When granted/offered the privilege to speak to elders, it is a great opportunity you must never joke with. I know of great and talented Comedians who have lost every contact with the Government meetings in Nigeria simply because they misused this kind of opportunity and I also know of others who have repeatedly being invited to spice up every government’s meeting with some sort of comic relief because they maximized the first opportunity. Remember they said there’s no second chance to give a first impression, which is true. So, if you make it to speak before elders, whether in the traditional settings, in Church, in government or in business, here are things you must do and the ones you must never do in order to remain afloat in the industry of public speaking.
1. Never insult them in your speech
Yes. It is a taboo to insult elders especially here in Africa. Pick your words. It is better you are termed a poor speaker than to be termed an insulting speaker. At least they might think you don’t have wealth of knowledge on the topic offered you to speak on and may do better if given another topic. But in a situation you ended up insulting them because you had the platform, know it well that they will talk about you in the negative, and I hope you know what that means? It simply means, no business – doors closed.
2. Never tell them lies because you want to excite them or prove to them you are versatile
Nothing soils the reputation of a speaker like telling lies. I know you might be trying to excite them but don’t you think they will find out? What then becomes of your reputation if they find out? Elders can go as far as suing you when you tell them lies, especially the ones that has something to do with them.
3. Tell them what they need to hear (they are less driven by wants)
What they need to hear is the reason for which they invited you to speak. So in every speaking style you may want to employ, make sure you are telling them what they need to hear not what you want to talk about. You can ask them before mounting the podium. There’s no error in asking question. Ask the person that handed over the letter to you so that he can give you details of what your audience might be expecting so that you don’t end your speech regretting. Your joy as a motivational speaker is not because you have spoken well with powerful accent but in the audience being left motivated.
4. Make them forget their worries either by cracking jokes or addressing their pressing need
I have come to realize through many years of having dealings with elders that nothing sets them uneasy like their worries. And most of them especially the wealthy ones can do everything at their reach to get it out. In making elders forget their worries two things are involved. One is to crack jokes and another is to address their pressing need. Don’t tell me you can’t do any of this. If you can’t then you are not yet ready to be a Motivational speaker.
5. Learn to quote higher authorities they can’t refute their philosophies
Elders want to know how vast you are. There’s no other means of getting to know about quotes of authorities of diverse industries except through books. In that case, if you want to know what experts and elders have to say over a particular issue under discussion you must be a good reader – you must read books. Most importantly, search quotes of some elders who may likely be in the event, and as you speak, quote them. In a situation you can’t get their books or that of other elders they respect their philosophy Google it. The internet has made many things much easier for us today. One of the talented public speakers I learnt this strategy from was Niyi Adesanya of Nigeria. He uses this strategy when addressing Yoruba elders by quoting Pa Obafemi Awolowo.
6. Speak with confidence.
When speaking to elders don’t hide the genius in you. You don’t have a second chance to make the first impression. Do your homework very well. For me, sometimes I rehearse before a mirror, record my speeches with a phone so that I can listen to myself and I also ask my siblings how well I have performed.
The first day I spoke in a Church before my Dad, I prepared very well in the night and on that Sunday, I performed so excellently that he congratulated me with a bottle of wine and some other expensive gifts he wouldn’t have given me ordinarily.
7. Work with time
Elders know what time is than young people do, so when speaking to them stick to your timing. Don’t think you can always apologise for being late. Stick to the time allotted to you and be sure you exhausted your topic.
I am Emenike Emmanuel, the Executive Director of Emchis Motivational Network. I write, speak and motivate individuals and organisations to achieve excellence in life and business. Through this blog (Emchis Consulting) I have touched thousands of lives around the world positively. I have also interviewed different industry specialists in three different continents. I believe that anyone can succeed if the person can find out where he or she is naturally planted. And guess what? I am a Nigerian. Now, are you looking for a speaker to stir hope and peak performance in your audience? Stop the search and give me a call (on +2347036251361) to book appointment with me.