7 Characteristics of a Million Dollar Speaker By Arvee Robinson

Throughout my training, travels, and experience of speaking with giants on stage, I have found that the characteristics of million dollar speakers boil down to 7 key characteristics. Million dollar speakers:

  1. Get trained
  2. Become master storytellers
  3. Exude confidence
  4. Are sensitive to their audience
  5. Have a strong message that makes an impact and changes lives
  6. Know the art of persuasion
  7. Know how to close an audience

Let’s dive into each of these characteristics.

Characteristic 1: Million Dollar Speakers Get Trained

No million dollar speaker steps on stage without honing their craft. They know the importance of continuous speaker training in all areas of their speaking from the words they say to how they hold their body and engage their audience. They learn it and then they practice it. They make this effort because they know it’s is worth millions of dollars. Case in point, there was a time I shared the stage with Tom Antion (he is a world-class speaker and became a world-renowned internet guru, if you have never heard of him I suggest you look him up). I was in his internet marketing program. He was my mentor. One evening when I was just starting my speaking career Tom was speaking on the main stage and I was speaking in a breakout room at 7:30 the next morning. At dinner, I asked him if he would be willing to look at my speech that I was going to give in the morning. He said ‘No’ because he had to practice his own speech. At the time I was hurt. Later I understood that his speech was worth thousands of dollars from stage. If someone like him who has been speaking for years values his speech so much that he was going to be practicing that evening, at that moment, I thought that is a million dollar speaker. Get trained, continue to get trained, and then practice the heck out of your speech.

Characteristic 2: Become A Master Storyteller

Now how do you become a master storyteller?

You probably don’t know this but there are storytelling classes out there. When you go looking for that you’ll find it. That is exactly what happened to me. I fell in love with storytelling when I was working through the speech manual for Toastmasters back in 2003. I was seeking out storytelling, and I bought story books.

I got the opportunity to go to a storytelling concert where 5-6 professional storytellers put on a show and they all told stories on stage. Yes, there is such a thing. I was fascinated by their talent. It was like I could escape the world for an hour. I talked to them, and they began to offer storytelling training classes, then I went to one and another. Before you know it they invited me to be a guest storyteller on their stage. I couldn’t believe my luck. I did and then later I opened a storytelling club and put on concerts. I learned that there is one day in the year called “tellabration”  – when people across the globe tell stories one that one day.

If you are thinking that storytelling is just about telling your story or picking up a fairy tale book, think again, there are degrees including master’s degrees in storytelling. It is an industry. There is even an organization called the International Storytelling Association. You can become a certified master storyteller.

In addition to getting trained in storytelling, you can start by reading folk tales, fairy tales and tall tales and notice how they are structured. There is a methodology for writing and telling stories. Practice by telling stories to your kids or read them out loud.

That will help you when you go to develop the 4 stories you need to master and have in every speech.

Million dollar speakers are great storytellers!

Characteristic 3: Confidence

Confidence is one of those things that people think they have until they step on stage and their knees are knocking and voice quivers. Confidence is when you are so prepared that you have become the speech. The speech is you and you are the speech. You can step on stage, look at your audience, and nothing can throw you off. No matter what happens, you are prepared for anything. Your PowerPoint could fail, your time could be cut, or the building could crash in on you and it won’t matter. You are so confident because you know your material, you know your speech, you know your audience, and you have done all your homework. That is how you get confident.

You don’t get confident by winging it. You need to do the homework of not only practicing your presentation, but preparing yourself, finding out more about your audience, the venue, and anything else you can find out to help you be more prepared. Check out my ebook about all the questions to ask to equip you to step on the stage with total confidence.

Characteristic 4: Be Sensitive to Your Audience

Million dollar speakers know their audience, they are tuned in and can zero in on their audience. They have done their research and they also have an open heart. They know their audience. They can feel if the audience is hot. They can read their sign language, body language, and know if they are bored or don’t like something they heard, or if they’re smiling and are happy with your speech. Be sensitive.

The best way to do this is to know your speech and have confidence where know your speech and you no longer have to think about you and your message. If you are worried about yourself or your speech, you’re not going to be sensitive or open to learning about others or to open their feelings. With your confident open self, you can step on stage and be able to read your audience, pick up on their energy, and vibration, and adjust accordingly. It’s not just about knowing your speech. Read the room, if people seem to be getting too hot, make the room cooler. Excuse them if they need a restroom. If they seem hungry let them know how much longer you will be. If you sense they’re bored, get them active and change your tone of voice. Make sure you are creating a more positive audience experience. Give them activities.

People no longer want to be lectured. Engage your audience. Constantly ask them questions, challenge their brain, challenge them physically, and get them involved with each other. It can be as simple as inviting them to give the person next to them a high-five, fist, or elbow bump. Otherwise, they are going to go on the phone, talk to their neighbor, or get up and leave.

Million Dollar Speakers are sensitive to their audience and keep them engaged.

Million dollar speakers know their message matters.

Characteristic 5: Have a Strong Message the is Worth Hearing

Million Dollar Speakers are very selective on what it is on what they share, teach and speak about. They don’t just ramble on about the same old stuff that everybody in the industry does.

They look for new trends, new ideas, new angles, and of course, new ways to present their material. It doesn’t matter what industry they are in. They could be in web design or financial planning. They need to be presenting the latest and greatest information about their industry. In other words, they keep their speech fresh. They keep doing their research to bring back the best.

Million Dollar Speakers are not fearful that they are giving too much. They know and have the confidence that they have much more to give. In fact, they know that the more they give, the more the audience wants. They pour out knowledge to their audience. They pour out love to their audience. Not only do they keep their speech fresh and on trends, but they know that their message matters and deliver in such a way that it makes an impact and difference with their audience. They don’t just spewing knowledge and do a brain dump. Instead, they structure their speech in such a way that it is exactly what that particular audience needs and wants at that particular time.

They are always be recreating, redefining and massaging their message for each and every audience…. They just keep improving their speech.

Characteristic 6: Know and Learn the Art of Persuasion

Million Dollar Speakers know that informing and teaching is not enough to get an audience to take action that will change their life. So they turn to the art of persuasion. It’s quite simple. Find out what your audience wants. You may not be able to ask each audience member, but you have a general idea of what they would value. For example, if you are speaking to business owners, they want more business. If you’re speaking to a group of moms raising teenagers, they want to find more ways to communicate and connect with their families. Furthermore, if you don’t know what the audience wants, make sure you ask the event host or some audience members before, during, and after your speech. The art of persuasion is first to find out what your audience wants.

Second, find out more about what their problems are. Identify the specific problems they are experiencing that led them to your speech. For moms, what’s the problem with their teenagers? Do they turn into aliens and they don’t relate anymore? Do they isolate themselves? For business owners, are they having trouble getting clients, or getting a never-ending flow of clients? Take it a step further…find out what does this problem create? Maybe it’s anxiety.  May they don’t feel free to create their business, because they are living in fear of not enough or lack of. What kind of pain does that cause? What keeps them up at night, causes them stress, or makes them grumpy? Don’t just end with “I don’t have enough clients,” we have to paint the picture. What would life be like if you have a never-ending flow? Could you go on that vacation, send your child to college, invest in your business, and grow it bigger than it is?

The final step in the art of persuasion is to know and share that you are the solution. You provide the solution to their problem that will end their suffering. You can do this with your talk. You share with them that you know where they are at. For example, let them know you understand that they are always trying to find clients, they’re doing so much on social media, and even though they are doing all this and spinning wheels, they still not getting clients.  You tell them, “Let me help you.” You are not selling at this point. You’re simply letting them know you have a solution, you have been there, and have found a way through it. This brings me to the last characteristic.

Characteristic 7: How to close an audience

Million Dollar Speakers know how to close an audience. That doesn’t always mean you are closing for money. Sure, million dollar sellers know how to make money from stage. Sometimes closing may mean getting an audience to take action, like changing something in their life for the better. Maybe it’s eating better, getting off drugs, or stopping drinking. Whatever field you are in you will know what your audience is looking for support with.

To close an audience one of the things that works is the art of persuasion (as mentioned in the previous characteristic). The next thing you’ll want to do is plant seeds during your speech.  You can have them consider what life would be like if they didn’t have that problem. Drop other little seeds along the way by mentioning the name of your program, adding in some testimonials, and talking about others you have helped. Don’t wait till the end of your speech to be the first time you mention your program or offer. You’re always closing by hinting and dangling the carrot such that by the end of the presentation they want it. In fact, they are wanting to know more about your programs and can’t wait to hear the details and how much it is. Now you’re not selling anymore, they are asking and want to know more about your program.

Million Dollar Speakers know this and practice their close even more than their speech.

So now that you are at your close here is one more tip – Give yourself time. So many people run out of time and rush to their close. Million Dollar Speakers leave plenty of time for the close. Remember when you get into the close, you are going for it. You don’t stop anywhere. You don’t stop and answer questions. If you feel the need, answer questions prior to the close. Go straight to the barn to explain your program, the benefits, and the investment. Then drop the price, give bonuses, and tell them where or how they can purchase your offer.

Million Dollar Speakers know this process makes sales, changes lives, and they make millions of dollars.

For more information on how to become a Million Dollar Speaker go to my website and reserve your spot at the Million Dollar Speaker Summit this September.

When you come, you’ll learn how to create a million dollar speech, reach millions of people, and make millions doing it. Don’t miss out

About the author 

Arvee Robinson

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