It's not Enough to be "Engaging"

I gotta level with you:

While it's important to learn how to be an engaging public speaker, being "engaging" isn't nearly enough to make you stand out from the crowd. 

Every day I meet speakers who are engaging and charismatic as all get out.

They have stage-presence, they know how to create vocal variety, they tell amusing stories that have beginnings, middles, and ends. 

But here’s the thing... 

While they may be engaging, they aren’t effective


Their audiences may go home amused or inspired, but they don’t take any sort of action


What does this look like?

  • The entrepreneur who walks away from a speaking engagement with a very inspired audience...but no new clients

  • The activist who leaves her audience thinking, “My God, that’s terrible! Something needs to be done!”...but they don’t do anything.

  • The academic who sets down the slide changer to their brilliant powerpoint and sees a crowd of faces that have learned something amazing....but have no way to apply it. 

There’s a difference between being an engaging speaker and being a persuasive one. 


If you want to be the kind of public speaker that gets an audience to take action, the first thing you need to do is specify what action you want the audience to take


(Fun fact: In the acting world, this is called your “objective.”)


Here’s a simple fill-in-the-blank for determining your objective:  


At the end of my presentation, I want my audience to___________.


Some examples based on the scenarios above:

  • Entrepreneur: At the end of my presentation, I want 10 people to sign up for sales conversations with me.

  • Activist: At the end of my presentation, I want 5 people to join our working group

  • Academic: At the end of my presentation, I want each audience member to have written down a plan for how to implement this knowledge next week

You should be crystal clear on what your objective is before you start preparing your talk.


Your objective will be your North Star for what stories to tell, what sections to cut, and what your call-to-action should be. 


Establishing your objective is the first step to upleveling from an engaging speaker to a persuasive one. 


And, believe it or not, pausing to do this will actually save you time while prepping your presentation. 


(Brief soapbox moment)

People spend way too long preparing for speaking engagements.  


They spend hours writing, editing, and memorizing and often end up with presentations that are stiff and don’t lead to people taking action.


That's why I created my free gift, "Mesmerize, Don't Memorize."



It's a done-for-you template that you can apply to any speaking engagement to feel twice as prepared in half the time.


<<You can grab your free copy here!>>


My hope for you is that you'll download it, read it, use it, and knock your next presentation out of the park.

In fact, this is more than a's my objective. ;)

Photograph of Sara Glancy on stairs
Headshot by Jessica Osber.

Sara Glancy is an NYC-based actor and public speaking coach and the founder of Speak Masterfully, a service that helps professionals take the stage with less fear and more fun! 

Want to nail your next presentation?!  

Apply this basic outline to any speaking engagement to feel twice as prepared in half the time

Download your free copy of "Mesmerize, Don't Memorize" here!

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Apply this basic outline to any speaking engagement to feel twice as prepared in half the time

(without hours of pointless memorization!)