5 simple ways to be convincing & successful
- ALWAYS SPEAK FROM EXPERIENCE – if you’re delivering a ‘theoretical’ speech, one question or interruption could derail your entire presentation. When you speak from experience, you are talking about things you know inside out and enables you to establish yourself as the “subject matter expert” who can’t be derailed. Even better, when talking to industry colleagues, their experience might be different to yours, but your experience is never wrong.
- BE CONCISE – get your point across crisply, don’t labour the point. Being succinct enhances the audience impression that you know your topic because you can deliver it with practiced, precise ease. Use pauses like verbal full stops – it gives your audience time to absorb the crushing point you just made and brings the focus and attention back to you.
- PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE – experts, maestros and performers only achieve heights of calm perfection through years of practice. For many it is almost like adopting a Zen mindset – their eyes glaze over as they mentally transform into the best version of themselves to deliver that performance. There is an old joke about a motorist who wanted to attend a recital at Carnegie Hall in New York. He stopped and asked a police officer how to get there. “Practice, practice, practice,” was the officer’s advice. Strive not to need notes.
- SPEAK TO BE HEARD – always speak so the WHOLE audience can hear you. Repeat any soft-spoken questions from nearby audience members. Your volume should allow everyone to hear your point clearly without feeling intimidated by how forcefully you deliver it. But don’t forget to change your pace, pitch or speak “confidentially” to convey a “trade secret”.
- PLAN AHEAD – visit the venue before going, if possible. Even a “virtual” visit. Field Marshal Erwin Rommel (actually I thought it was Napoleon) once said, time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted. Ask for a guide, who can also introduce you to others. Don’t eat or drink anything that might mark your clothes before speaking. If you’re early enough to walk into the empty venue, go in, extend your arms to “address” the venue and say (aloud or silently) “I own this space”, so your mind “hears” that you belong there. If you must use notes, loose notes can shake, so use palm cards or a tablet that scrolls and won’t “go to sleep”. Try to highlight key words and phrases as memory-joggers and look up frequently, at least once every paragraph, which should be short.