Aside from death, public speaking is rated as the second worst fear of individuals. Having to stand in front of a group of people, whether your employees or clients, and speak, is often nerve-wrecking. However, most managers have to make speeches at work. Follow these tips to deliver a good speech that will impress your listeners.
Don’t Read – Have you ever listened to public speakers go on and on about a topic, not taking their eyes off the page? There is nothing as boring as listening to someone read. When you have to make a speech, prepare talking points on a piece of paper or flash cards. Write down an outline and any important topics you need to cover, but leave the rest to improvisation. This strategy will allow you to make eye contact with your listeners, and make sure they are paying attention.
Body Language – Remember that nonverbal cues, like body posture and hand gestures, often speak louder than verbal speech. Monitor yourself to make sure you’re sending the same messages verbally and nonverbally. Don’t slouch or yawn as that can indicate that you’re bored. Crossing your arms of fidgeting will make you look uncomfortable. Instead, stand up straight, smile, make eye contact and give positive cues, like a thumbs up sign. This will show your audience that you are confident, excited and prepared.
Keep it Simple – The number one way to make sure your audience stops listing to you is to use words they don’t understand. Remember who your target listeners are. If you are speaking to clients, they probably don’t know technical terminology you use at work. Try to use simple words that most of the public would grasp. Also, if English is not the first language of anyone in your audience, consider hiring a translator for optimal understanding.
Hook – Grab your listeners’ attention right at the beginning of your speech. Before diving into your first point, give a preview of what you’re about to say, and why it matters to the listeners. Use an example, analogy or a joke to captivate their attention.
Be Yourself – The most important part of giving a speech is remembering to be yourself. If you usually act comfortable and casual with your employees, don’t suddenly speak very formally. If you tend to be businesslike with your clients, don’t start throwing in jokes that will make it seem like you are trying too hard. Your audience wants to hear from you, not a person you’re trying to imitate or become.
Although giving a speech is often frightening and nerve wrecking, following these tips will help you deliver a great speech.
Head of Training and Development