SL011: The One Qualification Every Professional Speaker Must Have

I was asked the other day at a party what was the one qualification every professional speaker must have? Today I’m in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to keynote a conference and on the flight over I’ve been mulling this question. My answer may surprise you.


  • Qualifications for professional speakers
  • CSP
  • Why speaking is like learning guitar
  • From the basics to mastery
  • How can i improve my craft?
  • How can i learn more about my topic?
  • How can i add my unique take on it?
  • Curiosity

Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript

Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.

Hi, James Taylor he a keynote speaker on creativity, innovation and artificial intelligence. And the founder of SpeakersU. Today I’m in Riyadh and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And someone asked me a question, do they identify the asked me, James, what qualifications Do you need to be a professional speaker? And it kind of stumped me. I had to think about it for a little bit. You know, this person I was speaking to, he was a doctor, and he was a space specialist type of doctor. And obviously, he had to go for many, many years of qualifications and study in order to be able to practice medicine he practices and as a speaker, it’s slightly different. Now, there are definitely qualifications that you can have, I think there’s only really one that is the most important. You know, there are qualifications you can get like a CSP a certified speaking professional, and different speakers, associations around the world have different types of qualifications like that you can get to really show that you are an experienced speaker, professional speaking. These are great things to do.

Get. However, if you’re just starting out, I think actually the most important qualification is curiosity. The other day, they interviewed an HR professional who had previously worked at both Google and Facebook. And she asked what is the one thing that you’re looking for in people you take off take into these organizations? And she said the number one skill for her is curiosity. I think it’s really applies a speaker. You see the way I think about speaking, it’s a little bit like learning a musical instrument like learning guitar. It’s actually pretty simple to get some basic course and know learn three chords on the guitar, and to make a sand to play that first first June, however, it takes an entire lifetime to really master the guitar. So speaking is similar. It’s it’s actually we speak every day, you know, to go and give a speech even though you’re quite a, you know, a big thing. It’s your first speech, but to get up there to go and speak on stage.

It’s not the is not the q&a qualifications for that, apart from this ability to be curious about the world, and specifically curious about your topic, and your audience and what’s important to them. So I want to give you a couple of little pieces of advice just now. In terms of how to remain curious. The first thing is you need to have curiosity for your topic area, you don’t have to be the greatest expert in a particular topic area to go and speak on it. You just need to have a sense of curiosity and passion for learning about this topic. Ideally, you want to know more than your audience knows. But if you think about it, like yesterday, I spoke to an audience of about 1000 people were attending that event. And so there’s gonna be doing oldest know much more, but lots of different things than I do. So I have to focus on not just knowing my topic, but what is my approach was my unique take my unique message in relation to this particular particular topic, and it’s just takes time to reflect on whatever topic area you’re learning about. So be curious about learning about your topic.

Always be learning be reading, reading, like this research and whatever your topic areas. Secondly, be curious about your craft. Continue to be looking to develop your craft. If you’re a guitar player, you’d be practicing your skills every day. What are you doing as a speaker every single day to get better at your craft? So every time you go in speech, you can make that speech at just that little bit better than the speech you gave before. And finally, be curious about your audience. What is important to them, what drives them what their hot buttons what’s going to get them excited? What subjects you need to maybe steer away from the movie cover that a bit boring the other people have done that you can’t really provide a unique take on so curiosity that is the number one qualification I think that you need. As a speaker now I’m patch bias. I speak about creativity and curiosity as part of, of creativity by really think it applies. So the next time someone asked you, what qualification do you have for being a Speaker you can just say, I have my natural curiosity. My name is James Taylor. Thanks for watching.

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