How to Get Your Message Across to an Audience
By Sandy Schroeder
If you find yourself talking to lots of groups at work, or giving key presentations at conferences, it’s important to work on your skills and know what really works.
Wherever you are with experience, DumbLittleMan offers a few key tips to help.
Know Your Audience
Do your homework to know who your audience is. If you are speaking to a veteran group, or a bunch of novices, it makes a difference in the content of your message. If you are speaking to your coworkers on the job, or a mixed group in a conference, the message will change, too. Being fully aware of the audience makeup gives you a chance to make the strongest points quickly, and accomplish your most important goals.
Immerse Yourself in the Message
When you are speaking, you may feel nervous, but that will disappear if you concentrate on the points you want to make. I helped coach a leader who was very good at her job, but not comfortable speaking before a group. When she had to deliver an important speech, she told me she was nervous. I told her to think about the facts she wanted to get across, and she did just that. As she spoke, she gained momentum with each fact that she presented. By the end of her speech she was leaning forward and delivering the message without a bit of hesitation. Immersion in the subject worked beautifully for her.
Turn the Volume Up or Down
Experienced speakers quickly learn to vary the highs and lows of their voice to hold the audience’s attention and to emphasize points. If you are new to public speaking, watch your audience to see how the sound and content of your speech is playing. You may want to speak up or dramatically lower your voice to emphasize a point.
Watch Your Pace
If you have a lot of material to cover, and you are very familiar with it, you may find yourself speeding along, while the audience struggles to keep up. Sometimes it helps to run your speech by a friend or coworker in advance. They will tell you if you are going too fast or too slow.
Maintain Eye Contact
Establishing eye contact and moving around your audience will help you keep everyone involved. It will also give you a chance to really engage your audience. Take your time as you speak to look around the audience. Some inexperienced speakers spend too much time looking down at their notes, or looking at one portion of the audience. As you get warmed up and focus on your message, this is a chance to see if your audience is really getting it or not.
Don’t worry if your first attempts at speaking are not as strong as you like. The more you speak the more you will learn, and the more comfortable you will become.
To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Caldwell, N.J.