How to Start As an Entertaining Speaker: Tips and Tricks to Dinner Speaking and Event Speaking

Entertaining speakers are always in demand. That’s partially because there are so many events and meetings that use entertainment speakers and partially because it’s a difficult job. People often assume that entertaining people for 20 minutes or so is easy. In fact, it takes a great deal of preparation and practice.In an entertaining speech the content isn’t as important as the way you make your audience feel. They must enjoy your speech whether it’s funny, poignant or dramatic, (but not too heavy). The cardinal sin in a speech for entertainment purposes is to bore your audience. That’s where the difficulty comes in.Entertaining speeches are a diversion. They fill time or give people a break between complex learning sessions. They aren’t intended to be a learning experience, just a good time. If the audience leaves with a message that’s fine but it’s not necessary.Where can you find topics for an entertaining speech? The possibilities are unlimited! When you watch comedians they tell stories that are often based on a tiny, mundane incident. It’s all in how you craft the story. It’s essential that you create a story file. If you jot down ideas as they come to you, you can develop them later. If you don’t write it down, it’s lost.Try to match your topic to the makeup of your audience. Don’t talk about current songs to people in their 60s. Use older songs for your example.All speeches need an introduction, body and conclusion. When speaking to entertain you have to catch the audience’s attention in your first few sentences. Start off with something surprising, funny, odd or mysterious. If you don’t capture their attention right away you’ll lose them.Entertaining speeches usually consist of one story or several similar stories tied together. You should speak as if you are having a conversation with a member of the audience. Keep your content simple. You don’t want to do anything that puzzles or confuses your audience. Use vivid language. Make the audience feel as if they are able to actually see, hear, smell, taste what’s happening. Don’t be too straightforward in your story telling. Just like in a good mystery story you need to throw in a few twists and turns before revealing the final outcome.Your conclusion should only be a few sentences tying your speech up. End on a high note so people feel good when you finish. It’s very important in an entertaining speech that you be personable and likeable. You are the focus, rather than your content. The success of your speech depends on the personality you inject into it.Where to find gigs? Let your friends know what you do, hand out business cards to everyone, put a signature line on your emails and above all: speak. Volunteer to speak to service clubs like Rotary, church groups, women’s groups, anyone who will listen. This gives you practice and allows you to polish your presentation. It also puts you in front of many individuals, some of whom are in a position to hire you for a paid presentation.Many of the speeches you will be offered are for dinner and after-dinner speaking. It’s important that you know what you are getting into here. Many professional speakers refuse to give dinner and especially after-dinner speeches. Dinner speeches are difficult because people are eating. It makes it difficult to create a mood and there is a lot of extraneous noise. After-dinner speeches can be a real problem. People are tired and often have had several drinks. The first time I spoke before a group where alcohol was served I was amazed at the difference it made. Some people made inappropriate comments, chatted to one another and were easily distracted. They enjoyed my presentation but I certainly didn’t! Give it a try if have a tough skin but get lots of practice with other audiences first.The best advertising you can do as a speaker is to speak! People who pay for speakers are much more likely to hire someone they have personally heard speak. So pull out the phone book and start offering your services to service groups and other organizations today!

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