Thursday, May 19, 2016

Speak up with confidence

Public speaking is a challenge for some. For others, it can be downright terrifying. Even the most experienced speakers can learn new ways to perfect their message and strengthen their connection with an audience.
Jenny Maxwell with the Buckley School of Public Speaking in Camden offers up a few tips to help speakers increase their confidence in front of any type of audience. 

At a preconference session at this year's Annual Meeting, Jenny is back by popular demand to expand on the session she led at last year’s meeting to help speakers make their message come to life. This hands-on interactive public speaking class is one of three preconference sessions offered this year the first day of the meeting, Thursday, July 14, in Charleston.

Listen to a podcast interview with Jenny talking about several of these tips she will discuss during the session. 

Start strong - Put together an open that grabs attention. Let the audience know what you’re talking about and why they should care. 

Use simple words - Fancy words don’t impress. They confuse. Choose what speechwriter Peggy Noonan calls “good, hard, simple words with good, hard, clear meanings.” 

Avoid tentative language - Frequent use of “I think” or “I believe” or “kinda sorta definitely” undermine your message. 

Cut the fluff - No need to add “I want you to understand that…” or “here is a story that will help you see what I mean.” Jump to the substance that follows. 

Identify with the audience - Avoid “I urge you …” or “you must….” Look for ways to say “We’re in this together.” 

Minimize jargon - Jargon can be efficient. It can indicate knowledge of a company or field. But excessive use of jargon makes language boring and confuses people less familiar with your “secret code.” 

End well - Conclude by reminding the audience of your major point and why they care. If there are next steps, those might be part of a conclusion, too.

Municipal officials can register for the Annual Meeting, the preconference sessions and the awards breakfast on June 1 and 2 during pre-assigned registration appointments. Get more information here.

Podcast interview with Jenny.

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