What makes a truly great public speaker?
As a frequent speaker and workshop presenter I was recently asked by a colleague whether I thought he should ask for any sort of speaking fee for keynoting an industry conference and what I thought were the key elements of a really dynamite presentation. I thought my answer might be of greater interest.
First off, speaking-fee wise, I can't see how it would hurt to ask "is there an honorarium available"? I have received honorariums from organizations by just asking.
Seriously, if you're a world-class speaker, don't hesitate to ask for money and don't hesitate to be straight with them: "I'd love to keynote your event, but if you're expecting 1000 attendees and charging them $495/head, then I am sure that you'll agree that a $2500 honorarium is more than reasonable?" (or, don't share the calculations, but do 'em anyway before you talk with them).
Or say "I'm very interested, but as I'll lose a day of consulting time, and I charge $1000/day, I'd like to receive equivalent compensation if you can work it into your budget".
I know of some conferences where the gross revenue is well north of $500k, so yeah, they can afford a few thousand to feature and promote you as their keynote speaker!
What Makes a Great Talk?
You also asked me about what suggestions I have for a dynamite presentation, one that leaves people wanting to hear you speak again.
First, I think that lots of examples are always a winner. People love that stuff and always perk up when they can compare what they're doing with success stories. Very empowering!
Always remember to take a deep breath and laugh about some of the examples too: if you're having fun, they'll have fun too, in my experience. Indeed, I like to share personal experiences, even if sometimes they're failures, not successes. That's okay too: it's darn informative and engaging to have someone be honest on stage, not just selling something.
What do they have in common?
They are both extraordinarily PASSIONATE and they give far more energy to the audience than they receive. They're completely exhausted when they're done, I'm sure, but there's nothing more compelling and engaging to an audience than someone who really CARES about the subject and shares that passion.
Vary your tone, your volume, laugh, cry, use an occasional obscenity, whatever it takes. Just ENGAGE and be super-enthused and excited about what you're sharing.
Another superb speaker who has been writing some great blog entries about how he approaches presentations is Guy Kawasaki. If I could get videos of his presentations to study, he'd be on my list too, but as it is, I'll just enjoy his brilliance vicariously.
I'd like to think that in my own little way, that's exactly also what I do with my workshops, speeches, talks, etc... I know that I have the "exhausted when they're done speaking" part down, at least! (I'm not just whistling dixie here, for what it's worth. Please, read some comments from people who have attended my events too).
There are other speakers who do a great job too. Who have you seen give a presentation and just said "wow!" afterwards?
Posted by Dave Taylor at January 20, 2006 10:24 PM
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