Why Charisma Is The Key Ingredient To A Good Public Speaker

There are few things quite as vital to the success (or otherwise) of an after-dinner speaker as the charisma that they possess. While someone with a warm, easy manner can engage audiences talking about even the most dry subjects (think Obama on the economy), someone who sticks to their notes too closely and fails to read the room can go down like a lead balloon even if their subject matter is fascinating.

That isn’t to say that subject matter is irrelevant; a good guest or celebrity speaker with a lot of charisma will always be a more enjoyable experience if their topic matches your audience’s interests. While a vlogger may be the perfect choice for a room full of 21 year olds, retirees might be more entertained by a retired football player or an actor.

Luckily, contrary to popular opinion, charisma isn’t something that you’re just born with – or at least, while some people are naturally characterful and warm, it’s also a quality that you can fake until you make it!

Body language and how you speak is every bit as important as what you say; people who excel at public speaking never make it look like it’s difficult. While correcting your body language might seem forced and hard work at first, the more you see it working, the more you’ll relax into it and it will become second nature.

Certain stances can come off as combative or negative, and these generally involve closing yourself off in some way. Crossing your arms across your body, hunching your shoulders and even standing behind a lectern can all convey nerves and the sense that you’d rather be somewhere else.

Faking confidence is one of the most important ways to convey a positive message to the audience you’re addressing and ensuring that they enjoy it. People who are poor public speakers often struggle to maintain eye contact with their audience and instead focus on a point at the back of the room that they’re talking too.

Too much eye contact won’t do you many favours either, but looking directly at members of your audience as you speak to them will convey confidence and relaxation. Just don’t stare at the same person for the duration of your address – it could get creepy! 

Asking rhetorical questions of your audience can also help to ensure that they are switched on to what you’re saying; they don’t have to be complicated, a simple yes/no question with a show of hands will suffice, or asking a specific member of the audience a question that they will definitely be able to answer.

Being able to take the focus off yourself is one of the key qualities that makes some people seem more likeable and charismatic, and while by the nature of giving a speech you’re always going to be somewhat in the spotlight, by asking your audience to interact you can help to change their perspective on you.

One of the most charismatic and likeable people on the after dinner speaking circuit is former weather girl and meteorologist Sian Lloyd. The Welsh woman is one of the UK’s longest serving weather forecasters, which is surely something to do with her easy manner. People all over the UK identify with her and feel like they know her because of the charisma which she has always demonstrated when presenting the weather.

A fascinating and varied character, she’s obviously a lady with a lot of interesting points to make, but it surely can’t be denied that part of the reason she’s so engaging is her warmth, a trait which is made prominent by her charisma.

If you’re thinking of booking a celebrity guest to deliver an after-dinner address or present an award then you’re on to a winner; by merit of the line of work they are in and the media attention they are subject to, most celebrities know how to turn on the charm and have a room eating out of the palm of their hand.

Sian is no exception, and as a well-loved face who’s seen as being very ‘up for it’ thanks to appearances on reality TV shows, she’s a choice who will add a little glamour and a friendly face to any event. If you’re interested in booking her as a celebrity guest, the Sian Lloyd agent is London-based MN2S, where there are also lots of other characterful celebs on the books.