How to speak well

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No matter who you are or what you do, speaking well is one of the most important skills you can develop. Personal relationships, social interactions and work situations all require you to communicate to other people. By becoming a better speaker you can advance your career, enhance your reputation, boost your self-confidence and open up countless opportunities: If you would like training 'How to speak well' in your business, just get in touch, and I'll send you the training modules FREE. James Hurford | Corporate Trainer Author, 'How to write well' and 'How to speak well' Call: +27 (0) 742 545 881 Email: Website:

Text of How to speak well

  • 2014 James Hurford. Passion. All rights reserved. Where possible an accreditation has been given to the source of photography and any original content used. In some cases this source could not be found. If you know the original source and would like an accreditation, please get in contact and Ill post one for you. Front cover image source: 2 HOW TO SPEAK WELL Secrets to help you communicate better at work, at home and in your community by James Hurford
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  • TO BECOME A GREAT LEADER, YOU MUST BECOME A GREAT COMMUNICATOR You cant become a great leader, if you cant speak well. It's no coincidence that throughout history nearly all of the great world leaders were good speakers Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy to name but a few. Whether youre a president or a manager, your success depends on good communication. 7 tips to make you a great communicator 1. Connect with people effective communication is more about building relationships than anything else. Communicate with the emphasis on connecting with people and they will respond better to you and your message. Speak from the heart and use your own language, let your own personality shine through. Make sure your communication is genuine and true and avoid corporate mumbo-jumbo your team will respect you for it. 2. Build trust for you to become a great communicator, people must trust you. Being aware of this is the single most important thing that you should keep mind: If you want to win a man to your cause, rst convince him that you are a sincere friend. Abraham Lincoln 3. Use more than just words when we communicate we use words, tone of voice and body language to get our message across. The very best messages are those that are synchronised when theyre all giving the same message. How you look and what you wear speaks volumes about you. People judge you on your appearance before any words are spoken. Make 4
  • sure you look the part. Pay attention to grooming, style and t of clothing. Your look also includes personable qualities facial expression, good posture, a positive attitude and eye contact, all play an important part. 4. Listen well its one of the fundamental skills of success. Its hard to be great or trusted without it. When youre not listening well to someone you're communicating, I don't care. You're not worthy of my attention. Which has to be on the quickest ways to destroy anyones trust. Listen with your eyes and your body. Practice patience, empathise and most importantly be present. Avoid taking interruption calls, text messages or emails it's one of the fastest ways to show you don't really care about them. 5. Be simple, clear and concise it's always better than complicated and confusing. Simplify your communication and stick to the core point. It also shows that you have respect for your teams time. Meetings should contain a brief summary and a call to action with clear instructions. By keeping matters short, it also shows that you have a clear understanding of what is being said. 6. Think before you speak don't force yourself into a conversa- tion just to hear yourself speak. Keep your thoughts under wraps until you have something specic to say, until you understand how to proceed. Your words are a reection of who you are. If you speak before you think, you're not considering the words you're saying or the words of the person you should be listening to. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing at all. 7. Ask the right questions you'll get to the heart of effective communication and information exchange. Youll gather better information and learn more; youll build stronger relationships, manage people more effectively and help others to learn too. Skilful questioning needs to be matched by careful listening so that you understand what people really mean with their answers. Your body language and tone of voice can also play a part in the answers you get when you ask questions. Your ability to develop effective communication skills accounts for fully 85% of your success in business and in your personal life. The good news is, communication is a learned skill. We can all get better at it by learning what great communicators do and practising these skills until they become part of our everyday life. 5
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  • 20 TIPS TO BEING A BETTER SPEAKER No matter who you are or what you do, speaking well is one of the most important skills you can develop. Personal relationships, social interactions and work situations all require you to communicate to other people. By becoming a better speaker you can advance your career, enhance your reputation, boost your self-condence and open up countless opportunities: 1. Talk with your listeners not at them use a conversational style. The same as you would if they were sitting across a table from you. Dont use jargon and stuffy words, keep it simple and direct. 2. Paint pictures with your words see in your mind the story you are telling. Youll have more excitement in your voice when you bring it alive. 3. Put energy and re in your voice if your voice sounds nervous or timid, you sense it, the audience will hear it and youll see their discomfort. Use energy and youll come across as more condent. 4. Set the tone your condence, emotional state and attitude is often revealed in your tone of voice. You would use a different tone at a funeral than you would a wedding. Make sure your tone is right for the topic youre talking about. It will set the stage for your whole presentation. 5. Dont give long talks twenty minutes max, any longer than that is a test of peoples endurance. Remember, it takes more time to write a short talk than a long one. Keep it direct and to the point. 6. Dont write your speech word for word youll end up reading it. Write it like a short script. Use phases to guide you and jog your memory. Itll sound more natural and youll come across a more spontaneous. 7. Practice your talk out loud if it sounds right it usually is right. 8. Prepare and rehearse too many people think all they need to do is rehearse once before they go into the presentation. If you want to hold attention and command authority you need to practice. Again, again and again. 9. Get and hold attention take command straight away by striding to the lectern with purpose. Start your talk eyes-up, in a conversational style, with energy and enthusiasm by doing this youre saying, Im in control. 10. Dont dget put pens, paper, phones or anything else distracting to one side. Fiddle with these things at your cost. Youll come across as nervous. 7
  • 11. Look your best your appearance sets the stage. Make sure you use it to your advantage. Dress one step up from the best dressed in the room. 12. Make eye contact after your voice, your eyes are the most powerful tool for communicating. When presenting, establish eye contact and click from one person to another in your audience, pausing briey between each set of eyes in the room. This click gives your listeners the feeling you're relating to each one individually. 13. Stand tall how you stand speaks volumes. A balanced stance with weight even but slightly forward says the speaker is engaged with the audience. A slumped stance says the speaker doesn't care. 14. Let your gestures ow theyll make you look more natural and theyll actually reinforce your words. But dont over do it. 15. Make a connection empathy builds trust. When you can read other peoples feelings and share your own you make a much stronger impact. Its critical for effective communication. 16. Show condence your body language and facial expressions communicate as much as your words. Attitudes, feelings and emotions are sent like telegrams to your audience. Make sure they are in sync with what you are saying. 17. Smile you communicate joy and ease. A frozen or neutral face communicates absolutely nothing. Show warmth, sincerity and feeling by keeping your face animated. 18. Conquer nervousness over come your fear with preparation. The more you prepare, the less nerves you will have. Begin preparing your talk at least three weeks ahead of time. 19. Check out where you are speaking it will prevent last minute surprises. Practice standing at the lectern, re-arrange chairs, check out the sound system its your stage, not just a room. 20. Be yourself the more you try to act like someone on stage, the more people will see straight through you. The more you act like yourself, the more natural and condent you will come across. 8
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  • PUBLIC SPEAKING CAN GIVE YOU THE WILLIES We've all seen it happen the stumbling over words, the awful hesitations and lost lines making you squirm in your seat or simply wishing the speaker would disappear down a hole. Why is it people fear public speaking so much? Some people will go to the extent of avoiding public speaking altogether. Others will pass up promotions and assignments which require speaking. It may even lead some to choose a career that doesnt call for public speaking at all, rather than following the one they really want. Others dont go that far, but will go to great lengths to avoid making presentations, or just speaking in a meeting. They may even deliberately arrive late, hoping to miss the cus