Summary of “What valuable piece of advice would you pass on to the younger members of speaking groups?”

Summary of “What valuable piece of advice would you pass on to the younger members of speaking groups?”

125 people replied to the question posted on linkedin

“What valuable piece of advice (looking back) would you pass on to the younger members of the groups?   Patience would be mine.”

As promised I have done my very best to summarize and put it all in my blog
because someone said:

Within a forum like this, it is equivalent to having a knowledge base at your finger tips, in a “cliff notes” form. We all benefit from the thinking of many which may help clarify our own thoughts, bring new insight to us, and give us an opportunity to learn tools and techniques of others to benefit our business and performance.

What we have available here you can’t pay for, the words and wisdom of many all with the same interests. This is powerful.”


This is a truism I can testify to from more than three decades as a professional speaker: you are in the marketing business. If that works out, your reward is the privilege of speaking in front of audiences all over the world.

You must be willing to spend at least a few hours a day calling, writing, and connecting with potential clients (and communicating with previous clients.) The business of the speaking business is as vital to your on-going success as developing “your voice” and refining your skills in the “art of speaking.”

You should spend 50% of your time marketing–EVEN when you’re booked solid!

Keep your eyes open to new opportunities and be willing to let go of old patterns of behavior and thinking. Be willing to try new ideas.

What is your mission? Define your goals. And remember Integrity and Tenacity.


The personal is powerful.

Be authentic. The audience really connects to you when you are authentic and committed to them and their needs.

Being authentic brings an emotional connection that bonds you and your listeners.

I agree with the authenticity comments but you must be a true professional who an audience can respect as someone with exceptional platform skills while at the same time being so down to earth that they feel they can relate to you. They may be motivated temporarily by a slick canned message, but the lasting impact will come from the person who they feel truly “gets” where they are and has possibly even been there too. Hours of preparation for each individual audience, makes this appear “natural” and makes a speech become a conversation with each person in their own mind.

Engage your audience with a story or example to which they will personally relate. It will draw them in and keep them interested.

Audiences respond to emotion. You can intrigue them with statistics and logic…but you can only MOVE them with emotions.

You are only as good as your stories. Develop your stories and learn to tell them. Listen to great storytellers and develop an understanding of why you like them as storytellers. Learn by doing.

Learn how to interact with your audience, make eye contact, improvise, and go off on tangents as appropriate.

Never speak AT an audience. : converse with your audience; invite reactions, even if the audience is too big to be able to allow people to speak

LISTENING, and much more:

Practice extreme listening.

Validate the questioner when a question is asked.

When others see you take the risk for the right reasons, it provides support and “permission” for them to take the risk with you.

Always start preparations by asking, how can I serve this audience?

Approach each presentation as if for the first time.

Focus, focus and focus again.

Live in the Moment and Be in the Moment.

Enunciate clearly Collaborate!

You learn much quicker and have way more fun working together with like-minded people. I wish someone had told me that sooner.

Remember that everyone you meet is your client: the drive through clerk at the fast food restaurant, your bellman at the hotel, the janitor at the convention center. Everyone is your client

“Whether you think can or think you can’t, you’re right.”  Henry Ford.

 Barbara Kite is an Executive Speaking Coach, a Professional Acting Coach and a keynote  speaker who resides in Portland, Oregon


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