Seize the Opportunity to Speak Up

How important is it for women to speak up and speak out in today’s society? The news and stories from other sources illustrate that women need to be confident to share their experiences and say how they feel within the workplace, within the community and at home.

Would you like to be a confident speaker in any situation?

Some speakers can influence others. Some leave a powerful, positive and memorable impression on their audiences while many are quickly forgotten.

Even within conversations, some people get their message across very effectively, and with ‘punch’. Others do not.

Find your voice and start to speak in spite of fear, surprise or difficult circumstances.

Here are some tips to assist you to be confident effective speaker whether you are talking to 3, 30 or 300 people.

  1. Know your audience – gender, cultures, attitudes, knowledge and expectations

Tailor your presentation to your audience

  1. Intend to move people to learn, re-think, feel emotion, laugh, take action.

What will your audience do after your speech? Aim to have people respond to your speech

  1. Start with a grabbing introduction

Tell a personal story, provide an expert’s quote connected to your content or give a shocking statistic. Grab your audience, hook them and open their minds to your message.

  1. Organise your content into a notable introduction, the main content and a memorable conclusion.
  1. Know your material and find memorable stories to assist in telling it.
  1. Draft and redraft your content so you are happy with it and it meets your purpose.
  1. Practise, practise and practise.

Rehearse out loud with the visual aids you intend to use. 

Eliminate filler words such as ‘ums, arhs, you know’, and ‘so’.

  1. Visualise being successful  

Picture yourself at the venue or meeting room speaking with an engaged audience. Questions and conversations are buzzing at the end.

  1. Meet and Greet

Try to speak to a few people in the audience as they arrive. These people will be your allies in the audience. It is easier to speak to those with whom you are familiar, compared to strangers.

  1. Arrive early at the venue

Practise using the microphone and make sure all your visual aids are in place, and any electronic requirements are working

  1. Relax

Breathe slowly and use relaxation techniques. If you are feeling very nervous, talk to other people, as it is difficult to be nervous and concentrate within a conversation at the same time. 

  1. Use pauses

Use pauses at key moments such as before and after a major statement, between facts and statistics and immediately after a story. This allows the audience time to digest your content and draws them into the speech.

  1. Smile and be sincere 

Look as if you are happy to be there and sincere in that the content is important to you

  1. Never apologise

Don’t apologise for lack of preparation time as the audience doesn’t need to hear this and it will diminish your credibility. Don’t tell them you have missed a section of your content as they will not notice anything missing.

These hints can be used at any time to sell the content of your speech, including the content for a prepared conversation. 

Take every opportunity to speak and listen to other speakers. 

Prepare well ahead of time and practise, practise and practise.

Remember, that you are interested to hear what other people say, and the reverse applies – everyone wants to listen to you.

Experience builds confidence, which is the key to overcoming nervousness and effective speaking. Attend Speaking Made Easy meetings, learn how to speak up and speak out on every occasion.  Practise speaking in a friendly supportive environment.

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