If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, coach, or consultant and want to be an effective speaker, then these 10 tips are for you.

In this article, I will cover in detail the first 5 tips for effective speaking. The next 5 tips will be explained in the following article so keep your eyes peeled.

The 10 Tips for Effective Speaking for Business Owners are:

  1. Get trained
  2. Select your business topic
  3. Outline your speech
  4. Start with an attention grabber
  5. Build trust and rapport
  6. Art of persuasion and influence
  7. Deliver great content
  8. Add stories
  9. Invitation
  10. Practice creates confidence

1. Get Trained

If you are trained speaker, continue your training. Why? Because public speaking has changed over the years. Much like any other industry public speaking continues to change and you must keep up with the latest changes and trends. We saw a big shift in 2020 when speakers went from speaking at live events to online events practically overnight.

And now, we are seeing the shift slowly go back to speaking at live events. However, online events are going to be here to stay. From these two shifts alone, we see that means public speaking has changed a great deal in the way we deliver our presentation and connect with the audience. It is more challenging for a speaker to connect with an online audience than it is with a live audience. They do not have the advantage of the physical contact and the use of all five senses. Speakers now need to learn how to connect effectively to online audiences. Therefore, it is important to stay current with the ever-changing field of public speaking. Also, throughout your career get trained by multiple public speaking coaches and trainers because they all bring different styles and gifts with them.

2. Select Your Business Topic

Choose your ultimate business topic that you are passionate about, knowledgeable about and that has an audience who wants to hear it. Some business owners have multiple topics that they are an expert in. Recently, I was talking to a speaker colleague who mentioned she has so many topics she can talk about that sometimes she tries to put it all in one speech. This spelled disaster! Instead, take one or two specialty areas to focus on and go deep with each one. Teaching the ‘how to” and the benefits of each.

Also, select knowledge over passion. I am passionate about dogs. I just love them. I’ve had dogs all my life. Yet, beyond them being lovable creatures, I don’t know enough about them to deliver a knowledgeable speech. It is important to have all three elements aligned.

When you have aligned your passion, knowledge, and people, you will have your ultimate topic that your audience will want to want to listen to and want more of.

3. Outline Your Speech

If you want to be an effective business speaker, it is best to outline your speech instead of writing it out word for word. Why? Because if you write out your speech word for word or type it out, you will become a prisoner of your own words. You will want to speak it exactly as you wrote it. This sets you up for failure. If you forget what you are going to say – we will see the “deer in the head-light look.”

Believe me, I have experienced this first-hand. When I was in corporate America, I was asked to speak to a large group of people. This was back in the eighties when I worked as a systems consultant for Deloitte, an international CPA firm. My job was to implement financial accounting systems on microcomputers for small to mid-size businesses. This was a revolutionary time.

There were five of us speakers, and each of us represented a different brand of accounting software. We each had 20 minutes to speak and convince the audience that our brand was the best on the market. My turn came and I confidently walked on stage and stood in front of the lectern with my handwritten notes in hand. Ready, I began to speak. Half-way through, I lost my place. Frantically, I fumbled with my notes trying to find where I left off. To no avail.

I looked at the audience with that “deer in the headlights” look, said “thank you” and scurred off stage. It was horrible. I was embarrassed. Needless to say, I didn’t get any clients that day.

You know your business, topic, and subject. Do yourself a favor and outline your content and give yourself the freedom to speak and you will never have to worry about experiencing the “deer in the headlight” look.

What I do today is teach my clients how to practice with an outline. You could organize it numerically (like this blog post of 10 tips) or you can use an acronym to help keep your organized.

I love to use acronyms in my speeches. If you have read some of my other articles, blogs or listened to my podcasts, you’ll know that I use acronyms a lot. Acronyms are a really great way for you to outline your speech and remember what you are going to say.  For example, when I do my Speak Up, Get Clients signature talk, I spell out the word LEADS. I know L is for leverage. E is for expert. A is for audience. D is for database and S is for system. This makes it easy to remember and you fill in the details.

Not only will it help you to remember what your content is, your audience will also remember what you taught them. This is a fun and simple way to outline your speech and avoid the “deer in the headlight” look forever.

4. Start with an Attention Grabber

You have five seconds to grab your audience’s attention. Whether you are speaking virtual or live, you want to step on stage as powerfully and confident as you can with an attention grabber. You can start with an enthusiastic “Good morning, everyone” or with enrolling questions, statistical statements, or a statement of truth. Whatever you choose, make it powerful!

5. Build Trust and Rapport

If you want to be an effective business speaker, you must build trust and rapport with your audience.

To build trust and rapport start by sharing your professional story. This is the story where you share how you got into the business you are in and why they should listen to you. This story sets you up as the expert in your field and earns  you the right to be talking about your topic. This is not a long story, it is only about 3 or 4 minutes in length. It is however, a story with feelings, vulnerability, and success!

Another great way to build trust and rapport with your audience is to call them by name. There is nothing sweeter than hearing one’s own name. This is easily done with online events because for the most part people’s names are on the screen. In a live event it may be more of a challenge. One way to get around it is visiting and networking with people before you speak and remembering the names of those you met.

Always remember to use niceties such as eye contact, smiling, and saying thank you. They go a long way when building trust and rapport with your audience.

In the next blog, I will cover effective speaking tips 6-10. Keep an eye out.

About the author 

Arvee Robinson

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