Brenda Gayle Bryant on Speaking

One of my friends, Brenda Gayle Bryant, a fellow speaker, and I were talking yesterday. She shared with me the following story, which was composed for her by a friend, Peter Fogel:

“When I attended my aunt’s funeral, several of her friends asked me what I did for a living. All my aunt had told them was that when I talked, people paid. But as we all know, it’s not about the talking – it’s about the information and how we convey it. It does not matter your specialty – scientific, economic, motivational, skill building, et.al. When people come to hear us, they want to take a piece of us home. They can’t do that if we don’t convey information.

I heard Maya Angelou once say that if you want to be a writer, you must be a reader. I thoroughly agree. And since I am a speaker, I am also a participant. I try to hear as many people speak as possible. I want to be captured, carried away, infused with inspiration; I want to increase my knowledge, better my skills, fly away on the words. I want to be transported wherever the speaker decides to take me. Then, I learn the techniques that the speaker used to help make me a better speaker.

So what makes me a speaker and not just a talker? I am authentic. I speak from the heart. I value my participants. I want to leave a lasting impression – my choice is to leave a good one. I want to asked back because I met the needs of my participants as well as the person who hired me. I want to leave a little something for people to take with them – a book, an article, a website, a ‘nugget’ they can refer back to.

What makes me a good speaker is not the talk – it’s the heart!”

Brenda makes a great point here. A great speaker comes from their heart. We can all share stories of motivation and excellence and overcoming adversity. But, if we aren’t feeling it to our very core, the audience will know. This makes it so important for speakers and those who hire speakers to know that the professionals they hire will deliver a PASSIONATE presentation, one that truly comes from the heart.

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