Better public speaking pt2: Context

Written by Nick Gold on 25 April 2017

In this short series of blogs, Nick Gold offers expert advice and top tips on how to hone your public speaking skills to ensure you give a speech which the audience remembers for all the right reasons. This week he addresses context.

An audience can listen to the same speech by two different people and it is quite likely that only one speaker will deliver a memorable and impactful speech, while the other speaker will fail to engage the audience.

Why is this? The simple one word answer to this is trust. Of the two speakers, the speaker that resonated gained the trust of the audience through the delivery of their speech.  

The process of gaining trust from the audience will be the most important tool any speaker has on stage. Although you must achieve this within minutes of entering the stage, if you attain this critical element you'll have no trouble making an impact.

 Pitch to your audience what they will feel during the speech, and importantly, what the key takeaways are. 

This trust underpins the context of any speech and dictates to an audience the message of ‘this is why I have the right to speak to you about this topic today’.   

There are two key ways that a speaker can establish trust.

First, credentials or credibility – it is important to pitch to the audience why you have the right to be on stage speaking about a certain subject. Do this through highlighting your authority, this should not be a CV, but rather key indicators such as experience, testimonials from relevant people or companies and a profile that will ensure the audience understand why they should share this journey with you.

Second, emotionally engage the audience in the speech, establish what they will be taking away from your speech – sell to them why your speech is worth their while. Pitch to your audience what they will feel during the speech, and importantly, what the key takeaways are. 

The other aspect is that once the trust has been established at the beginning of the relationship, it must be maintained throughout the lifespan of the speech. If you have engaged the audience, established credibility and laid out the journey of the speech, make sure you reinforce these points so that the audience can continue to feel they are on the journey alongside you.

Repeatedly provide them with the reassurance you are the right person to take them on that journey.

If you can establish these key tenets in the opening few minutes of the speech, and maintain them through the entire speech, then you are well on your way to building trust, so that you can deliver real value and content to any audience. 


About the author

Nick Gold is managing director of market-leading speaker bureau and consultancy, Speakers Corner


Read more from Nick here

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