Sunday, January 29, 2012

Speaking Is The New Blogging?

(This post originally appeared as a guest post on Simon Salt's Inc Slinger Blog on January 25, 2012)

Speaking Is About More Than Speaking

Simon Salt recently made a profound statement on Google+ when he said “Speaking is the new blogging”. It was only a few short years ago that seemingly everyone you met was a self proclaimed “blogger”. But what the classification meant was as varied as the number of people holding claim to the title. Now in 2012 it seems that the label of “speaker” or “conference speaker” has been added to countless LinkedIn profiles, resumes, and bios.
PR professionals work hard to get their clients onto agendas as speakers or panelists at all sorts of industry events, and open calls for presentations for meetings are often bombarded with proposals (some that fit the needs of the conference organizers, others that are just fishing expeditions). But is calling yourself a speaker and submitting proposals enough?
Speaking in public is a great way to promote your business, your cause or yourself. But just because someone is smart or has done something cool, it does not mean they belong on the stage. Presenting a blah presentation (or worse… being awful )can bring no results or even harm a reputation.

Presenting Can’t Be Faked

Presenting is a skill. Like playing golf, it is evident to all who watch if someone has experience. You cannot fake it or wing it if you wish to make a meaningful connection with the audience. A bad presentation can suck the energy out of the whole conference, which is why it is important that people who call themselves speakers and pursue the opportunity to present are dedicated to bettering their skills and serving the audience.
There is often an argument about content vs. style when selecting speakers. However, there is no reason this should be debated. I am not advocating for “fluffy” speakers who are good performers but have nothing to add to the audience. I am stating that it is not too much to want both style and content.
I am passionate about presentation skills. Every time I watch anyone give a talk I call it “Speaker’s College”. The person on stage, be it at a conference, in classroom, in church, etc…, is the professor and I am the student. It is exciting to see a person educate, inspire and connect with an audience. It is also painful to see someone bomb on the platform. In every case it is the mix of their information and their abilities to communicate that make them memorable or forgettable. Relying only on the data can be very stale, and thus it is important to work on your public speaking skills.
I have watched thousands of speakers, from the famous industry professionals to regular people in a variety of settings. I have learned from every one of them. I have also delivered over 300 “professional level” speeches over the last decade. To be a “speaker” is more than a line on your bio. I believe a “speaker” must be excited by the opportunity to present to an audience and be dedicated to serving the greater good of the conference or meeting. The necessary preparation that the audience deserves is more than just showing up to promote your business.
It is an honor to be asked to speak, and those who can cultivate an experience that advances all aspects of the meeting will be asked to speak again, and again, and again.
What do you think?
Have A Great Day
thom singer


Daniel Milstein said...

Good Share.I hope more people discover your blog because you really know what you're talking about. Can't wait to read more from you!

Michele Price @Prosperitygal said...

YEAH Thom is saying it out-loud. You can have content and style, imagine that!

Totally with you on folks adding speaker to their bio like it was putting on a pair of socks.

There is a reason good speakers spend time honing their craft. There is a pride and purpose in doing so.

Thanks for spurring another great conversation