The ability to speak well, whether to a coworker or to a group, can be the key to building a successful career. Keeping the focus on who you’re speaking to translates into effective speaking and helps make sure you’re heard.
Here’s how to speak when the audience is:
Your Boss: Speaking to someone in authority naturally generates a certain amount of anxiety. Fight off “anticipatory anxiety” (imagining all the things that could go wrong) by knowing exactly what you want to say. Practice your message before speaking to the boss. You don’t need to memorize it line by line, but commit the major components to memory. Practicing and being prepared will help to ease your nerves, allowing you to get comfortable and deliver your message effectively.
Your Coworker(s): Speaking in front of coworkers comes with its own level of apprehension. No matter if it’s one coworker or a meeting room filled with colleagues, you may become self-conscious or feel as if you’re being judged. Don’t give the audience so much power. They are there to learn, not judge – even if they don’t agree with you, they don’t want to feel sorry for you.
Your Client: When speaking with a client, use reciprocal communication to remove barriers and find common ground. Try sharing a personal story that relates is some way, directly or indirectly, to your business discussion topic. Ask the client for his or her opinion, thoughts and ideas, and listen carefully before offering your response.
An Audience: Most people find themselves speaking in front of a crowd at some point in their career. Engaging an audience can be tricky; the key is to find a connection with those you’re speaking to. Before your presentation, learn as much as you can about your audience. Then draw them in by using a conversational tone and offering stories or references that resonate with the crowd. Your understanding of the audience makeup will help you be more interesting and easily understood. Remember that the focus of your message is your audience and getting them to think or act—it’s not about you.
Lastly – play a positive tape in your mind. If you tell yourself you will be awesome – there’s a good chance you will be!
If you’re ready to step up your personal communications skills, attend Dardis Communications’ Leadership Presentation & Image Skills program and learn to speak as well as you think.