An average organization spends 15% of its time conducting business meetings. A meeting might involve a sales pitch, employee motivation, or a public speaking event. Since people attend so many meetings, how can you make your next speech stand out?
Business meetings have a bad reputation. But that's because many hosts provide nervous, meandering speeches that miss the mark. With some preemptive preparation and classic public speaking tips, your speech will surely be a success.
Communication skills are an asset in every business. Use them to your advantage.
Public Speaking Tips for More Effective Speeches in Meetings
Captivate the audience and enhance your reputation with these seven tips for giving an impactful and memorable speech.
1. Focus on the Key Point of the Business Meeting
Every business meeting has a purpose. So too should your speech. The first step of any successful speech is to determine its key point.
You might be doing something simple, like relaying quarterly information. Even if you're just talking numbers, your speech serves a purpose. Should the audience be proud of their achievements, or look for ways to improve?
2. Everyone Loves a Story
Data points and statistics are a powerful portion of any speech. But they are hard to remember. No matter what your speech is about, jazz it up with a story.
Why? Stories are memorable. They provide the perfect vehicle to attach key takeaways and elicit an emotional response from the audience.
Few people will recall even the most fascinating statistics. But with stories, you can stitch data points together through the magic of causality.
From TED talks to college commencement speeches, most presenters include three distinct stories. A trio of smaller stories ensures your speech will have variety and won't linger too long on a single anecdote.
Like Neopolitan ice cream, the best things come in threes.
3. Practice Makes Perfect
Don't scoff at the old adage. It's persisted for a reason. Yes, you should practice your speech in advance.
Some presenters worry that too much practice will harm the delivery of a speech. Or instead, they believe a speech is only genuine if it's done on the fly. Both of these beliefs are flawed.
One of the best tips for public speaking nerves? Practice, practice, practice. Most people who suffer from presentation anxiety will benefit from a lengthy rehearsal.
Few things can go wrong when you've memorized the entire speech in advance. You won't even have to think when you're on-stage. Reciting a memorized speech only requires you to go through the motions.
And there's nothing artificial about a well-practiced speech. All types of discourse require significant preparation in advance. By doing so, you'll discover additional opportunities for improvement -- and you can work on your delivery to boot.
4. Take Your Time
If you're nervous, you may be tempted to fly through your speech. Or maybe you just want to get it over with. Whatever the case, make a conscious effort to slow down.
The average person speaks at a rate of 120 words per minute. But effective speakers perform at a slower speed.
Remember that a speech is not a conversation. With a slower pace, your audience will have more time to decipher and consider your talking points. By using poignant stops, you're indicating to the audience that they should thoroughly consider your words.
Don't be afraid of pauses. This talented speaker cleverly halts throughout a speech and is known for her superb public speaking skills.
5. The Three Modes of Persuasion
Thousands of years ago, Aristotle proposed the three key elements that create a successful speech.
The first is logos, or logic. This refers to using facts and data during a speech to sway the audience.
The second is pathos, or emotion. Many people consider pathos to be the most important element of any speech. If you can convince your audience to feel a certain way, you've likely won them over to your side.
Ethos is the last Aristotelian appeal. It's an ethical appeal that refers to you, the speaker. You need to establish yourself to the audience and make it clear why they should listen to you.
Of course, in a business meeting, most people will know who you are. There's no need to put an emphasis on ethos.
Even in modern times, talented speakers still rely on all three of these elements to form a cohesive and convincing speech.
6. Brevity is Key
Keep it simple. A tight, brief speech will clearly convey your key message. If you spend too much time talking, you'll lose the audience in the process.
Do you have a lot to talk about? Make an effort to distill these messages into simple concepts. No matter what you're talking about, your key points should be no longer than a Twitter post.
If they are, then it's time to cut them down to size.
7. Conclude with a Call to Action
Your conclusion serves two purposes. The first is to sum up the key takeaways of your speech. This aids the audience in digesting its contents.
But the most important part of your conclusion is a call to action.
You just spent five or ten minutes holding your audience captive. What was the point? Your speech served a purpose to either inform the audience or spur them to act in a certain way.
With your final words, ask the audience to do something based on the information they learned during your speech. It could be something simple, like asking the audience to thank themselves for their hard work.
Go Make a Splash at Your Next Business Meeting
Business meetings are one of the few opportunities to leave a lasting impression. Since communication skills are important, a fantastic speech is one way to propel your career forward. And when you get down to its basics, it's as simple as telling a few stories related to a central theme.
Don't let a fear of public speaking control you. Impress your boss and coworkers by making your next speech something to remember.