to strike an immediate chordwith delegates. Opening words are often the most important so break the icewith a joke that will make the audience laugh and relax.2. Passion – Perhaps the most important ingredient for anexcellent speech. If the speaker is not passionate about his topic then howwill he manage to inspire the audience? The speaker has to radiate aninfectious passion to hold the delegates’ attention.3. Homework – It is essential that the speaker is an expert onhis subject, this will guarantee self-confidence and ensure the audience willlisten and learn. Thorough research will also prevent the speaker being caughtout by any questions.4. Confidence – Self-confidence on the stage will go a long wayto improving a speaker’s performance. If the speaker is confident, thelisteners will buy in to him/her, and, more importantly, into what they aresaying.5. Quality – Content needs to be relevant, well thought out andfascinating. The more interesting and unusual the speech, the more captivatedthe audience.6. Talk to the audience – A typical scenario of a bad speakerperformance usually involves the culprit burying their head in their notes.Avoid this at all costs – address the audience, gain eye contact and make thedelegates feel they are getting your undivided attention7. Avoid PowerPoint – Death by PowerPoint is all too common thesedays.  Agencies such as Speakers forBusiness advise people never to use visual aids unless they have importantgraphs or other visual images to share. Technical hitches distract speakers andaudiences alike8. Ditch the lectern – The lectern is a useless distraction andrestricts the speakers’ movement around  the  stage.9. Chemistry – Connect with your delegates, attempt to gaugetheir mood, be prepared to adjust and fine-tune your flow. Spontaneity is alsoimportant. 10. Smile – Have fun on stage; if you enjoy yourself there is agood chance your audience will too.Brendan Barns is the CEO of Speakers for Business, one of theUK’s leading speaker bureaux – which represents Charles Handy, Tim Waterstone,Mo Mowlam and Dr Ken Robinson.  www.fb.co.uk Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Articlelast_img