What would be the first advice you would give to a new speaker?
If it is the first advice, it would probably be the most important advice, wouldn’t it?
Would it be something about picking a topic? Or having a message? Maybe it would be about gestures and body language. Or would you give suggestions to control nerves?
Those are all good suggestions.
But let’s consider the same question from a different standpoint.
If you are in the audience, what would be the first advice that you would give the speaker?
What would be the most important advice that you, as the audience, would want that speaker to know?
I suspect it would not be related to how to pick a topic, or a message. You certainly wouldn’t talk about delivery styles or nerves.
Your main concern as the audience is to be helped. You are listening to the speaker because you want to learn something. You have decided that the speaker is capable. Now you need the speaker either to help you with a problem, or give you useful information that you don’t already know, or provide a different perspective about a topic.
You expect that you will be better off after you hear the presentation.
Since that is the case, your first advice to the speaker must be to care about the audience, and to help its members to learn and grow.
As the speaker, your first concern should always be about the audience, and to making its members better off after they hear you speak.
That should be the first advice that you should give to every speaker.
Fred Haley is a certified Coach, Teacher and Speaker for the John Maxwell Program, and owner of ToastMentor, a communications training firm. He conducts public workshops and mentors business professionals to improve their presentations. Fred has published several books on public speaking. Follow Fred on Twitter @ToastMentor. Learn more on his website, ToastMentor.com.