July 30, 2021 | 3-minute read (532 words)
More than simply imparting your knowledge to a group of people, oration is an art that requires creativity and preparation, as many great entrepreneurs such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins and Anne Wojcicki have demonstrated.
Nowhere is this truer than when you're presenting to a business audience. From delivering a concept to investors to connecting with industry stalwarts, visionaries and future leaders, your ability to speak well to a group can have a profound impact on your career.
Communicating well and establishing a connection with your audience are vital skills for prospective entrepreneurs and business owners to learn. While some may be born public speakers, more often it is a skill that must be acquired and developed.
We’ve cultivated five of the best pointers to help you quickly transform your next public speech from ordinary to outstanding in our list below.
There is no substitute for subject-matter expertise. Knowing what you’re talking about quickly earns listeners’ confidence and gives you authority. Resist the urge to take shortcuts. Instead prepare by delving deeply into your subject, including asking yourself questions that could be asked.
When speaking in front of an audience, confidence is essential. Make it apparent from your body language and speaking style that you know what you're talking about. An insecure attitude may lead to a distracted audience that senses you are unsure of your authority.
A confident demeanor will get you the attention you deserve and the respect that comes with your hard work and persona. Study the speakers you like, perhaps icons like Richard Branson or Mark Cuban, and observe their delivery style to understand why they captivate listeners.
This isn't true only in public speaking; people in general crave attention. Make each person feel as if you are speaking to them individually rather than a room of a few hundred people.
Share personal experiences they can relate to, and go into the crowd if possible. Don’t hesitate to use other methods that feel natural to you to build deeper relationships with listeners.
Keep your audience involved
Convey your enthusiasm so the audience is able to feel your genuine interest. Your battle is already half-won if your voice, actions and ideas reflect your zest for your subject. The late Steve Jobs was an example of an individual whose infectious enthusiasm for his goods was shared by everyone in his company, not to mention customers.
Take care to avoid coming across as preachy or condescending to avoid alienating your audience, and steer clear of unnecessary humor or improper language.
Your posture will influence the speed and delivery of your speaking. A slouched physique will likely lead to an uninspiring speech and a blasé reception. Your body language, like your speech, should demonstrate that you're keenly interested in your subject.
Takeaway: “A speech without a defined goal is like a journey without a destination,” said Toastmaster founder Ralph C. Smedley. In other words, to succeed at public speaking, you must set out to engage your audience with a central idea. The five pointers listed above – knowledge, confidence, audience involvement, passion and body language – will fall into place accordingly when your aim is evident.