Thursday, August 11 2022

There are few skills that will bring more opportunity in your life than the ability to speak well in public. Below are 12 tips that can tell the difference between speakers that leave a powerful and positive impression and those that are quickly forgotten.

  1. Speak with the intention of pushing people to action. Know what you want your audience to do immediately after hearing your speech. If no one does something different than they would have done before you spoke, your speech is worth zero.
  2. Start strong with a “grabber”. A personal story, an expert quote or a shocking statistic – something that grabs your audience and gets them hooked and opens their minds to your post. Give the audience a chance to see your personal connection to the topic.
  3. Structure your material into three sections– clamp, middle, close. Know your material. Take a real interest in the subject. Find good stories.
  4. Practice. Practice.Repeat aloud with all the equipment you plan to use. Work to control filler words; Practice, pause, and breathe. Use a clock to check your schedules and schedule time for the unexpected.
  5. Know the audience.Try talking to one or two people in the audience when they arrive – they will be your allies in the audience – it’s easier to talk to friends than strangers.
  6. Know the configuration.Arrive in time to check the speaking area and practice using the microphone and all visual aids.
  7. Relax. Start with a well-prepared pliers. A relevant personal story is a good start. It establishes your credibility. It connects you to the audience and creates the right emotional atmosphere (and calms your nerves).
  8. Visualize yourself successfully.See yourself at the end of the speech surrounded by people asking questions, visualize the applause.
  9. Pause. Include 3-8 second pauses at key moments – right before key statements or right after a story – it really brings the audience into the speech.
  10. Do not apologize– the public probably never noticed.
  11. Smile. Sounds like the content matters to you – if the audience doesn’t think it’s important to you, it’s going to be very hard for them to feel that it should be important to them.
  12. Get experience.Take every opportunity to speak (and listen to other speakers). Prepare well in advance. Experience builds confidence, which is the key to effective speech.

A final word on the practice: There are many resources available for those who decide they want to become influential. However, nothing can help the person who is not practicing. No tool is more powerful for you to practice than the webcam. Get into the habit of turning on the webcam for 3 minutes a day and practice expressing yourself. Explain why your project is important. Explain why someone should be working on your team. Explain your tips for success in your business. Practice responding to “Tell me about yourself?” “

A great musician practices a symphony hundreds of times before playing it in front of an audience. A great speaker practices the words before they end up on the spot.

Malcolm Gladwell made famous the idea that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become a world-class artist. Start now with your first webcam video. It may take many years to accumulate 10,000 hours of practice, but there are great strides forward in your influence at 1, 10, and 100 hours of practice.

Conor Neill is a lecturer at IESE Business School and an expert in communication.


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