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Famous in your field: 3 ways to get rave reviews as a speaker

Famous in your field: do these 3 things to get rave reviews as a speaker

If you build it… they will care

What is the number one thing that every presentation or speech needs? An AUDIENCE.

They are there for the experience. They want to be educated, entertained and they want to participate.

The whole point of a presentation or public speaking engagement is to engage the audience by sharing your knowledge, expertise, or experience, right? But an audience member only pays attention to things they care about.

This year a study pegged the average human attention span at eight seconds, which is down from 12 seconds ten years ago. To put that into perspective, the attention span of the average goldfish is nine seconds.

So how do you grab your audience’s attention in 8 seconds? Scream? Faint? Cartwheel? Nope. You need to build a relationship with them and here are a few ways you can do just that.

1.    BYOP!

Bring your own personality!

The best way to grab their attention and begin to build a relationship with them – so they care enough to listen – is to be your authentic self. If you aren’t your whole, true, authentic self, you don’t come across as interesting, likeable, or (gasp!) fun.

Some people believe that being “professional” means that you have to be serious and somber. It doesn’t.

Being someone other than yourself doesn’t make you more professional. Every job has different standards and everyone has a different definition of what it is to be professional but there is one thing that all professionals share. They’re human. (Ever heard of a professional fish?)

Sharing whatever it is that makes you interesting and human is your advantage in public speaking or pitches to your prospective clients.

  • Relate your personal experience to your topic. I heard a presentation given by a brand strategist who loves tennis and dreams of playing in the U.S. Open. She talked about her proposed strategy by relating it to playing tennis against Serena Williams. The roomful of pharmaceutical executives were laughing and nodding their heads. It was a grand slam!
  • Tell them something about who you are outside of work. Just got back from Paris? Wish you did? Share it with them. Want to meet Chuck Norris? Already did? Tell them about it! Share your human story. It helps your audience connect to you and your message.

2.    Research!

In addition to gathering information about the organization, find out to WHOM you are speaking. (Yes, I said whom. ‘Cause I’m fancy like that.)

That mass of faces staring at you is made up of individuals. Look them up on LinkedIn. Google them. Follow them on Twitter. The interwebs are your best friend, my friend.

When you know something about a person or organization you aren’t talking to a bunch of eyeballs, you are talking to people. Do they fish? Support a charity that you support? Live near you or someone you know? Find out and Viola! You’re all people in a room together relating to each other like…people!

3.    Mingle!

Instead of showing up five minutes before you’re scheduled to speak and disappearing as soon as you’re done, try hanging out and mingling.

  • Arrive early to shake a few hands and learn a little bit about two or three people. Don’t just ask them about business. Ask them about life outside of work and get to know them as people – not just clients. Also, if there are other speakers scheduled to present before or after you, then you can listen and maybe learn a few things from them.
  • Stay late to say thanks and meet people you didn’t meet before your presentation. Get to know a few more of your audience members on a personal level.

Your Fame Boosting Assignment:

The very next time you do a presentation or speak to a group: BYOP, research and mingle! If you don’t you’ll have to fish for their attention.

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.


  1. Dorothy Pang, The Natural Fertility Expert on January 21, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Thanks for the reminder to be myself – sometimes I worry that if I’m not serious, I won’t be perceived as professional…. but no one wants to watch a robot talk!

  2. Barbara Searles, Holistic Pain Relief Coach on January 22, 2014 at 10:01 am

    Love these! Public speaking is something I really enjoy, and these are so timely as I’ve just submitted a proposal for a small local event in February. Thanks Lori!

  3. Lilia Lee on January 22, 2014 at 10:15 am

    BYOP! Unfortunately, that is my problem….I don’t think I am exciting or interesting, just another hum-drum, average person. Will need to seek assistance overcoming that problem.

  4. Cindy on January 22, 2014 at 11:03 am

    Love it – BOYP! That is just classic and so many speakers forget it as well as to mingle. Thanks for this post.

  5. Emma on January 22, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    A great MO to speaking! Love it. 🙂

  6. Kathleen Watson on January 22, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    I appreciated the tips, Lori – especially because I’m actually doing all of them already. THAT doesn’t happe often, so I’m basking. 🙂

    I recently listened to a song called “Let It Go”, from the Disney movie “Frozen.” It’s such a compelling statement of the character’s acceptance of her own power and authenticity. SO worth checking out on YouTube. It took her awhile, but she learned the value of BYOP.

    BTW, I’m still reeling from learning that the average human is less attentive than the average goldfish. Yikes!

  7. Kelley Grimes on January 23, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    These are great reminders Lori. It is amazing what a difference it makes connecting with people before you speak. You then can speak to them or their issues directly, which creates a more authentic connection and gives the listener more investment in what your talking about. Thank you!

  8. laura on January 24, 2014 at 9:14 am

    Yes BYOP~~~ too many people put on a veil if not a mask when they speak. The more authentic and YOU the more you connect with those who need you. Lori, awesome stuff!

  9. Susannah Steers on January 24, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I’m preparing for one of the biggest presentations I’ve made yet in my career – so these are fantastic and timely strategies! Thanks so much!

  10. Stacey Martino on January 24, 2014 at 10:47 am

    LOVE this Lori!! Totally never thought about it this way!! You ROCK!

  11. Alyssa Johnson on January 25, 2014 at 9:09 am

    More speaking is a HUGE priority for 2014. Thanks for sharing these tips so I can rock it even more!

  12. Tricia on January 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    Great advice! I am doing a workshop next month and will apply these for sure. And the introvert in me needed to hear the “mingle” advice. I will do it 🙂 Thank you! So helpful!

  13. Michelle on January 28, 2014 at 9:55 am

    HA! Have an audience – so true. Shared this with my East Tenth Group audience…very helpful.

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