To many, public speaking is the stuff nightmares are made of. Contrary to how some people make it out to be, standing up in front of a crowd with all eyes fixed on your is not an easy task. While for some people, the skill and confidence come naturally but for others, it can be an unnerving task.
A professional speaker is an expert in engaging others on a particular area of knowledge or expertise. Typically, they are practiced individuals with an expansive skill set in their industry and with that, share their knowledge and life experience to others. The employment and remuneration for each engagement is dependent on the speaker’s specialization and degree of proficiency.
Whenever a speaker comes to the front, there are usually three things that come to an audience member’s mind: (1) Do I trust the speaker, (2) Does the speaker understand me and my concerns; and (3) Has the speaker built a strong case for what they’re saying?
With this in mind, professional speaking is all about being someone that is worthy of the audience’s time. If your methods, discussion and/or background are questionable, your credentials and reputation will most likely be damaged.
When it comes to credibility in professional speaking, degrees are not a requirement but it’s definitely an advantage in cases where your topic is highly technical. However, if you’ve generated enough on-the-job capabilities, that can also work to your advantage given the heights you’ve achieved as someone with no educational pedigree.
In order to build your reputation, you have to set the ground work, this can be by serving as a member of panel discussions and publishing studies, researches and articles related to your field. You can also build your talents by taking public speaking courses and practice speaking publicly. From small groups to joining professional organizations, these opportunities will go a long way to developing your clarity of thought and speech delivery.
It’s recommended that you earn a professional certification to increase credibility but organization usually require at least 20 presentations before passing a certification. However, in order to earn professional certification, there are criteria that include a minimum level of education and usually cover fields that include technology, science and business.
Professional Speaking Tips To Succeed
Whether you’re a newbie to professional speaking or a seasoned veteran who would like to look up some more tips and tricks, here are our top 3 tips you can begin applying immediately.
- Don’t Use Notes – Notes drag you down and your inability to present in a spontaneous yet cohesive manner does not bode well for you as a public speaker. Not only does it decrease your credibility but prevents you from interacting completely with your audiences by limiting your body language, charisma and interpersonal connectivity.
- Avoid Fillers – Fillers would be your crutch words (“uhm”, “uh”, “like”, “you know”). Using these fillers make you sound unsure and if this is the case, take a pause for emphasis and gather your thoughts. This takes practice for those who are used to using fillers but in the long run, it will be worth it.
- Start Strong and End Stronger – Regardless of the setting, whether it’s a meeting, presentation or an interview, always start strong and direct with your message intact. You can expound and elaborate in the middle portion of your discussion but always end well. Get to the point, wrap up your idea in a concise manner and deliver it with confidence when you end. This will consolidate all your thoughts and allow you to spell out exactly what you mean before people stand to leave.
Because your profession is related to public speaking, how do you develop your skills? Practice, of course. Work on the content, rehearse in performance-like situations and lastly – which is also the most difficult – ask for feedback. Like everything else, professional speakers must work within the perspective that without pain, there is no gain. Listen to criticism and take it constructively to grow and develop your craft.