Entering a room of people you don’t know (or know really well) can be stressful. Especially if it involves public speaking. As a manager, a key skill is being able to influence an audience of diverse backgrounds, because in business, your influence is the driving force to your company’s success. Being a national public speaker myself, I know some great tips, and wanted to share them with you today.
Stand Tall – Posture and Presentation are EVERYTHING.
Would you take someone seriously who’s slouching back in a chair giving a motivational speech? No! So get up, shoulders back, and hands where they feel comfortable. Movement truly is the best method to keep your speech lively. Speak with your hands, your whole body even! Let that passion come out in the way you animate your words.
Speak Clearly – Plan, Prepare, and Practice!
The surefire way to avoid that nervous rush is to practice. Yes, in front of a mirror, multiple times! This will help you see what the audience will, and hear it too. If you write out an entire speech and don’t read it out loud, there’s sure to be some awkward phrasing because writing allows for a more processed train of thought. When giving your speech, the tone should be appropriate for the venue. Use words you’re comfortable with, and ideas you know. Research and practice will help you be calm on the big day and that calm confidence will show to the audience.
Connect With the Audience – Make an Impact
To really make an impact on the audience by the time you’re done, you have to get them involved in some way. Having effective communication requires effort on both sides, so get them talking! Open up the session for a Q&A, or take volunteers for demonstrations, ask THEM questions, and interact with them throughout. To truly convince someone, they must come to the conclusion on their own. Your task is not only to convey information, but to convince of it.
Know Your Purpose – Why are you there?
Always tailor your presentation to the reason you are there. If you’re there to provide training, make it fun, but don’t spend long rambling about your vacation to Bermuda. Anecdotes are helpful tools, but the audience probably doesn’t want your life story. This is where careful planning can really help an anecdote stick. When it’s relevant, engaging, and aids the point being made, then it’s perfect! And, sure to be remembered.
Being memorable isn’t always the main goal. As a starting point, you should outline the things you do want to be remembered. Maybe it’s a phrase, an emotion, or thought. Either way, always lend your words to aid that effort, and don’t deviate too far from the ultimate goal.