Practice your speech, and then….get feedback!
Good for you for practicing your presentation before you have to give it. This is certainly mandatory in order to enhance your confidence.
It is equally important to know if you are improving.
To find out, ask trusted colleagues or friends to sit in as you rehearse. Let them know you are interested in getting their feedback.
But, here is an important point. You need to guide them on how to give feedback.
For example, if you are working on eliminating filler words (ah, um, like, so, and), say that. “Susan and Joe, as I am speaking, can you count the number of filler words I have?”
This is much more valuable than asking them, “How did I do?” Most people won’t know what to say other than, “that was great.”
However, if you guide your friends, you will get a much better idea if you have improved.
A portion of my training is devoted to Q & A, both how to formulate your answer, but also how to make sure you truly answer the question.
What I am discovering is presenters answer the question they think they hear.
Why not be respectful of the questioner and find out what s/he truly means, rather than assuming?
In a recent training, a fellow participant asked the presenter at the end of his (mock) presentation, “Tell me your process.”
The presenter launched into an explanation that didn’t answer the question.
Instead, he should have done some investigative work. Here is an example of how you can get to the true intent.
“We have several processes in place for both budgeting and scheduling. Is there one that you wanted me to focus on?”
Here is another example.
Q: “Tell us about Project A?”
A: “I am happy to. Is there a particular phase you are interested in?”
Reach clarity before you answer.
Clarification not only helps you narrow your response (generally, answers should be around 1 minute or less), but more importantly, the questioner will feel listened to, and you will answer the question s/he asked.
Some people might over use this as a stalling technique, and it is true…this does buy you time. However, my suggestion is always to be authentic and to only use this when you genuinely need clarity.
On July 14, Judy Grant and I will be presenting “Speaking For Impact.” It is unique and incredible opportunity to discover your speaking strengths and learn how to leverage them in any presentation. The training is filled with valuable information, 5 on-camera exercises and the chance to finally receive the critical feedback you need to elevate your speaking style.
I will be in Monterey this week training newly-promoted Lieutenants in the art of public speaking and how to deal with the media. Then, I am off to San Diego to train law enforcement instructors on how to refine and elevate their speaking skills.