Good speakers are made Ė not born.
You need to take the words of an old jazz song seriously. "It ainít what you say itís the way that you say it that gets results." Iíve proven those words to be true to the thousands of people Iíve coached or spoken to about speaking with power. However IĎve added one word to that line. It ainít JUST what you say.
Itís true whether you are talking one to one or presenting to a group. The way you say what you say makes all the difference.
All creatures are born with the ability to communicate. As I have said for years, listen carefully to the cries a baby makes. You will know if the child is hungry, lonely, frightened or needs changing. The emotion behind the sound sends a clear message.
Before they are truly talking, children can make you understand with a simple uh-uh or um-hum. Itís not what theyíre Ė itís the way their saying it that gets you to do what they want you to do!
Hereís a quick way to get started on your road to speaking with power. I call it the first four steps up the ladder to becoming a person people will listen to. Remember people Ďbuy iní emotionally first and then move to logic. So the meaning behind the words must be clear.
Donít just say the words. Think of the meaning you want to share when you speak them. To do this you have to go through this cycle.
You will go through the steps in a flash Ė but you must go through them.
Add to this the fact that the English language is a language of stress. Not the Ďstressí that makes you feel nervous. The stress you put on the word you emphasize. It changes the meaning or intent of what you are saying.
For example: (thoughts behind the word emphasized are in brackets)
HEwas there. [not the other people]
He WAS there. [Donít tell me he wasnít!]
He was THERE. [not somewhere else.]
Before you blame an unreceptive audience when they do not buy in to your ideas, make sure you are using the right keys to open the doors to understanding and acceptance.
Here are seven of the most important ones.
#1 Know your audience.
You must ask "Why should they listen to me?" "What do I need to say and how to I need to say it to get them to do what you know needs to be done?"
This will lead you to your next key to communicating positively.
#2 Develop Clear Focus.
Start by deciding "What do I want my listeners to do when I finish talking?" Once you decide that, the next question is, "What do I need to say and how do I need to say it to make this happen?" You are then focused.
Most failed presentations focus instead on "What do I want to say?" This isnít why you are speaking! You are sharing ideas you want your audience to accept and act on.
Remember: All talks present information. Your job is the give guidance; show listeners how to use the information for a benefit to them. To do this effectively, use the next key.
#3 Organize for action you want/need.
If you want to be a great speaker there must be a logical order to the information you share. You need a Road Map or Format to keep everyone focused towards the bottom line. The action line! You must start by remembering your listeners are tuned into Radio Station WII-FM. "What's in it for me!" This is the focus of speaker and listener in a win/win presentation.
#4 Give only the information needed.
Remember Ė when you are focused on what you NEED to say you will avoid overkill. Do not assume that everything you want to say is important or interesting to your listeners! This is one of the most common faults in presentations. Much of the technical information in presentations is not necessary, is boring, and is a sure way to turn off listeners. No one is going to criticize you for keeping your presentation concise! To be a great speaker only share the information needed for action.
#5 Support your concepts with examples.
To be a great speaker you have to help your listeners to 'get the picture'. The best way to do that is:
#6 Know your material thoroughly.
To be a good or great speaker you should be so familiar with your material you can give a positive presentation even if the laptop fails, you lose your notes, or all the lights go out and people have to hold candles to light up the space.
You have to know what you need to say so well that you can cut the talk in half when someone else at the meeting talks too long.
You can use a full script, notes, or go without any notes - that is your choice. Your focus will be on the action following the talk and your eyes will be on your audience at all times [with a quick glance at the clock to keep you from running overtime!]
#7 Make sure your voice is well orchestrated and modulated.
Over 90% of your message is conveyed by the way you present it Ė not by the material you present.
Good speakers speak with enthusiasm, projection, energy, clarity, and most especially with vocal variety.
Remember your voice must indicate the commas, periods, exclamation marks, paragraphs. It must do what your computer does for emphasis
Betty K. Cooper, author of the best selling speaking guide, Speak With Power", is one of Canadaís leading communication specialists. She helps people at every level of business to become more powerful, effective speakers through her individual coaching, workshops, and seminars and her talks to businesses and organizations.
For more help, guidance and resources to help you become the great speaker youĎve always wanted to be visit www.bettycooper.com