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How to Speak More Effectively

Eilidh Milnes

happy-delegates-engaged-in presentation


To be a good speaker, you need to be much better than average...


...to engage your audience. Although several techniques are available for keeping audiences on track, principal among them is the need to talk about something that's relevant to them. You need to awaken interest, inform, educate, create impact and close with an amazing call to action. 

To be a good speaker, you need to be much better than average to engage your audience. Although several techniques are available for keeping audiences on track, principal among them is the need to talk about something that's relevant to them. You need to create an impact - see the audience reaction to one of my inspirational and fun stories in the photograph above. 

 

90 seconds to impact


You've got about 90 seconds to capture an audience. Presenting the agenda or detailing your companyís history is unlikely to awaken interest. Your opening 90 seconds should be snappy, scripted and committed to memory. It should be replicable, time and time again.
 
Once your audience is interested, relevant storytelling is a good way to guide understanding; perhaps through your sales pitch for example.. It's also a good way to punctuate your performance. Your stories should be relevant, memorable and entertaining. Hopefully, they will resonate with your audience long after the presentation has finished. You can create an impact loop until you've worked through all of your material and are ready to make your final pitch.
 
By the time you reach this point, nothing should surprise the audience. Your call-to-action should appear to be not only reasonable but the logical next step.
 

If you're going to entertain questions, make sure you answer them before you deliver your call-to-action. Your voice ought to be the last one the audience hears. Q&A sessions give the audience 'permission' to interact, it's important to let them know that you haven't finished. For example: "I've a couple of things to close on, so if you have any (final) questions, I'll take them now."

Signal the end of any Q&A by saying "So... to close." From that point you have 30 seconds to restate your key point and finish. Any longer than that and your audience will have moved on. After all, the last voice you want them to hear, the last message, that all important call-to-action has to come from you.

Photo credit Andrew Collier Photography



Comments
Eilidh Milnes commented on 23-Aug-2014 01:04 PM
When you're preparing a presentation remember to factor in these points.

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