How To Be a Master Speaker


by Burt Dubin on May 8, 2012

How to be a Master Speaker

If you would converse with me, said Francois Voltaire, first define your terms.

master n.  (1.) a revered leader,  (2.) an artist or performer of consummate skill. (3.)  One whose work serves as a model or ideal.

speaker n.  (1.) one who speaks, educates, or trains.

1. Many people stand before audiences and speak, educate, or train. What qualities set the master speaker apart?  What aspects of character, what business practices, what habits, what attitudes, what stance, cause a speaker to be recognized as a master?

This pastiche is keyed in with no notes, no references.   Just my gut.  That’s where my views are born.  That’s where your views are born. From your core, from your essence, from your deepest feelings.  Let’s see if you’re able to agree with my gut convictions.   The qualities and aspects of a master speaker are these:

2. Integrity: Without this sterling quality, nothing else matters.  I mean being more than as good as your word.   I mean living and breathing with bone-deep resolve that if you say it you live it—regardless of the cost.

This includes your accountabilities to each of your constituencies:  the decision-maker who hires you, the client paying your fee, and the audience before which you’re privileged to stand.   Each expects value in return for their investment of faith or money or time in you.

3. In-depth research: Do you show up and deliver a standard shtick, the same piece you rolled out last week?  The same piece you’ll present next week somewhere else?   If so, you’re an actor, a performer, yes.   Well and good. the world needs you.   And you’re not a master speaker!    The master speaker does adequate research.   Every time.

The master speaker customizes, creates a program for each audience.   The master speaker bestows a one-time experience on each audience—delivers wisdom born for the time and place, for the company, for the association or group in their here and now moment.  The master speaker takes into account the needs, wants, hungers, attitudes, biases, perceptions, challenges, conditions, stated and unstated, of each constituent.

4. Passion: The master speaker is fully involved, totally present—with the audience, the topic or issue, the circumstances, the mood, the environment, with everything affecting the unforgettable experience shaped and molded for this audience and only this audience.

The master speaker shares far more than words and concepts, ideas and recommendations.  The master speaker shares values and principles, standards and personal philosophy, from his core, his essence, his deepest beliefs and his ideals.

5. The master speaker delivers more, far more, than a program.  The master speaker creates an experience, a memory, an indelible impression that audience members cannot possibly forget.    Like a virus the master speaker invades the deepest recesses of the consciousness of the audience, causes neuron firings, synapses, in the brains—and positive changes in the minds and hearts of everyone present.

6. The master speaker, with vast empathy for the human condition, intensely aware of the effect of her presence and words, speaks from the soul level.   The audience perceives much of the real communication subliminally.   The array of impressions released is conveyed by the master speaker’s stance, movements, by the look in her eyes, by pregnant pauses at just the right times.    The master speaker engraves memories that cannot ever be erased.

7. The outcome, when you make yourself a master speaker:  Long after audience members forget every word you uttered, every story you told, every one-liner with which you regaled them, every point you made, they cannot forget you.


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