Thursday, June 25, 2015

Contemporary Public Speaking

Just as the command and control approach to management has become outdated, so too has the authoritarian, didactic style of public speaking.  Thankfully its on its way out.

In its place is something I teach and pass on to my clients.  I call it contemporary public speaking. It is more in line with the Ted Talks protocol - careful construction, shorter, rather than longer. And, most importantly, connecting with the audience, in an ordinary person-person conversation.

The best way to connect with an audience is to have a conversation with them. Talk to them like you would with one person. Ask them questions - rhetorical and actual.  Rather than state to them, for example, There are three thousand Retailers in this City - say how many Retailers would you think there are in this City? 

Posing questions to your audience results in more than connection.  It focuses the audience on the question at hand. They feel consulted and involved.  So, my tip is to analyse your talk and see where you can pose questions that involve your listeners.

This style of contemporary speaking has so many rewards for the Speaker.  Not setting yourself up as the expert, it is so much easier to use your authentic voice. Interacting as much as possible breaks down much of the fear and nerves that may affect the Speaker.

Your authentic voice reveals much about who you are.  In the long gone era it was often more about who you were pretending to be.  So many of my clients have said they dreaded being asked a question for which they didnt have an answer.  This suggests they were using a voice and a delivery that wasnt their authentic self.  And they were not comfortable or confident.

A conversational tone of voice is easier to sustain.  The words you choose and your tone of voice are critical components of your communication. Imagine for yourself the impact on an audience and the difference between these two messages:

1.      “Today I am going to tell you about the history of Easter Island and the sculptured heads.

2.     My conversation with you today will be about Easter Island.  Ill share with you some interesting facts and Ill be asking you for your thoughts about the historical context.  We can do some imagining as to how those sculptured heads have lasted until today.

Tone of voice is also critical because it reveals your enthusiasm for your topic - your attitude towards your audience and whether or not you have managed to engage them.

Contemporary public speaking involves a lot more than I have just described.  Careful construction of your talk - appropriate words and message to match the research you have done into the needs of your audience.  And then, of course, there is the delivery!  A whole subject in itself.

Next time you, as a Manager, speak to your employees, use a person-to person conversational tone.  Youll find its a practice that benefits you, the employees and the whole organisation.  

Next time you speak to an audience - treat it as a conversation with friends.  You will be rewarded with a close connection to your audience.  You will enjoy, yes enjoy, Contemporary Public Speaking.

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