In most sports, the difference between making it to the finish line and making it into the record books is less than a second. In fact, more often than not, it’s milliseconds. The small difference between good and great is also true in many other areas of life and work.
It’s certainly true for speakers. By speakers I mean salespeople, trainers, teachers, coaches, mentors, as well as platform and keynote speakers.
What separates good speakers from great speakers? Leadership. Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t, because everything depends on leadership, including speaking.
If you’re already a good speaker, there are a few things you can do to become even better. Follow these 5 Rules, and you will begin to make the shift from good to great.
Rule 1: Begin right where you are.
As a speaker, your chief goal is to influence people. The most important person you will ever influence, or lead, is you. However, if you can’t lead yourself, you certainly won’t be able to get people to listen to what you have to say, let alone influence them.
Rule 2: Speak about what you’re passionate about.
People want to hear speakers who are fired up and passionate. If you don’t care about your message, you won’t connect with it. If you don’t connect with your message, you won’t connect with your audience, and your audience won’t connect with you. Good speakers spend hundreds of hours working on their material until they know it by heart. Great speakers spend countless hours perfecting a word, a phrase, a transition, a gesture. Not only do they master their material, they master themselves, which allows them to instinctively know when to adjust their message in order to meet the audience right where they are.
Rule 3: Learn from the greats.
Great speakers are masters of nuance. Mastery takes practice. Years of practice. Study great speakers to pick up on their nuances. Pay close attention to what they say and to what they don’t say. Study their non-verbal communication: the way they move their hands, the way they walk or stand still, the way they turn their heads to communicate a particular message or effect. Notice their pauses—how they use silence. There are dozens of nuances. Even if you master only a few, you can make the shift from being a good speaker to an even better one.
Rule 4: Practice with consistency.
This simply means don’t waver. You can’t say, “Oh, I’m too tired. I think I’ll take a break today.” Because a day becomes two. Two days quickly become a week. A week becomes two, then three weeks. And before you know it, a whole month has slipped by. Practice with commitment, diligence, and patience. And remember that over time, practice becomes habit, and good habits can lead to mastery.
Rule 5: Share the wealth.
Great speakers make time to develop others. In fact, the true measure of great speakers is that they make time to invest in others. Did you know that when you teach and mentor others, you actually learn your material even better? Why? Because when you teach something you’re passionate about, you want to ensure that what you pass on is accurate, insightful, and meaningful.
Becoming great at anything takes time. It will not happen overnight. In fact, it will take years. Many years. There is no other way. But if you’re diligent, it will happen!
About 20 years ago, she left her corporate career to launch her leadership consulting and executive coaching company.
She loves nothing more than inspiring organizations and individuals to dig deeper, reach higher, and achieve the impossible.
The author of several books on leadership and legacy, Gloria is a member of the John Maxwell Team.
Contact Gloria at: http://www.johncmaxwellgroup.com/gloriaburgess/