Talk That Talk: Tips For Effective Public Speaking

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October 5, 2012 ‐ By Ann Brown

Image: iStockphoto

The results are in. President Obama was bested by Mitt Romney in the first  Presidential debate. The critics claimed Obama seemed lackluster, tired, unenthusiastic. Whereas Romney looked refreshed, talked with emotion, and seemed confident.

So, what if you have to speak publicly or do a presentation to a new client or your colleagues at your company?  We asked professional consultant/life coach Anita Davis-DeFoe for some tips. She has served countless times at a keynote speaker, workshop and learning circle facilitator for organizations and events around the globe. Her biggest piece of advice is to always strive to practice the 7 Cs of effective communication when making presentations or at meetings. They are:

  1. Clear – Plainly share the intent of your message.
  2. Concise – Stick to the point and remain focused.
  3. Concrete – Provide clear examples absent of generalizations.
  4. Correct – Research and make certain you are sharing correct information.
  5. Coherent – Present the information in a logical order that is easy for the listener to understand.
  6. Complete – In a complete presentation, the audience has everything they need to be informed and when applicable, take action. Strive to always offer a solution to any issue you address in a presentation.
  7. Courteous – Ensure that your content is not biased or politically incorrect and that different opinions do not derail your composure.

In addition, Davis-DeFoe suggests knowing your audience and your material. Always make sure that the content of the presentation is relevant to the people you’re addressing and always in terms that they understand.

Talk to the audience, not at them. People do not remain focus or engaged when they are talked at, so work to interact with your audience by creating a conversation. Scan the audience by varying eye contact across the room.  Ask questions and let the audience ask you questions throughout the presentation. Or open with a relevant story, parable or humorous example as a way to ignite interest and as a way to brand your presentations or style of work.

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