At the heart of all Podium Coaching sessions is something we call our Communication Mantra. It’s really simple (like all the best communications). If you want to make winning speeches, remember these four key points:
- Have something to say.
- Believe in it.
- Say it simply.
- Shut up.
Have something to say. Really focus your ideas. Don’t try to cover too much ground. Pick two or three key areas to talk about. Less is more. Figure out what’s in it for the audience and you are on your way to success.
Many speakers never make an impact because of one simple thing – lack of focus. They cram speeches and presentations with information without clearly defining and signposting the one critical message they want the audience to take away at the end.
Every speech or presentation needs clarity. You get this by developing the focus, the controlling idea. It’s the heart, the main idea, of your presentation. Before you rush to write, or prepare your slides, spend time thinking about the clearest, shortest, boldest expression of the main idea you want to plant in the audience’s minds. If you can’t express it clearly and succinctly to yourself, how do you expect the audience to get it?
Believe in it. If you don’t care, you can be sure your audience won’t. Speak from the heart. Be passionate.
In our free White Paper on Speaking Tips, we quote speaker and author Tom Peters as saying: “An audience’s biggest turn-on is the speaker’s obvious enthusiasm. Don’t keep your passion buttoned inside your vest.”
If you want a copy of the White Paper, you’ll find a download button immediately after this post.
Often your audience will react positively to your enthusiasm, before they’ve evaluated the words. Passion, energy is a great communication tool. Let your audience feel your commitment to your subject matter.
Say it simply. Simple words. Simple sentences. Words and phrases you use in conversation with people you care about. You’ll win over your audience with simplicity; you’ll lose them with complexity.
Try to work with one thought per sentence. Your audience will thank you. You understand the subtleties of your topic; the audience may be hearing it for the first time and they have one chance – and one chance only – to receive, process and buy in to your message.
Shut up. The sign of a confident speaker is the ability to stop talking at the appropriate time. Build in plenty of pauses within your presentation. Those little moments of silence give the audience a chance to comprehend and process your message. People will thank you for being interesting. They won’t thank you for being long-winded. So once you have delivered your message with power and clarity, smile and sit down.
Halina St James takes the worry out of presentations with her Present Like a Pro video training course. It’s available now from the Podium Coaching online store, together with her popular TalkitOut: From Fears to Cheers e-book and workbook.