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Reasons that Speakers Fail

Somers White shared these tips with us.

The Introduction. Shakespeare said, “By entrances and exits so shall you be known.” If the speaker does not get a good send off, the trend is immediately going the wrong way for the presenter. Research has shown that depending on the effectiveness of the introduction, the speaker can be 50% less well-received.

First, the introduction should include the speaker’s education, professional background, and accomplishments. Nothing should be said about a speaker’s ability as a speaker. This may raise the audience’s expectations too high and set the speaker up for failure.

Second, the introduction should help the speaker bond with the audience. To create the “we” feeling, my introduction says I was born in Kansas, grew up in Wisconsin, and served in the 17th infantry regiment in the Orient. At the end of a day-long seminar, I will have people come up to me and ask where in Kansas or Wisconsin I lived. What these people are saying is, “He’s our kind of guy.”

Finally, the person doing the introducing should practice reading it just as it is written, without trying to be clever or witty. And, an introduction read slowly always sounds better.

The Microphone. Microphones and sound systems that don’t work properly can be a speaker’s worst nightmare. I suggest that meeting planners consider investing in a cordless speaker system. Having your own system allows you to control the volume and often the effectiveness of your speaker. If the speaker can’t be heard or is getting feedback, the volume can be controlled from the back of the room. If the house system goes out, the speaker can still be heard because the well-prepared planner has a battery-driven system.

Recently I was speaking at a national convention and the electricity went out. But, through a cordless, battery-powered system, I was able to speak for another hour in the dark. And I needed the power to be heard because I was speaking to an audience of 300 in a room that could hold 1,200.

The Good News. More than 90% of how well a speaker does is determined before he or she gets up in front of the audience. Potential problems can be controlled ahead of time. As a executive involved in meeting planning, you can play a large role in these important areas of preparation and help ensure your speaker’s success every time. If you would like to learn the five other secrets which make up my top seven reasons for why great speakers fail, please call Rich Tiller at 800-222-1556.

I continue to receive rave reviews and as I told Mr. Mason there were people laughing that I did not believe could show so much emotion. Mr. William F. Buckley was thoroughly impressed and has thanked me personally for making his party a success.
Assistant to Mr. Buckley National Review