How to be a charismatic speaker

how to be a charismatic speaker

This is a guest post by Dot Lyon.

Giving speeches is more than just delivering the information. It’s more than your best suit, polished shoes, good posture and winning smile. Successful presentations hinge upon your attitude and behavior during delivery.

The key to magnificence lies in understanding what moves an audience. What transcends a bland, lifeless speech into a captivating one? What can presenters do to go from ordinary to charismatic?

Gimmicks such as pounding the podium, flailing the arms and speaking to the point of yelling may gain attention, but they leave the audience feeling patronized and annoyed. How do you get through to your audience in more refined, creative ways?

Good news: There are proven techniques that effectively draw in your audience members and leave them uplifted and inspired. You can master charismatic deliveries by following these tips:

  • Portray confidence. Wipe away your nerves and fears, because negative thoughts will come through in your message. Instead, focus your energies on self-assurance and enthusiasm. Enjoy yourself. Act playful, lively and humorous.
  • Speak optimistically. Express conviction by substituting weak words for stronger ones. Examples: Replace “if” with “when,” “hopefully” with “certainly” and “I hope” with “I expect.”
  • Make a connection. Eye contact portrays honesty and trust. Make audience members feel like they are the sole target of your comments. Example: Mentally divide the room into left, center and right sections. Make eye contact with one person in the left section for about 5 seconds. The people sitting around that person will also feel like you are looking at them. Move your eyes to a person in another section for the next 5 seconds. Continue moving your eyes from section to section, front and back, throughout your presentation.
  • Use visual imagery. Since our brains think in pictures, use picture words to help listeners feel your message and make the experience more memorable. Offer rich emotional imagery by telling personal stories, reciting meaningful quotations and using expressive metaphors and similes. Example: Listeners receive a vivid picture of boxer Mohammad Ali from the description “floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee.”

When have you used these tactics and others to inspire your audience?

About the author: Dot Lyon is a freelance writer for organizations including Briefings Media Group. She previously wrote and edited for the Center for Chemistry Education at Miami University.

[Image Source: Mark Hill]

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