Have you ever experienced a speech that left you having chills throughout the presentation? Not daring to move, you try to soak in every single word the presenter is saying. We all probably have one or several speakers that we particularly admire for their ability to capture the audience’s attention even during a one hour presentation.
But can you actually define what makes them so remarkable? Is it their expertise, voice, body language or simply their charismatic nature?
The answer is: it’s complicated. It is a combination of all the above plus great storytelling techniques.
Storytelling is in fact an ancient practice. We’ve been hearing stories since the moment we were born, during our school and university years and also as adults while sharing stories with our friends and family. According to a study, 65% of our daily conversations are based on storytelling. The same research also discovered that the human brain is more engaged by storytelling than by simple logical facts. On top of that, presenting content in form of a story makes speakers more approachable and build the foundation for an emotional connection to the audience.
1. Great stories been told
Not borrowed ones but actually their own. The audience is always able to tell whether the story has evolved from a personal experience or from a book. The best speakers know how to illustrate examples and wrap them up in an unforgettable and unique metaphor. As our Marketing Manager Eftychia Avgerinou says: “We know that the audience may not remember exactly what the speaker said but they will always remember how he or she made them feel. Sharing individual stories and letting emotions show build a connection with the audience.”
You can spot a talented storytellers by identifying their dynamic, entertaining language and tone of voice and their constant movement on stage, not to cause distraction but to have people’s attention at all times. You will never feel awkward during a short pause. It’s their way to foster your excitement and your desire for more.
2. Presentations? Mixing them up a bit!
The constant adaptation of presentation styles, voice and gestures as well as being flexible during a talk are the essential attributes of a good speaker to keep the audience interested. Research suggests that the weights of the elements when it comes to the basis of a presentation is 38% voice, 55% non-verbal communication and only 7% content which proves that the style of the presentation is by far more important than the content itself.
Prospective speakers should be valued not only for their experience in the field and their industry knowledge but also for their presentation, public speaking and story-telling abilities.
3. A message tailored for the audience
A good speaker has prepared some general questions, a great speaker, however, asks relevant questions in order to understand the audience’s interests and expertise and thus determines their desired outcome. Firstly, there are three fundamental key questions that every great speaker should ask him or herself before their session. Firstly, what is it that I want them to know? Secondly, how do I want them to feel? And lastly, what I do want them to do?
As the last question indicates, interactivity has become indispensable for a speaker who thrives to create impact. A constant interaction with the audience is essential to achieve full attention. This could be in form of questions, polls, jokes or small games that require participation. The essential part here is again the right kind of interaction suitable for the audience. Someone speaking at a student conference event is most likely going to choose a different format than when speaking at a CFO Summit.
In addition to that, always keeping eye contact, using humor, expressing emotions and the showing of memorable visuals can make the difference between an engaged or sleeping audience.
Summing up, the three most important aspects you should look for in a speaker is first, the ability to stay flexible and mix up the presentation style to keep the audience interested and actively listening. Second, great speakers tailor their content and style for you, the audience, and make sure that the outcome is exactly what you expected. Lastly, the art of storytelling will give you a memorable experience that includes an emotional connection with the presenter.
Brace yourself for the next conference you will be attending, do some research on the speakers, note any potential questions you may have and evaluate the best way to get the most out of your time!
Can you now actually define what makes a great speaker so remarkable? Is it their expertise, voice, body language or simply their charismatic nature?
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