Be Brief

Have you ever listened to a boring speaker? You know, the kind where you struggle to stay awake, let alone take in what he or she is saying. They drone on and all you can do is look at your watch, take deep breaths and do anything you possibly can to look like you are paying attention. Often this is due to lack of vocal variety.

I remember one such speaker back when I was getting my examination results at a prize giving in my college all those years ago. I don’t remember his message but I do remember him saying he is a newish speaker and asked advice of a friend before coming to give the keynote speech. The advice was “Be brief”.  Forty five minutes later and he was still speaking, with little or no vocal variety and even fewer interesting stories!

You don’t want to be remembered for being the most boring speaker that the audience has ever heard, do you? Well then I would suggest you compact your presentation and take out all the extra and spurious words. Make it interesting by getting to the point and using your voice effectively, use vocal variety when you deliver.

The advice the speaker got to “be brief” was spot on. Get to the point, make the point, and get off the stage. Very few speakers can entertain so until and unless you are one of them, you will make your point better with fewer words. It is unlikely that any presentation wouldn’t be improved by paring it down a little.

Scared when you get asked to talk at work?

Don’t worry this happens to everyone. One minute you are sitting getting on with your work and the next your manager comes along and says you will be giving a presentation at the next staff meeting on Monday, or to a prospective new client at the end of the week.

What happens next? Your heart beats like it is literally going to break out of your rib cage, your hands start to sweat and the panic rises until you can’t concentrate on anything else. The fight or flight response has just happened to you.

It doesn’t have to be like that. This is just about having the confidence and a few of the skills to be in control and make the presentation work FOR you and your company, rather than AGAINST you.

Here is one tip you can take away from this article though and which might help overcome those fears. Just remember one thing. Everyone wants you to succeed. No one wants you to fail. Think about it. Why would people in your staff meeting want you to fail? If you succeed then they get the information that they need. Clients or prospects want you to succeed so they can evaluate effectively how much help your service or product will be and they want their time to be well spent.

Once you realise that everyone is behind you, supporting you, then it is very easy to overcome those fears.

For anyone interested, I have developed a 1/2 day course that helps with this which can be followed with a another 1/2 day course in how to present better if you wanted. What does the course contain? Well it looks at why we fear public speaking in the first module, then it goes on to show you that you CAN speak in public, and finally it looks at some basic skills to make sure you do a good job next time. I can be hired by organisations to come and deliver this training, just contact me to check my availability.

Kevin Baggs, Keynote Speaker

I speak about employee engagement, both in the sense of successful recruitment and engaging employees to get the best out of them.   My keynotes help solve a number of problems such as hiring the wrong person, empowering staff in the wrong way and allowing staff to accept mediocrity.