Influential people tend to have a way with words. They know how to spark inspiration and passion in others, and their energy is often contagious.
While some of these individuals are born with a natural talent for public speaking, anyone can develop good communication and speaking skills. That’s why we asked 14 members of Young Entrepreneur Council the following question.
Q. What’s one positive speaking habit most or all influential people have, and how can someone acquire this habit?
Their best answers are below:
1. Embrace Silence
There can be a tendency and eagerness to spew out everything in your mind. However, the most influential speakers captivate through their pauses and silences. The pauses keep attention and interest. Practice saying less at a slower pace. – Jason Khoo, Zupo
2. Put Your Audience First
All of my favorite speakers have one common habit: They always put the audience first. Whether you’re delivering a keynote to thousands of people or presenting to two people in a Zoom call, develop the habit of putting your audience first. It’s a privilege to have their attention, so make their time worth it by delivering a message that’s actionable and valuable. – Brittany Hodak, Keynote Speaker
3. Watch Your Pace
There is no right speed to speak. Sometimes, slowly speaking gives off the impression of being in control. Fast speaking can sometimes appear as confidence. The most influential people I know stay authentic to themselves, their pace and end up controlling an environment by doing so. Doing this will help you avoid sounding scripted or unnatural and help people connect quicker. – Jared Polites, LaunchTeam
4. Listen Carefully
It is the habit of not speaking but listening that is key. Don’t just wait for their turn to speak, but really stop and process what the other person has to say and then answer it with a well thought out answer. Most people barely hear what other people are saying while waiting to say what they want to get out. – Alastair Sanderson, LFA Machines DFW LLC
5. Build Your Expertise First
In order to explain something or talk about it easily, you need to be an expert. It’s comparable to writing an article or holding an interview. If you didn’t do your homework, you can only come up with fillers. You will stutter and there will be little of value on the table. It is crucial to create a feedback loop to check your knowledge. – Joey Bertschler, uniworld.io
6. Take Up Space
Body language is the quick pill that most influential people take to get into the right state of mind before a presentation, meeting, public speaking event, etc., and they never shy away from taking up more space. The more space you take up profoundly, yet subtly changes how people perceive you and how you feel emotionally. Research has shown that expansive body language can boost one’s confidence immediately. – Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz
7. Don’t Speak Badly of Others
Never speak badly about other people. The word choice you use to describe people that you don’t agree with is very important. Why? You can look at leaders today and see how insulting their opponents can draw a wave of backlash. You can make the same point about not liking or agreeing with somebody without insulting them or starting a flame war. See, I didn’t name any names. – Andy Karuza, LitPic
8. Never Apologize for Your Opinions
Never express your opinions apologetically. Form your opinions, make sure they’re backed by research if necessary, and then deliver them confidently. You’ll instantly become a more positive speaker. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
9. Use Humorous Anecdotes
Impactful speakers use anecdotes, often humorous ones, to make their speeches interesting and to illuminate a point. To make this part of your repertoire, you need to read up on as many interesting stories in your field as you can. You can even create a special folder for interesting anecdotes. And of course, share real-life events in your own professional life to help your audience connect with you. – Blair Williams, MemberPress
10. Speak With Passion
The most influential speakers are those who speak with passion. You can see their love and complete belief in the content shown through their gestures, facial expressions, and tone of voice. We’re all passionate about something. We need to sit down with a pen and paper and write out what’s important and then prioritize one of these ideas. Then it’s a matter of getting out there and speaking. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
11. Never Say ‘Try’
Influential people don’t say they’ll “try” to get to something or “try” to do something. If they set out to accomplish something, they say they’ll do it. Even the way you phrase something can impact how your brain translates it and how you feel about it. It’s OK to try at certain things, but if it’s important, then it’s better to dedicate yourself to it completely by saying you will do it. – Jared Atchison, WPForms
12. Be Aware of Your Body Language
One positive habit of speakers is that they’re aware of their body language. They know what they’re doing and have the experience, so they come off relaxed and at ease during their speeches. This makes what they have to say easier to grasp onto because you’re focused on the message instead of the messenger. If they feel comfortable, then you should too, and it’s easier to relate to them. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
13. Learn How to Express Your Ideas
If you want to learn how to speak to others, you should first learn how to express your ideas. If you’ve ever encountered someone who knew what they wanted, but couldn’t explain it, you’ve experienced this frustration. I practice writing and speaking out loud when I’m alone so I can work on the way I speak and how I relay information. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
14. Speak Your Audience’s Language
Get on your audience’s level. The best speakers deliver messages clearly, in language that everyone in the audience can understand. You can ask questions first if you have not done research on your audience, and then mirror the way they speak and use their normative language. This is an older technique, but it is effective for communication. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.