Facebook Live, YouTube channels, LinkedIn video, and the expansion in networking and meet-up groups has exploded the number of people who sincerely believe, because they have easy access to a platform with networking event organisers everywhere literally screaming for people to be guest speakers, that they are speakers.

Quite literally, because they can speak they believe they are a speaker.

The stats are in. You have 3 seconds to engage if someone sees your video on social, up to 15 seconds if they come to your website or landing page purposely. Even if you get them past the magic opening phase, so many of you are losing the impact you really could have through rambling, loving the insta-fame, and not respecting your audience.

Social and digital platforms and the networking groups, just like in marketing, are not a new way of doing things – they are just a new distribution channel.

And the truth is if you want to have an impact, how you become a great speaker, sustainably, does not EVER change.

1. First, you must be a passionate expert on a specific topic. Great speakers appear in our world at the collision of passion – which drives enthusiasm and curiosity – and expertise – where they have developed deep knowledge and/or experience in a topic.

2. Then, ensure you are bringing something to the table of value. Time and time again we are turning up in rooms, or listening via social, to people who have nailed the first one, but have yet to discover how to make that valuable in the world of their audience. Engage, inspire, and motivate, yes, but also give them something they can take away and use straight away – even if it is just a new perspective.

3. Time does not equal value. Having heard Eric Bailey speak at a lunchtime event, I was a little disappointed when the next event I went to hear him at he had only been allocated 15 minutes. My single most valuable lesson that day was that he didn’t need 15 minutes. It took him just 7 minutes to shift the room, lift the energy, and change the game. Stop rambling, bring it in tight, and deliver it with a bang.

4. Love, honour and respect your audience. If I hear one more person tell me how they simply wing it, I will have to be held back from ringing their neck. You need to love your audience enough to ensure you are bringing something to the table, honour the fact they are giving you their time, and respect them enough to prepare, to practice, and to make an impact for them.

5. Side-note to 4…if your inside voice says but Jacqueline you don’t know me, I do really well, I don’t need to prep, then my challenge to you is – that’s great, but how much greater impact could you have if you truly did love, honour and respect your audience, and prepared accordingly.

6. Side-note to 5 🙂…Point 5 is easier when you shift your lens; when you remember it is not about you, how smart you are, how passionate you are, and how much you know; and everything about the impact for your audience. Put your audience in the centre of everything you do, and then ask yourself is what I am doing everything I can do to love, honour and respect them.

7. Build an arsenal. The core messaging for a great speaker is around the specific topic they are a passionate expert on. And they layer this up with stories, anecdotes, metaphors, questions, and experiences to be able to continually evolve how they engage with you and the gift they leave for you.

8. You are your own promoter, hustler, and closer. There is a strategy and a build to becoming a great speaker, and the key is to unlock it. No-one will market you better than you. No-one will promote you better than you. No-one can hustle for you, and if you don’t know how to close a sale, then you must learn. Because even at the top of the speaking circuit, speaker bureaus, other people, and agents will never drive the majority of your business.

9. You must be a great speaker. Speaking, and the science of being in demand as a great speaker, is a practice. You must build, create, delve, practice, tweak, practice, and continually strive to improve your craft. The great speakers do not appear by accident. One of the most successful professional speakers in the world, Fredrik Haren, recently outlined his process of pivoting one keynote just ever so slightly, and it is an intensive process which takes months, and is a deliberate strategy. Build your muscle. Continually.

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