05 Jan 22 / Blog

The Art of Public Speaking: Tina McKenzie and Jennifer McKeever

To become a great public speaker, your focus won’t be on knowledge – you already have that – but on delivery and self-belief.

As a leading provider of public speaking courses in Northern Ireland, we always admire those people who make public speaking look so easy. In the second part of our four-part series, ‘The Art of Public Speaking’, we’re speaking with two of Northern Ireland’s most accomplished public speakers, Tina McKenzie, CEO, Staffline, and Jennifer McKeever, Managing Director, Airporter. We wanted to find out the secrets of top public speakers to share on our public speaking courses in Northern Ireland and beyond.

“I’ve found myself thrust into weekly public speaking engagements.” – Tina McKenzie, CEO, Staffline.

“Over recent years, I have found myself thrust into almost weekly public speaking engagements despite having had very little media training,” Tina says.

And she says that her several decades of experience has taught her one critically important thing, relatability.

“As a public speaker, I have learned that to relate to your audience, either in person or through television, you must first and foremost be yourself. 

“Be relatable and vulnerable.”

 “People like to see something of themselves in you, so draw on your personal experiences, both the highs and lows,” she continues.

“Be relatable, be vulnerable and have a clear message for whoever is listening.” 

“Confidence is key.”

Tina says self-confidence is vitally important in becoming a memorable public speaker.

“Of course, this comes both with practice and belief in your message,” she explains. 

And while a lot of speakers want to get it over and done with as quickly as possible, Tina says there’s something else you should do.

“Enjoy it! While this is often easier said than done, it is a remarkable privilege to speak about something you are passionate about with an audience.

“So make the most of every opportunity to do so,” she adds.

Watch Tina’s TEDx talk here

“Understand who you want to hear your message.” – Jennifer McKeever, Managing Director, Airporter.

Jennifer says that before you deliver a speech, it’s essential to factor in who you’ll be speaking to.

“Establish exactly who you want to hear your message,” she advises. 

“Knowing exactly who your target audience is will help you land your message much more precisely.” 

“Prepare and practice out loud.”

 “I admire people who can speak naturally off the cuff, but that’s definitely not me,” Jennifer acknowledges.

“You really can’t know how something is going to sound until you hear it come out of your mouth. 

“Does the sentence sound too wordy? Cut it back. 

“Or does that sentence add to your message? If not, drop it,” she advises. 

“Show your audience the respect they deserve.”

Jennifer says that if you’ve been invited to speak, it’s a good idea to find ways to include your audience in your comments and examples. 

“As a public speaker, treat every speaking engagement as the privilege it is because every single one is an opportunity to meet new contacts and build on your reputation,” she explains. 

“As trite as it sounds, be yourself and speak about your own experience. 

“When I started to speak as president of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, it took me a long time to have the confidence to speak from my own business experience.

“But in learning to do so, it gave me considerably more authenticity,” she adds.

Watch Jennifer ‘s TEDx talk

Bespoke Communications offers public speaking courses in Northern Ireland, and virtually on Teams, Zoom or the platform of your choice.

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