By Michele Trent
Phoenix Public Speaking Coach
After having spent a summer studying for and then attending an intensive Neuro-Linguistic Programming Certification Training, I am clearer now than ever about the importance of language and public speaking. As a communicator, words are the raw materials from which you construct a bridge between yourself and your audience. What you say and how you say it mean…quite literally…everything in terms of your effectiveness. Without immersing yourself in an NLP course, what words might you use to better communicate your message?
Here are two thoughts about how to do that:
(1) Know Your Audience! This cannot be overstated. Once you know your audience, you will begin to speak in their language. Every business, every workgroup, every social group, has words, acronyms, and phrases that they use. To the extent that you can learn and apply these will make you come across as “one of them” and consequently, give you more credibility. However, don’t just throw in a bunch of terms that you don’t understand and hope for the best. If you do, you are likely to come across as silly and inauthentic. However, you don’t have to be an expert in the arena to use words and phrases familiar with the audience. Once you have uncovered what some of those words and phrases are that resonate with your audience, your attempt to relate and incorporate them just might be enough. Consider when you travel overseas and you attempt the native language of the country you are visiting. You are often given a courtesy smile just for having tried. At least you made the effort to find the words and use them. You made an effort to connect and assimilate. Do the same when presenting. Find out about the company or group and attempt to use their language.
(2) Use Your Imagination. Imagination is a terrific tool for you as a speaker. When your audience is imaging themselves in a scenario, they are actively using their minds and creating more meaning from what you say. I recently watched a speaker do this effectively. He was talking about his role as a commercial real estate agent. He invited the audience to come along with him as he showed a property. Of course, we were all still sitting in our seats. Yet, when he guided us to imagine ourselves on the tour, it all became more real. The next time you speak, invite your audience in by inviting them to imagine themselves benefitting or participating in what you are sharing.
Your words can have great power. Think through what you say in addition to how you say it. Doing so will make you an even more effective communicator.