You’ve been asked to speak. You may have an audience of 4 people or one as large as 400. The question you must answer is why? What is the reason someone, some business, or some organization has invited you to speak to a group of people?
Or maybe you have been volunteered to speak: the boss wants you to give a presentation to the board of directors about your past meeting with potential buyers.
Or maybe you have sought the speaking engagement on your own. You have emailed, phoned, or sent a letter to the Rotary Club, asking them to consider you as one of their guest speakers.
What are your credentials? Why should someone hire you to give a presentation or invite you to speak to their club or organization over someone else? What makes you different from the rest? Could you call yourself an expert in your field?
Do you know how many people talk about the same topics over and over and over again? My question to you is what sets you apart from the rest? That should not only be part of your strategy in formulating your speech or presentation but it should also serve as your label.
As a voice specialist, I am The Voice Lady. I market myself as The Voice Lady and I call myself The Voice Lady. When someone gets in touch with me, they know something about me already. I deal with the speaking voice.
Let’s say, for example, that you want to become a motivational speaker. Why should someone hire you over Mark Victor Hansen or Tony Robbins? (Besides the fact that your fee would probably be less expensive at this stage in your career!) What one thing sets you apart from both of these world-renowned speakers? Did you walk across the country and give all the donations to a favorite charity? Did you successfully put your 12 children through college working as a food server? Have you survived a fatal disease and are alive to tell about it 10 years later?
For someone to hire or invite you to speak, you must have accomplished something and that something could be a philosophy, an idea, a feat, a discovery, a project, a new business, or an ability that allows you to stand out from the crowd. I once had a student give an informative presentation on how to make the best chocolate chip cookie. That it was the best chocolate chip cookie was what set her apart from all the others. (Yes, this is subjective, but if you knew the secret ingredient, you would understand why it is the best.)
Perhaps you are a member of Toastmasters; you are scheduled to give an informative presentation at the next meeting; and, you don’t have a topic. Make a list of your interests, your hobbies, and/or your experiences. What one thing do you do well? Don’t limit yourself thinking it is too trivial. One of my students gave an informative on detailing a car which was one of the best and most interesting presentations I’ve ever heard.
Your informative presentation could also be the retelling of an experience that was exhilarating, frightening, eye-opening, rewarding. The list goes on and on. I’ve heard about speeding tickets, weddings, births, divorces, bartending, getting lost, winning a game, LPs, marshal arts, the most important person in the speaker’s life, and everything else you can imagine.
On the other hand, you may be asked to give a persuasive presentation; and, once again, you are stymied for a topic. Do you hold an opinion on a controversial subject that you would like to share with others? Do you agree or disagree with abortion, same-sex marriage, or socialized medicine? Perhaps you have an opinion on the lowering or the raising of the drinking age. If you feel strongly on a particular subject, do your research and then talk about it.
Whether you have been invited to speak, volunteered to speak, or are seeking an invitation to speak, become an expert in your topic and stand out from the crowd.
The Voice Lady Nancy Daniels is a voice specialist and president of Voice Dynamic as well as the SelfGrowth’s Official Guide to Public Speaking. Holding corporate and 2-day workshops throughout the US and Canada, she launched Voicing It! in April of 2006, the only video training course on voice improvement. You can watch clips from her DVD on her website and ‘before’ & ‘after’ takes of her clients as well as download an audio presentation in which Nancy how voice training can improve your life both professionally and personally at: www.voicedynamic.com
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