11/27/07, I requested of my professional speaker network at www.linkedin.com;
"Please share with me one or two of the most meaningful lessons you
have learned in developing your platform charisma." Within 24
hours, I received the following responses:
Get to know the audience before I get on stage.
Speak from my heart. Be real.
Jeff Thredgold wrote:
If possible, being out with the audience...not hiding behind a lectern.
The use of humor
NOT using PowerPoint
During one speech, I once had a deaf person in my audience. The company
had hired a "signer" to interpret my words through ASL
gestures. I was so aware of every word being repurposed through
movement, that I slowed down my normal "energetic" pace, to
one that emphasized the weight of each idea. More time on each word and
pauses made the concepts seem more important, easier to remember, and
all-in-all, a more profound experience for everyone. In subsequent
programs, I pretended that someone in the audience was deaf and wanted
to "hang on every word." And they did! If words are said with
importance, they are.
Having stories that the audience can relate to, and be "in the
moment of the story", will help to draw the audience into the
presentation. Look for heads nodding as you scan the audience.
It might sound clichéd - but be yourself, and have a role model. Be
very clear about what you are trying to convey. If not cheerful, be
enthusiastic and passionate about your story. Also be honest and
vulnerable. People don't like Macho men, they want to see someone who is
like themselves and is a hero in his own way.
(A PRACTICAL AND IMMEDIATELY USEFUL RESPONSE)
An acting coach taught me that before I met anyone - an audience or in
person - to speak to myself on three things that are great about me.
This is done in the first person, for example;
"I'm a great husband & father, I'm a fantastic basketball
player, I'm a hilarious speaker."
They don't have to relate to the person, audience, or what I'm about to
do. They just have to serve to amp up my persona.
So the charisma comes from being the best in my mind and heart at
anything that defines who I am.
Try it. It seems so simple and it works.
Hello Ed, Happy Holy Days,
There are three elements in every aspect of speaking success: Mindset,
Skills and Systems. Charisma starts with Mindset. You must cultivate a
respect for and admiration of your audience. Without this your speech
will simply be a delivery of information. With it your emotions will
reinforce your message positively.
The skills of charisma have to do with understanding and adapting to
differences in groups and individuals. You've got to know your audience:
the organization, the situation, the culture, and the individuals as
much as practical.
Your systems need to include the efficient gathering of data about the
group, your assignment and their goals. Have a great preprogram
questionnaire to help you learn what you need to learn. Also, your
personal system or habit pattern in preparation for each speech has a
great deal to do with charisma. Be sure you get yourself into the
attitude and mood to be the best you can be for them.
Jim Cathcart, CSP, CPAE
Be real. Never fake it. The audience can smell a fake a mile away. If
you are not the right fit for the job turn it down.
Speakers need to be conscious of the emotional state they are in. No
matter how powerful are their words or how touching is their story, the
emotions they are feeling as they speak is what stirs the audience (and
I have the scientific reasons to substantiate this since my specialty is
in nueropsychology). Before I start speaking, I look at my audience and
feel the love I have for them as humans seeking to improve their lives
and for the gratitude I feel for being of service to them from the
stage. Then I share my fun and meaningful experiences all out, as if we
are all on this ride of learning together. On the days I don't feel up
to this, or some event or person throws me off, I can tell the same
stories and give the same amazing facts but the results are never the
same. Charisma is a result of emotional energy. And it's not about us,
it's about what we want for them.
Practice, practice, practice. It's not important to memorize a
presentation verbatim, but I practice the flow of the ideas and concepts
so that they connect and make sense to the audience. Also, I like to be
appropriately animated. It helps dissipate some of my nervous energy and
keeps the audience engaged. I also use voice variance. Nothing puts an
audience to sleep faster than a monotone speaker. And where it's
appropriate, I always try to use humor and audience participation (a
show of hands or a direct question to someone).
If it's a focused group or company, when you first get the gig, find out
about the industry and what the folks in that industry are concerned
about. Ask what to read from your program contact and all the rest of
the stuff these others have noted.
But particularly, get there early and mingle with the folks...Ask
questions, then probe..."Tell me about..." "That's
interesting, tell me more..."
Get to know the folks in the front row before you speak..
Delivery note: When you start your speech, look at the person in the
front right corner...make a complete statement by speaking to that
person. Then look up at the person in the right rear corner and complete
your statement by speaking to that person...Then do the left rear and
left front persons with the same full statement focus. (This can be left
front, left rear, etc as well...The direction of rotation makes little
What this does for you and them is plant in your mind the entire
audience and you should include them seamlessly from that point on. If
this is a seminar with breaks, do the same thing after each break.
Don't exclude anyone who came to hear you speak...
Speak to "an audience of one." -- Talk with the audience as
you would with a close friend and let the audio system do the rest. It
will make your presentation more intimate and more powerful.
1. Introduce yourself and speak with audience members before your
program. Whether at events prior (E.G. Luncheon) or in the room
before you speak. Talk one on one or small sections. Ask questions
about what is important about your topic to them and what they are
looking for out of your program. Two things happen here; First you
are "making friends" with the audience and they will
"root" for you to do
well. Second, you can use what you have learned from them in your
presentation and answer their specific, telling the audience "When
was speaking to 'Josh" prior to my program, I learned he wanted to
know how to...."... and then address that need.
2. When you tell a story, "live" the story. Speak in the
and "act" out the story. When I tell my story about my father
buying my first baseball glove, I become a 7 year old living the moment.
1. Whenever feasible, I stand at the door and greet each attendee
personally, to establish an early connection.
2. In half day sessions or longer, I try to learn each person's name
ahead of time, then greet them personally, then call them by name during
the session. Most of my groups are 20-25 people but I have done this
with as many as 75 people.
Don't roam aimlessly, make ever step or movement away from your 'mark'
meaningful...that way your power is not expended wastefully. When you do
'move' to the left or right, make it on a powerful point you are trying
to convey with impact-(and move to each side evenly, not favoring just
one.)!(more of an acting technique-the only one i use-to develop
--pretend you are being filmed!)
Be yourself, be likeable and make friends with the front row beforehand
if it is appropriate. Smile sincerely.
One more thing, don't be sitting before your up to bat! It's hard to
regain your energy...try to remain standing if possible!
As usual I would say the answer to your question is self belief. As I
often say from stage “I don’t care what the question is, the answer
is always self belief”!
When I speak to groups, large or small, I have to believe in myself
100%, if I don't then people will sense my insecurity and not embrace my
message. Most people will tell you that they believe in themselves but
unfortunately they’ll back down from their view point or fail to be
persistent with their efforts when the going gets tough. 100% self
belief is about congruence and integrity, it’s about living your word.
If you don’t have integrity and your not congruent then your audience
will find you out, irrespective of how good you are with your stories.
Total self belief can be interpreted as arrogance but top sports people
understand that in order to win you have to KNOW you are the best,
rather than just hope. To me speaking is similar to performing in my
sport and if some people read my total self belief on stage as arrogance
then that’s unfortunate.
Hope that's not too harsh!
Pausing at the appropriate places.
Hiring Patricia Fripp - a great investment!!!
Great question Ed.
I think if I have charisma - which is debatable - it comes from saying
what I really think and trying to help the audience make sense of
complex forces shaping the future in a clear and simple manner
Donna Earl wrote:
I don't know about charisma, but I do know that I avoid
being the constant hero of my stories. In one story, I explain how I
inadvertently escalated conflict in a social situation, and how another
person's response quieted the problem. The audience really responds to
my objective dissection of my actions, my own laughter at myself, and
the moral of the story.
Never give handouts in advance, unless you don't want your audience to
listen too closely in which case the more handouts you give the less
they will listen.
Try and meet at least some of your audience first, that way you can
bounce comments off them and your talk becomes more like chatting with
Don't tell jokes unless they are completely relevant and naturally fit
into your talk
I think the first thing a speaker should learn to do is to surrender to
their passion. They should take on things that allow them to feel fun
and joy in whatever they are talking about and presenting. When you are
enjoying yourself the audience will know it and respond by enjoying what
you have to say. I am also a strong proponent that speakers should
always visualize he desired outcome they desire from the audience. In so
doing you take your presentation or performance to a much deeper level.
Finally, I think that for speakers to stand out from their peers they
must "play the edge". By that I mean they should strive for
self-transcendence and stretch their being and doing with the audience.
When you deliver a speech or presentation you want to push the envelope
and try new things and allow yourself to deep within yourself and do
something you did not think you could do. To go where you have not been
before. Part of being human is to always challenge yourself to be better
at the podium.
If it’s possible network with the group before your event, get to know
one or two and there will be an individual bond already in the audience.
Get into a giving and ‘loving’ mode before you begin – it will
give you the circle of energy and support you need to lift your
presentation above the ordinary.
Ultimately for me it is about authenticity. Being myself is the best
thing I can do to connect with the audience and communicate with
charisma. Today's audiences are very sophisticated and can tell a phony.
They want it real and straight from the heart. Now, if you can be funny,
engaging, and interesting while you are being authentic, you are in
Ed, these are what work well for me:
1) Being totally present - I don't think there is anything so
charismatic as a person who is totally and completely present.
2) Passion --audiences that sense your passion will forgive 90% of the
mistakes you make on the platform;
3) Being genuine and vulnerable - I like being playful with my audiences
because that's just who I am --BTW, I make lots of fopahs on stage and
the audience loves the fact that I can laugh at myself.
4) Resonant voice - one of the best investments I've made in my speaking
career was hiring a voice coach.
I believe that all the above can contribute significantly to
Hope this helps!
L. Gioia-Herman wrote:
The more comfortable I
feel with me, the better I am on the platform.
Roger Herman I learned that the audience sees the mirror image of what
we see, so always demonstrate a beginning and ending appropriately for
hope I’ve helped?
Terri L Maurer
1. Don't 'speak' at people, talk to them
2. Use stories and humor. People relate better
3. Know the length of time your voice will hold out and plan your
presentation for 1/2 less or be sure you get a break
I use a lot of voices (from radio days) when on the stage. Sometimes it
gets crowded on stage with all of my "personalities" Along
that same line (with my hand held mic) I can be quite loud (without
hurting ears) and I can whisper and dramatically effect the audience
I am quite effective at talking to one member of the audience in the
middle of a presentation... indeed I get so obnoxious as to say "NO
I am not talking to them I am talking to you!" Of course the point
made is for the entire audience but I have won over that one member of
the audience with this playful approach!
Ed I am happy to share.
I have found that the slower I speak, the better the results, put in
more pauses, wait for them to react, laugh etc, and try to be like Jack
The more I speak, the less I use Power Point. Audiences have come to see
and hear me speak, not to go through a whole host of slides.
Remember, we are in the entertainment, information delivery and story
telling business, and it content should be equally divided between each
area for maximum retention.
I find the more stories I share of when I messed up (and the lessons
I've learned), as opposed to the 'greatness' I've achieved, the more
people can relate and buy into my overall message.
Be real with your stories about family challenges or common fears - let
your guard down and this will let your audiences guard down and open
them up to being more receptive to your message.
Finally - be funny too! No matter how serious your message, tie in a
laugh...this gets them to like you and feel good about you.
Stage presence = I always believed in being who you are. By that I mean
that your message will be more hard hitting if you are true to what
really brought you to “the table" so to speak. Be who you are not
what you think you ought to be.
Story telling = I use a lot of Native American wisdom in my programs. I
find that to truly captivate my audience to this wisdom, I need to study
more about the tribe, leadership, spirituality, etc in order to craft a
context for the point. This context is all historically true and not
made up by me just to "fit" my point, but it is work to do the
research, but well worth it.
Put the audience in the story with the word “you”. Vince Poscente
does this extremely well. I was reluctant to tell my marathon story
because I was afraid of alienating people. But once I started using
phrases like “you are at the starting line”, “you start having
these inner conversations”… people who were not even runners could
relate and comment on the story lesson.
Don’t get hung up over the one person whose body language suggests
that he hates you. You don’t know what is troubling them. When
speaking to one group I was pleased that the audience laughed and seemed
to be enjoying my presentation. All except one person who sat with arms
crossed and a grumpy face. Each time I looked at him my gut tightened.
After the presentation he approached me and said with the same grump
face, “You were the best speaker we have ever had.” Some people just
look grumpy on the outside.
I like what Waldo said, so I'll just mention a few FUNdamentals.
1.) Have FUN. The more I enjoy myself, the more my audience enjoys me.
2.) Elarge your Purpose. Have your purpose for being on the platform be
greater than your fear of failing. It will empower #1 as well.
5.) Remember, your performance is not terminal. Let go of your desire to
DO great and just BE Great. Your natural love and enthusiasm will win
the hearts and minds of your audience. If it's not going well, give your
best and learn from your mistakes to the next time you perform.
early and listen. There is always something you can add that connects
the audience with you because you are so attuned to what has gone on.
fun at yourself.
Remember that, very probably and almost certainly, there is no one in
the room who knows more about your topic, or who feels more passionately
about it, than you do. Remind yourself that you have been invited to
share your insights and your passion because you are who you are.
Finally, keep in mind that everyone there wants you to succeed. Give
them the opportunity to be happy they are here today with you.
Robert E. Bates
I try to entertain like a really good magician with a sense of humor.
This would include using some of these tools
1.) Passion for the material, story, etc…
2.) Be a good host, by introducing people with common interests
3.) Use humor to loosen everyone up, Make it fun!!!
4.) Ask yourself and the audience questions, including those who are not
5.) Summarize with the audience the material at the end to see if
everyone got your point
Afterwards, many people come up afterwards and ask many questions.
Additionally, they are surprised and find this more like a social
gathering then anything else.
Probably the most important lesson learned around presentation skills is
that speakers need to be individuals, standing out from those around
them with something memorable. For example, since I've started using a
full-length black cape as I do my opening to my Avoiding the Death by
PowerPoint Syndrome seminar, people remember me! When they see me again
at other events, they always comment, saying things like, "Hi,
PowerPoint Lady. Where's your cape?" Then they go on to tell me one
of the best things they learned at the seminar. Being memorable has led
to many other engagements!