Quick public speaking tip – Congruence in body language

If your body is declaring that you are not sincere in what you are saying then your credibility decreases and there is no way your message will have the impact it should have. So everything that implies relaxed, enthusiastic confidence and sincerity is vital now.

Think about the tone of your message. Is it relaxed, conversational? Then make your body language relaxed. Is it passionate, strong and powerful, then create body language that conveys that power. Is it alert and enthusiastic, then your body language will be upright and reflecting that enthusiasm.

How to end a speech

It’s quite simple. Say what you have to say and when you come to a sentence with a grammatical ending, sit down”

Winston Churchill

churchill statue

Research more than the content when you prepare your speech

When you start building a speech or presentation, the first thing you think of is the content. What will you say? How will you say it? What message do you want to communicate? And what do you want your audience to say or think or do differently? So you start researching that content – on the internet, at the library, with your friends and from the experts.

Content, however, is not the only thing you need to research if your speech or presentation is to be a success. If you want your audience to say or think or do something differently, you will need to know how to “pitch” your content to this particular audience.

Everything that you say or do in your presentation has to be geared to that audience… what they will be receptive to, what their triggers are, the language that they will respond to.

So in researching that presentation to write it, or prepare it, you will also need to research the audience.

Find out as much as you can – their age range, gender, income levels, dreams, needs, wants, culture. What are their likes and dislikes? What will excite them, offend them, unnerve them? What do they wear? What keeps them awake in the middle of the night?

You can gain much from a registration form, especially if you can design it yourself, or have a hand in designing it.

You can ask the event manager, or the person who hired you. You can research their company or organisation, talk to them and their friends and colleagues.

In your preparation routine, you can mingle with audience members before your speech.

Then you can use the information you have gained in constructing and presenting your speech. Use your knowledge of their interests and dreams, to choose your most persuasive stories, points and suggestions.
You will choose language that they understand, and that is not irritating or offensive to them, and subject matter to suit that audience – themes, supports, anecdotes all will be tailored to them.

One of the strongest engagement techniques in presentations is WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) and you need to be reminding your audience regularly of why they should keep listening to your presentation, and of just what they would gain from your suggestions (or lose by not following them).

I’m not sure whether researching the audience is more important than researching content. What do you think?

I do know that for the content to be effective, the research you do on your audience will be vital.

©2012 Bronwyn Ritchie
Please feel free to reproduce this article, but please ensure it is accompanied by this resource box.

Bronwyn Ritchie has 30 years’ experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking – from those too nervous to say their own name in front of an audience to community groups to corporate executives. To take your public speaking to the next level, get free tips, articles, quotations and resources, at http://www.pivotalpublicspeaking.com

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The price of success

“I know the price of success: dedication, hard work and an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen.”

––Frank Lloyd Wright

Quick public speaking tip – Know your audience

And the first tip is to know your audience.

This is what underlies the construction of most of your content. It is the reason to talk about the benefits of a product instead of the features. It is the reason to use language the audience understands.  Look at your technical terms, and any jargon that they may not understand. Use examples, stories, quotes and other support material that has relevance to their lives and their interests. You will keep their attention and their interest. And if your presentation has been advertised in media or in a conference program, the material in that advertising is what drew people to your session, so try to stick to it, or they will disengage very quickly.

So research you audience before you create your presentation if you can. Find out how best to dress, speak and what will meet their needs, or solve their problems and you have the first step to keeping their attention.

Speech is power

Speech is power: speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Damien Lawson on why we need to close the Hazelwood Power Station

Make sure your audience follows you by giving them signposts

People will hear and understand what they expect from a presentation.

If they do not hear what they were expecting then they will be confused and tune out.
If they do not understand the point of the presentation they will tune out.

It is important from the start of the presentation to cue the audience into who you are, what your credentials are and what you are going to do with them.

This does not have to be spelt out in words. There are all sorts of ways using references, body language and stories, for example, to set the scene and cue into what to expect from the presentation.

And this needs to continue throughout the presentation. Bridging between points should be seamless, but needs to, nevertheless, give those same cues as to what is happening and what to listen for.

One of the most powerful cues is the cue for a conclusion. This can wake people up. They are always ready for the wrap-up, and obviously the final point is one thing that they will remember (if you make it memorable) along with the opening.

So if you want people to give you attention and engage with your material throughout the speech give them the signposts they need so that they know what to listen for.


© Bronwyn Ritchie If you want to include this article in your publication, please do, but please include the following information with it:
Bronwyn Ritchie is a professional librarian, writer, award-winning speaker and trainer. She is a certified corporate trainer and speech contest judge with POWERtalk, a certified World Class Speaking coach, and has had 30 years’ experience speaking to audiences and training in public speaking. This has been tip number 10 in the 30 speaking tips. In just 6 months time, you could be well on the way to being admired, rehired as a speaker, with the 30 speaking tips. Click here for 30 speaking tips for FREE. Join now or go to http://www.30speakingtips.com

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The One Presentation Skills secret you need to make your next presentation easier to prepare and deliver

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Quick public speaking tip – the words you use

Consider your audience when you are choosing the words that you use –the vocabulary. Speak to them in a language they understand. Look at your technical terms, and any jargon that they may not understand. Use examples, stories, quotes and other support material that has relevance to their lives and their interests. You will keep their attention and their interest.