Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Have you ever thought about starting a public speaking business or booking a few events to generate extra income? I’m excited to welcome author, speaker, and entrepreneur Grant Baldwin. After quitting his job as a youth pastor, Grant felt like he wanted to become a public speaker, but he didn’t know where to start. Today, he helps young speakers develop their craft and start getting booked. We talked about what it takes to be a good speaker, how to feel prepared and confident to speak, and the power of storytelling.
What characteristics does it take to be a good speaker?
There are no universal characteristics that unite good speakers. They are introverts, extroverts, comedians, intellectuals, and everything in between. The best thing you can do on stage is to be yourself!
Q: Think of the last speech you remember hearing. What made it memorable? What speaking techniques did the speaker use? How could you incorporate their strategies into your next speech?
How to prepare?
The audience deserves your best, so you want to bring your best. The best speakers spend a lot of time behind the scenes thinking about and crafting what they will say. Once you have good material, you don’t need to start from scratch every time you have a new speaking job. Build on the material you have, capitalize on what worked well, and modify or eliminate portions that were confusing or did not connect.
Q: How do you prepare for a speech? What steps help improve your confidence?
What helps you get over stage fright or nervousness before you speak?
Remember that the audience wants you to succeed! You can also gain confidence from knowing that you invested time into preparing for the speech. Then, when you show up, you may have some butterflies and nervousness, but you can overcome it with confidence from your preparation. I also like to meet people and shake hands before the speech because it helps humanize the people in the crowd.
Q: How much do you like public speaking on a scale of 1-10? What makes you feel nervous about public speaking? What helps you feel more confident?
Not every movie follows a strict framework. Sometimes writers and producers change up the format to keep things interesting. Don’t feel like you have to have three points or follow a specific flow. Whatever you choose, make sure that you capture your audience’s attention and use engaging elements like stories.
People are more likely to remember stories or relate to stories. I try to mostly use first-person stories that I have lived through or experienced. Powerful stories also use a lot of details, so spend some time thinking about what happened, where it happened, and how you felt. Then use the details that are relevant to the story.
Practice preparing a story for a speaking presentation. Write down everything you remember from your experience on a piece of paper. Then, highlight the details that other people might find relatable. Star moments that made your situation unique. Circle the emotions you were feeling during the experience. Now, choose which details would help you make a certain point.
Practice telling your stories in front of small groups! Make a mental note of when people seemed to lose interest, how they responded to the funny moments, and how it affected the tone of the group. Add your notes to the exercise you did above and think about how you can improve your storytelling.
One of the best ways to grow in a specific skill is to get around people who are where you want to be. What speakers do you admire? Try looking up their speeches or listening to podcasts where they were guests. What do you like about their speaking? Is it the content? Their delivery? Humor? What similarities do you see in their life/storytelling and your own? Consider how you could apply those traits to your next speech!