Is public speaking your private despair? Word.
Whether it’s an informal speech to your employees or an intimidating guest keynote at a conference, it’s crucial to learn how to talk the talk.
To get you started, we asked two motivational speakers from Utah Valley to each share five tips and tricks for business leaders without the gift of tongues.
Entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, trainer, and author of “The Power of Influence” and “The Power of Storytelling.”
1. Get rid of pleasantries.
There is no need to talk about the weather, how grateful you are to be there, to apologize, or reintroduce yourself. You only have a few seconds to grab their attention, so start with a question or get right into your content.
2. Make it conversational.
Act like you are speaking to one person. Ask questions. If it is a small group, you might create dialogue. With a large audience, ask questions and give a pause for people to think about the question. Keep them engaged in the conversation.
3. Tell Stories.
People love stories. Stories evoke emotion in people that causes them to respond, to take action, to adopt your ideas, and buy your products. Robert McKee put it well when he said, “Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.”
4. Use the rule of three.
People remember things in threes. We grew up watching “The Three Amigos” and “The Three Musketeers.” Now we watch NBC, ABC, CBS, and the NFL, NBA, or MLB. Get the point? We are trained to learn in threes. So if you have three points, three features to your products, three reasons to implement this new policy — people will remember, remember, remember.
Too many try to wing it, and it never comes across as powerful as it should. Rehearsal is not for you to memorize a script and sound robotic — it’s to ensure a natural, definitive delivery.
Entrepreneur, consultant, speaker and radio host.
1. Give your audience takeaways.
Avoid rambling on a variety of subjects that don’t mesh by creating a framework for your speech. Start by creating a killer title — even if you never share it with your audience. Examples: “The Top 4 Ways To Succeed at ______” or “The 3 Biggest Mistakes ______ Make in ______.” This is the skeleton for your speech and will ensure that you don’t wander aimlessly. It’s also a great way to have your audience remember what you say. That’s the goal, right?
2. Forget perfection and be personable (also funny!).
Tell pertinent personal stories that apply to the principles you’re sharing. People actually like you more when you’re not trying to be perfect. They’ll relate to you in truth. The audience should laugh with you every 10 minutes, at least! I tell a funny story at the beginning (like the time I sprayed myself with a can of mace, or the time I careened into a phone booth on roller blades because I couldn’t stop) and I can call back to those stories a time or two with a related joke. When in doubt, find an applicable YouTube video!
3. Let your PowerPoint make its point.
If it’s on the slide, it doesn’t need to be said. Sure, emphasize key points, but don’t kill people with slide decks. Slide decks should support your key points, and even add a little more. People want to hear what’s not on the slide.
4. Walk the talk.
The saying, “The fortune is in the follow-up” applies to speaking. It’s not what you say on stage, it’s who you are off stage that supports your message. If you’re trying to build a certain culture, talk about it and then do it. Continue to reinforce messages through continual training and employee engagement.
5. Shake it off.
I’ve given hundreds of speeches, but I still get nervous. Some of my speaking friends have pre-stage rituals like a favorite song, a prayer, or a shaking-nerves-off dance that fills them with confidence. At the end of the day, I tell myself that I have a message to share — and no one else can do it like I can.