Want to make a strong impression with your speech? Put these ten tips into practice:
1. Listen. I mean really listen. Don’t let your mind wander, concentrate on what the person is saying. Of our fivesenses–taste, touch, hearing, smell,and sight–we only learn 11% through hearing, and then we remember very little of what we hear.
2. If you have to wonder whether to say something, don’t. We’ve all done this. When you should be listening, you’re having an internal debate within your head …“should I say this? … maybe not.” If you debate it, don’t do it.
3. If you don’t understand, ask! Have you ever agreed with someone, maybe even nodded your head in agreement, but really had no idea what the person was talking about? Don’t be afraid to ask the speaker to clarify, you can learn some amazing things.
4. Speak the language of the listener. We all have different listeners with varied backgrounds and educations. Talk in terms that they can understand and relate to the best.
5. Be sensitive to the response of the listener. Watch folks as you talk to them. Do they understand what you’re saying, or are they just agreeing with you? Are they really listening or are they thinking about what they want to say when you stop talking?
6. Change your tone and tempo. Actors are great at this. Vary your voice, tone, and pitch. Sometimes talk fast, then slow. The pause is most effective. And if you really want folks to listen, just whisper.
7. Dress for success. Think about your audience and your message, and then choose your attire properly. Your attire will help you deliver your message in a professional manner.
8. Be brief and keep it simple. There is no reason to say “I lament my prorogation” when you can say, “I’m sorry I’m late.” The Ten Commandments are pretty succinct. The Gettysburg Address has only 264 words in it. Brief and simple works.
9. Answer “What’s in it for me?” This is what everyone is subconsciously asking. Tell your audience what you have that will benefit them.
10. Make the other person feel important. Show a genuine interest in what the other person thinks, says, and does; and you will make a positive impression on everyone. No matter how sophisticated our communication systems and devices get, we are all ultimately in the same business, and that is the people business. Communicate well, one person at a time, and you will continue to prosper.