Thursday, October 22, 2015

Shine your Speech to Engage as a Leader

This week I was at my local Chamber of Commerce breakfast where Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk spoke. She engaged the audience with her succinct speech, spoke from the heart and injected some light humour into the presentation. As a leader it is her job to be engaging and connect with audiences. Connecting through public speaking is one aspect of her role as Premier that has been honed well over the years. Are you connecting emotionally through your presentation style?

Following on with my series of blogs on how to stand out as a leader through personal branding – E is to ENGAGE as a leader. Personal branding is about connecting emotionally. How do you connect with others through emotion? Is your communication and presentation style attracting, inspiring, supporting and influencing others? Can you portray leadership authority and executive presence through clear, compelling and concise communication?

Being able to inspire an audience through delivering a clear speech and engage through storytelling is a vital characteristic of leadership presence. It is a skill that can and should be learned and practiced at every opportunity. Sometimes the best intentions of business owners to take to the floor and say a few words can do more harm than good.

As quoted by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "All the great speakers were bad speakers at first."

Here are a few presentation tips to help you shine.

  • S – Succinct. Can you summarise what you have to say in a sentence? Leading into your speech with a strong and compelling statement, statistic or anecdote on what you are talking about will spark interest and attention from you audience. If you take too long to get to the point whether it’s a speech, answer to a question or putting forward a business proposal, you risk losing the listeners’ attention. Say it simply.

  • H – Humour. The majority of presenters are not comedians and not expected to be. However, the most compelling speakers do inject some appropriate humour or light-hearted banter into their presentation. Variety is what is required and can be built into your presentation through humour, use of props, audio-visuals, group exercises, audience involvement and storytelling. Try a range of techniques to keep your audience energised and interested.

  • I – Inspire with passion and enthusiasm for your topic. Have a clear outcome in mind of what you want the audience to take away from your presentation. Remember it’s about them and how you make them feel. It could simply be they feel comfortable with you to provide a particular service, or you’ve convinced them your product is the best on the market. It could be to motivate them to do something or inspire or challenge them to try something new.

  • N – Needs. What are the needs of the audience?  We might think about what we want to tell an audience, but what we really should consider is, what do they want to hear? Understanding your audience can help you deliver a presentation that is relevant to them. Research the culture of organisation. Ask, what are the interests of the audience? What are their roles, ages, genders and educational backgrounds?  Find out if there is anything topical or controversial or how they will benefit from your presentation.

  • E – Environment. One of the keys to engage as a leader through presenting well is to look confident and comfortable in the environment. Know the room and layout beforehand and if possible rehearse in the room or walk around and on stage beforehand.  Know the equipment you are working with such as laptop, slides, AV, mic, handouts and other props.

I hope these few tips inspire you to take action and learn to be a compelling presenter. Learn more about how you can Speak for Success 

In my free eBook The Power of Personal Public Relations I write more about image and building your brand. Download your copy here

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Read last week’s blog Develop Your Personal and Professional Brand Dress Policy

Sue Currie is a personal branding specialist providing solutions to business owners and organisations to boost their image, renown, brand and business. She is the creator of the Shine Personal Branding System™ a process she uses to coach executives and entrepreneurs to progress in their careers. Sue is also the founder of Shine Academy™, providing professional development training. Through speaking, corporate workshops, and consulting, Sue helps businesses and individuals to stand out and shine.


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