4 simple ways to improve your talks
1. Find the right audience
It’s important to identify your target audiences. Ask yourself at the outset, who will be interested in your expertise?
You need to ensure that certain factors are lined up between you and your audience before you accept any speaking opportunity:
- You have similar values
Extreme example: If Wolfgang Puck talks to vegan activists about carving veal, he is probably not going to get a great response.
- They actually need your insights
Extreme example: Kindergartener’s don’t need Martin Hägglund’s insights on continental philosophy at this stage in their young lives.
- It culturally makes sense
Extreme example: Talking about craft beers to a group of devout Muslims won’t resonate.
- The content is age/situation appropriate
Extreme example: If you are going over key football tactics to a knitting circle in a retirement home, you will probably end up with more than one bored knitter.
Here are four articles on how to find your ideal audience and adapt your talks
- Find an audience who gives a damn
- How to build advocates from your audience
- 6 Tips for clicking with your audience
- Knowing your audience: the key to adapting your presentation
2. Level-up your education and skills
Event organizers are looking for speakers who have skills and experience and training.
The best way to get experience is to get on as many stages as possible. This could mean speaking for free and joining groups like ToastMasters. To improve your skills you should consider getting some professional training.
Training will help you understand the areas you need to work on to improve your talks. It can also help you boost your knowledge on how to engage audiences and speak skillfully.
3. Create the right marketing materials
If you’re building your speaking business, you’ve got to have the right marketing tools and materials ready to go. We want to take a look at which marketing materials you should create and use to help you promote yourself as a speaker. Click on the links to learn more:
Having these all set up and ready to go will help you communicate what you have to offer to potential event organizers.
Nowadays, it is essential to use technology to get your communications across.
Learn how to maximize social media and video. Get on podcasts and share your expertise.
There are dozens of free ways to get your name out there, so commit yourself to figure out which tools are best for you.
Here are some articles to get you started:
- Jump-start your social media presence as a speaker
- Social networking: what to talk about on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn
- YouTube, Canva and SlideShare: How to repurpose your presentation as marketing material
- Live Video for Professional Speakers
4. Learn from and reach out to other speakers
Ensure that you are continuously learning from other speakers. Watch TED Talks, go to conferences and take notes, find a network of speakers and ask them for tips. Reach out to speakers you like and respect on social media.
Building this network will help you improve your talks and encourage you to improve your speaking game.
It will also help you learn about audience engagement.
How do your peers ensure that their audience is attentive throughout the whole talk?
Do they adapt their talks to different audiences? What effect does this have?
How do they tell stories or use multimedia?
Take notes on other speakers’ talks and start emulating what you like and avoiding those things that seem to turn the audience off. By watching and taking notes, you will learn a lot about what it takes to be a great speaker.
The above steps illustrate some great ways to improve your talks. However, the most essential thing about delivering a great talk is enjoying the experience.
An audience will feel if the speaker is confident or nervous, and that will affect their perception of your overall performance. That’s why you need to be thoroughly prepared for your talks and enjoy giving them.
If you’re not enjoying your speaking, the audience isn’t going to either.
This was originally posted on SpeakerHub Skillcamp.