The ability to present powerfully is a must-have for those determined to advance their careers. It is through the ability to communicate to large (and small) groups of people with confidence and credibility that projects are launched, products are sold and investments are made.
Through the use of this skill, great ideas find the light of day and supporters rally to make things happen. If the idea is brilliant, but the messenger fails in his quest to convey the excitement and possibilities of the idea, all can be lost.
Here are a few rules for you to follow if you wish to be an effective public speaker:
- You have an obligation to be as interesting as possible. Audiences expect and deserve engaging, imaginative speeches filled with information they can use immediately.
- You have a responsibility to only speak on topics about which you know a great deal. A rule of thumb: for every minute that you speak, you should know eight to ten more minutes of material on that particular point. If you don’t feel qualified, do not accept a speaking engagement, or research the topic until you know it very well. An exception to this rule might be a situation where it has been mandated that you make a presentation – for example, filling in for another speaker. To prepare in such a case, here are some things that you can do:
- Make an inventory of the material you feel you need to know more about. Find and learn enough background data so that you’ll have the recommended eight to ten minutes of material.
- Think about questions that might be asked and prepare possible answers.
- If necessary, be prepared to admit that you don’t know an answer and commit to get back to the questioner with the answer.
3. Find your own style. If you’re funny, use humor. If you’re casual and a “people” person, involve the audience. There is no best style except for your own.
4. Make sure that every phrase of your speech adds value. After every phrase of your speech, ask yourself, “What point of value has been added to the overall message and the points that I am making?” If the information is useless to the audience, it is useless to your speech.
What rules would you add to this list of rules to be an effective public speaker?