Why do some leaders seem to have the natural ability to inspire change through their communications? Why do some leaders engage an audience the second they open their mouths, and some are so…forgettable and unremarkable? Speaking like a leader is both an art and a science. Before you speak to your team again, try these things:
Make it About Them
As a speaker, the focus is on the audience, not you. Your job is to inspire THEM, to help THEM elevate their actions and ideas, to address THEIR problems and fears. As you’re putting together your talk, pause after each new thought and ask yourself, “Why should this matter to them? Why should they care? How will this help?” If the answer to those questions is not abundantly and obviously clear – make it so.
When your biggest worry as a speaker is, “I’m afraid my message won’t reach the audience” and not “I’m afraid I’ll mess up, say the wrong words, look silly, fidget too much, say too many ums” etc, THAT is when you know you’ve reached leadership territory.
If you say 100 things once, people will remember nothing. If you say one thing 100 times, your message will stick. What is the BIG idea you want people to remember? What is the BIG thing, the concrete action, the measurable step you want your group to take? Decide what that is and say it repeatedly. “Simplify” is not a dirty word. It’s actually the smartest and quickest way to elevate your communication.
Treat it Like a Performance
Think of a leader you admire. Does it feel like they come across as effortlessly impactful? It takes a lot of effort to appear “effortless.” Leadership isn’t about winging it. Before you speak to the group, plan out the message you want to convey. Practice it so you can deliver it confidently. Speak louder than you normally would and make a conscious effort to add vocal variety to your speech so you don’t come across as monotone.
I’ve never understood why coaches tell speakers to “act natural.” I don’t naturally stumble into a room of 40 people and communicate an important message. You want to be your genuine self, but the speaking version of that genuine self. That person appears confident, relaxed, inspired, and engaging.
Leaders report that their teams’ communication skills improve dramatically after a public speaking training. Reach out and schedule yours today. EmilySchwartzSpeaks@gmail.com
1 thought on “How to Speak Like a Leader”
Can’t relate more, honestly. I realized it a far later stage than I was supposed to. Understanding the audience actually becomes an extremely crucial factor in case of making an amazing speech. Great read !