February 16, 2017

Want to sound smarter when speaking?



I received the following email the other day, and I thought it would be worth sharing my response with you, because it goes to the heart of my philosophy of public speaking.
"I am writing an article on ways to sound smarter when speaking.

I was interested in finding out if you had any advice or tips you could offer our readers. In particular, I wanted to see if you could provide insight into:
  • What is a key piece of advice you would offer to a person who is making a speech or presentation who wants to sound intelligent?
  • What is one of the most common mistakes speakers make that can make them come across as less intelligent?
  • Do you believe a speaker's posture and body language impact whether the speaker comes across as intelligent?
  • How do you believe a speaker's tone of voice impacts whether the speaker comes across as intelligent?"
Dear reader, if you read this post hoping to find out how to sound smarter when you speak, I apologize. I tricked you.

Here's what I wrote back to the journalist:

"First of all, I think a speaker 'wanting to sound intelligent' is missing the mark.

You either are intelligent or you aren't, but that's not what the audience cares about. 
The audience appreciates a speaker who exhibits confidence and speaks articulately. A speaker doesn't have to be intelligent to connect and engage with the audience. A speaker also doesn't have to be intelligent to be clear, concise and compelling. These are skills that can be learned by anyone. 
Focusing on coming across as intelligent is the wrong focus altogether, and is too much about the speaker impressing the audience vs. the speaker serving the audience.

A speaker who wants to serve the audience mostly needs to be well-prepared and have made time to practice out loud. And you could argue that being well-prepared and having rehearsed will make a speaker sound more intelligent. :-)"
I hope I didn't disappoint you if you were excited to learn how to sound smarter as a speaker. Spending your time focusing on how you're perceived rather than what value you provide to the audience is always a mistake.

Here's what speaking is NOT about:

  • Impressing people
  • Being the smartest person in the room
  • Controlling every outcome
  • Following a bunch of speaking “rules”
  • Getting a standing ovation
  • Making it about you
Now, if you'd like to really dig into this stuff about serving the audience, being clear, concise, and engaging, while connecting authentically and creating a great experience, how about joining me March 20-22 in Santa Barbara for my retreat?


This workshop is for speakers who are looking for more than a “quick fix” to get through the next presentation, and for people who are ready to up their game in a big way. Ready to stop blending in and start standing out? This retreat is for you!

The Bring-a-Friend rate expires soon and the super duper hotel room block expires over the weekend, so don't miss out! 


Are you a former or current client? Get in touch: I have a special 50% off rate for you!

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