Get Your Audience’s Attention By Bragging, Just Don’t Be A Jerk About It

It turns out that bragging is ok as long as you are not a jerk about it
It turns out that bragging is ok as long as you are not a jerk about it
Image Credit: Thomas Hawk

As a speaker, we have an obligation when we are starting our speech to find a way to use the importance of public speaking to capture our audience’s attention. What we need to do is to convince them that what we are about to tell them is actually important enough for them to spend the time listening to us. We need to realize that we are competing against their mobile phones, random thoughts, and whispering to the person who is sitting next to them. One way to build a connection to your audience as you start a speech is to brag. Oh, but you don’t want to be a jerk about how you go about doing this.

Remember: Don’t Be A Jerk

When we start out a speech talking about just how special we are, we all realize that we don’t want to come across as a self-serving jerk. It’s the awareness that we could accidentally do this that often causes us to back off and not take the time to tell our audience why we are the best person to be talking with them today. What we need to do is to make sure that what we share with our audience is relevant to what we will be talking about.

This means that we need to take a careful look at our speech. Then we need to take a look at our unique set of skills that we bring to the table What we are going to want to do at the start of our speech is to tell our audience about the skills that we have that relate to the speech that we are just about to share with them. You need to make sure that your skills are something that your audience is going to be able to relate to. If you can include stories about your failures and your challenges in developing your skills, then your audience is going to be able to more easily relate to you.

It’s All In The Details

When it comes to bragging about yourself, it’s really all about how you go about doing it. As you are creating your speech, you are going to want to carefully consider where the best place to add your bragging is going to be. You need to understand that your speech does not have to start with you bragging about your accomplishments, certifications, etc. However, you are going to want to work your bragging into your speech earlier on rather than later on.

Bragging about yourself is fine, if you can do it correctly. However, it’s always much better if you can get someone else to brag about you. This is where the speaker’s introduction comes in. Most speaking opportunities provide you with an opportunity to write your own introduction that you’ll just hand to the person who will be introducing you. This person will then read your introduction and effectively make it their own. Your audience does not need to know that you wrote it. Hearing the words of praise come from someone else is even more powerful than if you said them yourself.

Don’t Do It The Old Way

One of the things that you want to keep in mind when you are creating your next speech is that you really do want to take the time to brag about you and your accomplishments. The alternative, or old-school way, is do what is called “establishing credibility with your audience”. The problem with this old approach is that more often than not it was boring and never did a very good job of capturing just exactly why your audience should spend their time listening to you.

The reason that you are going to want to incorporate bragging into your speech is because you respect your audience. You want them to pay attention to what you are going to be telling them because you believe that it is important information. The reason that you are going to go to the effort of incorporating bragging without being a jerk and not rely on the old-school approach is because you want to capture their attention. Work some bragging into your next speech and run away with your audience’s attention.

What All Of This Means For You

If you want your next speech to be a success, then you are going to have to come up with a way to grab your audience’s attention from the start so that you can share the benefits of public speaking with them. They need to realize that you are an important person and they really should spend their time listening to you. There are a lot of different ways to go about doing this, but one of the most powerful is for you to brag about yourself without being a jerk about it.

Yes, you have many different skills and you probably have a lot of impressive accomplishments. However, you are going to have to take a very careful look at the speech that you are going to be giving. Which of your skills and which of your accomplishments are you going to want to share with your audience to let them know that you are knowledgeable about what you’ll be talking about in this speech? Where you place your bragging in a speech is important. If it is at all possible, you are going to want to try to get someone else to do your bragging for you. The last thing that you’ll want to do is to try to “establish credibility with your audience”. That generally does a weak job of talking about why you are special. Instead, do some bragging – but don’t be a jerk about it.

We are talented speakers who have important things to tell our audiences. This means that as we start our speech, we need to let our audience know why they should spend time paying attention to our important words. Bragging without being a jerk is a great way to build that connection with your audience. The next time that you give a speech, work some high quality bragging into it.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Public Speaking Skills™

Question For You: Just how much bragging do you think that you should do before it becomes too much?

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Note: What we talked about are advanced speaking skills. If you are just starting out I highly recommend joining Toastmasters in order to get the benefits of public speaking. Look for a Toastmasters club to join in your home town by visiting the web site Toastmasters is dedicated to helping their members to understand the importance of public speaking by developing listening skills and getting presentation tips. Toastmasters is how I got started speaking and it can help you also!

What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

In most cases, when we give a speech we like to show up with some visual aids. When it comes time to make visual aids, I am more than willing to admit that I’ll turn to PowerPoint and get busy. Why not? I know how to use PowerPoint and I must have made about a million slides by now. However, the times they are a changing and this is impacting the importance of public speaking. Is it possible that either there are alternatives to PowerPoint that we should be considering or maybe PowerPoint has changed and we just haven’t taken the time to notice it. How can we move beyond PowerPoint?