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9 Qualities of a Great Conference Speaker

One of the biggest aspects of a successful meeting, whether it be in-person, hybrid, or virtual, is having great public speakers. How the topic of your meeting is conveyed is extremely important! The way your speakers present is how it is going to resonate with your attendees and make them want to share with others or come back to your event next year.

Here are 9 qualities of a great conference speaker that you will want to look for during your research:

Knowledgeable on the Topic

First and foremost, your speaker should be very knowledgeable on the topic you want them to present at your event. What makes them a credible speaker? Look at their credentials and affiliations or if they have any previous work or presentations on the topic. Credibility is important because it establishes trust and builds a relationship with the audience. It reassures the audience that what the speaker is saying is accurate.

Passionate About the Topic

Having a speaker that is passionate about the topic being presented makes the audience want to stay engaged. You don’t want to have a speaker that makes your audience want to keep looking at the clock. A passionate speaker can create excitement about the topic through facial expression, through their tone of voice, and by using gestures. Being authentic cannot be rehearsed. In The Connectworker by Michelle Jennae, she says “Authenticity is what makes a relatable person believable. It is what makes the relatability sustainable. Anyone can fake relatability for a time, but authenticity is what makes it real.” The audience will be able to tell the difference between an authentic passion or fake, so this is why you need a speaker passionate about the topic.

Makes Connections with the Audience

A great conference speaker can make connections that their audience will understand. Relatability is key in this aspect. The more relatable imagery, the more the audience will engage and remember the presentation. This could include providing examples when talking about a topic that might be hard to grasp.

Uses an Expressive Tone of Voice

A speaker with an expressive tone of voice is essential in any presentation. Your audience won’t want to have a conference speaker with a monotone voice that makes them want to fall asleep. Maria Pellicano’s article, 4 Essential Types Of Tone Of Voice In Communication, mentions “When speaking, your voice must be flexible to enable you to change your tone of voice depending on what you are saying.” Your tone of voice brings meaning to words. A great speaker can use their tone of voice to make the presentation have meaning and effectiveness.

Remains Calm and Adapts to the Unexpected

Speaking at a live event, whether in-person or virtual, can be challenging when things unexpected arise, so the speaker must be able to remain calm and adapt to anything that may occur. The speaker can examine and sense the room to any needs that should be met. They shouldn’t be afraid to abandon the original plan if it is beneficial for the audience and event.

Keeps a Good Pace

Have you ever sat through a presentation where the speaker talked way too fast or on the opposite side, wouldn’t get to the point? A great conference speaker needs to keep a good pace throughout their presentation. According to Skills You Need, “If speech is too fast, then listeners will not have time to assimilate what is being said. It is also a good idea to vary the pace – quickening up at times and then slowing down – because this will help to maintain interest.” The pace of your presentation should include pausing at the right moments, emphasizing certain parts that the audience should remember, and keeping a tempo where the audience won’t get frustrated but stays engaged.

The Art of Storytelling

The art of storytelling can bring any presentation to life. Storytelling takes the facts into a narrative that can be easy to understand for the audience. It is a very effective way to organize information and keep the audience engaged. Storytelling can also make the presentation personal and authentic, which makes it relatable. The benefits of using storytelling are that it is attention–grabbing and provides extra detail.

Repetition, Repetition, Repetition

Repetition in any presentation is an effective tool to let the audience know the key takeaways. A great conference speaker doesn’t overuse the repetition tool but consciously selects with key points to emphasize throughout the presentation. When this tool is used correctly, it can leave a lasting impression on the audience. One method of repetition is the Rule of Three, which is when a speaker states something in threes. This can be a very powerful tool in any presentation.

Ability to Memorize

No audience member wants to watch someone read off a slide or card. A great conference speaker can memorize their presentation so they can focus on engaging with their audience rather than focusing on what they are going to say next. Some tools that can help a speaker get better at memorization would be writing out your presentation, repetition, and grouping the presentation into sections. When practicing for a presentation, a speaker should always practice speaking out loud. This another way to help memorize the content faster. 


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