Effective communication is a skill that is extremely useful in everyday life for all of us. Here are Ten Tops Speaking Tips…

Ten Top Tips For Being A Better Speaker & Presenter

This year Jamil Qureshi has spoken over 170 times in 21 different countries. This year he has been asked to be speak everywhere from Ghana to Kazakhstan. His talks are focussed on the psychology of performance and he has been heard by over a quarter of a million people this year alone. Jamil has motivated Europe’s last winning Ryder Cup Team and six famous sports stars to achieve World Number One status. We rate Jamil as amongst the very best current corporate conference motivational speakers in Europe.

ProMotivate asked Jamil for his best advice on how anyone could upskill their speaking. After all, effective communication is a skill that is extremely useful in everyday life for all of us!

Jamil Qureshi #1 Speaker by ProMotivate Speakers Agency

By Jamil Qureshi

I read the other day that fear of public speaking was the number one fear for executives in this country…number two, was death! This means that most business people would rather be in the coffin, then standing next to it delivering the eulogy!

I read the other day that fear of public speaking was the number one fear for executives in this country…number two, was death! This means that most business people would rather be in the coffin, then standing next to it delivering the eulogy!

1. Don’t jump to content

When asked to do a talk or presentation, the first question to ask yourself is “How do I want the audience to be feeling at the end of this?” A lot of people first think about the content they want or need to get across. Start with the emotion you wish the audience to feel from your presentation, and the content and tonality of the talk will reveal itself to you.

2. It’s not about you!

People tend to feel nervous as they feel they are being judged or watched. How dare you be concerned with what people think of you – such conceit! It is not your time, it is the audience’s time. Don’t be thinking of whether you should have worn the striped Hackett jacket or whether the light from the technical source is showing up that receding hairline.

It’s not about you. Throw your energy outwards, not inwards. JFK had a chronic back problem most of his adult life. He took serious painkillers regularly and not many people knew this. The reason why was when he spoke it was never about him. It was about the audience. Watch him speak, and you’ll think, there is no place he would rather be then speaking to that audience. Be the same.

3. There is always a reaction to an action

As speakers, we look into the audience and judge how we’re doing by the reaction of the audience. Smiles, nods, laughs, writing notes are all signs that your talk is landing well. However, here’s the thing…lots of presenters will notice the ones who do not look engaged.

One yawn, one smirk, or quizzical look can unsettle a speaker and get them to question their entire self-worth as a human being. Don’t look for validation. Play to the one audience member who’s loving it…Find the person who’s really digging it. Instead of working hard to win over the guy sat on his phone who’s barely looked up, give the guy who loves you some extra you…..(see point 4…in fact the next point coming up).

4. Never judge a book by its cover, never judge a look by the lover (ABC – good band)

I remember a front row audience member who after five minutes of me talking, closed his eyes, folded his arms, stretched his legs and that was him for the full hour. I seethed through my 60 minutes on performance psychology, whilst he apparently slept through it. After the talk, he came up to me and said it was amazing. He thought it was so good he’d close his eyes, as that is how he could take the most amount in. He just wanted to listen more intently.

Last week in Barcelona, I had two guys talk to each other throughout…turned out one was translating. The guy on his phone may not actually be updating his profile on social media…he may be taking notes because you’re brilliant. (see point 3, unless you already have, otherwise, you will just be in a loop).

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5. Success is not a comparison

If all the other speakers are using slides don’t feel you have to. If the other speakers are talking numbers, tell stories and introduce narrative. Audiences welcome something different. We expect the CFO to give us the numbers.

One of the best presentations I’ve seen was from a CFO who showed pictures of his dog, and his local pub, and used clever metaphor and storytelling to get across all the business stuff with personality and context. Don’t feel you need to ‘fit in’.

6. Storytelling

If an alien came down to this Earth and we had to tell them all about it, but you weren’t able use stories, we would only be able to give them facts and statistics. They would gain no insight or context.

Not all civilisations use the wheel, but everyone uses storytelling. Content without context, meaning or emotional connectivity is merely data. Every presentation can be brought to life in the imagination of the audience member with a little use of metaphor and simile.

7. Movies

Movies work because of the construction of the story. Caspar Berry, an incredibly successful and brilliant international speaker, once told me that the best stories take you to a place you knew you were going to get to, but by a route which was unexpected. He was right. Use ‘call back’ (introducing an inconsequential detail and calling back later as an important detail) and other such techniques to make your talk breathtaking in it’s architecture. Observe the structure of your favourite movies and books.

8. Always request feedback and publish it

Trust Pilot Speaker Reviews

ProMotivate adds that speakers like Jamil should always publish feedback. It might not always be perfect, though most of the time it will be well above average and in most cases outstanding. Anyone who achieves success has learned to overcome challenges. Public speaking is no different to anything else and requires constant external and self-evaluation to stay fresh and in-demand by others.

9. Make yourself available afterward

Take time to speak to your audience after your keynote if the event allows for it. A speaker is normally booked because the organiser believes the speaker can educate, inform and inspire the audience. There will always be unanswered questions and those that are paying for your time will appreciate the extra effort. If they request lunch or dinner by invite, accept it if possible.

10. Thank the client and the person afterward who booked you

Never forget to thank your client and if you are fortunate to have a good speaker agent, keep them involved in the process with the client. This will pay off and result in more bookings in the future. Speaker’s in high demand cannot and do not have time to manage everything.

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Jonathan Curran is the Founding Director at ProMotivate who works closely with Jamil Qureshi booking his conference keynote talks across Europe and further afield. We specialise in motivational speakers and providing full service speaker management at Europe’s largest conferences.

If you have any questions please ask it to us and we’ll be pleased to answer you.


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