Whether you are an experienced public speaker or just flirting with the idea of sharing your message with the world, you probably know that giving a great presentation involves much more than just reading from cue cards.
The good news? Learning about the essential qualities of other great presenters is an easy way to become one yourself. The following four essential qualities of all public speakers, in particular, will ensure you are delivering presentations that will influence, inspire, and make a meaningful impact on your audience.
1. Introspection & Self-Awareness
To be an effective speaker, you must first understand who you are as a speaker—and as a person. What are your strongest interpersonal qualities? How do you best connect with others? What qualities do you need to work on? The most effective speakers are constantly working to capitalize on their strengths—whether that’s great storytelling or a talent for getting the audience to participate—and also to improve upon their weaknesses. Tapping into your most powerful interpersonal qualities is an excellent way to make yourself accessible, engaging, and unique.
To start, make a list of your best traits and the areas in which you excel. Then, think about how each of these traits is expressed when speaking or presenting in front of others. For example, if you’re great at explaining complex concepts in simple terms or if you have a dynamic, engaging personality, make sure you’re incorporating and highlighting these qualities throughout your presentation. (Need help identifying your interpersonal strengths? StrengthsFinder 2.0 is an excellent resource.)
2. The Ability to Tell a Story
Audiences show up for information, but they stay for the stories. Told well, stories can be the key to a compelling presentation that excites, energizes, and truly engages the people sitting in front of you. As my friends and mentors at Story Leaders™ have told me: “Others may not think what we think, but through a shared story, they can feel what we feel.”