Often times we think of public speaking as talking to big groups but public speaking applies anytime you’re talking to anyone other than yourself. It can be a conference meeting, a casual mixer or happy hour. It can be you in the office with your boss and a co-worker. Whenever you are speaking in front of people you want to be clear, confident, knowledgeable and focused on what you want to project.
There’s a line Don Draper used to say on Mad Men. “If you don’t like the way the conversation is going, change it.” Here are a couple tips and for more exclusive consulting email me so we can set something up.
One- Don’t try and outthink the room when you’re speaking. No need to use words that you wouldn’t normally use or talk about topics you aren’t familiar with. Research, read, know your audience and get on their level. Mold your conversation and speech to them, not the other way around.
Two- Keep it short and to the point, leave them wanting more. How many times have we been in a meeting and it feels like it’s dragging? It may have only been ten minutes but you swear you were in there three hours. Don’t be that person that’s putting people to sleep. We live in a generation where people have short attention spans.
Three- Dress the part. If you know you’re going to be speaking look like you own that room. If you’re wearing a tie wear power colors, red, navy blue, deep purple. Don’t give them anything to be distracted by. A wrinkled shirt, colors that are too bright. It’s the same with women, don’t flaunt your sexuality but don’t hide it either. The same way a nice tailored suit says a lot about a man, a nice tailored business suit on a woman says the same thing. Smile, be welcoming. Know your setting and thrive in it.
Four- Talking points! Talking points! Talking points! Know what you’re going to talk about from A-Z before you get up that morning. Write a speech but don’t memorize it because if it’s not something you do daily you’ll fumble trying to remember it. Take key talking points from each paragraph and expound on what you already know. Don’t give a speech as much as you’re having a conversation with the room.
These are just a couple tips and remember, greatness is in all of us.
~ Demez F. White