Real Leaders

2 Speaking Tips That Will Help Deliver a Powerful Message

How can I convince an audience to see things my way?

This is a significant and current issue because there are so many strident viewpoints out there and because audiences are attempting to armor themselves against being held hostage to personal perspectives. You can either lie your way through your pitch like Putin — which doesn’t convince anyone — or base your case on facts illustrated by sincere and real stories. But the very first step is to know your audience and your competition. Recently I have been coaching politicians running for office. I must remind them that a stale stump speech will not work forever. First, show your audience interest in them and gain their attention and likelihood of listening to you because you are listening to them. Audiences are looking for authenticity and empathy — even if you are giving a speech on macroeconomics or crypto. If you want your audience to see things your way, first let them see into you — your character and integrity. Develop trust and a connection. Then state your case, including the why and the benefits and risks for your audience with honesty. It would also help to share what a few well-known and respected authors or public officials have said about your perspective. Endorsements help!

What tricks can I use to keep my voice varied and not too monotonous?

Does a singer sing the same note throughout a song or sing at the same level of demur or force? Then why should you? If you write out your speech, remember to mark it up! Underlining, spacing, exclamation points — all these help. About 90% of all the people I coach do not obey my direction when I say, “Eat the mic.” They think that microphones work perfectly. They don’t. Do you want your message to be heard in the back row amongst audience members who invariably suffer hearing loss? Then get your lips right at the mic — you can always move back a bit if you get feedback. Next, you must answer this question: Are you excited by your topic? Well, if you are not, then why should the audience be? Be passionate — even if it’s a topic about algebraic algorithms. Get yourself energized before the speech. Then use the laws of emphasis I mentioned above. You do not emphasize every word, but you do need to know how to do proper phrasing and emphasis and when not to emphasize. Do not swallow your words. I just shared the dais with a brilliant expert in foreign policy who had a scary message. The only problem was — he wasn’t scary himself and could hardly be heard. Here he was telling his audience that they were practically going to be bombed to smithereens — and they couldn’t hear him. Make sure you make your voice heard. Pump up the energy and your voice. Go for a run before your speech!

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