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There’s a reason why the top after dinner speakers charge an arm and a leg for their time; they happen to be excellent entertainers. Whether they are ‘laugh a minute’ style speakers, or ones that will educate an audience on a particular subject, there’s no doubt that an occasion can be transformed if you book the perfect guest.
A lot of people are under the belief that speakers have to have been in the public spotlight if they are going to be successful in the industry. While this can be true for some events, whereby companies would not dream of hiring anybody but the ultimate A-list celebrity, for smaller occasions a lot of parties will source someone that absolutely nobody in the audience has heard of.
Bearing this in mind, it’s certainly possible to make a career in after dinner speaking. If this is something that interests you, take a look through our following five tips and try to implement them at your next, or even first, appointment.
Know your audience
This is unquestionably the top tip that any after dinner speaker can work from. There have been countless examples appearing in the press over the years of after dinner speakers not knowing their audience and saying something that was completely inappropriate for their crowd.
Of course, it’s not just about staying within boundaries. You should thoroughly research your event long before the date, to make sure that your performance is going to be satisfactory for the audience. For example, a lot of crowds at social dinners simply want to sit back and let the laughs rolls in. For others, they might be turning up to hear everything you know on a particular subject and while a tint of humour is always welcome, make sure you keep the performance educational.
A lot of beginners like to refer to scripts, which is perfectly understandable. However, they can be the death of the after dinner speaker and make many performers too rigid. Instead, take several prompt cards and simply refer to them if you start to struggle.
Analyse the best
If you are just starting out in the industry, find an individual to model yourself on. Admittedly, all after dinner speakers should carry their own style, but at first it can be easier to analyse an expert in the field and try and mimic some of the things that he or she does. There’s more information here about the best after dinner speakers in the country and it might even be advisable to find an event they are performing at and invest in watching their display.
Keep track of time
In the early stages of your career, you may want to get your performances over as quickly as possible. In fact, a lot of young speakers worry about the quantity of material in their performance, with many constantly searching for ways to beef up their speech. However, if you look back at all of the speakers you have listened to in your lifetime, you’ll probably never recall a time where you thought a performance was too short. Instead, you’ll probably remember all of those occasions where a speaker, no matter how successful they may have been, has simply dragged on for too long. Therefore, keep track of time – with a lot of experts suggesting that thirty minutes is more than sufficient for the typical event.
Stay off the booze
The fifth and final tip is hugely important for the success of your career. While the booze might be flowing through the event you are performing at, be the exception and don’t indulge. It can hinder your performance significantly and while some will say it helps with nerves, this really should not be an excuse. If you are looking to enter the after dinner speaking industry, you should not be relying on alcohol to get you through each event and you really shouldn’t touch it all – even after your session has been concluded and you are mingling with the audience.
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