October 30, 2017

Effective Public Speaking Tips

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Recently I had the pleasure of sharing the stage at Datalink University College in Tema, Ghana with corporate consultant and life coach Dzigbordi Dosoo as well counselor Reverend Susie Lamptey. We were invited by the university's Women’s Commission to speak on various subjects.

The audience of hundred was composed mainly of women with around 30% of them being men. All of us couldn’t have been more different in the way we presented our talks but I’d like to think that we had one thing in common – we were effective in getting our message across by using techniques which you can also apply in your talks.

Try using models

Dzigbordi Dosoo spoke on ‘Rising Above The Status Quo’. She used several models to get the audience to absorb her message.

For example, she talked about the people you needed to acknowledge in your life using the 5 S model – people who will SHAPE,STRENGTHEN, SELL, SERVE and ‘SHOOT’ you.

This was a memorable way to communicate the need to acknowledge the following factors in your life’s journey – God, family, recommenders, mentors and opposition.

Dzigbordi also spoke about the key factors you need to rise above the status quo by using the 3 E model - your EDUCATION, EXPERTISE and EXPERIENCE.

Move your body

Dzigbordi was quite animated in her presentation. She walked up and down the aisles as she made her points. She even jumped up and down to stress on a particular message she wanted to drum home. Hers was not only a presentation to be heard but one to be watched as well. The overall effect was an educative talk which was also highly entertaining.

Reverend Susie Lamptey spoke on ‘The 21st Century Virtuous Woman’. She set the tone of her talk by reminding us that since she was a religious minister, her presentation would be grounded on the Bible.

The power of surprise

Rev Lamptey’s presentation style was very calm and understated but effective. For example she spoke softly about the fact that she was very young and so she had married a very young man too. In her next sentence, she casually mentioned that she’d been wedded for only 43 years. The effect on the audience was remarkable. There was laughter all round and you could sense that the audience had become more alert as if they were waiting for the next casually delivered fact.

Involve the audience

I spoke on ‘Image Building’. Since I was the first presenter, I could sense hesitancy in the audience. Understandably, they were curious about how I would tackle my topic.

Since I love to ask questions, I decided to start by asking the audience to define the key terms I would be speaking about: FAME, IMAGE and REPUTATION. I went around the room gathering various definitions from listeners in the hall. By doing this, I was able to make the listeners part of my talk. They were more interested in what I was saying because they had contributed to building it the speech.

Use stories as hooks

I used lots of stories to illustrate the points I made in my presentation. I find that people of all ages enjoy listening to stories. They hold the attention of audiences and make it easy for your message to be digested and remembered long after the talk ends.

So there you have it. The five tips you can use in your next talk are models, movement, the surprise factor, audience involvement and stories. Always remember that in public speaking, it’s not just what you say but how you say it that makes you effective.