So today my goal is to share with you some
tips and techniques that you can use to help you be more comfortable and confident when
you’re speaking. So let’s start by talking about approach. We need to approach communication
in an open way. See it as an opportunity to share our ideas, our believes, our innovations.
But that’s not enough. We need to think about the audience that we’re speaking to. Most
of us think about here’s what I want to say or here’s what I need to say. I would suggest
that’s exactly wrong. You need to think about what does my audience need to hear. The three
things I think we need to ask about our audience are: What is their knowledge? What is it that
they know? In addition to knowledge we need to be thinking about their expectations. What
is it that they expect of me. And then you can choose to conform to those expectations
or not. The final thing that we need to think about are what are their attitudes? The way
you approach your communication is influenced by what your audience thinks about what you’re
talking on. Are they in favor of it? Are they against it, hesitant, agnostic? But beyond
knowing your audience you have to appreciate the context in which you speak. The first
thing about context we need to think about is the time. What time of day are you communicating?
If you’re talking early in the morning you might have to have a little more energy to
keep people moving. Context also involves emotion. Most of us when we communicate, we
think about information – what’s in my head and my heart I need to communicate to you.
But we also communicate a feeling. Maybe we’re trying to get people excited and motivate
them but we need to think about the emotion as well as the information. The final bit
of context has to do with where you’re physically speaking. Think about the way the room is
setup, think about the environment – is it live, is it virtual? Those change the way
that you communicate. So our approach is important, our audience is important, the context in
which we find ourselves is important, and so too is the way we structure our messages.
In fact, we remember information up to 40% better when it’s structured. The first structure
is a chronological structure. Past – present – future. Here’s how things used to be, here’s
how they are today, here’s where they’re going in the future. The next structure happens
to be the problem – solution – benefit structure. You start by explaining what the issue is,
you talk about how to solve it and then the benefits to the people. Finally my favorite
structure is the what, so what, now what structure. You start by telling people what the issue
is, you tell them why it’s important in that so what step and then you tell them what’s
next, what’s coming. So I want for you bold communication that’s confident and compelling
and I want for your message to echo long after you leave the room. Thank you.