Friday, November 1, 2013

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Speakers and Presenters

My son, Tucker, with Stephen Covey's
best-selling personal leadership handbook
The ability to express yourself clearly and confidently in front of a group of people is one of the single greatest skills you can develop.  Eloquent elocution and confident communication immediately establishes good rapport and credibility with others.  In this post, I share 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PUBLIC SPEAKERS that have helped me to garner tremendously positive feedback:

“Jordan was the best instructor I have had – honest – realistic – stayed on topic – not pretentious.  His presentation style was relaxed yet informative and professional.”  
"Jordan kept the seminar running smoothly while fielding all questions and open dialogue.  Jordan's recall of "Quotes" is phenomenal and very applicable to the topics he presents."  
“One of the Best Seminars I’ve ever attended.  The time went like lightning.”

HABIT 1:  Don't announce your weaknesses.  

One of the biggest mistakes I observe amateur speakers make is pre-calling their own perceived shortcomings by telling their audience things like: "I am not very prepared," or "I am soooooo nervous," or "I really hate speaking in public."  To make matters worse, such comments are often the first thing they say upon clutching the microphone.  Announcing your weaknesses will only make them unnecessarily evident to your audience, and adds nothing to your message.  

Successful speakers understand that the
speech/presentation is NOT about them.
:  Be Audience Focused

Being audience focused involves more than just knowing your audience.  It means to understand that giving a speech is not about you and your needs; it is about the audience and their needs.  A successful presenter empowers audience members with new, relevant, and meaningful information that inspires action.  Ask yourself: Is this something my audience will benefit from or just something I want to say?  

HABIT 3:  Use Stories

With few exceptions, my audience members both enjoy and remember stories more than data, facts, or quotes.  While it is possible to have too much of a good thing, stories -- personal and tales of others -- serve as the seasonings of any palatable speech or presentation.  They humanize sterile material and strengthen the relationship you have with your audience.    
“Jordan was excellent!!!  Thank you for delivering the materials in such a clear, concise manner coupled with great stories.” 
 “Jordan told us a great deal about his own journey of self-leadership, which was very authentic and credible” 
“Enjoyed the seminar leader very much, especially his stories.”

Stand up, Speak up, Shut Up

People appreciate presenters that start on time (Stand Up), are credible, confident, and engaging (Speak Up), avoid rambling, and end on time (Shut Up).

HABIT 5:   Practice Makes Progress

Practice doesn't always make perfection, but it does produce progress.  Like anything else, you will get better at public speaking the more you do it.  If you want to become truly refined and polished, there is no magic bullet outside of doing a LOT of speaking.  Each time you take the podium or grab the microphone, you have an opportunity to get better.  Seize those opportunities.  

HABIT 6:  Accept Responsibility for Your Audience

It is not the job of the audience to ensure that your presentation goes well and is well accepted.  It is yours!  Many amateur speaker's fail to realize this and are quick to blame their audience when things go wrong.  

Your audience always knows how you feel about them, whether you want to be there or not, and how knowledgeable and passionate you are about your topic.  If you want your audience to like you, then you must work at liking them.  If you want your audience to be interested and engaged, then you must be interesting and engaging.  If you want your audience to learn and be inspired by your message, then you must be prepared, sincere, and have something meaningful to communicate. 

HABIT 7:  Be Yourself  

While you can learn from and be inspired by other speakers, your greatest successes will never come from copying another's mode, style, or pace of delivery.  You must find your own unique voice, and the more you speak, the closer you will come to finding it.  

Do you have any other tips or habits for speaking and presenting that I have left out? Leave a comment and share your thoughts!

Dr. Jordan R. Jensen has presented over 600 speeches and/or seminars in 3 Countries, 44 States, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, 5 Provinces of Canada, and 9 Counties throughout the United Kingdom.  He has taught 35 different all-day courses on a variety of topics.  He has trained for major corporations including ConocoPhillips, British Petroleum (BP), U.S. Steel, Terex Cranes, Olympus, and DuPont.  He has also trained for all five branches of the U.S. Military.  He is the author of Self-Action Leadership: The Key to Personal, Professional, & Global Freedom.  He lives in Conroe (Houston) Texas with his wife and son.  For more information about booking Jordan to speak/present at your organization, visit his website at

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  1. This is so great! I'll credit you for your advice in my box.

  2. Great to know about that. Inspirational Speakers make a living encouraging others to new heights in their careers, but speakers themselves benefit from that theme of positive reinforcement. They are hired to not only motivate professionals to increase the bottom line, but to educate and train them to see things in a new, more positive light. In turn, motivational speakers also reap the rewards of having a positive outlook and helping others.

  3. thanks for these habits! I propose you to read about habits of successful people here

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  5. This is so great! I'll credit you for your advice in my box.
    the 7 habits of highly effective people

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