By: Rheba Estante
Stop selling. It may sound counterintuitive but seriously, stop selling. Speakers who earn top dollar have substance that sells itself. They are polished but that it is after developing a content based talk that rivets audiences and leaves them wanting more information. Why else do people line up to hear the likes of giants of industry? Not only do they get an autograph but they actually learn something they believe valuable. Knowledge is power and it is also the key to being seen as an asset instead of a cost.
So what do I mean by substance? Substance simply is the ability to not rely on showmanship. When I was 16 I saw Margaret Thatcher speak. She had been out of office for about five years but still had the presence of a statesman. Thatcher did not rely on note, did not perform, she simply spoke with an authority and a dialogue that was both organized and detailed without boring people. She was delivering a talk on her method of designing policy during her time in office and it turned into a lesson in leading in tough times. If you ever wonder how some speakers can leave a person in awe, look at Thatcher and Churchill. Charisma they had but underneath the presence was a series of potent presentations that are classics.
First rule of being a speaker of substance is to stop pushing the PR. Be focused on knowing what your audience wants and delivering that. Do not give the same talk twice. Every talk must be original. You can have your key messages but don’t have them become a scripted speech that everyone has heard before. Think of being a speaker like a magazine. InStyle is full of style but The Economist is pure substance. It’s only the later that is seen as an authority and go to resource for important things.