5 Signs of a good speaker

1. YOU WANT TO SPEAK.

You may not feel like you’re an expert at public speaking–maybe you think you’re downright terrible at it. Maybe it makes you nervous and anxious just to think about standing in front of a group and talking to them. But if you have the desire to speak, that’s the first sign that there may be a great public speaker inside of you. The technical details of speaking can be taught and learned, but the desire to do it has to come from within you.

2. YOU GET POSITIVE, UNSOLICITED FEEDBACK FROM STRANGERS WHEN YOU SPEAK.

Your mom has to tell you that you did a good job speaking. She might be right, but unsolicited praise from strangers who have nothing to gain or lose by complimenting you is more trustworthy. What happened the last time you gave a presentation, taught a class, or spoke to a group? Did people come up and give you praise that went beyond the normal politeness? That may be a sign that you’ve got some natural, raw talent.

3. YOU’RE A TEACHER.

I’m not referring to your job title, but your nature. There are plenty of teachers, coaches, and professors who lack the heart of a teacher, and there are architects, writers, salespeople, and taxi drivers who are teachers at their core. Do you have the heart of a teacher? Do you enjoy sharing what you know for the simple joy of helping others? Part of being successful as a speaker is focusing on your audience, rather than yourself, and those who are natural teachers tend to have this ability.

4. YOU’RE AN ENTREPRENEUR.

As with the previous point, this is less about what you put on your resume and more about how you live and who you are as a person. An entrepreneur is someone who moves a resource from an area of lower utility to an area of higher utility. Entrepreneurs improve themselves and their surroundings. Some people do only what they’re asked to do, and there’s nothing wrong with that (as an employer I really appreciate people who simply do what they’re supposed to do), but there are others who are always asking themselves “What else can I do? How much farther can I take this?” If you are always looking to do more, to make things better, then you may be drawn to public speaking because it is one of the most effective ways to improve yourself and those you have the chance to influence.

5. YOU LIKE TO WRITE.

Do you write long emails? Have you written a book? Do you blog? If you naturally produce a lot of written content, or you enjoy writing, it’s a good sign you may be a great public speaker. Speaking is the audible version of writing. In many ways it’s the same thing, but delivered in a different way. If you enjoy writing, you will enjoy public speaking, although it may require working through some of the technical aspects in which writing and speaking differ.

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