As a leader, you’re regularly required to speak in public at:

  • Team meetings
  • Customer presentations
  • New business pitches
  • Investor briefings
  • Networking events
  • Industry conferences
  • …perhaps even videos like this!

Despite this frequency, many leaders still find it difficult to present in a way that connects with and influences an audience. Many more still list public speaking as their greatest fear and will do all that they can to avoid it.

Whilst there are no quick fixes or shortcuts, my DESIGN-DEVELOP-DELIVER framework can help you become a more persuasive public speaker and perhaps – dare I say it – even enjoy the experience!

DESIGN strong foundations

The best talks are those designed with the audience in mind, so firstly: you need to get clear on your ‘what, to whom, and why’ – the foundations of your talk:

  • WHAT is the key message you want to convey?
  • WHO is your audience?
  • WHY should they listen to you?
  • And WHY are you telling them? What’s your objective? Is it to inform, entertain or persuade? What response, action or reaction are you hoping to achieve?

DEVELOP a solid structure

Based on these foundations, start developing your talk using words, language, examples, references and stories that bring your key message to life and – perhaps most importantly – your audience will understand and resonate with.

Make it easy for your audience to follow your train of thought by using the CAPTURE – CONVINCE – CLOSE structure:

Your introduction should serve to CAPTURE the attention of your audience, establish your credibility as the speaker and set the tone of your talk.

The main section of your talk should serve to CONVINCE and persuade your audience with both:

  • Logical arguments that appeal to the mind – such as hard facts and figures
  • And emotional arguments that appeal more to the heart – such as stories, case studies, metaphors and analogies

Your CLOSE should serve to connect all the dots and tie everything together. This is also where you can give your audience a clear call to action.

DELIVER with passion and harmony

With your talk mapped out, it’s time to focus on your delivery. Your verbal and non-verbal delivery signals give subtext to your talk, making the audience feel something.

Your VOICE attributes meaning to your words. Consider your volume, emphasis and intonation, tonal range, the pace of your delivery, and your articulation. ……And don’t forget to pause and breathe so you give power to your voice and give your audience a break so they can digest what you’ve just said!

Your NON-VERBAL signals can be used to reinforce your words and foster rapport with your audience. Use the old ‘head, shoulders, knees and toes’ ditty to check in with yourself and make sure your body language, movement and positioning, facial expressions and eye contact are demonstrating confidence and conviction in what you are saying.

Finally, consider other SENSORY signals. These can often be the difference between a good talk and a great talk. Everything from the clothes you wear; the visuals you show on screen; the lighting; the music or sound effects; the props you use.

Whatever signals you choose to incorporate, remember they should all work in harmony to build on the foundations you’ve designed and the script you’ve developed, to help you deliver your message in a way that connects with your audience.

Speak to Connect

The next time you have to speak at a team meeting, a customer presentation or a new business pitch, I hope this gives you a framework to follow so you design, develop and deliver a talk that connects with – and persuades your audience…and helps you enjoy the experience along the way.