Are Speakers Made or Born?

Are Speakers Made or Born?

Today is my 26th birthday and it makes me think how crazy these past few years have been.

Three years ago I was 23. I had no consistent job. I couldn’t even fill a shoe box with all the money I had to my name and Chelsea and I were watering down our hand soap at home so it would last longer.

A year later I was working full time with Special Olympics Oregon and last year I won the World Championship of Public Speaking (I wish I had the time to share with you all the outrageous things that happened throughout those few years). Times have changed!

I woke up today on my birthday thinking, “Was I born to be a speaker?” As I lay in my penguin boxers and 1000 count sheets all I could think was… Maybe.

I mean are speakers really born or are they made?

Ryan Avery Speaking - Top Speakers

I am speaking in Washington DC this weekend for my Birthday!

I think a lot of me being a speaker has to do with the family I was born into, the opportunities I have been blessed with and decisions I have made.

I say maybe to the question because I think there are natural qualities I have that are good for speaking (things you can’t teach like energy and passion) however there are numerous ones I have to work on if I want to be a great speaker (listening, researching, focusing and attention to detail, all of which you can learn).

I have to work to speak from the heart. I have to work to find out what stories resonate and what stories frighten some audiences. Even though I have high energy I have to work to get my body up in the early am!

So I think speakers are born AND made. They need passion and energy. They need to know they have a story inside of them and even if they don’t know how to share it, they know they can do it if they seek help. If they study. If they work for it.

Being able to persuasively speak is the most powerful skill to possess. Use your natural-born talents to help you develop the skills you need to be made into the speaker that speaks from the heart and changes people’s lives.

How to Be a Speaker: Reflect on the time you have spent on our planet. Think about what you were born to do. What can you do right now with the gifts and talents you were given and have earned? 

Question: What do you think, are speakers made or are they born? 

This post was written by
At age 25, Ryan Avery became the youngest World Champion of Public Speaking in history; competing against more than 30,000 people from 116 countries to claim the 2012 Championship title. As an Emmy Award winning journalist and a proud member of the National Speakers Association, Ryan uses his background in multimedia and speaking to help reach the younger generation on the importance of improving their communication skills in order to advance in their professional and personal life.

6 Comments on "Are Speakers Made or Born?"

  • Pat says

    Ryan – Happy Birthday! You make speaking sound so easy and it sounds like you’ve had tremendous success. I applaud you on your accomplishments at such a young age. It can only get better for you in the years to come. I wish you much success.

    • Thank you so much Pat. I hope you are having a great day and I look forward to staying in touch with you via our blog! Thank you for your comment.

      • Pat says

        You’re welcome Ryan and happy to meet with you here and learn more what you have to say on speaking. Happy Monday. :-)

  • Chris Button says

    Ryan,
    You kicked my butt in Orlando, but I’ve since forgiven you! I liked this post though maybe not the visual of the penguins so much! In my opinion, speakers are both born and made. 16 years ago I was defined as a terrible speaker, and so I worked to improve that and got much better. In the last two years I however, I challenged myself to become excellent and really got after it. For me it was an exercise of hard work, refining skills and finding stories and ways to tell them that really reached my audience. My point is, the “gift or talent” was there, but it had to be recognized, developed and refined…both are true. I wish you a happy birthday, and the best for you and Chelsea – you’re a great team!

    • Thank you for your comment Chris. Great to hear from you and I agree with you that “…the “gift or talent” was there, but it had to be recognized, developed and refined…both are true.” I hope you have a great day and stay in touch.

  • Matt Maggio says

    Hey Ryan, I was at the Miami conference a couple weeks ago when you were speaking. I found out about the event at a local Toastmasters club meeting. It happened to be my first meeting as a guest and was glad I went and discovered you were coming into town. You did an amazing job and I received a lot of value. The easy-to-remember strategies were phenomenal. I have been implementing since then such as getting rid of the filler words. I am making a conscious effort. Thank you! In regards to the blog article, I would say a speaker is born AND made. You can’t teach passion and energy to someone. Their words have to come from their heart. Without this element, a speaker will find it difficult to transmit their message effectively. Most likely, it won’t resonate with the audience. Assuming someone has this going for them, then the rest can be learned.

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