“When I get ready to talk to people, I spend two thirds of the time thinking of what they want to hear and one third thinking about what I want to say.”
– Abraham Lincoln
The best speakers don’t take a day off.
They’re constantly working on their skills and experimenting with new ways of interacting with their audience.
Why do they do this and not rely on past achievements?
Because they realize that speaking and presenting are ongoing activities that require more inputs than talent alone.
Let’s take up from the last tip in our previous post and explore other ways to improve your oratory skills.
Watch your Words
Make a list of the most common clichés you can find. Remind yourself to never use them in your speech. The same goes for jargons, buzzwords and industry terms that have lost their novelty value.
Match your vocabulary to the level of your audience. When in doubt, stick to a conversational and confident style.
Focus on audience needs
Whether you’re an expert on the topic or purely passionate about it, don’t make your ideas the focal point. Write your speech from the audience’s perceptive and their knowledge of it.
Give them something more than an inspiring message. Provide a doable or actionable roadmap to implement what they’ve learned.
You can’t choose your audience, and sometimes, they may not be what you expected or the type you prefer. Put aside your ego and expectations and give them what they deserve – your attention and respect. A bit of gratitude (even the unspoken kind) helps too.
Avoid using references they may not understand or jokes that could offend them. Be ready to clarify statements or answer seemingly simple questions. Don’t preach to them or treat them like schoolkids. You get the point, right?
Many business presentations and speeches revolve around selling something. From authors to coaches, salesmen take up speaking gigs to promote their product or service.
Concentrating on selling will only increase the pressure on you to perform well. Try to provide something of value to your audience instead. Help them improve an aspect of their professional, social or personal life.
By doing this one beneficial thing, you’re making multiple future sales.
share what no one knows
Have you ever heard someone say the growth chart slide was fantastic? Not likely, except for the few who dig such things.
But you’ll hear a lot of people saying that a fact, observation, analogy or statistic was astonishing. Find and share that rare or unexpected piece of information related to your theme.
Were these speaking tips useful? Are there other pointers you want included in the list?