How to Speak so that People will Listen
Many times, we are called upon to make a public presentation to a group of reporters, to the general public or a specialized audience. Each presentation's objectives are different, but there are certain common traits that run through them:

Be prepared:

  • Know your audience well
  • What do they want to know from you?
  • Clarify your goals
  • Research well

Designing the slides …

  • Present only the key points and issues
  • Use short sentences
  • keep only 3 to 5 points per slide
  • Add charts and graphics were useful
  • Keep distractions and animations to a minimum

Add Spice to your Presentation ...

  • Talk with anecdotes and examples
  • Make references to real situations and people
  • Use statistics to gain attention
  • Use visual aids where necessary

Doing the talking ...

  • Prepare the speech first.
  • Cull the pile.
  • Simplify.
  • Be creative.
  • Slow down.
  • Eyes front.

Practice, practice, practice …

Prepare an outline - what will you speak on, what needs to be emphasized …

  • Have I achieved my goals?
  • Are all my points relevant?
  • Can I cut?

And a final word ...

  • Before speaking: Think about your first impression—your clothing, actions, and message.
  • While speaking: Find common ground with your audience and get feedback. Don’t censor yourself; be animated.
  • Use humour: Refrain from making judgments about your audience.
  • After speaking (responding to audience questions): Look for clues to other people’s moods—and to their hidden agenda. Listen for points of agreement and verbalize them.
  • Listen for results: don’t oversell your ideas.

Return to the Media Toolbox