Last week, Reed Tucker wrote a column for the New York Post about why 72-year old actor Morgan Freeman is consistently cast as God Almighty, Presidents, and – most recently – as Nelson Mandela. Reed went to Dianna Booher, author of “The Voice of Authority” and “Booher’s Rules of Business Grammar” for her opinion. What she shared is information that should make EVERY PROFESSIONAL SPEAKER take note.
In essence, the bottom line is this: how you project yourself will determine the roles you’ll get to play in life. This is also true of the work you’ll be able to get as a speaker. It’s important that professional speakers leave their audiences with a strong, positive impression. If you come across as masterful, you will impress your audiences (and the meeting planners who booked you).
According to Booher, Freeman has the ultimate combination of stature, deep voice, penetrating stare, and a face that reflects character. That being said, what hope do those of us have who are nothing like that? How can a petite woman command authority? How can a lean man with a more high-pitched voice make a dramatic impact?
Being a professional speaker will cause you to address these issues. Many speakers naively feel that their message alone will carry them to the heights of an outstanding speaking career. While a distinctive message will surely help, it’s never enough. Becoming a successful speaker is not just about being tall or having a great voice; it’s a combination of many things, including:
- A great message
- An outstanding delivery/honed presentation skills
- Unique background or specialized knowledge (What do you know that others do not?)
- A book to share your story
- Media exposure
- Internet presence
- Great demo video
- Become memorable
- A sense of humor
…and so on. Sure, if a shark bites off your arm and you survive, you will likely get the Today Show appearance that most speakers would envy. And, if you survived a desperate tragedy, you might have the good fortune to appear on Oprah.
But, for most of us who make our living as professional speakers, success is the result of a carefully thought-out strategy and tireless hours of work and preparation.
But Ms. Booher definitely has a point. Anything you can do to make yourself a more impressive figure, better at sharing your story, or finding that which makes you unique, will all work to make you a more successful speaker.