Archives For speaking

courtesy of Neal Sanche at

courtesy of Neal Sanche at

Your credibility as a speaker is so critical that if you don’t have it — if the audience doesn’t find you credible — you might as well stop speaking.

Credibility, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. For any number of reasons, consciously and unconsciously, people decide whether and how much they trust you. They often make snap judgments based on first impressions, which they then seek to confirm or to revise (mostly to confirm) after further experience.

Your credibility depends on three factors.

  1. Your Personal Credibility
    Are you reliable, honest, sincere? Are you a person of your word? Are you, in a word, trustworthy? (Trustworthiness and likability are not the same thing, but they are often linked in people’s minds. If they don’t like you, they’ll find reasons to distrust you. If they like you, they’ll tend to trust you.)
  2. Your Expertise
    Do you know what you’re talking about? Do you have the requisite experience, knowledge, and insight? Do you present yourself and your ideas credibly?
  3. Your Audience’s Judgment
    Their values, their likes and dislikes, their knowledge and experience, their prejudices are what ultimately determine your credibility to them. What makes you credible to one audience may make you incredible to another.

To establish your credibility when you’re giving a speech…

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As I read Mark Schaefer’s infographic about blogging, I found myself thinking how well they apply to giving a speech. 

For the most part, simply change “readers” to “audience,” “blog” to “speech,” and “blogging” to “speaking,” and, voila, you have 10 Maxims for Successful Speaking.

Maxim 9 needs to be tweaked a bit more: “Build rapport. The most effective way to connect with an audience is to know and care about their problems, challenges, hopes, and dreams.”


10 Maxims of Successful Blogging: Infographic Edition
Courtesy of: {grow}

Remember: Whenever you say something is like something else (creating a blog is like giving a speech), you always have to be mindful of how they are unlike.

I personally like all the maxims, but as a speaker I particularly like Number 8: “Don’t waste people’s time.” How about you?

Man Speaking SpontaneouslySpeaking extemporaneously, impromptu, or ad-lib requires preparation.

The most basic, inviolable rule of public speaking is never to speak without being prepared. That leaves you with only two options: 1) Avoid any gathering where you could even conceivably be asked too speak, of 2) figure out how to prepare for the unexpected.

Mark Twain, who in his day was as admired for his speaking as he was for his writing, observed that “it takes three weeks to prepare a good ad-lib speech.”

Here are some suggestions for preparing yourself for those situations when you’re pressed into “saying a few words” without being given time to prepare:

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