Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Always? Whatever your message? Whatever the audience?

Yes.  It's simple and it makes people listen. In fact it's compelling. No-one goes to sleep.

Always show your desire for the audience to get your message. Not in your words but in your way of speaking.

Show.  It's not enough to just want your audience to get the message. They have to see that you want that. Here's how to make it happen: 

  • As you speak, your eyes seek out individuals in the audience - hold just a second or two on one, then move to the next. Switch contact quickly between individuals - switch and hold, switch and hold. A sense of urgency or importance.
  • Make your whole body work with your eyes. Turn your body, not just your head. Your torso should incline (at least slightly) towards each individual. Your hands should move (at least slightly) towards each individual. The audience should see your eyebrows rise, indicating your sense of the importance of your message. Sometimes you'll nod at individuals (a small movement).

This is not about enthusiasm for your own message. It is about connecting the audience to the message.

But will this way of speaking work for you? 

You may need to try it out in safety first. Ask at least two people (whose opinion you trust) to be guinea pigs and give you feedback.  Deliver them just two or three sentences from your topic.  The first time, just speak in your normal way. The second time, make a small change to the method above. If your friends like the change, do it again but more so.  Get their feedback.  How well does it work?  How much is too much?

Also, ask yourself which is more important - your message, or what your audience thinks of you?  I hope the answer is obvious.  It's an old saying but so very true for speakers - get over yourself. But the best part is this: if you put the importance of your message ahead of your worries about yourself, you'll get more respect anyway. Neat.

Kia kaha
Michael

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About Michael Brown

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Michael is a senior trainer with Skillset, based in Christchurch.

He is a leading authority on training in presentation and news media skills in New Zealand. He has special expertise in how to present emotionally charged topics to challenging audiences. Michael has trained thousands of New Zealanders and worked with people who speak on behalf of some of the country's largest organisations.

Michael is a prolific author and his books on speaking and working with the media are in their fourth editions.

Speaking Easy: how to speak to your audiences with confidence and authority

Media Easy: how to handle the news media with confidence and authority

One of Michael's books is about his family's adventures sailing in the Pacific.

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