There is no mystery to becoming an accomplished public speaker and communicator. Master these ten critical areas and you will be amazed at how your speaking skills improve.
- Understand Your Audience
It is critical to know your audience. Does the audience consist of males, females or a mixture of both? What is the knowledge level of the audience? What is the audience interested in? Are the audience members novices or experts? What are the goals of the people listening to you? What do they hope to learn?
- Have a Conversation
The key mistake made by most people when making a presentation or public speaking is to be overly formal. This is actually a massive mistake and it guarantees that the speaker will come off as stiff, monotone, and boring. The trick is to converse with the audience as though you are speaking to a friend or family member.
- Tell Stories
The best speakers are the greatest storytellers. Where do you get the stories? From the speaker’s real-life experiences, successes and failures, other people’s experiences, and even books, magazines, and movies. The accomplished speaker learns to tell stories with passion, authenticity, and excitement.
The key to a winning communication style is authenticity. But it’s not as easy as it sounds or everyone would do it. To sound genuine the speaker has to be his or her authentic self otherwise it would look like they are acting and that simply doesn’t work.
One hugely successful Texan gave a little advice on how to be authentic:
— If you’re from Texas be Texan
— If you like barbecue at home serve barbecue
— If you like tennis and not golf then play tennis
- Be Natural
President Reagan in his early career shortly after college became a radio announcer and he was fired for sounding unnatural when he read the ads. So he studied how FDR gave his fireside chats on the radio. In his next job on the radio, he learned to look at the ads and then present them in a natural and unscripted manner. So remember, scripts don’t work, use bullet points as triggers, share your beliefs, and talk about your values.
- Speak With Passion
Typical business and corporate speakers are simply not comfortable with emotion. They are reluctant to talk about their dreams and goals. They usually fall into the trap of playing it safe with the overuse of jargon, statistics, and PowerPoint droning on boring their audience. To be a dynamic speaker know your core purpose and carry a vivid image of what the future could be.
- Be Organized
Always look the part and dress professionally. Don’t flounder and show weakness at the beginning of your speech. Here’s a simple way to organize a speech:
— Purpose: State an effective, short, and clear purpose so that your audience understands your objective
— Mission: Describe your agenda
— Issues and Analysis: The presenter analyses the problems, issues and potential solutions
— Cost/Benefit: Discuss different courses of action that include evidence, anecdotes, and studies to support the speaker’s point of view.
— Call for Action: conclusion specifying the course of action you want the audience to take.
- Make It Personal
All great speakers create the appearance of intimacy with the audience establishing a connection. Allow some personality to shine through which can be achieved through the skillful use of stories, personal anecdotes, and a brief reference to interests and hobbies related to the subject matter. If the audience likes you and feels a connection with you, they are more likely to buy what you are selling. Remote speaking with the overuse of statistics and jargon is robotic and ineffective.
- Show No Fear
Never start your speech or presentation with an apology. Take command of the room. Audiences smell weakness. If the microphone doesn’t work and you look panicky audiences will smell the fear like sharks. If you handle adversity with humor and grace, the audience will like and respect you.
- Own Your Material
This means knowing your material inside and out. You need to understand the fundamentals of what you are speaking about. You should not be memorizing, however. Your knowledge should make speaking about your subject second nature. Learn how to use these ten great concepts and you can become a dynamic, compelling, and persuasive speaker.
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