|A conversation, a sales meeting, a board meeting, an interview, a courtroom case... all are special situations which require you to communicate clearly, drive the action and create the result you want. You can learn skills to engineer the outcome, make the most of your opportunities, gain respect, and advance your career.
Here are eleven tips to practice that will help you feel powerful and authentic, and will help you be perceived as a person of authority and trust:
1.Create a shared point of view. It is very important when addressing an individual or a group of people that you establish an immediate connection between you and them by leading with your shared point of view. Why are you all in the same room together? What unites you? Speak to this by using “I-YOU-WE” words and phrases as much as you can.
2.Don’t speak until you have taken one full deep breath. During that time, look out at your audience and find a face to connect with for four seconds. Then broaden your gaze to include everyone, take a second breath and begin.
3.Create a powerful opening. The first 30 seconds are the most important to the success of your talk. Use a quote, such as: “When you are going through hell, keep going” (Winston Churchill); “They were the best of times, they were the worst of times. They were the times that tried men’s souls” (Charles Dickens). Use the words of a song. Ask a question. State a startling fact. Your job at the top of the speech or conversation is to get their attention.
4.Before you give your speech, get an amusing anecdote from your audience. “Folks, I looked at the bowling scores from your event last night. Where’s Bob Carruthers, is he here? Bob, do you really work here or did they bring you in as a ringer? I’m scared of you!” When you incorporate this into your speech it is another “I –YOU- WE” moment and creates trust that you care enough about them to know what is going on that day.
5.Speak to the level of the audience. Your script should be like a conversation you would have with a member of your audience one on one. Use terminology they are used to, fond of, or wishing to know more about. Learn the parlance of the field you are addressing. Keep away from words they are not likely to know. Use accessible language.
6.Use eye contact! This helps you and them, especially when you wish to deliver information with an emotional impact. So often speakers look down at their papers or the floor to say the most important things! This is a natural impulse, it is one way we check our own emotions and feelings. Do the opposite when you are presenting. Even when it is bad news. Use eye contact and a neutral gaze, allowing you and your audience to connect.
7.Use the 5 Hollywood script techniques: Drama, Humor, Wisdom, Poignancy, and Surprise Ending. Find moments in your speech for these elements and it will make you unforgettable.
8.Use your own experiences and life stories as examples and metaphors. Search your life for times of conflict and identify the lessons and opportunities that came out of that conflict. This is a powerful tool known as transferable metaphor. Your audience has come to see you, not what you have borrowed from somebody else.
9.Know your opening and closing by heart. These are the most important times you connect with your audience. It’s important to recap your dominant thoughts, tell a final joke or important motivational ending, but know it cold!
10.Give time for questions. Always end with, “Before I close, what questions do you have?”
11.Plan your ending strategy. You can go over time if the situation allows, or conversely, you can end your talk a bit sooner and finish with questions and answers.
About the Author
For the past 18 years Dianne has worked with Fortune 500 Companies and top government agencies to optimize leadership & communication skills. As a veteran Broadway stage performer, Dianne knows how mastering public speaking can catapult your career, and her expert coaching makes your process a fun, meaningful exploration into your best self.