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The Secrets of "Watchability for Speakers

By Avish Parashar

"Watchability." Both my spell checker and an online dictionary

tell me that "watchability" is not a real word. However, I will

continue to use it because, in my opinion, the ability to be

watchable may be the single most important trait a speaker can

have.

This summer, I attended the annual convention of the National

Speakers Association. I thought that the kickoff speaker was

amazing. However, if you break down his style in purely technical

terms, he was awful. He kept moving around the stage, he stepped

out of the light and into the audience, he checked his watch

while speaking, etc. Despite all that, he had watchability.

Something about his delivery and style kept me grossly engaged.

Others must have thought so as well - you don't get to open a

national speakers convention if people think you're no good.

So what is watchability? It is, to be a bit redundant, the

characteristic of being watchable. People enjoy watching and

listening to you speak. The amazing thing is that if you are

watchable, then even if you mess up or if your content or

delivery isn't up to snuff, the audience will enjoy it.

The ultimate goal, of course, is to have great content and

delivery while being amazingly watchable. The challenge is that

while content and delivery are easily viewable traits,

watchability is abstract. It's easy to watch a speaker and

critique how they move, or how they use their facials. You can

listen and critique stutters, inflection, pace, and vocal

variety. The value of their content is easy to immediately judge.

Watchability, however, is like charisma. You can't define a set

criteria, but you know it when you see it.

I have however, observed a few things that all eminently

watchable speakers do:

1) They are themselves. These speakers speak from the heart, and

speak in a style that is true to themselves. They don't use other

people's words, and they don't use unnatural body movements that

a coach taught them. They give you the impression that if the two

of you were hanging out for dinner, they would say the same thing

in the same way.

2) They are comfortable. Watchable speakers look right at home on

stage. This comes from two things: 1) they are experienced and

know the material inside and out, and 2) they are not afraid of

failure. While they want to communicate their message and please

they audience, they are not wrapped up in all that. They are

content to just get on stage and do their best. If the audience

likes it great; if not, it's not the end of the world.

3) They are having fun. You have probably seen a speaker (even a

"professional") who looks like they don't want to be on stage.

Watchable speakers have fun. Even if their topic is serious, they

clearly act as if they want to be on that stage. They view it as

an honor and a privilege. Whether it stems from fear, arrogance,

burn-out, or some mysterious other factor, when a speaker would

rather be somewhere else, an audience can feel it.

Practice implementing these three ideas: be yourself, get

comfortable, and have fun. You can instantly and drastically

increase the value of your speech without changing a single word

if you do this. You will, in word, become "watchable."

About The Author

Avish Parashar is the world's funniest (and potentially only) "Improvising Motivational Keynote Speaker To learn more about how to bring the hilariously powerful lessons of improv comedy to your organization, visit http://www.avishparashar.com.

For more information and specific exercises on how to use Improv Comedy to be a better speaker (and get a fr.ee 7-Day E-Course), visit http://www.improvforspeakers.com.


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