Whether you are inspiring your employees, teaching a course for a department or convincing investors to invest in your company, the ability to speak in public is essential to managers and CEOs. Speeches and seminars often put people to sleep because the speakers don’t engage, inspire or excite. Turn this task into something both you and your listeners look forward to with these tips.
Speak with Authority
Make sure you know your subject thoroughly, especially if you have a question-and-answer session. You want others to know you are an expert on the topic, so that they will trust what you say and pay more attention. Avoid using words like “uh” and “um” when you pause. Silence is the better option if you are trying to think of what to say next.
Don’t apologize for your speech before you begin. Some people do this to lessen the expectations of the audience, but it only detracts from what you have to say.
Practice Ahead of Time
Get comfortable with speaking in front of others with practice. This helps you know what you are going to say and how you are going to say it. If you are concerned about your inflection or if you have a strong accent, you can hire an accent reduction coach to help you enunciate more clearly.
Don’t try to impress with your use of big words. Instead, speak in a conversational tone and vary your words and inflections to sound more realistic. A monotone will put people to sleep even if your subject is interesting.
Don’t open with a joke if you are not the type of person to be humorous. You can take something that is funny and turn it into an awkward moment if that isn’t your natural style. On the other hand, if you are a natural-born comedian, don’t hide from that personality even if you are speaking on a serious subject.
When you show your natural personality while still being professional, you allow people to get to know the real you. They will be more interested in what you have to say, and you will hold their attention.
Know Your Audience
Did your audience pay for the opportunity to hear you speak or are they forced to listen? Is the subject one they are likely to be interested in or is it an obligation for continuing education? Know who your audience is and why they are there. This helps you know how to present your material to capture their attention.
No matter who your audience is or why they are listening to you, make sure you respect their time. Don’t go over your allotted time or you will lose their interest in any subject. If you are including a Q&A session, don’t make it an afterthought. Allow more than a few minutes to give people a chance to ask questions that they want answered.
Not everyone enjoys speaking in public, but by being prepared and using the right resources, such as in-depth research and a professional speech coach, you can learn how to be effective and memorable for your audience.
Claudette Roche is a dialect coach who teaches accent coach area. She teaches foreign and American accents to actors and business persons/executives. In 2010 she was named as one of The Top 5 Voice Coaches by Hollywood Weekly Magazine.