At some point in his or her career, everyone has a moment of self-doubt. You might wonder if you are too old or too young to be competitive, or worry that your skill set is outdated. These concerns span all professions, and public speaking is no exception. Veteran speechmakers, however, have some distinct advantages. Whether you are a speechmaker yourself or in the position of finding a speaker for your corporate event, age and experience are highly beneficial.
Are You Experienced?
A speechmaker’s reputation often precedes them. If you’re hunting for the perfect person to deliver an unforgettable corporate speech or someone to speak at a high-level function, you will probably ask around and do a bit of research to narrow your search. While it may seem counterintuitive, going with the youngest and freshest face may not always be the wisest choice, even if that speaker seems more appealing at first glance.
Live and Learn
Why should you hire speakers for public and private sector events? There are several good reasons. First, professional speechmakers are only human and they, too, make mistakes. The mistakes that don’t kill their business or reputation only make them stronger. Speechmakers learn, from trial and error, what works for audiences and what doesn’t. You want your audience to leave your event with a good lasting impression of your company, and you don’t want your event to be a test run for the speechmaker. A seasoned speaker is probably beyond the stage of making mistakes that could harm your company’s image and, therefore, may be a more reliable candidate than a newcomer.
Secondly, seasoned speakers, with many years’ worth of practice, tend to be much more comfortable in their professional skin. They know their strengths and weaknesses. Perhaps they’re great at coming up with unforgettable one-liners or have a reputation for delivering dramatic closing remarks. These strengths, with each successful use, translate into confidence, which makes the speaker and audience more relaxed. What works for one audience might not work for the next, but if a speaker continually fails to connect with an audience, it means he or she is doing something wrong. Beginner speechmakers may not know what they need to work on, but experienced speakers will have had time to work out the kinks and identify the weak spots in their deliveries.
Third, veteran speakers, as a whole, are more comfortable meeting last-minute demands and adapting to unforeseen challenges. You might have a speaker picked out for your event months in advance, but anything can happen at the last moment to throw a wrench in your plans. From missed flights to illnesses, speechmakers may have to unexpectedly cancel an appearance. Older speechmakers know the stress this causes event planners, and are often willing to fill in at the last minute. They also know that, once they arrive at the scene, last-minute problems can, and do, happen. Whether they inadvertently forget their slides, presentation material, or suddenly face technological malfunctions, they are more likely than a beginner to quickly and easily adapt to the situation and be able to carry on a good presentation. A beginner might be panicked by any of these situations.
Lastly, seasoned speakers can “read” the audience. They know how to craft a speech to persuade key decision makers, and how to build momentum throughout a speech to keep the audience engaged and focused. Seeing the audience as humans, rather than a brick wall, makes the speaker look (and feel) much more comfortable. That makes him or her less likely to panic when it comes time for the Q&A session at the end.
Leave a Lasting Impression
More experienced spokespeople also know they will need to put in time after the clock stops. When people are impressed with a speech, they often linger to compliment the speaker or ask questions. However exhausted they might be, veteran spokespeople are generally more willing to stick around and talk to participants after their speech is over. As they grow professionally, spokespeople grow personally. They develop a good sense of self along the way, and understand their best personal qualities and skills. This makes them come across as more engaging, approachable, and memorable to audience members.
The audience members at your next corporate function may not remember, three months after the event, what they ate at the conference, who they sat next to, or the floral decorations at their tables. However, memories of a good speech will remain with them for a long time. An experienced spokesperson will be more engaging, entertaining, and better at reaching the audience. He or she will be better at rolling with unexpected punches, and will be far more skilled at reacting to unexpected situations. A seasoned speaker will leave your audience inspired and impressed, and most importantly, will make your invitees walk away with a good impression of your company.