To be an effective leader, you need to master the art of public speaking. Whether you’re talking to five people or 500, it’s essential to address your audience in a way that builds stronger connections and communicates your message effectively. Even if this is not a skill that comes naturally to you, effective speaking techniques can be learned and honed over time.
What is the connection between public speaking and leadership?
A true leader has a unique presence that commands people’s attention. Most leaders will, at some point, have to deliver a speech or present in front of others. Your presence as a leader can be strengthened by speaking and being in front of your audience.
Here are some ways you can improve your leadership skills through public speaking:
- Attend industry events as a speaker
Leadership conferences and industry summits are not only a great place to network, but they also offer public speaking opportunities for leaders in their field. As a leader, you’re expected to be across the latest industry news and insights, so these events offer the perfect opportunity to get in front of a crowd and share your expertise.
- Create a meaningful connection with your audience
Writing blogs, articles and books is a great way to spread your message, but these alone may not be enough to help you connect meaningfully with your audience. People want to feel like they are part of something and to feel as though you are speaking to them directly. Effective public speaking allows you to not only make eye contact and address your listeners but to show your true personality and create a memorable experience for those who follow you.
- Understand public speaking techniques for leaders
Most general advice about effective public speaking will tell you to know your audience, keep things light and not overwhelm people with information. As a leader, you’ll first need to determine what your audience expects from you. Your goal is not to entertain—it’s to lead, to motivate, to inspire and to inform.
What public speaking skills do you need to master?
There are lots of different public speaking tips and tricks that people have learnt over time, but here are a couple of crucial techniques you should keep in mind as a leader:
- Give your audience what they need
Your audience is there for a reason. They want to learn from you and be able to put what they have learned into action. If you’re delivering a speech that has no relevance to them or doesn’t speak to them in a way that resonates, you risk undermining your leadership ability. You’re far more likely to be taken seriously if you listen to your followers and give them the advice or information they are seeking.
- Be clear, concise, and compelling
Regardless of whether you’re delivering a ten-minute slideshow presentation or an hour-long speech at an industry event, clear, concise messaging is crucial. Otherwise, your audience will stop listening, and your message will get lost. Aim to be compelling too, so your audience is keen to hear what you have to say. This could include starting your speech with a clever opener, engaging your audience, telling a story, and using interesting facts or data to prove your points.
Are you ready to be a leader?
The ability of a leader to present well is instrumental in being seen as an authority. Being a strong leader means continuously learning and adapting to change to meet the needs of those who rely on you.
Even the most significant leaders need to start somewhere. If you’re looking to rise through the ranks and develop into an effective leader, enrol on the BSB42015 Certificate IV in Leadership and Management course from Open Colleges. This can teach you the most up-to-date knowledge in leadership and management, helping you to take the next step in your career.