What should you consider before taking to the stage to address a meeting?
Having the ability to speak in public, to address a meeting and to deliver a message that an audience will find to be both interesting and memorable, is a competency every manager should strive to develop. It is a skill that requires constant stretching and this often takes us outside of our comfort zones. So, how should we approach public speaking to enable our message to come across well and to be remembered?
There is more to speaking than sharing a few words. Here are the top nine characteristics displayed by successful public speakers; why not give each one of them some thought and decide how you could incorporate them into your next meeting:
1. Solid Content – even a person lacking charismatic gifts can develop solid content. Always share something the audience finds valuable to their lives.
2. Humorous – it is hard to hate someone you laugh with. The best speakers find a way to get people smiling early in the programme. It opens hearts and makes the group receptive. You don’t have to be hilarious, just humorous.
3. Organized – there is no excuse for rambling through a presentation. Have your notes structured in a way that keeps you on pace and on target. Listeners should feel they received a message that made sense and was easy to remember.
4. Approachable – some speakers try to get in and get out as fast as possible, but the audience likes to know the speaker is available and approachable. One of the best ways to make a good impression is to get to the event early and meet people as they come in.
5. Authenticity – it is said that honest arrogance is preferred over false humility. We all want to know people are being honest with us and that what we see is what we get. Be true to yourself and others by being the same around everyone. That way you do not feel like one person in front of an audience and another person at other times.
6. Growing – great speakers continue to grow in the knowledge and application of their craft. They do not rest when reaching a particular level. Instead they continue to stretch and become better.
7. Giving – the best in this profession give without expecting return. Most big name speakers give anonymously to the charities and organizations they cherish. This giving attitude in private creates warmth in public.
8. Natural – try to relax so that you talk and act naturally when you address an audience. In a larger room, you may need to project your voice to ensure that everyone can hear you but always try not to shout; talk naturally but with slightly increased volume.
9. Passionate – speaking transfers energy through words. The more passion you can channel through your message, the greater the chance of it being remembered and applied. No-one has ever said, “I hope the speaker is boring.” Instead they like to say things like, “Wow! She was so excited about her message.”