AMA
Playbook

Communication Skills: Polishing Your Public Speaking Style

June 15, 2018

Public speaking skills

With a confident public speaking style, you can communicate ideas and information well and support work initiatives. When you speak before a group in a formal meeting or give a presentation, you’ll use many of the same communication techniques employed in one-on-one conversations. There are, however, two factors that make these speaking occasions different from more informal communications.

First, you’re expected by everyone in attendance to be fully prepared for a speech or presentation. Second, you are very likely being judged by senior executives on your potential as a member of the top management team.

Brushing up on your public speaking skills

Here are some suggestions to build your skill level and confidence when speaking at meetings and giving presentations:

Don’t memorize the speech. Use an outline or notes if you need to do so. Memorizing a speech can be a problem if you are interrupted or if circumstances require you to shorten or lengthen the talk.

Develop a strong beginning for the talk. Engage the audience’s interest right away.

Don’t rush through your speech or presentation. If you speak too quickly, listeners will clue in to the fact that you very much want to finish the talk.

Vary your tone of voice. Don’t speak in a monotone throughout a speech or presentation.

Watch your audience’s reaction. Monitor the attention level of audience members. If you seem to be losing your listeners, bring up a dramatic point to regain their interest.

Opt for simple language. Use short sentences and small words.

Support your message with visual aids. Effective visuals will allow you to illustrate and prove your statements.

Emphasize key points. Repeat important details and use examples to help explain them.

Use a strong ending. Leave the group thinking about what you had to say.

With these simple tips, you can polish your public speaking skills and build your confidence in communicating effectively.

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American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.

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