The 5 C’s of Effective Public Speaking

Today there is a great demand to hire the right employee for the right job at the right time. In so doing a number of employers go to great lengths to identify the best potential candidates through a filter of the 4 C’s.

The 4 C’s are:

  • Character
  • Competence
  • Chemistry
  • Culture


Like four points of a diamond each of the 4 C’s, when drilled down and understood, present a picture of each potential hiring candidate. A tool to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Similarly, when looking for a candidate to provide public speaking to raise awareness, raise funds, or propel organizations forward the 4 C’s (plus the additional 5th C) are sought after when selecting a speaker for your event or conference.

CHARACTER – So many times a persons resumé looks incredible.  As if instantly you’re compelled to say, “This speaker would be amazing!” To your group the person looks like a super star, and so you book them. Unfortunately you discover that they act like a super star. They’re demanding and many times believe they’re above task of getting to know the heart of your cause. As a result of their incredible talents they are detached. Been there, done that? It’s is a serious character issue that will cause many a problem.

COMPETENCE – For speakers to “Have Knowledge” of your organization, it’s ups and downs, along with your goals is standard. Yet amongst the 5C’s, competence is the least important. Bringing on a speaker less qualified to your specific cause or organization comes lower down the list than the ability to fit your culture, demonstrate great chemistry, and show solid character (along with the 5th C). Sometimes the most exceptionally competent speaker is a lone wolf. Which if left to itself, causes distance.

CHEMISTRY – Often this trait is confused with Culture. Most of us spend a significant portion of our lives working. Regardless how well communication goes when selecting a speaker (whether internally with your group or externally with the person or organization you select) there bound to be disagreements. Yet when good chemistry develops among your team members, speaker or the organization, these disagreements are handled maturely. Give the speaker some time to interact with others on your team. See how they handle themselves with issues you disagree on but could possibly work through. See if there is a chemistry bond with all.

CULTURE – Most cause based ministries and organizations know their culture. They know the tone they set through their vision and mission.  There are plenty of questions you can ask a potential speaker that will show insight into their perspectives. Good questions can help you understand if there will be a fit with your culture for the speaker and your organization. Keep in mind within organizations there are additional sub-cultures as well. From the board, staff and volunteers – all have a perspective. Be aware of this. Talk with leaders in each area and make sure you’re on the same page.

<<DRUMROLL>> – The 5th C is…

CARING – Past the 4 C’s the fifth and final element a potential speaker must possess is the ability to care. As a true combination of all four previous elements caring demonstrates empathy. Caring is a quality that you, your board, your staff, volunteers and partners will be able to sniff a mile away. Discover what a speaker does in their work life and personal life. Do they demonstrate that they care? If so, this quality will be felt by all and prove to be the connecting glue to inspirational speaking and leading.

So there you have it, the 5 C’s of effective speaking; the additional benchmark to use when selecting an effective speaker.



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2 replies
  1. Jill Taylor
    Jill Taylor says:

    Just a thought–wonderful speakers also need to be able to do a sixth C, that being CLOSE. If the speaker is not really good at either handing off the exciting conclusion to the Director who is capable of doing the ask or of doing the close themselves, no matter how good they are with the five C’s, you are bringing them in to connect with the audience and RAISE VERY NEEDED FUNDS. Just a thought.

    • Kurt Ramspott
      Kurt Ramspott says:

      Excellent contribution Jill. Most people do not focus on the CLOSE. The CLOSE is a natural part of the conversation and to many, an uncomfortable component to public speaking. However, Your audience is WANTING you to CLOSE the evening with some type of ASK. It is the sole purpose they are attending – to join you in your vision – and to not CLOSE as the Director or speaker of the event leaves them unfulfilled in their desire to partner with you. Great response.


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