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What Makes a Good Public Speaker?

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

by Stephanie Bickel

what makes a good public speaker

We have showcased great speakers over the last several months and we will continue to share our thoughts going forward. We do this because studying great speakers and leaders will make you great, too. When you have a person in mind or a picture of what success looks like, you will accelerate your own growth. So…what makes a good public speaker earn that title?

Effective public speaking comes in many different shapes and forms. It begins with each person’s authentic self. It cannot start from anywhere else. That is your personal brand. It is what makes you believable and builds trust. Speaking skills that blossom from a true, authentic self will help you connect and build lasting relationships. It is what makes you stand out and become a trusted advisor to others.

As we have studied great speakers over the years, there have been several qualities that emerge in the very best. These top 6 attributes are what makes a good public speaker and leader in our eyes.

1. Provide high value per minute

The famous saying, “It not the quantity, but the quality”, could not be more true as it is applied to speaking skills. Great speakers do not use waster words and only use words that add value to their message. The speak at a slower pace and pause to eliminate non-words, or filler words, like “um” and “so”. They are also mindful of to reduce redundancies.

2. Simplify complex solutions and complex questions

Great speakers and leaders know how to be clear and concise. They start with one main idea to answer the question asked or address the problem that needs to be solved. This is followed by 2 to 3 key points to support their recommendation. Someone who is organized in their thinking and presents in this way, is easy to understand and easy to remember.

speaking skills

3. Feel confident and comfortable in their own skin

It’s one thing to speak from your true authentic self, it’s another to be comfortable doing so. You can tell when someone is confident by how they look and how they sound. You can tell when someone has no self-doubt because they are physically poised and their voice doesn’t waver. They stand up tall. They don’t fidget. They look you directly in the eye. They project their voice. These qualities don’t change even as situations change.

4. Speak even when there is uncertainty and challenge

People are drawn to leaders that have the courage to speak and make decisions when no one else does. When they communicate, great speakers are open, transparent and timely. They show compassion and empathize with those affected by the circumstances. Trust begins to build between the speaker and the audience and this grows into a trusted advisor relationship.

effective public speaking

5. Move markets with their ideas

Having an idea is one thing. Being able communicate it effectively is another. Great speakers and leaders are able to speak to current conditions, its impact on the business or industry, the opportunity ahead, and the recommended action needed. They generate more profit and move markets by practicing and strengthening these important speaking skills.

6. Are clearly in their groove

A speaker in their “groove” is like an athlete in their “zone”. They can do no wrong because they have 4 main beliefs. They believe they are an expert, they care about their audience, they communicate with a sense of urgency, and they believe they are speaking about important issues. You can see it on their face and you can hear it in their voice. They are happy and confident. They love their teams and customers.

Effective public speaking skills are what makes a good public speaker so inspirational and memorable. These qualities are constantly on display in all aspects of our communication - how we look, how we sound, and how we put our thoughts together.

Who do admire for their speaking skills? What about them inspires you?

Watch them in action. Emulate and practice the qualities that you want to see in yourself. Stay focused on this goal and you will soon become the great speaker that you once aspired to be.

Get started now. Check out our YouTube library of the best public speakers in interviews and presentations.

what makes a good public speaker


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