By Deborah Torres-Patel
When you admire an outstanding communicator, you might wonder, “What makes this person so special?” An outstanding communicator has established four essential pillars; you need each one to become a superstar speaker.
What makes a speaker credible? Apart from your track record, how you act, how you look, and the facts and evidence you present, you establish credibility through authenticity. When someone pushes too hard or tries to be someone they are not, an audience will sense that this person is incongruent. When an audience feels you are uncomfortable with yourself or your content, they sense that something about you is “off” or “not quite right.” When this occurs, your audience can start looking for flaws, become overly critical of your presentation, or, in more extreme cases, find you untrustworthy.
Deborah’s Superstar Tip
The more you show who you are, the more credible you become. Allowing yourself the freedom to be imperfect makes you more likable, easier to relate to, and more comfortable in your own skin. The ultimate credibility is a balance between your humanity and your expertise.
Many experienced, talented, and motivated people are anxious about speaking in front of a crowd. Stage fright and presentation jitters can affect people at all levels, in all walks of life. How can you become a more confident speaker? First: be prepared. Prior planning and solid preparation will dramatically decrease or eliminate fear. There is no greater confidence than the confidence that comes from being ready. In my upcoming book, Speak Like A Superstar, I share methods on how to become unshakably confident in the way you deliver a presentation using your body, voice, and words for maximum impact and influence.
My experiences affirm, after fifty years of performing and presenting, that virtually all audiences are on your side and want you to do well. You will learn to be able to trust this, trust yourself, and trust your preparation to go about the most important work, which is to serve your audience, address their concerns, and make a positive difference in their lives.
Notable leaders seem to exude great personal charm and often appear larger than life. They have a magnetism that attracts people and makes them likable. Charisma is not a quality limited to the most outgoing or the most attractive. The root word of charisma is the Greek word kharis, which means favor or grace. People who are perceived to be charismatic are usually given preferential treatment and others to want to trust them.
The most charismatic leaders give you the real sense that they are speaking directly to you. The most charismatic and engaging entertainers sound fresh and spontaneous every time, even if they’ve sung the same song or said the same lines hundreds or even thousands of times before. This is also true for stellar salespeople. To be a great presenter, you need to have that same commitment to sounding fresh—to making the words you say come alive as if you have just thought of them, as if they have the same meaning for you that they might have had when you first wrote them or spoke them.
People respond best to speakers they can relate to on a human level. The secret to a great presentation lies in connecting with your audience. To do so, first you need to put yourself in their seats, so to speak. Your content must address their concerns. Ask yourself, “How can I add the most value to my audience? What’s in it for them? What information can I give them to take-away that will help them to solve their biggest problems?”
Deborah’s Superstar Tip
Connecting with the people in front of you is a secret to becoming a superstar speaker. The only reason for your presentation is to serve your audience and add value. You want to help them to solve problems. You want to contribute to their better future. It is not about you.
This is an excerpt from Deborah Torres-Patel’s upcoming book, Speak Like a Superstar. Deborah helps leaders communicate with unshakeable confidence and master influential voice, presentation and public speaking skills. She is a ForbesSpeakers Member and Partner, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), a member of Asia Professional Speakers Association, Global Speakers Federation, International Coach Federation, US National Teachers of Singing Association and has been a guest faculty member at numerous universities including University of California Los Angeles, National University of Singapore, and Hong Kong Baptist University.