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Posted at: May 17, 2017, 12:26 AM; last updated: May 17, 2017, 12:26 AM (IST)COOLCOUNSEL

Learn to speak with power, poise and pizzazz

Learn to speak with power, poise and pizzazz

Shiv Khera

All of us sometime or the other have gone through a situation where we had to say a few words in public and we got cold feet. One is then looking for an excuse to get out of such a situation.

Some of the greatest public speakers were the greatest disasters when they started. The good news is that we can all learn to be effective public speakers. Making effective presentations is critical to success in life.

Persuasion skills are essential for good leadership and these skills are one of the greatest components in public speaking. These skills include the ability to influence, convince, negotiate, and sell. Who doesn’t need these?  

The best product or service, if not presented properly, is useless. There are many advantages to being a powerful speaker. One of them is that you are perceived as a leader and an expert in your field. Second is that you can leverage your position effectively. 

Public speaking comprises the following three F's — Flair; Flow; and Facts

Flair: When you are on the platform your presentation must have pizzazz. It ought not to be bland. You are not an entertainer or performer, but your presentation must have flair. 

Flow: There must be a structure to your presentation, otherwise people lose track.

Facts: Whatever you say from the platformgoes into public domain.  No matter what you say, you must have your facts right in order to gain credibility.

Step guide

The following are some steps to being an effective public speaker.

Clarify expectation in advance: Ask your hosts what is the ‘end result’ they are looking for, upon completion of your presentation. The clarity of end result would decide your contents. 

Do not make more than three points: Why? Less than three is too little, more than three is too much. Don’t question the power of three. Somehow three points stick. It is an odd number; odd numbers stick better then even numbers.

Use simple language: Keep your presentation at 6th grade level. Use simpleday to day words that can easily be understood. Don’t use jargon, slang or words difficult to understand. The idea is to express and not to impress. The audience being impressed is a natural outcome ofa good presentation.

Be yourself: Don’t pretend and put on a false mask. Just be honest and sincere. Being yourself does not mean that you becomecasual. Being casual displays indifference or arrogance. People hate both. 

Go well prepared: Practice, Practice, Practice. There is no substitute to preparation. Audiences can tell, whether you have came prepared or not. An unprepared speaker wastes their audiences’ time. This amounts to literally breach of trust. Audiences invest their time and come to listen to you out of trust. When trust is broken, they feel cheated. Remember, time is more precious than money.

Have a strong opener: Why? How much time do you have to grab your audience’s attention? About 30 seconds. If you have not got their attention within 30 seconds, you have lost them. Most powerful speakershave very strong openers.

Have a strong close: Why are strong openers and closes crucial to a good presentation? Because they leavea lasting impression. Impressions stick in the mind whereas contents are lost. Impressions have a lasting effect.

Always close with a ‘call to action’: Every speech must close with a very strong and specific call to action. A call to action makes you a leader, otherwise you are only an information provider.If your speech does not end with a call to action, then you are only a loud speaker not a good public speaker.

The above are only few essentials of a good public speaker. Good public speaking needs a lot of practice. Just like you cannot play the Davis Cup by playing tennis casually once a month, you can’t be an effective speaker without practice.  

— The writer is a noted author, 

educator & entrepreneur

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