When I recently had the opportunity to train a group of people on Public Speaking some new ideas came to my mind while preparing for the meeting and one of them was that public speakers could be put in different stages. The idea was to help some people who are new to public speaking understand that there are phases in every industry so that they don’t get frustrated when they start speaking and they don’t seem to be getting the results that some others who have been in public speaking for a while are getting.
I should say that the stages outlined here are strictly my opinion but having considered it carefully I can see how it helps every public speaker either new or old to see how well they are progressing on a scale or to help them understand where they are per time in different levels so that they know what next to do. I should also say that it is very possible in my careful observation for a speaker to be experiencing things that happen in two or more different stages at the same time but it does not mean that the speaker has already gone up the ladder or has arrived on that higher level. Here are the stages:
1. Fresh speaker
A fresh speaker, obviously, is new to the speaking world or is the one who has just decided to go into public speaking and there would be so many things running through the mind of this kind of speaker especially if the person has never gotten an opportunity to speak in public before but already knows that he has the gift or has been trained. It’s like the phase where a new entrepreneur is thinking about how to get his new business out there and get people to patronize! Where to start from is usually the critical issue here. As I always say to some people, start from your immediate network. This could be your former school mates, office colleagues, associations that you belong to or even your family. They most likely would be your first audience. As a speaker, you will always need the push of your immediate network to begin with one way or the other.
2. Endorsement seeker
From being a fresh speaker most people easily move to the endorsement seeking level because they want platforms and they need to start getting clients so they need to talk to people who can possibly recommend them to some others for them to get their platforms for speaking. The endorsement seeking level can be done in different ways! Some of the people who have a lot of money can start their endorsement seeking through commercials and can also use their rich network of friend while those who don’t may start with introductions via mails to let people know what they can do or the few things they have done so that they can get new platforms. One of the ways you can glide through in this level is for you to always have copies of your previous presentation and send to some of the people whose endorsement you are seeking so they can easily believe you. This is also the phase where you do a lot of free things for other people just because you see potential clients around or you want to get other jobs from them by doing the first one for free.
3. Recognized speaker
The recognized speaker is the one who is slightly balanced as far as speaking is concerned and may not need to always seek endorsement in other to get the next speaking engagement. At this level, people already know what you can do and your name is also known so when people are planning events your name can easily come up as one of the speakers in the event. It does not mean that you have arrived but at least you don’t always have to beg people to give you a platform anymore.
4. Model speaker
The model speaker has gone beyond just being recognized by people and getting platforms to speak. This is someone who now speaks and people really want to do the things he says because they believe so much in him having heard him for a while or because he has already come to that recognition stage. Sometimes it’s not just that he is recognized but that he has results to show for nearly all that he is saying. At this level he is not struggling for attention at all! He has it and now people are looking up to him. It’s also a phase where even recognized speakers are looking up to him and even want to pattern their presentation styles after this kind of speaker.
5. Spiral speaker
Well I used the word spiral because at this level a speaker gets a spiral effect from nearly every speaking opportunity. This is where a speaker’s products are being sold everywhere or even when the products are not sold, it just has a way of going around town or the country. This is that phase where it is the people who are listening to you and the products that you have that are doing the endorsement for you such that more people recognize you as a speaker and also make you their model speaker. At this level you have to be very careful because anything you say travels very fast and you may not be able to hold anything back. It can also be that level where you get millions of listeners for a radio show from around the world or millions of viewers for a TV show from all over the world.
6. The endorsing speaker
At this level of being an endorsing speaker there is no doubt you are already a very successful speaker and you have gone past the attention seeking stage of speaking, you are recognized, you are a model speaker for other speakers and your products or works are all over the place! When you remember that some other people endorsed you as a speaker before you became recognized or that some people gave you their platforms then you also have to endorse other people. You also have to give other people a platform for them to rise through the speaking profession. It is not a must that you give everyone a platform but you have to be able to say that these are some of the people you have given a platform! At this level I should also say that you are already an authority in the field and anything you say can be taken as a principle even when it is not and you make it look like one! It also means that you can afford to make some mistakes people are likely to take anything that’s coming from you.
7. Immortalized speakers
Wow! I should put it straight that those I put on this level are either professional or non-professional speakers who are already dead but their words and their works are all over the place and people are still learning from the things they said or did before they died. There are some speakers who are dead and millions of copies of their books are still selling and in very many presentations their ideas are still being referred to. Some people still call them mentors and role models even though they are dead! I call them immortalized speakers because the weight of their words and the quality of their works while they were alive have made them so relevant to our world even after they are long gone.
I remember telling you that this is my opinion when I started out but I really can see that it does help you measure your progress in speaking over time and you can say you are in a particular stage then look forward to the next stage and continue to progress. Enjoy your speaking career or opportunities and keep speaking to impact so long as you have a chance to do that.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
Speaker | Author | Consultant
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If you lose any of your abilities, do not lose the ability to believe in yourself again – Fola Daniel Adelesi