The King’s Speech is getting a ton of buzz at the box office, but when it comes down to oratory skills, even if you don’t have a stammering problem you may find it challenging to make a speech. Whether it’s simply stage fright or the occasional stutter, if you’re giving a presentation at work, chances are you’ll need to brush up on some skills to become convincing and confident at the podium.
While you may not have skills as eloquent as President Obama, Peter Handal, the president, CEO and chairman of Dale Carnegie Training says there are four critical elements we must keep in mind in order to become an effective speaker.
1. Dress the part. In front of an audience, you automatically put yourself and more importantly, your image on display. All eyes will be on you. Literally! “Ensure that you have covered off the finer points – hair brushed, shoes cleaned, clothes ironed, nails cleaned and clipped,” says Handal. “If your appearance is impeccable you will speak confidently and appear authoritative.”
2. Own the topic. Be prepared to know the subject inside and out, backward and forward. His advice? “Many people forget to practice, practice, practice.”
3. Keep it simple. Ever listened to a speaker drone on and on and completely miss their point? Don’t be that guy or gal. Handal says your message should be concise and easy to summarize in one sentence. “Focus on three or four main points and make sure they clearly tie back to your thesis.”
4. Consider every angle. Yes, this means to prepare yourself and of course, your speech, for potential holes before you present it. Know your audience and prepare your presentation based on that knowledge. “If you have responses ready, you will be able to quickly and efficiently dismiss critiques, looking even more knowledgeable in the process,” Handal advises. “Look at challenges to your point of view as an opportunity to show how flawless your argument really is.”
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