Bit Famous works with businesses and organisations to help them communicate with confidence.
By Penny Haslam
MD and Founder - Bit Famous
Episode 38: Penny Haslam Podcast - Are you a great speaker or just good enough?
Too often people feel unable to feedback on talks by their most senior leaders. Penny shares the common mistakes made by CEOs in their keynotes.
Are you a great speaker or are you just good enough? It can be tough to get honest feedback about your speaking skills, especially as you move up the career ladder. Colleagues might not know how to give constructive criticism, or they might not feel comfortable critiquing your speaking. That's where professional coaches come in. They can help you take your speaking abilities to the next level.
I recently attended a conference and was disappointed by one of the speakers. They weren't bad, but the audience just sat politely and listened. That's worse than no one paying attention! If you want to improve your speaking, it's important to get feedback and make adjustments. Here are a few tips based on my observations at the conference:
- Avoid lectern gripping. One of the biggest mistakes speakers make is staying glued to the lectern and relying on their notes. This can make you appear stiff and unengaging. Instead, try to move around and make eye contact with your audience. This will help you connect with them and keep their attention.
- Tailor your content to your audience. It's important to remember that different audiences will have different needs and interests. Use the 80/20 rule: 80% of your content should be the same, but the remaining 20% should be adjusted to reflect your audience's interests and needs. This will help make your talk more relevant and engaging.
- Engage your audience with stories and examples. People are more likely to remember and be interested in your talk if you can relate the information to their own experiences. Try to use stories and examples to illustrate your points and make them more relatable.
- Signpost with your tone of voice. Using the dynamic range of your voice can help people understand why your message is important and why people should listen. For example, you could raise the pitch of your voice to say, "oh, my gosh, it's really exciting. We're up here on a passionate and we're talking a bit more quickly and it's energised." Or lower your tone and say, "this is serious I really want to make this point clearly, with you and this needs to be taken seriously. "
- Signpost with your words. Signposting is a technique used in public speaking to help guide the audience through the talk and make it easier for them to follow along. It involves using verbal cues and transitional phrases to signal to the audience what you will be discussing next. For example, you might say "Now that we've covered X, let's move on to Y" or "Before we wrap up, I want to touch on one final point." Or "this is important because." Signposting helps to give the audience a sense of structure and helps them stay engaged with the talk.
Some other examples of signposting phrases include:
- "To begin with..."
- "Moving on to..."
- "Another important point to consider is..."
- "Before we conclude, I want to mention..."
Using signposting can help you deliver a clear and organized talk that is easy for the audience to understand.
By following these tips and seeking out professional help, you can become a great speaker and captivate your audience. But becoming a great speaker takes time and effort. It's important to practice and get feedback on your talks so you can continually improve.
One way to practice is by giving talks in front of small groups or even just one other person. This will allow you to get comfortable with your material and fine-tune your delivery. You can also record yourself and watch the video to see how you come across to an audience.
Another way to improve is by seeking out a professional coach. A coach can provide you with valuable feedback and help you develop a plan to improve your speaking skills. They can help you work on your delivery, content, and visual aids, and give you the confidence to deliver a great talk.
So if you're looking to take your speaking skills to the next level, don't be afraid to seek out help. With some practice and guidance, you can become a great speaker and captivate any audience.
Are you looking to improve your teams speaking and presentation skills? Bit Famous has a range or coaching and training that can be tailored to your needs. Get in touch.
Presentation skills: Free resources
- FREE Turorial: The Presentation Planner
- FREE Tutorial: How to calm nerves before a presentation
- Slide-free presentations: Kick the PowerPoint habit
- Podcast: Are you a great speaker or just good enough?
- Video: Want to nail your next presentation? Here’s why mindset matters
- Got an opinion? Share it
- What's the point of your story?
- Follow this simple rule to stop your anecdotes from sinking like the Titanic