What is Your Status When Speaking


The status you display when speaking has a major effect on how you communicate. Is your body displaying high or low status, and depending on the message you are conveying, they need to be in harmony.


High status is shown in the animal kingdom and in humans as appearing big. Shoulders up and back, arms away from the body, head up and straight, as well as feet apart. Show superiority and confidence. Low status is demonstrated by closing in on oneself. Head and shoulders down, arms close to the body, legs together and even bent at the knee. This shows inferiority and submissiveness.


As we develop our talk we need to take the status we want to portray into consideration. For example, if you are demonstrating a person that is going through a difficult time struggling in life’s journey, a low status posture may be more believable. However, as this person achieves success, the posture tends to become a higher status. You transform right in front of your audiences eyes. When your status and your words are in harmony, you create a memorable message


The label!


One major problem with labeling yourself as a motivational speaker is that you can be put into that group called, the motivational speaker. Now getting the speaking assignment may simply come down to cost for the event planner.
If one speaker is cheaper than another speaker and they both give the same amount of “motivation”, than the first speaker will be hired. It is similar to hiring a comedian. If you have 2 comedians but one comedian gets more laughs than the other, we know who will win.
Do not label yourself as a “motivational” speaker. It is much better to be an expert who is on the cutting edge of whatever industry you represent. If you are an expert think also of writing about your expertise in a book. Then you will be both an author and expert which is even more valuable and distinct.
True experts are rare while “motivational” speakers come and go.

What You Do…

Jim Dawson

“What you do speaks so loudly, I do not have to hear what you say” is a saying that has been passed down through the ages.  Many speakers forget that the majority of their message is in the body movement and facial expressions that give real meaning the words being said.

When a speaker’s gestures, from head to toe, are not in harmony with what they are saying, their message is being lost.  It takes a great deal of practice to get it all together.  Key points should have unique gestures to enhance the message being delivered.  If a speaker does not have their speaking points down cold, they will lose the body movement and facial expressions which add to the substance to their message.

The next time you are speaking and you have multiple points to convey, develop a unique gesture for each point.  This has a twofold purpose:

  1. Keep the audience more engaged
  2. Help you remember you speech quicker

Remember it is not what you say; it is how you display it.

Wardrobe Hints

clothes 2 clothes

I believe I present better wearing a tie and no microphone.

That doesn’t meant I will be wearing a tie and no microphone at my next presentation.

Be ready for the wardrobe the customer wants and the venue requires.

Have outfits (Costumes!) you are comfortable in wearing.  Have shoes that won’t have your feet barking at the halfway point.

Keep a bevy of wardrobe options clean and available:  suits, business casual, casual, tanks and shorts.  And be comfortable in delivering your message in each.

Wear a wardrobe appropriate costume for your dress rehearsal. Be sure to include shoes.

On Presentation Day, dress as close to the venue as possible; you don’t want soggy shoes or a drenched suit.

How You Look Saying It is as important as What You Say.

Expand your Horizons!


Anyone who speaks because of their professional should always be improving their speaking abilities. One of the best ways is to become involved in learning different skill sets.

If you have never taken a comedy  or improvisation class, seriously think about doing this. These 2 classes expand your ability to speak. Taking a comedy class is a great way to learn  the structure of humor. It won’t make you a comic, thank god, but once you learn how humor works, you can begin placing it in your presentations. The good news is that if you attempt to say something funny and it is not, then simply move on.

Taking an improvisation class will teach you how to think on your feet. It will also start your creative juices flowing. So if in the middle of your presentation, you get a great idea, you will learn to expand that idea or thought into something larger.

Don’t be afraid. Take a class. Watch the fun happen!

Know your Audience!

Know your Audience!

Knowing your audience is as important as knowing your material.

As you prepare for your next speech, consider these three items:


Will the audience be culturally compatible with your message and especially with your humor?  Nothing spoils a presentation more than misunderstood jokes and inappropriate idioms.  I know, I’ve been there.


Every person is unique, but how similar are your audience members professionally, physically, emotionally and morally? Are you speaking to a group of Real Estate Attorneys, or a room full of high school seniors?


Is your material focused on your audience? I teach Information Technology to Information Technology professionals; is my audience a group of Information Technology professionals, a group of Real Estate Attorneys, or a room full of high school seniors?  It makes a difference.

How do you discover these things?  A couple of thoughts:

– Talk with those who scheduled you

– Meet with as many of the participants as possible before starting.

Your Audience Wants You To Succeed!  Don’t sabotage it

According to all audiences: perception is reality!


Lee Atwater once said, “Perception is reality.”  I believe as speakers  we must pay attention to those words, and more importantly, what this means for the message that we are telling  our audience. It is very important that your verbal message and nonverbal actions speak the same message. If you are talking about having courage with confidence  but your actions show you are fearful, nervous and hesitant, what is the audience to believe? In this case, the perception the audience takes away is that you are fearful and what you say is meaningless. One of ways to double-check yourself is to record your speech. In this way you can see your body movements and gestures and compare that to what your message is stating. If they are both saying the same message, your audience will not be confused.