How to speak well
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How to speak well



No matter who you are or what you do, speaking well is one of the most important skills you can develop. Personal relationships, social interactions and work situations all require you to communicate ...

No matter who you are or what you do, speaking well is one of the most important skills you can develop. Personal relationships, social interactions and work situations all require you to communicate to other people.

By becoming a better speaker you can advance your career, enhance your reputation, boost your self-confidence and open up countless opportunities.



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How to speak well How to speak well Presentation Transcript

  • © 2014 James Hurford. Passion. All rights reserved. Where possible an accreditation has been given to the source of photography and any original content used. In some cases this source could not be found. If you know the original source and would like an accreditation, please get in contact and I’ll post one for you. Front cover image source: 2 HOW TO SPEAK WELL Secrets to help you communicate better at work, at home and in your community by James Hurford
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  • TO BECOME A GREAT LEADER, YOU MUST BECOME A GREAT COMMUNICATOR You can’t become a great leader, if you can’t speak well. It's no coincidence that throughout history nearly all of the great world leaders were good speakers — Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy — to name but a few. Whether you’re a president or a manager, your success depends on good communication. 7 tips to make you a great communicator 1. Connect with people — effective communication is more about building relationships than anything else. Communicate with the emphasis on connecting with people and they will respond better to you and your message. Speak from the heart and use your own language, let your own personality shine through. Make sure your communication is genuine and true and avoid corporate mumbo-jumbo — your team will respect you for it. 2. Build trust — for you to become a great communicator, people must trust you. Being aware of this is the single most important thing that you should keep mind: “If you want to win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are a sincere friend.” — Abraham Lincoln 3. Use more than just words — when we communicate we use words, tone of voice and body language to get our message across. The very best messages are those that are synchronised — when they’re all giving the same message. How you look and what you wear speaks volumes about you. People judge you on your appearance before any words are spoken. Make 4
  • sure you look the part. Pay attention to grooming, style and fit of clothing. Your look also includes personable qualities — facial expression, good posture, a positive attitude and eye contact, all play an important part. 4. Listen well — it’s one of the fundamental skills of success. It’s hard to be great or trusted without it. When you’re not listening well to someone you're communicating, “I don't care. You're not worthy of my attention.” Which has to be on the quickest ways to destroy anyone’s trust. Listen with your eyes and your body. Practice patience, empathise and most importantly be present. Avoid taking interruption calls, text messages or emails — it's one of the fastest ways to show you don't really care about them. 5. Be simple, clear and concise — it's always better than complicated and confusing. Simplify your communication and stick to the core point. It also shows that you have respect for your team’s time. Meetings should contain a brief summary and a call to action with clear instructions. By keeping matters short, it also shows that you have a clear understanding of what is being said. 6. Think before you speak — don't force yourself into a conversa-tion just to hear yourself speak. Keep your thoughts under wraps until you have something specific to say, until you understand how to proceed. Your words are a reflection of who you are. If you speak before you think, you're not considering the words you're saying or the words of the person you should be listening to. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. 7. Ask the right questions — you'll get to the heart of effective communication and information exchange. You’ll gather better information and learn more; you’ll build stronger relationships, manage people more effectively and help others to learn too. Skilful questioning needs to be matched by careful listening so that you understand what people really mean with their answers. Your body language and tone of voice can also play a part in the answers you get when you ask questions. Your ability to develop effective communication skills accounts for fully 85% of your success — in business and in your personal life. The good news is, communication is a learned skill. We can all get better at it by learning what great communicators do and practising these skills until they become part of our everyday life. 5
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  • 20 TIPS TO BEING A BETTER SPEAKER No matter who you are or what you do, speaking well is one of the most important skills you can develop. Personal relationships, social interactions and work situations all require you to communicate to other people. By becoming a better speaker you can advance your career, enhance your reputation, boost your self-confidence and open up countless opportunities: 1. Talk with your listeners not at them — use a conversational style. The same as you would if they were sitting across a table from you. Don’t use jargon and stuffy words, keep it simple and direct. 2. Paint pictures with your words — see in your mind the story you are telling. You’ll have more excitement in your voice when you bring it alive. 3. Put energy and fire in your voice — if your voice sounds nervous or timid, you sense it, the audience will hear it and you’ll see their discomfort. Use energy and you’ll come across as more confident. 4. Set the tone — your confidence, emotional state and attitude is often revealed in your tone of voice. You would use a different tone at a funeral than you would a wedding. Make sure your tone is right for the topic you’re talking about. It will set the stage for your whole presentation. 5. Don’t give long talks — twenty minutes max, any longer than that is a test of peoples endurance. Remember, it takes more time to write a short talk than a long one. Keep it direct and to the point. 6. Don’t write your speech word for word — you’ll end up reading it. Write it like a short script. Use phases to guide you and jog your memory. It’ll sound more natural and you’ll come across a more spontaneous. 7. Practice your talk out loud — if it sounds right it usually is right. 8. Prepare and rehearse — too many people think all they need to do is rehearse once before they go into the presentation. If you want to hold attention and command authority you need to practice. Again, again and again. 9. Get and hold attention — take command straight away by striding to the lectern with purpose. Start your talk eyes-up, in a conversational style, with energy and enthusiasm — by doing this you’re saying, “I’m in control.” 10. Don’t fidget — put pens, paper, phones or anything else distracting to one side. Fiddle with these things at your cost. You’ll come across as nervous. 7
  • 11. Look your best — your appearance sets the stage. Make sure you use it to your advantage. Dress one step up from the best dressed in the room. 12. Make eye contact — after your voice, your eyes are the most powerful tool for communicating. When presenting, establish eye contact and ‘click’ from one person to another in your audience, pausing briefly between each set of eyes in the room. This ‘click’ gives your listeners the feeling you're relating to each one individually. 13. Stand tall — how you stand speaks volumes. A balanced stance with weight even but slightly forward says the speaker is engaged with the audience. A slumped stance says the speaker doesn't care. 14. Let your gestures flow — they’ll make you look more natural and they’ll actually reinforce your words. But don’t over do it. 15. Make a connection — empathy builds trust. When you can read other peoples feelings and share your own you make a much stronger impact. It’s critical for effective communication. 16. Show confidence — your body language and facial expressions communicate as much as your words. Attitudes, feelings and emotions are sent like telegrams to your audience. Make sure they are in sync with what you are saying. 17. Smile — you communicate joy and ease. A frozen or neutral face communicates absolutely nothing. Show warmth, sincerity and feeling by keeping your face animated. 18. Conquer nervousness — over come your fear with preparation. The more you prepare, the less nerves you will have. Begin preparing your talk at least three weeks ahead of time. 19. Check out where you are speaking — it will prevent last minute surprises. Practice standing at the lectern, re-arrange chairs, check out the sound system — it’s your stage, not just a room. 20. Be yourself — the more you try to act like someone on stage, the more people will see straight through you. The more you act like yourself, the more natural and confident you will come across. 8
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  • PUBLIC SPEAKING CAN GIVE YOU THE WILLIES We've all seen it happen — the stumbling over words, the awful hesitations and lost lines — making you squirm in your seat or simply wishing the speaker would disappear down a hole. Why is it people fear public speaking so much? Some people will go to the extent of avoiding public speaking altogether. Others will pass up promotions and assignments which require speaking. It may even lead some to choose a career that doesn’t call for public speaking at all, rather than following the one they really want. Others don’t go that far, but will go to great lengths to avoid making presentations, or just speaking in a meeting. They may even deliberately arrive late, hoping to miss the customary introductions — “Hi, errr…I’m…ummm…J J John…The Gibbering Idiot.” The fear of being rejected — it’s so strong that we’re not only afraid of being ridiculed, laughed at, ashamed or judged; we’re also afraid of being excluded from a social group. Facing your fears You have to remember that everyone gets a bit nervous. It’s how you control your nerves that matters: Conquer uncertainty — the more uncertain you are, the more nervous you will be. Fear of the unknown, uncertainty, that’s what makes people panic. The more you can reduce uncertainty the less nervous you will be. A few tips to help conquer uncertainty 1. Don’t shoot in the dark — think about the purpose of your talk, your audience, the occasion. Talk to people, find out what they want you to present. Don't give a surprise presentation, it could backfire on you. 2. Be prepared — don’t wing it. The more you prepare the more confident you will be, and the less nerves you will have. Begin preparing your talk at least three weeks ahead of time. 3. Give it structure — there are three parts to your talk or presentation; introduction, body and conclusion. Write an outline of your main points. This will give you a roadmap to follow before you get bogged down with finer details. 4. Don't memorise everything — you’ll sound like a droning robot. A talk or presentation whether to ten or a hundred people must be 10
  • spoken, not read or memorised. Write your presentation with your ear as well as your pen. Read it out loud as you write it. If it doesn't sound right, it usually isn't right. 5. Keep it short — some of the best talks I've ever heard have been short. It takes more work to write a short, tight talk or presentation than a long, rambling one. Cut, chop and edit. Make it tight, direct and to the point. Your audience will thank you for it. 6. Practice your presentation — record it and play it back. Listen to yourself. Re-edit your talk and record it again until you're satisfied. It will help you put the shine on your talk and make your words come naturally. Also, nothing will build your confidence as much as practice. 7. Keep up appearances — people judge you by the way you look. Some will decide before you’ve even opened your mouth whether they are going to listen to you. The way you look, the way you hold yourself, your presence (or lack of it), all play a vital role. Pay attention to your appearance, it will help you build your confidence. 8. Calm yourself — knowing you've done most of the work already will help you over come some of your nerves. The rest is confidence and a sense of authority. Stop thinking about yourself and your fears, remember that the audience wants you to succeed. 9. Get approval — approval is what we all want when presenting and we're afraid we won't get it. That's what makes us nervous. Just before you start talking, pause, make eye contact, and smile. Nothing will relax you and your audience more. You'll gain a sense of approval and it will give you time to relax and get in control. 10. Start strong — your opening must be totally eyes-up. You want to sound calm and at ease, with a sense of joy to be there. You'll see your audience visibly relax as they realise have what it takes to make a good presentation, which in turn will relax you. Remember, every great speaker started out as a poor one. What made them a success was their willingness to take a chance, try again and view every opportunity as a step to becoming a better speaker. 11
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  • WHILE YOU’RE SPEAKING, WHAT’S YOUR BODY SAYING? Like it or not people judge you by the way you look. Your facial expressions, the clothes you wear, how well groomed you are and your body language. And, they’re even more important when you’re presenting and all eyes of an audience are on you. More than half of all human communication takes place nonverbally. You are constantly sending out messages. If they’re not in tune with your words nobody is going to take you seriously. To become an effective communicator you must understand how your body speaks. You can’t stop sending out nonverbal messages, but you can learn to manage and control them. 1. The power of facial expression and eye contact Your face communicates your attitudes, feelings and emotions more than any other part of your body. The movement of your eyes, mouth, and facial muscles can have a significant impact on your ability to connect with your audience — and they can undermine your every word. After your voice, your eyes are the most powerful tool for communicating. When presenting, establish eye contact and ‘click’ from one person to another in your audience, pausing briefly between each set of eyes in the room. This ‘click’ gives your listeners the feeling you're relating to each one individually. Your face should be animated, not still like a stone statue from nervousness. Unfreeze your face right from the start. Introduce yourself with a smile. It’ll make people relax and smile back — a sign of approval. 2. Your stance speaks volumes How you stand can tell the audience if you're happy, scared, confident or uncomfortable. A balanced stance with weight even but slightly forward says the speaker is engaged with the audience. A slumped stance says the speaker doesn't care. 13
  • If you use gestures, let them flow with your words. Gesturing doesn’t only help you look more natural, but it can actually reinforce your verbal message. Keep in mind that gesturing is different from fidgeting. Avoid holding papers, pens or remote controls when you are speaking. By removing objects from your hands, you’ll remove distractions and look more open and confident. 3. Make a good first impression How you look and what you wear is your packaging. It sends a strong visual message even before you open your mouth. Get it wrong and you could lose your audience before you start. You can’t change your age, height or facial features, but you can enhance your appearance by dressing well. Make sure you use it to your advantage. You can enhance your authority in any presentation situation by dressing up rather than down. Always dress as well or slightly better than your audience and make sure you think about how it makes you feel. If you feel confident, that will come across in your presentation. Actions speak louder than words Engaging an audience is more than just the words you speak. Showing confidence through your body language is an important skill to develop. It’s important to come across as natural as possible, so while these tips will help, you must make sure you only use what makes you feel comfortable. • Be yourself — copying other peoples gestures or body language might look awkward if they're not something you would do. To be an effective speaker, you must convey sincerity, warmth and confidence by making your mannerisms and actions affirm what you're saying. • Develop empathy — it’s critical for effective communication. Your ability to understand and share feelings with people will significantly impact on your success in both your business and personal life. Empathy builds trust. Without it you can't be a leader. 14
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  • 20 POWERFUL SECRETS OF PERSUASION Your ability to persuade and influence people, to get them to understand, accept and act upon your ideas — is crucial to your success. People who speak persuasively have greater personal power, get more things done and achieve their goals faster. By learning how to persuade and influence people it will help you to be more successful in every area of life — your home, your work and in your community. Two important things to remember Persuasion is not manipulation — manipulation is control and coercion through force, to get someone to do or believe something that doesn’t benefit them. Persuasion uses reasoning, sound argument and compelling benefits to get people to do things that are in their own best interest and yours. Don’t try to persuade the unpersuadable — choose your ground. Identify those who are more open to your ideas, point-of view, products or services and focus your energy and attention on them. The power of persuasion 1. If people don’t trust you, they won’t listen to you — trust underpins everything you say and do. Your reliability, confidence, credence and assurance — without them, you are lost. 2. We like people who are similar to us — people prefer to say ‘yes’ to people they like. That’s why, before getting down to business, it is best to talk about who you are, what you do and, if possible, find some common ground or pay a genuine compliment. 3. Put yourself in their shoes — if you think about yourself and what you want all the time, you’re never going to persuade. Learn how to consistently talk to people about them; do that and you’ll have their attention. 4. Give a little something to get a little something in return — we’re all wired to return favours. The rule of reciprocity is so strong that by giving something, doing a favour, making a concession, providing small gestures of consideration to others, you’ll find that others will feel compelled to return your kindness. 5. What we see is just as important as what we hear — like it or not, people judge you at first glance. Your body language, behaviour, character, gestures and the way you are dressed all come into play. They have a lasting impact on your ability to persuade others — make the most of them. 16
  • 6. Confidence and certainty are compelling — we all have a need for certainty, and confidence is the outward sign of inner certainty. You will always be able to persuade others if you really believe in what you do. 7. Have authority — people listen to experts. They give their trust, and money to them everyday. Because our reaction to authority is so powerful and immediate, by having it you can to a get ’yes’ quicker and more often. 8. Knowledge is power — know your stuff. 9. Build your reputation — your reputation is based on your past. Your integrity, accomplishments and character are all important when you are trying to influence. When it comes to influence, your reputation is your biggest asset. 10. Physical attractiveness — there’s no getting away from it, people like to identify with attractive people. While you don’t have to be a model (which can be distracting) you should make the most of how you look. 11. Make it scarce — people want more of the things there are less of. If you want somebody to act, you have to make them feel they will lose out if they don’t, even if that object is you. 12. Instill a sense of urgency — you have to persuade people in the present. If they don’t do what you want them to do right away, then they’ll never do it in the future. 13. Establish rapport — when people feel more comfortable with you they are more open to your suggestion. Listen, ask open ended questions, empower people, pay compliments, use humour — you’ll find people will warm to you. 14. Be persistent — if you want to persuade someone, don’t give up. Ultimately, the one who persists will be the most persuasive. Persistence an essential element of persuasion — both in business and in life. 15. Be flexible with your response — the person with the greatest flexibility of behaviour will have the most influence in any situation. Flexibility will enable you to achieve your outcome. 16. Stay calm, keep your emotions in check — people turn to those in control of their emotions, especially in times of conflict, pressure or stress. Would you look up to a leader who panics under pressure? 17. Pick your battles — persuasive people understand that most conversations don’t require getting someone to do or accept something. Aggressive pushers put people on the defensive, while truly persuasive people understand their power and use it sparingly. 17
  • 18. Listen more than you speak — you can’t persuade or convince others, if you don’t know the other side of the argument. Persuasive people are constantly listening to you and not themselves. They’re listening for objections, connections and moments of agreement — common ground they can capitalise on. 19. Engage with people — smile, establish direct eye contact and speak firmly and clearly, at a slow pace — all of this will help them relax and engage with you, which in turn will make them more receptive to you and your ideas. 20. Try to eliminate fear — whether you’re speaking one-to-one, to a group of people or a large audience — people pick up on nervousness. It creates a barrier to persuasion. Stop thinking you’re not good enough or you haven’t got what it takes. We can all get better and no one is perfect. 18
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  • WHY YOU NEED CREDIBILITY TO BE SUCCESSFUL Your ideas are accepted as believable only to the degree that you are credible. If you have credibility, people will place their trust in you, but if you lack it, they’ll feel unable to rely on you. Credibility is key to successfully influencing others, both in your personal and business life. Your ability to influence people requires that you be someone worth being influenced by in the first place. What is credibility? Credibility is made up of two parts and very few people can maintain great influence without both of them: Competence — how people regard your intelligence, expertise and knowledge of the subject. Character — how people regard your sincerity, trustworthiness and concern for their well-being. Credibility is all about communication. Effective communication is 55% visual, 38% vocal and 7% verbal. So it’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it and how you look when you say it — your body language, your voice, your eye contact and facial expressions all play a part. How to build credibility 1. Grow your influence — by consciously building your expertise and applying it whenever possible your influence grows. 2. Build rapport — don’t rush to the point too quickly. Find common ground. Build rapport by building your relationship with others. 3. Focus on them — listen. Be interested. Understand other peoples issues and concerns. We all need to feel important. We all need to be heard. It builds trust. 4. Be consistent — consistency in actions is key to building trust. We trust people when we know what to expect in their words and what they do. 5. Self presentation is crucial — don’t rely on your words to gain credibility. They way you look is important too, since people start judging you even before you start speaking. 6. Speak loudly, clearly, and confidently — confidence is contagious. If you have confidence, people will catch it easily. 7. Make eye contact — you’ll appear more open, trustworthy, and confident. Even if you are reading some notes, look up frequently to maintain your connection. 20
  • 8. State your credentials — when making a speech, people will trust you more readily if you can prove that other people value your expertise. 9. Accept feedback gracefully — even if you don’t agree with the person’s assessment, receiving it with an open mind will improve your credibility. 10. Never make a promise you can’t keep — when you break a promise, you damage trust in a way that’s hard to repair. If for some reason you can’t keep a promise, let the person know as soon as possible. 11. Be authentic — being honest, up-front and authentic builds trust. People can see through showmanship or lack of relevant knowledge and expertise. Don’t blag it. 12. Admit when you are wrong — we all make mistakes. Don’t cover things up. When people see you are willing to admit to your errors and even draw attention to them, you’ll gain a reputation for trustworthiness. Remember, perception is everything — it’s important to build expertise and knowledge but being perceived as having it matters much more. Which means, you can’t fake it. It will backfire on you if you are using these as a way to manipulate people or a situation. The good news is, that by applying these approaches to build your credibility you will likely be building your perceived expertise as well. Credibility is a combination of both expertise and trustworthiness. They can be built simultaneously. And, with focus and determined actions you can build your credibility — one of the golden keys to unlocking greater influence. 21
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  • HOW TO GIVE YOUR SPEECH IMPACT The more prepared your speech, the more impact it will have. If you’re ill-prepared and disorganised, it will show. You’ll lose the attention of your audience, they’ll get very little information and they won’t accept your ideas. A well-practised, orderly speech will keep your audience interested. They’ll be much more receptive to your ideas if you’ve taken the time to put your thoughts in clear, logical order. 20 tips to being the greatest 1. Do your research — good speakers stick to what they know. Great speakers research what they need to convey their message. 2. Focus on a theme — it helps your audience grasp your message. Decide on what you want to talk about and eliminate everything else. 3. Keep it simple — have a clear beginning, middle and end. 4. Prepare early — making a good speech starts weeks before with thorough preparation. If you are well prepared, will show. 5. Think about your audience — everything you write should be with the audience in mind. 6. Write for the ear, not the eye — don’t write your speech to be read. Write it so be heard. 7. Keep it short — the shorter your talk, the more likely you will be able to keep people’s audience’s attention to the end. 8. Connect with your audience — a speech is not a logical augment. Nor is it a list of accomplishments, facts or events. Speak to peoples emotions and touch their hearts. 9. Use imagery — create a picture in peoples minds through your words. 23
  • 10. Revise, revise, revise — cut all unnecessary words, develop the central idea, make sentences flow smoothly and develop powerful imagery. 11. Write notes not scripts — use phrases with no more than 4 or 5 words. They’ll help you keep on track. 12. Speak with passion — the best speeches come straight from the heart. Pull stories from your own life and use the language you use every day. 13. Come out from behind the podium — the elimination of a physical structure between you and an audience brings you closer together. 14. Get rid of the script — easier said than done for some, but incredibly liberating. No one wants to hear you read, they want to hear you talk to them. 15. Tell stories — they’re easy to remember. They’ll also help you get rid of your script. 16. Rehearse often — there’s no substitute for it. The better you know your speech, the more comfortable you’ll be and the better you’ll deliver it. 17. Work the room — arrive early and talk to people before you make your speech. Then when you are at the podium, you'll see friendly faces. Your confidence will soar and you’ll relax. 18. Be yourself — people want to see and hear the real you. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Stay true to your character. 19. Talk to you audience — don’t give a speech. Try to be relaxed and conversational. Make them feel as though they were the only ones in the room. 20. Enjoy it — if you’re enjoying it, then it’s likely that your audience will be enjoying it too. 24
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  • HOW TO BE A MORE NATURAL SPEAKER Marlon Brando is probably the most famous cue card user in movie history. Brando claimed he used to, “Write my lines on actors faces or pinned cue cards on their costumes.” He refused to memorise his lines. Claiming it was more natural that way and that people seldom memorise the lines they say from moment to moment. Some viewed his approach as lazy, but Brando argued that he was simply keeping the dialogue as spontaneous as possible, enhancing the reality. In order to sound spontaneous, you have to be prepared. It’s the preparation that allows you to be more spontaneous. Brando rehearsed his scripts for a more natural delivery but he didn't memorise them. Why would you want to be more spontaneous? There are two important side effects of spontaneity: Charisma — we perceive a spontaneous person as more charismatic. Compared to a logical more rational person who never leaves a rigid structure. Humour — saying the unexpected is a pattern of humour. It shows emotion, warmth and natural feeling. Spontaneity, passion and enthusiasm all provide an instant connection to your audience, and an open door to information, ideas and creative thought you’ve already stored in your head. 26
  • Spontaneous speaking 1. Don’t read your presentation out word for word — no one wants to hear you read, they want to hear you talk. 2. Don’t write out your whole script — it makes it hard to resist the temptation to memorise it. 3. Write for the ear not the eyes — say it out loud. You’ll find if it sounds right, it usually is right. 4. Use cue cards with prompts — short phrases to remind you where you are headed. No more than that. 5. Think of it as a planned conversation — you know where it’s going but you’re loose enough in the moment to make it up a little bit as you go along. 6. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse — it feeds your mind so you can improvise in the moment. 7. Prepare yourself — you want 80% of it to be prepared and allow 20% to be spontaneous. 8. You have to have a path — when you know where the path is, you then have the ability to go off it. It gives you strength. 9. Internalise your content — rather than memorising it, understand what you are saying. That’ll give you the confidence to talk about it naturally. 10. Speak from the heart — listeners want you to be real. Someone they can admire and emulate. 11. Use a conversational style — it’s more powerful and engaging. Be in the moment. Be authentic. Be conversational. 12. Use nonverbal messages — eye contact, vocal expression, body posture, gestures, and facial display enhance your message. It’s where your credibility, sincerity and knowledge become apparent. 27
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  • FOUR SECRETS OF THE WORLD’S GREATEST SPEAKERS John F. Kennedy, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and Ronald Reagan — they all learnt that if you want to inspire and motivate people your spirit has to enter the soul of the listener. To enter the soul of your listener you need to convey four important qualities. Do just one of these well and you’ll notice a big difference — and so will everyone else. 1. Relax and enjoy it When the speaker is at ease and seems to be enjoying the presentation, the audience will be at ease. People want to listen to someone who's interesting, relaxed and comfortable. In everyday conversations we have no problem being ourselves. Yet when we stand up to give a speech, we change. We focus too much on the audience rather than what we're saying. Take the pressure off yourself, think of your presentation more as a conversation between two people. Make it personal, talk directly to people and make a connection. If you can carry on a relaxed conversation with two or three people, you can also give a great speech. 2. If people don't trust you, they won't listen to you Building credibility starts even before you've had a chance to open your mouth. Self presentation is crucial to your credibility. Visual impact is at least as important as verbal impact, people will very quickly make assumptions based on your facial expressions, the clothes you wear, how well groomed you are and your body language. Dressing well will enhance your credibility and convey professionalism. Most importantly, it will make you feel more confident. Confidence plays a key role in establishing credibility and giving a successful presentation. If you look good, you'll feel good. 3. Speak with ‘fire in your belly’ Enthusiasm is contagious. Speak with passion and you'll get people excited. You will naturally be more animated and you'll create energy in the room. People are drawn towards people who are enthusiastic about what they are speaking about. They’re more interesting, more believable and more likeable. Energy is created by enthusiasm, and enthusiasm is created by a genuine interest and passion about the topic you're speaking about. You can't fake enthusiasm, it has to come from the heart to be effective. Just the act of speaking with enthusiasm makes you come across as more confident. Speak about something that you truly believe in 29
  • such as a product or a business idea or a cause that you're passionate about, and it'll be easy. 4. Take ownership of the room Speaking from a place of strength and authority is mostly a mental game. Once you're in the room, recognise that you belong there. Don't approach meetings or presentations as if it’s a test. Don't put your head down or nervously flick through papers — be there in body and mind. Giving a presentation or making a speech is physical. So when you're asked to take the limelight make sure you take it. Stand upright, hold your head up, put your shoulders back, lean slightly forward and smile. What you're saying with your body language is — “I'm glad to be here.” How you speak matters. If you don't sound like you expect respect, you won't get it. Your eyes, your face, your tone, all play a part — they’re the message givers. Establish eye contact with several people in the room as you talk, it will help you connect with your audience. Even better, get people to nod their heads as you speak — it’s a sign of approval. Speak clearly and calmly, slowing your pace — it increases your authority as well as your clarity. If you stumble over your words, you're speaking to fast. If you sound hesitant or unsure, people will assume that you either don't have the authority or that you're not willing to use it. Learn from the great speakers If you want to become a better speaker it’s worth looking at great speeches, the ones that connect with the audience. You’ll find they all have empathy, credibility, enthusiasm and authority — and their spirit touches your soul. 30
  • James Hurford specialises in training people in organisations How to write well and How to speak well. With over 25 years of experience working for top international advertising agencies, he brings a vast amount of knowledge and expertise to every organisation he works with, such as: • Thomson Reuters (Worldwide) • Pricewaterhouse Coopers (Johannesburg) • Momentum Insurance (Johannesburg) • Hollard Insurance (Johannesburg) • PlatMin (Pretoria) • African Alliance (Johannesburg) • Peregrine Investments (Johannesburg) • Bridge Loans (Pretoria) • NSFAS (Cape Town) • Old Mutual (Cape Town) • Call Direct Personal Loans (Cape Town) • South African Government (Cape Town) James Hurford | Corporate Trainer Call: +27 (0) 742 545 881 Email: Website: LinkedIn: 31 ABOUT THE AUTHOR