It’s easy to get complacent when we speak and say things the same way over and over again, but if you want to impress your audience and stay at the top of your game, you have to be engaging, and stay engaging.
If you want to stand out for a promotion or be valued as a key contributor, you need speak in a way that makes you stand out. In a very real sense, you are competing against your colleagues every time you speak.
What can you do to ensure you stay competitive when you speak?
- Pause Longer: Have you ever noticed how many speakers rush through their presentations? If you can master the “art of the pause,” you’ll have your listeners hanging on until the last word. It’s partly self-control that makes this an attractive attribute. It’s also uncomfortable for the speaker until you master it, so not everyone can speak this way. That’s why you will stand out if you do, and people will pay attention longer.
- Show Your Personality: Many speakers are so concerned with “getting the message out” that they don’t take the time to let the audience get to know them. Can they experience your sense of humor? Can they see your gentle side? Can they benefit from your relating a relevant life story? You will be surprised at how much a few snippets of your genuine personality can do to attract your listeners and make your speech more memorable.
- Laugh More: Taking yourself or the situation too seriously is a real danger. Make sure you add some humor in an effortless way or laugh at yourself when appropriate. Take a lighter tone when possible and make your speaking a pleasure to listen to rather than a chore.
- Stay Connected to your Message: It’s common to wander off topic and leave it to your audience to piece together your message. Make sure you make the effort and show the discipline of staying close to your message and gliding seamlessly from one cohesive thought to the next. Make it easy for your audience to stay with you from one idea to another.
- Inspire: Whether you have a detailed technical talk or a more general procedural one, everyone wants to feel excited about what they hear. If you make it dull and data heavy, it’s hard to inspire others. Whatever you tell people, make sure you are demonstrating your passion and imparting an uplifting message as well as an informative one.
Each time you speak publicly, in meetings or to an audience in a presentation, think about staying competitive. You want others to enjoy listening to you and have a pleasurable experience, not a belabored one. It could make the difference between you or your colleague being selected for key opportunities, so be sure to shine!