Wim De Vilder

Hi Wim, it’s great to have you on the platform! Let’s jump right into the interview: how did you start out as a public speaker?

Well, I was asked to become news-anchor at VRT (Belgian National TV) in 2000. I already had some years of experience as a journalist, but it was after I became anchor that I got more opportunities to present other shows as well. And that opened the door to more public speaking opportunities in general, not only at VRT.

So through your job as an anchor, you kind of rolled into congress moderation and giving more talks. I assume that your talks are heavily linked to your job as a news-anchor?

Yes, they are. I like to talk to people about how a news show is produced. Most of the time, people don’t have a clue about all the things that are happening behind the scenes. Who gets to choose which news is newsworthy? How do we get access to the footage? How many people does it take to make a news show?

Sounds like that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to making news.

It really does. I really like to highlight this aspect of news making and to illustrate it with never-seen-before footage.

How much do you prepare for your talks or workshops?

I prepare A LOT for a speech or workshop. I really try to understand the matter at hand and to make the right presentation for my audience. It really helps to know what kind of audience you’re going to get in front of you! Really, preparation is key to make sure your presentation goes as smooth as possible. You should really spend enough time preparing your talks.

Preparation is key, there is no argument about that! Which other qualities should you have as a public speaker?

A good public speaker should be able to empathize with his or her audience: what’s keeping THEM busy? Only by asking yourself this question, you can connect with your audience and share your message with them. You should always be on the lookout for touchpoints with your audience.

One thing you should always be prepared to commit to: prepare yourself! I cannot stress this enough. A lot of people underestimate the time needed for preparation. Yes, some speakers are more talented than others, but the big differentiator in success is preparation!

I know that you have done tons of presentations, moderations, talks, … When are you happy about your public speaking activities?

I’m happy about my public speaking activities when I have added value to my audience in a very clear way. Be it as a journalist, interviewer or moderator, I always look to give people the right tools to understand the world around them in a better way. That really is my ambition as a public speaker.

What is your biggest accomplishment as a public speaker?

As a news anchor, I get to interview people of whom I thought I’d never interview them: the Belgian King, different Belgian prime ministers and foreign politicians. And the fact that get to present ‘Het Journaal’ (The News), which gets more than one million daily viewers, is a huge privilege and my biggest accomplishment.

Thank you so much for your time, Wim!

You’re welcome!

Be sure to check out Wim’s portfolio on Speakersbase! If you’re a public speaker yourself, you can create your own free public speaking portfolio by clicking this link.