I just spent 2 days at the Career Thought Leaders Conference in Denver and presented alongside a talented group of business owners. When I was in the audience, I was able to engage in one of my favorite activities: Watching speakers, and finding their strengths. The speaker lineup was excellent overall. Here’s a rundown of 5 elements that mark excellence in public speaking, and who displayed them in spades at CTL 2016.
Presence: Vaneese Johnson, The Boldness Coach, has a presence most professionals strive for years to achieve. It’s a natural gift, and she comes to the stage with a strong voice, confidence, and well, boldness. It’s a boldness that’s energizing, not in-your-face. She allows her fiery yet warm personality, bold fashion, and southern culture to enhance her message. And it doesn’t matter where you’re from or how you dressed – she’s somehow relatable to everyone in the audience. That’s not an easy balance, but Vaneese makes it look easy. (And for her, I think it is.)
Storytelling: New CTL CEO Marie Zimenoff delivered on the expectation that stories should develop 3 key elements in depth – challenge, struggle, and resolution. She brought us into her experiences, let us sit with her in some tough moments, and we cheered inside when she triumphed. Her keynote was well-balanced with story, a practical goal-setting exercise, and an inspiring video to close.
In one of her breakout sessions, Ruth Winden shared a personal story about culture challenges that emerged with one of her international clients. The example was spot on. Ruth made us re-think how culture impacts coaching, and how we can improve those conversations.
Audience Adaptation: Susan Whitcomb and Deb Dib know how to work a crowd and get them thinking. Their questions enhanced self-reflection and allowed the audience to look at themselves, their businesses, and their clients on a deeper, more interior level. Drawing from her strength as an MBA, Ruth Pankratz provided practical tools we could easily use at our tables to simply circle or check parts of our businesses that need attention.
Vocal tone and variety: When Beth Kennedy speaks, her audience listens. Her voice is strong and her energy is high. My guess is that she practices what she preaches, and does those mindfulness and recharging exercises she teaches in her sessions. Beth is engaged in her message, uses speaking space well, and has strong eye contact. All signs of a speaker who takes time to prepare.
Content/Use of Visual Aids: Elisabeth Sanders-Park and Kristen Sherry delivered well-organized content on goal setting and assessments, and their visual aids provided strong support (I especially liked the iceberg image). These women knew their material and had specific examples at the ready to further enhance their messages.
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet and present with this inspiring group. #CTLConf #PublicSpeakingTips @CareerTL