Speaking As a Career: Steps to Become a Better Speaker
MOMBASA, 31 January 2020 – It is very unlikely that a Kenyan parent will consider having their children become speakers when they grow up. Many parents prefer to have Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and such like careers at the expense of creative and leadership roles like that of mainstream speakers. This is especially in comparison to the internationally renowned speakers like Brian Tracy, Victor Antonio, or even religious speakers like Joel Osteen. Tony Evans and the like. Speaking is still not considered a job here as it is in the west or the east, but it is a career that has a lot of opportunities for this country, especially the youth.
Historically, many speakers launched their careers as a result of years of a successful career in management or in entrepreneurship. This is good, because before you teach, at least you need to have a full grasp of what you are talking about. this is not quite for the soft spoken but very determined climate change speaker Greta Thunberg. At the young age of 17, she has rocked the global news through her protests, her speeches to global leaders and forums and even as a writer. While the formality in which speakers pursue the craft vary, one thing is for sure: the speakers who find the most lucrative opportunities and create the most impact are the speakers who deeply understand their audiences and can therefore pull them in quickly. The global need of the our is climate change – a climate catastrophe which is transforming everything from politics to society to business and not necessarily for the better. Greta knows her audience and her story, but she is unrelenting.
The importance of an audience is largely based on the quality of your craft and the need in the market. Brian Tracy says that it is better for the speakers to craft their messages to suit the target audience audience, you should create your audience to suit your message. “That way, you maintain a firm grasp on your message rather than wavering depending on the audience,” he specified. This is why you will see many speakers being authors, best sellers and attract more audiences.
Unlike discussing the means of making you a successful speaker, in this piece, I would like to tackle some of the key ingredients of any leader wishing to transition into speaking and writing should consider.
- Engage extensively in writing
There are many ways to put your thoughts to paper that would greatly impact on your leadership as a speaker and a professional. Be in the habit of putting your thoughts into articles, narratives, engagements, eBooks and even a book. It is well known that the best writers are indeed great readers in themselves. Otherwise, how would they know if their written piece is coherent enough. Read widely and engage the opinions of people in your desired field to see how well they have penned their thoughts. Consistent writing will push you well beyond your competition, and set you apart as a leader. Some people prefer not to come across as geeks, so they avoid this part and quickly jump into public speaking. Most speeches are actually in writing before they are verbalized.
- Engage your audience in the right platforms
Over the years, I have seen successful professionals with good thoughts and ideas being written and shared, but their resultant output/execution was a failure. Failure in that, the platforms used to convey the information were a total mismatch for their story. Every platform is different, and only useful for its specific audience and purposes. From print media to social media handles, they don’t work the same, and would not deliver the same results.
From experience, I have seen many CEOs and executives penning brilliant thoughts, only for them to post them on the wrong social media sites. Platforms that will not necessarily validate that kind of work. Pitch your writing to the right audience, and the right time, otherwise you will be rendering your conversations into ‘pedestrian conversation’. Do you have a market analysis paper? Use business journals, but use your social media handles only to lead your fans to the location of the articles. At this point, I would gladly welcome many professionals to pitch their stories to the local dailies, or even to magazines – Mombasa magazine as an example (www.msamag.com) shares independent business and lifestyle stories of that inspire the readers into greatness; – pitch your stories here for a wider, mature, and respectable audiences.
- Create an Audience
The final step is to hone the message and create interest. To do this, it comes down to emotions. Choose from: anger, fear, disgust, enjoyment, and sadness. A good writing should appeal to the audience members based on one of these emotions. For example, for new employees, you may pick enjoyment, to the retrenchees, pick fear and anger may work well. If your writing is about a social justice issue, it could appeal to disgust. Choose just one emotion and play on it throughout the course of your talk without losing your audience.
Your audience can be further solidified by releasing content or creating other methods of engagement related to your message. Participate in community events that are hosted by politicians, business heads or when companies write articles about their products. These will offer training grounds for you both in writing and speech. Build rapport with the event or editorial leads who are always in need of extra hands. And perhaps most importantly: it’s about your own interest in what you have to say. If you have a high regard for your message, its impact, and how you can serve the audience you carefully created, it shows. That will resonate, and allow you to connect with your created audience in an uncharted way.