The ability to give an effective and impactful speech is considered one of the essential skills of an executive. Before each speech, you need to be prepared, polished, and ready to impress your audience.
However, it’s easier said than done. How do you engage an audience of industry leaders and practitioners who might have heard it all? Each of us wants to leave our audience enlightened and inspired. The big question is how to consistently deliver inspiring speeches. Regardless of how much public speaking you have done and no matter how adept you are at public speaking, there’s always room for improvement. It’s all about finding unique ways to connect with your audience. After all, as Carl Buechner says, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
Now that we know how crucial it is for you to give impactful speeches, let’s discuss five tips that will help you to consistently deliver compelling speeches:
Practice beforehand – Never underestimate the importance of practice prior to delivering a speech. No matter how experienced you are at public speaking, practicing allows you to:
- Avoid filler words such as “um,” “so,” “like,” and “you know.” It is better to replace the fillers with silence.
- Impress your audience through your display of confidence on the subject matter as well speaking in front of an audience.
- Respect the time allotted for your speech so you’re able to convey the salient points of your subject matter while also allowing time for your audience to ask questions.
Know your audience in order to engage – Understanding the makeup of your audience helps you:
- Figure out how best to connect with the audience. Getting a sense of your audience ahead of time helps you to prepare engaging stories and examples that ensure you connect and keep the session lively while maintaining the focus of all attendees.
- Use the room layout to your advantage, permitting you to increase or decrease the effectiveness of being more or less energetic and physical.
- Recognize whether a microphone is necessary or if a more intimate conversation can take place without the use of additional equipment.
Offer a solution to the problem facing your audience – It’s important to make sure your message hits home using the following tips:
- Get to the point and start discussing the problems your audience faces and how your speech will help reduce their anxiety while simultaneously providing a few novel approaches to solving the problem.
- Don’t talk down to your audience or in any way make them feel like the problem currently being faced is their fault. Doing this represents one of the fastest ways for a speaker to lose the ability to engage.
- Let your audience stress-test your solution by asking questions. Not only will this give you an additional opportunity to provide thought leadership it also helps you better prepare for public speaking’s extemporaneous moments.
Storytelling – We all know great storytelling when we see it and public speaking at its core is basically compelling storytelling that incorporates the following:
- Avoiding dry and abstract concepts. Instead make certain that your audience is able to visualize your speech while simultaneously allowing the audience to step into the world you’re describing.
- Use your personal perspective. Don’t try and memorize your speech, the audience will quickly lose interest. When you’re able to truly speak to a topic, it allows you to dip in and out of stories in a natural way that pulls your audience in as if it was happening to them.
- Keep the purpose of the storytelling within your speech in mind at all times. There always needs to be a payoff for the audience to maintain their engagement.
Make Them Laugh – Humor represents a crucial element of any speech:
- It allows you to build bonds with your audience that keeps them engaged in your content.
- If your topic is a serious one, appropriate and well placed humor provides you with an opportunity to inject some lighthearted moments, lifting spirits.
- Whatever points you’re making during your speech will be reinforced when your audience is able to remember the humor you brought to bear in addition to the smile you placed on the faces of your audience.
Whether your public speaking happens in front of a live audience, virtually, or through a combination of platforms, the tips above still ring true.
It’s important to recognize that giving a speech provides an amazing opportunity to connect with folks you might not otherwise have an opportunity to impact, not only showcasing your subject matter expertise but also your well-honed professional brand. If public speaking doesn’t come naturally to you, take that much more time to prepare. Like anything else we naturally shy away from, the more time you dedicate to overcoming your fear, the faster that fear will dissipate. Be confident and be ready to dazzle. You got this.
For additional information:
How to Make a Memorable Executive Speech
5 Tips for Writing a Powerful Speech