You know you have a 5-minute slot to speak at a meeting and it will solve the biggest problem your team are facing at the moment. You prepare what to say, have written a clear structured and easy to follow message so everyone has to listen right? Wrong. You have to deliver it in a way that makes people want to listen, and trust in your authority, judgement and solution. So you have to get your delivery right on point. Don’t worry this will make it easy.
Whether a presentation to many or simply sharing your ideas in a meeting these 5 pillars will give you an air of quiet authority, and help you achieve your goal. This will make people want to listen to you.
This is so fundamental it is almost a cliché, but you have to train yourself to hold court when you are speaking. It doesn’t matter if it is to one person, or many, you need them to feel your words are meant for them. There are lots of tips and tricks for mastering this, but the one thing you should not do is pick a spot and talk to that one spot or person. Although you begin with looking your audience in the eye, it is also natural to break eye contact momentarily, so allow some natural breaks to penetrate your delivery.
The speed at which you talk is also worth focusing on. If you speak to slowly, you could be perceived as shy, unsure or dishonest. Speak to quickly and your audience will be confused, feel lectured at and see you as self-serving. It is good to speak conversationally, so you will vary your pacing a little as you go. Speak slowly and even pause after you have delivered your key point to let the audience absorb it. When you begin it should have a quicker pace to hold interest and then finish slightly quicker to help them feel the high. To get a feel for the pacing you will need to deliver your piece aloud a few times, even then it is difficult to self-direct the pacing, it is most effective if you have help.
When we believe something, get excited about something we move more. This is what brings your words to life and gives them power. Even if you do not have a “stage” or are restricted by a desk, moving is what makes you believable. Flat open gestures with your hands show your authenticity and authority. They will bring your words to life. Although keep it natural as too many hand gestures can be distracting or contrived. Get this right and it will make people want to listen.
Keep it sharp, no fluff, filler words or fiddling.
This says it all, avoid the 3 fs and you should be seen as confident, clear and in control. This means say what you mean and mean what you say, with no apology. Avoid watering your message down with too many phrases like people have said, Sorry, maybe, could, would, should. Say it, if it is opinion caveat it, but own it. Avoid filler words like actually, really, like etc that do not bring any additional meaning to what you are saying. Also avoid erms and ars, instead practice pausing. A few of these will not be noticed but too many and you appear to lack confidence. Finally, fiddling with hair, pens, fingers, pockets etc is a major distraction and gives you the presence of a school child presenting their end of term project. Take a deep breath in and think calm, centred and collected.
You need to be yourself, above everything, but your best version of yourself. Practice and hone your skill but stay true to you. Do not try to win people over by hamming it up or acting anything other than you. We have an in-built subconscious lie detector which switches on when people present anything new to us, it has a super focussed radar for authenticity. So, if you want to shine be natural. This surprisingly is a skill you can learn, as our instincts make us act larger than life when we are put on the spot. Master this and you are a good way there to making people want to listen to you and your ideas.
Finally, there is a bonus pillar, tell it from the audiences’ perspective. Keep in your mind why they need to hear what you are saying. Also think about what will change after they have listened to you, it could be as small as to have an extra coffee or much larger and save them time or money. Make sure you tell them what this will do for them and think about how they would like to hear this message. This is telling it from the audience point of view, but many people just think about this for a few seconds and carry on thinking they have included this perspective in their delivery but this is just to pay lip service to one of the most powerful tools you have.
If you want to learn more about how to deliver with quiet authority, to learn to be listened to and to make some changes then drop me an email or book a clarity call where I will listen to you and we can get your career moving again.