October 29th, 2021
What are powerful speaking skills? Think about the last time you heard a speaker that moved you to the core. That person who rocks you out of your comfort zone, who makes a difference in your life, whose every word you lean on.
What makes that person memorable? What makes them exceptional? What sets them apart from the run-of-the-mill, average leader?
Without a doubt, the way they speak is key to the impact they have on you.
It’s those who communicate their message with confidence and clarity that win our attention every single time.
When they get on stage, they own it. They speak without apology.
Here’s the thing: no matter how much of a genius you are at what you do, if you can’t communicate about it effectively, your people are going to follow the person who can.
Whether you’re giving a keynote speech to hundreds of people, speaking to a networking group to generate new clients, negotiating a deal with your board members, pitching for capital, or going for that big promotion, you need to deliver a strong and engaging presentation to move your audience to action. .
Mastering the art of public speaking is key to knowing how to lead change.. Mastering anything takes time and practice, you can start now with my top 7 competencies to make you a memorable, confident and effective speaker.
Let’s do this!
#1 – Know your audience
The most common mistake I see speakers make is not knowing who they’re talking to.
Way too often they’re caught in their own story or expertise (or nerves!) and aren’t speaking directly to the audience in front of them.
Yes, you’ve crafted your talk, but did you give yourself flexibility to make the right tweaks for the right audience? To engage your audience you need to know who they are, what keeps them up at night, and what their secret (and not-so-secret) desires are, and what’s going to move them into action.
Before your big (or small) talk, do your research. Step into the shoes of one person in your audience. Have a list of the “right” questions to ask the organizer or host to get to know that specific group of people.
When you speak directly to ONE PERSON, everyone will feel as if you’re talking to them. This will give you the tools you need to deliver an unprecedented talk where each person feels valued and listened to.
#2 – Expand Your Confidence
Easier said than done, right? In the words of Vince Lombardi, “Confidence is contagious, so is lack of confidence”
Which means even in your own mind, your lack of confidence will feed on itself and grow. Which also means that, when you practice confidence, it grows!
The good news is: Just like flossing your teeth or eradicating ums from your speech, speaking with confidence is a habit! One you can develop!
When you start practicing confidence — even when you don’t feel it through and through, that confidence will expand, and you’ll become a more dynamic, compelling speaker, increasing your confidence every time you speak.
Inside Speakers Playground, we go deep into PLAY to develop unshakeable confidence as a speaker.
No matter where you are in your speaker’s journey, one thing you can be certain of, this journey will help you master and leverage your confidence as a thought leader in your industry. Not to mention it will make unparalleled ripples into your personal life.
# 3 – Let your Genius Shine — without apology!
Great leadership starts with you!
The more aware you are about the secret sauce that makes you uniquely you, and the more you take a stand for that, the more effectively you’ll connect with your audience.
Showing up as yourself is essential if you want to captivate and inspire your listeners. You want your audience to say yes to your Big Idea and take the action you want them to take, but first they have to connect with you.
What do I mean by this? You know that quirky passion you have? Share it! The story you thought was a little too insignificant, dumb, unrelatable, etc… That story, they want to hear it! The genius you’ve been keeping under wraps because you’re not sure how people will respond? Bring it!
The more of yourself you bring to the stage, the more your listener will want to hear what you have to say.
#4 – Start with the transformation you’re delivering
So yeah, bring yourself to the stage, but in the end, you have to remember that … It’s not about you!
A sure fire way of losing your listeners (and being boring) is starting your talk with “You” or an intro of who you are and what you’re good at. Bzzzt !!!
Lead with the value you’re delivering..
Why should they listen? What’s in it for them? How can you communicate from the getgo that they’re going to get value from this talk?
If you go back to #1, (know your audience!) that will help you dial in just how to give your audience exactly what they want from the minute you start your talk.
#5 – Tell a better Story
Let’s talk stories!
Nothing is more compelling than a good story. Stories sell! But not just any story. The kind that will make your audience lean in and want more..
“But people want research,” you might be saying, “Evidence. Actionable skills. They don’t want the fluffy stuff,”
Of course you want to include all of that, but not in place of a good story.
The “Story” is what will give all of that other stuff context and meaning. The story will make your listener lean in and say “I ‘like you! I’m like you! I’m listening to you! Tell me more!”
Hook them by leading with value and contagious energy, keep them engaged with your goosebump inducing story. That story that will have them go “yes that’s me”! That’s when you’ll connect with that person who needs to hear what YOU have to say.
#6 Make each person feel included
Make each person in the group feel like you’re speaking directly to them!
Here are 3 ways to do that:
Speak to one person. Don’t try to speak to everyone in a generic, all-encompassing way. Use YOU more than you use WE. Even though you’re talking to lots of people, if you speak directly to ONE of them, more people will feel like you’re speaking directly to them.
Eye contact. Use your eyes to LAND your focus. Not only will this give you a commanding presence and communicate that you’re in the driver’s seat, it will help you stay more present and focused in your talk.
Pay attention to your posture and body language. This is key to keeping your audience engaged. Unconscious habits of slapping your thighs, fiddling with your hands or swaying back and forth can send a message of “I’m kinda nervous and not really in charge here.”
When you’re fully present and connected in your body, your audience will lean in and want to hear what you have to say. We go way deeper into all of these tools in Speaker’s Playground. Curious? Join us for the next one!
#7 End with a clear Call-To-Action
You are the leader here. Tell your audience what you want them to do.
Your job is to guide your audience, team, group, clients, attendees, students… to the result or transformation they came to hear you for. Whatever the stage, if you don’t leave your audience with a clear call to action, you’re doing a disservice to both you and your audience.
You’ve taken them on a journey and now they can’t wait to hear how to implement your thinking and expertise into their own lives. When you’re crystal clear, it relieves your audience of the stress of having to ask “what now?” and not knowing what to do. Be that leader that gives them direction.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur speaking to an audience of potential clients, a thought leader giving a keynote at a conference, or a high end executive speaking to your team of managers, tell your audience exactly what the next step is for them to achieve their dreams. If you’ve crafted a journey that communcates that, and your CTA is clear, compelling, directive, memorable and singular, they’ll be eager to take that action.
That’s what it’s really all about, isn’t it? If you’re having fun being you, your audience will have fun listening to you. You’ll connect with your audience at a deeper level
Give yourself permission to speak boldly and be the impactful leader you’re here to be.
Remember, with practice you’ll build unshakeable confidence and you’ll do it with more joy each time. So, go speak, make your impact and have fun.
Here’s what to do next!
It’s time to step up, master your speaking skills and make the impact you crave.
Click here to join me for the next Speaker’s Playground