What it takes to become a captivating speaker

by Communication


Do you wish to become a captivating speaker? To make an audience hung onto your every word as you take them on a journey of possibilities and show them how to make their wildest dreams a reality?




This article will highlight some of the best public speaking tips that have been used over the ages to turn ordinary people into captivating speakers whether on the podium or to a small group of friends.  These tips have helped me as I speak at events, seminars and other social forums.  I encourage you to use them as you develop your speaking skills. You will see a huge boost in your ability to stand and speak in front of the room regardless of the number of people present and deliver a captivating performance every time.




For most of my life, I’ve been following conversations by inspiring entrepreneurs, leaders, authors and business titans who are on the cutting edge of thought leadership. To this day, I’m still amazed at how many sources of inspiration there are out in the world.




In my personal journey as a Keynote speaker, Life coach, and entrepreneur, I’ve been very fortunate to connect with some of these thought-provoking leaders.  All of them have deeply invested their time to grow great ideas, tackling challenging businesses and helping highly competent people to make their dreams a reality.  I’ve observed a few common traits of ordinary but inspiring individuals who are achieving great success, contributing positively to our society and making a real difference in others’ lives. I’ve found, in my analysis that there are 20 core traits of these captivating speakers which also make them inspiring leaders. I will highlight some of these top traits that you will see in any captivating speaker who inspires, enlivens, empowers and uplifts us.




Captivating speakers are riveting storytellers




These captivating speakers and inspiring leaders use the platforms they have to share and demonstrate a unique aspect of their lives and other people’s lives through stories. Their message is often something very different from the same old techniques and content we’ve heard over and over.  They share boldly about their individual experiences, traumas, deep desires, triumphs, failures, and their history. They always try to find a unique way of looking at the world, and then gladly share this new perspective through powerful stories. Their stories are aimed at our hearts and they stimulate our thinking and our emotions and in ways that literally no one else can.




Nowadays, it is very easy to get inspiration on how to deliver with authenticity, clarity, grace, and power.  There are very many individuals worldwide who can serve as your role models and help you make a huge impact in the world that you want to. If you can’t find someone to inspire you, it’s time for an internal shift to heal the disconnection and isolation you feel, and get yourself back in the game of life.




In most cases, we believe what we see. For you to be inspired by another you have to be reminded that what stirs us so deeply about someone else is, in fact, possible within ourselves.




They have created and walked a path which is authentic




Most captivating speakers have often taken a difficult, unpaved road which doesn’t necessarily follow society’s expectation. They are the people who go against the grain. Doing that requires an enormous amount of personal willpower, a show of guts, perseverance, commitment, and strength




In other words, these leaders have bravely taken a new direction and are always striving to live full-out what they study and research but most importantly what they talk about. They are the true embodiment of courage and fortitude in the face of opposition, criticism, judgment, and what sometimes seem to be unbeatable odds.  They don’t just talk about what they’re fascinated by – they’re immersed in it and exude it, body and soul.




They are focused on helping others  




These leaders get a wonderful sense of reward and satisfaction – while spending most of their energy and time – helping other people or businesses and organizations to grow and flourish




When you listen to any captivating speaker they don’t just talk about what they’ve done well. Instead, for most of them, they will highlight some of the challenges and pitfalls they encountered so as to help others succeed. Their message gives encouragement to others as they face the various challenges out there on the path to success, peace, fulfillment, progress, and contribution,




Nothing Beats Experience




The most important public speaking tip I have found; which these captivating speakers always live by is that they try to get as much experience speaking in front of people as often as possible.




In delivering to an audience experience will always be king.  There is nothing that will beat the experience and real-world practice of speaking in front of a crowd.




There is so only so much you can learn through watching videos and reading books about presenting “A captivating speech” or “How to become a world-class speaker”. However, nothing comes close to the immense experience you gain while you actually speak. For this reason, practicing as much as you possibly can, should be your most important goal.




If you wish to find a conducive or relaxed environment to practice in front of a small crowd, I highly recommend joining Toastmasters or any other local public speaking groups in your city.




Model Captivating Speakers you like




One of the most impactful things that has helped me to develop my skill as a speaker (apart from getting a ton of experience in front of different audiences), is the simple act of modeling other captivating public speakers whom I admire.




I can’t count how many times I’ve spent attending workshops and seminars and carefully taking note of the different speaking techniques employed by the speakers in front of me. In addition to this, I have spent countless hours just watching speeches on YouTube by thought leaders and speakers that I follow.  These include the likes of Simon Sinek, Tony Robbins, and Jim Rohn, all of whom I have found different nuggets to model from the way they speak.




By this immersion of attending seminars and workshops or watching videos, you will slowly learn to note the different mannerisms and body language these speakers use.  You can adopt their gestures, their movement on stage, tonal variety, their posture, enthusiasm or any other positive trait and marry it with your speaking style so as to improve.




At times you can even try speaking just like them when you are in your house, pretending that you are the speaker you’re trying to model speaking in front of an imaginary audience.




Record Yourself Speaking and then evaluate your presentation.




If you really want to see a drastic improvement in your public speaking skills, use a camera to record yourself while speaking.




By this simple act of recording yourself, you will have a chance to see what you really look and sound like while speaking.  You will see your movements, body language, eye contact, any nervousness you may display, as well as other presentation skills you might want to improve on.




As I have recorded myself speaking for years, I’ve been able to see my areas of weakness and I have been able to improve them over time.  For example, in some of my speeches, I noticed that I paced a lot tying to remember what I had prepared to say. I found ways to internalize my main points better and this reduces the nervousness. I was also a great culprit of using crutch words such as “you know” and “uh” or “um” too much in my speech.  By recording myself, I was able to notice this and I consciously worked to improve over time.




It’s amazing how much improvement you can make by recording yourself and performing a thorough self-evaluation.




Communicate your message with Enthusiasm and passion




Another speaking tip that can help you to captivate your listeners is to make them feel your passion and excitement as you communicate to them.  Be the most enthusiastic you can be while speaking.




What most people do not know is that most of communication is non-verbal. In fact, 93% of communication is non-verbal, while only 7% is verbal.




When communicating with others, it’s not just what you say that matters but how you say it.  You can make your presentation sound exciting and captivate any audience if you deliver your message with excitement and passion.




Have a powerful reason/ message to speak




I have noticed most of the speeches I gave without a powerful conviction about the message I was delivering, did not create a strong connection with the audience. However, every time I speak in front of a crowd or record a video, with WHY to speak or an empowering purpose, I have seen it elicit excitement and passion for me and I have delivered the message that I want to share in a really powerful way.




To understand my WHY, I usually ask myself these 5 simple questions




  • What makes what I am about to share important?
  • Who needs to hear this and why do they need to hear it?
  • How will what I will share help them?
  • In what way can I serve them in the best way possible?
  • What makes me care about them?




By directing my focus on these 5 questions, I get an idea as to who I am serving and it fuels a desire to want to be of the most help I can.  It also allows me to unlock another level of creativity and resourcefulness. This, in turn, makes me more engaging and powerful as I speak.




If you do all this, your audience will be riveted to every word of your presentation.