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Andrew Hall

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What should a good speaker do?

With conference season over for me this year (search for my live blogs and summaries), I’ve been thinking about the talks I’ve seen and what, to me, differentiates a good speaker from a not so good speaker.

As I continue my journey in wanting to speak at conferences, I think this is an important point that I should work out now so I can use this as almost a manifesto or at least a list guidelines of how I’d like to do my talks.

Be Engaging

Its always easier to concentrate and listen properly to a talk that’s engaging and there are many way to achieve that. Be it humour, a unique story or even swearing, there should be something to grab that audience and keep them interested. The way I see this is often, people have chosen your talk over a speaker on a different track – don’t make them feel they made the wrong choice.

Steps for me: Develop a style that engages the audience and makes them want to listen.

Don’t Lecture

I have been to a few talks recently where the speaker has had a hardline on how things shouold be done and has delivered this in a very cold, strict style. Honestly, I lose interest and find it hard to concentrate on what the actual point is when the speaker is just lecturing with no flair or variation in their talk.

Steps for me: Make sure to vary the tone of the talk, not just talk at people.

Make the Audience Feel Included

When a speaker talks and takes me on a journey or shares with us something about themselves, I feel included. I feel like I am almost their friend or part of their inner circle. This makes me warm to them, listen more intently and also trust their opinion more.

Steps for me: Find ways to make the talks more personal and less cold.

 

These are the things I would like to achieve when speaking; I’ll come back and check these periodically

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