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10 Focusing Techniques To Help You Speak For Leadership


10 Focusing Techniques To Help You Speak For Leadership

Do you deliver remarks, or change people's lives? Show the skills of a leader! Follow these 10 focusing techniques that will help you speak for leadership.

When it comes to leading others, you need to be a skilled public speaker. That has always been true. Yet in today's virtual world, what you say may be heard by millions worldwide. So it's essential that you're not only good, but extraordinarily present.

The higher your profile and influence, however, the more distractions you'll face in becoming the speaker you want to be. So maintaining your alignment is a must-achieve task.

Want to occupy the top shelf when it comes to public speaking? Discover how it's done with my book, Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets. On Amazon.

An executive speech coach's secrets for developing leadership presence, Speak for Leadership.

Below are 10 theater-based approaches we use at The Genard Method to help leaders stay fully present for audiences. They range from nonverbal communication, to storytelling, to commanding a room or stage, to understanding how to get on an audience's wavelength. Each tip is simple. Together, they're a recipe for presentation excellence and maximum influence.

Ten Public Speaking Techniques for Leadership

  1. Ground yourself. Grounding is a stage tool for feeling stable and looking steadfast. With feet at shoulder width, grip the floor with your toes inside your shoes. Imagine you have roots that go deep into the ground. The Earth gives you energy and powertwo essential attributes of knowing how to achieve high-impact speaking and present with influence.  
  2. Stand or sit with good posture. Visuals matter in how you look and carry yourself. Posture makes a difference in terms of knowing how to achieve credibility and authority. (Here are 12 easy ways to achieve presence and charisma.) Go ahead and demonstrate pride in your self-image. It will also make you feel more like the person you want to portray.
  3. Breathe diaphragmatically. That means slowly, deeply, and calmly. "Belly breathe" by taking fuller breaths so you support the sound to the ends of phrases (where the most important words reside). It also helps to know how to calm your nerves before speaking.
  4. Notice your audience. Your audience is a pool you need to submerge yourself in. Whatever you're saying, watch how listeners react. Then respond in turn. Doing so is part of what makes you a speaker who understands the best ways to achieve stage presence.
  5. Slow down. High-profile speaking and adrenaline can make you race through your speech. Instead, take time to cherish this speaking opportunity, which is only here now and in a moment will be gone forever. Just like an actor, you need to allow enough time for emotional responses. It's one of the ways of knowing how to captivate an audience.
  6. Be more sensual. Take in everything that’s happening, through all your senses. When you let go of self-consciousness, the world around you often comes flooding in. Take a cue from acting and respond with all your being! You'll be in the moment like never before.
  7. Aim your energy outward. Always remember: your audience matters, not you! Aim your efforts at getting your message heard and absorbed, not just delivering it. If you're a leader you probably aren't used to hearing this, so I'll repeat it: you don't matter. Send the best of you to the people who do matter.
  8. Make eye contact as you tell the story. The real story is what the audience is here for, which is how what you're saying affects people. Whatever you’re talking about, it’s a story, a narrative. In that sense, you're always involved in storytelling. Make that your touchstone.
  9. Trust silence. Silence is one of the most powerful tools in your public speaking toolbox. It helps you pace your presentation. It gives audiences time to fully grasp what you're saying. It also tells audiences, “I'm confident.” (Are you anxious about speaking? Here are 10 Fast and Effective Ways to Overcome Stage Fright.)
  10. Move! Moving on stage will help you think and keep you in the moment. Strong, clean gestures amplify meaning. The body is an essential tool of human communication, which is what 'body language' means. Give physical expression to the important things you're saying. If you don't, we'll miss the human being behind the ideas. Here are 6 skills building exercises in body language for public speaking

A last point: Don't practice all of these techniques at once. Try one or two at a time, preferably in low-risk speaking situations. You'll gradually build up a level of focus and engagement with audiences that any speaker would envy. And here's a quick cheat sheet on "10 Ways to Stay Fully Focused When Speaking."

This article was previously published in 2018. It is updated here.

You should follow me on Twitter here.

Cropped headshot for Speak for Leadership back cover -- 8.30.21

Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking and overcoming speaking fear. His company, The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching  and corporate group training worldwide. The Genard Method was listed as "One of the Top 10 Communication Training Programs in the World." Dr. Genard has also named as "One of America's Top 5 Speech Coaches." He is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speakingwas named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His handbook for presenting in videoconferences, Speaking Virtually offers strategies and tools for developing virtual presence in online meetings. His latest book is Speak for Leadership: An Executive Speech Coach's Secrets for Developing Leadership PresenceContact Gary here. 


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