Are you a smooth talker? Do words just roll off your tongue like sweat rolling down your face on a sweltering hot summer day? If both answers are “no”, there are five things you can do to make your next speech, presentation or job interview come off as smooth as pumpkin pie:
1. PRACTICE – If you are not comfortable talking off the top of your head—impromptu style—don’t! Rehearse your key talking points ahead of time. Make sure you emphasize the points you want your audience of one or more to remember.
2. KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE – Do your homework (audience research) before you walk in the door. Know what issues your audience cares about and how you can help them solve that problem. Then, keep your job interview, speech or presentation remarks relevant to whoever you’re talking to. When you talk, you want your audience to listen. But they will only listen if you care enough to talk about topics/issues that they value.
3. EYE CONTACT – To establish a rapport with your audience, you must look at them. If you have prepared written remarks, memorize your opening and closing lines so your audience can see the sincerity in your eyes, your face and in your words.
4. PACING – Even if you’re nervous, don’t talk too fast or too slow. Rushing through your sentences can make you sound like a fast-talking used car salesman (they have no credibility). But don’t talk so slow that your listeners lose interest. Your voice should have energy. Get louder for emphasis and pause when you get to commas, periods and paragraph breaks. Vary the speed and the volume of your voice so you don’t sound like a boring, monotone Al Gore-type speaker.
5. SMILE – When I was a little girl, I used to watch the Buckskin Bill television show in Baton Rouge, LA. At the end of each show Bill said, “Remember, you’re never completely dressed until you put on a smile”. And he was right. Smiling lets your audience know that you are friendly, you like them and you care about whatever you’re talking about. Show off your personality, your emotions and your passion with a warm friendly smile.
Use these five tips during your next job interview, work presentation or community speech. I bet you will be impressive as a speaker and your delivery will be as smooth as pumpkin pie!