242013May

Seven Ideas (OK, Eight)

Great speaking is a real business asset. Here are some ways to raise your game:

  1. Be original People are fascinated by originality. Your ideas are unique to you, and though they may have been influenced by others, will be yours alone. That’s what people want to hear – your take on the world. There are no bonus points for plagiarism.
  2. Be controversial Make yourself stand out by going against conventional wisdom, or delivering a rarely-heard point of view. If you agree with everyone else, why communicate at all? There’s no need to be critical of others, but giving solid reasons why you take another view is good copy.
  3. Give advice, not instruction Pay respect to your audience by giving them suggestions about how they might change, not ordering them to do so. If you tell people they must act in a certain way, a likely reaction is that they will decide not to. Of course, you don’t have to take this advice.
  4. Provide evidence Always back up your ideas with evidence, and make sure that you quote the source of the information so that it can be verified. If you can’t find any evidence, you can either fall back on the old phrase “in my long experience” or drop the idea. I’d advise the latter.
  5. Show you care People love to see passion in communication, If you care about something, share your passion and people will respond. Even if they don’t initially agree with you, they will appreciate your feelings about the subject, and may even be persuaded.
  6. One message at a time I know, there are seven messages here, but it’s a list of advice, not a speech. Since your audience will recall only one thing, it makes sense to concentrate on your key message throughout, and repeat it at the end too.
  7. Only say it if you really mean it Authenticity is essential to good communication. If you lack conviction, or worse still, don’t believe what you are saying, it will be obvious. Stick to content that you are confident about.
 Bonus idea (8) Occasionally, try breaking the rules, as I have done in several instances above…