Public Speaking Tips for Business Professionals

Public speaking can be an unnerving task for any individual, especially for professionals (e.g., financial services, public relations, real estate, law firms) who wish to sell an idea or to connect with a prospect. Below are a few tips from speaking professionals and Eloqui co-founders David Booth and Deborah Shames on how to engage your audience and communicate effectively.

  1. Speak in visual snapshots. Telling a story creates a mental simulation for the audience, allowing them to imagine the experience of working with you. Visually walk them through the journey — from the obstacle at hand and the solutions discovered to, ultimately, the benefits your client received. Make sure each description is colorful, but keep in mind that it’s important to remain brief.
  2. Use “I” statements vs. “We” statements. Inserting yourself into the material makes your audience relate to is the person in front of them. While it’s great to show that you work as a team, always coming from the “we” can sound scripted. Since you are the one speaking, the audience wants to hear what you specifically can do for them.
  3. Speak in short sentences. Oftentimes, there are no periods or commas in our minds when we begin to speak, making our presentation begin to feel like one giant run-on sentence. It’s important to not speak the way we write, but rather speak in short sentences which will better resonate with your listeners.
  4. Project your unique qualities. Think about what makes you different, as well as what makes your firm stand out from others. Conveying this to your audience helps establish your credibility and authenticity. These are the characteristics that will set you apart from your competitors, such as personal hobbies, where you’ve lived or unique cultural influences.

After you have considered these tips, remember one last thing: Practice makes perfect … well, almost. When speaking in public, or even in refining your elevator pitch, commit to doing something new each time. Whether that’s using more visual adjectives to describe the courtroom or bringing up your previous career as a professional athlete, the more you rehearse, the more public speaking will begin to feel natural.

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