Public Speaking, The Art of Effective Oral Communication
You might think of public speaking as standing on a stage in front of hundreds of people. However, I prefer Merriam Webster’s definition: the art of effective oral communication with an audience. Wow. It makes that slow churn in the pit of your stomach, the sweaty palms, and the rapid heartbeat sound like a grand thing.
It doesn’t really feel like it, though, does it? Everybody wants to be that confident speaker, whether talking to three people or three hundred, but it often feels so far out of reach.
Here’s the thing. You have to get good at it. You have to take the idea of public speaking being an art and run with it. Great leaders are great speakers. It’s been proven time and again. That means that you must put “getting better at public speaking” as part of your personal branding agenda.
You have to become an artist, skilled in effective oral communication with an audience. The good news is, you don’t have to do it alone. We’re here to help, with three public speaking tips for strong communication with your team, co-workers and employers.
1. Dress to Impress
It’s time to face it. Whether you’re a woman or a man, looks matter. You cannot talk to your employees in pajama bottoms and fluffy bunny slippers, and expect them to take you seriously.
Ladies, I don’t care if the newest fad is the “messy bun.” The last thing you want anyone to think about you in the workplace is “messy.”
Gentlemen, while you may look good first thing in the morning with that five o’clock shadow, it hardly ever transfers over well to the boardroom. Don’t fall for the fads and the hype about how that “just got out of bed” look is so hot. It’s not.
Always look your best. Not only does it make others recognize you as someone who takes care of themselves, but it also has two other benefits. One, your audience knows that you feel they’re important enough to dress up for and two, you feel more confident knowing you look your best.
Good bye, sweaty palms.
2. Ask Questions to Create a Conversation
The most difficult idea about public speaking is probably the idea that it’s all you. All eyes are on you, soaking up what you have to say. What if you mess up? What if you say the wrong thing? What if, what if, what if…
However, the art of effective oral communication includes conversation. Communication and conversation are two-way streets. When you have a large audience, you can ask questions like, “How many have felt like they were going to pass out when they got on stage? Show of hands.”
While that doesn’t seem to be real conversation, that seeming lack is false. By asking questions, even like those above, several things are happening:
- You’re requiring your audience to think about what you’ve been saying
- You’re requiring your audience to empathize with what you’ve been saying
- You’re requiring your audience to respond
All three of these events create the rapport you need to provide them with a great experience. Which brings me to the last tip.
3. Remember That We’re Ready to Be Inspired
Very few – maybe the very vindictive – really want you to fail. The majority, however, are rooting for you to be successful with your public speaking.
People yearn to be inspired and uplifted. We want to hear good news. We want to hear that we’re part of a team or that we’ve created something special. We want to hear that, contrary to what life may have shown us, we can aspire to greatness and reach those aspirations.
When you’re talking to your team of ten and discussing what needs to be achieved in the following week, remember that they’re ready to be inspired . Yes, discuss what needs to be covered, but then inspire them to do it. Make your team feel like they’re an actual part of the process.
“Our goal is to provide management with a solid sales approach by Friday. Dave, brainstorm with me. What are the top approaches you think would cause the stir we’re looking for?”
You shared the goal, and now you’ve shared the process. You don’t have to take their advice, but asking for it helps them push for a successfully completed goal.
Public speaking is part of personal branding. You have to be a confident speaker to be a strong leader, and that’s what you aspire to be. By dressing well, creating conversation through questions and remembering that your audience is rooting for you to inspire them, you’ll find yourself just a little less afraid of passing out.
If you’re ready to become a better public speaker and strengthen your personal brand, contact Trademark-You. We help you realize the power of self marketing.
- Posted by Gabriella Sannino
- On December 21, 2016