Do you get right to the point to speak with impact? If you're too wordy, here are 7 ways to speak concisely.
Let's talk about conciseness. Especially when speaking virtually.
And if you don't use full sentences? No matter.
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For one thing, we write in sentences; but we speak in ideas. So, speaking from a manuscript is one of the ways you can sound too wordy. How can you correct that? Simply grab the phrase or idea and look up at your listeners and share it. Then look down and get the next one. Listeners won't mind the second or so it takes you to do this.
Below are more ways to avoid wordiness and be an economical speaker.
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7 Ways to Speak with Impact
im.pact n. 3. The effect or impression of one thing upon another. (The American Heritage Dictionary, 2d College Edition.)
That's you, making an impression on your audience. In this case, by being concise.
Given today's nonstop virtual meetings, you need to do so for two paradoxical reasons: 1) people have only you to look at, and 2) people can look everywhere else. Too many distractions, right? (And who knows where anyone is looking when their camera is off?) You need to be sure they stay tuned into you, while not wasting their time. Here's a lucky roll of seven to help make that happen.
1. No throat-clearing. This is pure habit; and with a little practice, it should be easy for you to stop. "To get started today," "Before I begin the presentation" (hint: you've already begun!), and, "As I said before," are examples of this "Ahem, ahem!" style of speaking.
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2. Avoid diminishing language. This is a very common practice. Unfortunately, unlike using too many "ah's" and "um's," we're usually not aware that we indulge in it. Examples include “I want to talk a little bit about . . .” and "Just," as in, "I'd just like to go over. . ." Every main point in a presentation is there for a reason, i.e., it's important. Make sure it sounds that way!
3. Build a corral. This is a great way to proceed if you tend to ramble and your remarks or responses lack a certain cohesiveness, kind of like this sentence. A corral holds horses of course. Similarly, your word-corral keeps you firmly within bounds. "Today, I'm going to discuss three aspects of this topic," is a speech with a corral in place. So is this answer: "There are two things I'd like to say to respond."
4. Shut up. Don’t over-explain.
5. Be disciplined. The road to hell is paved with good intentions . . . and speakers who go down "interesting paths." If you've thought carefully about your purpose in speaking, you will only include content that helps you achieve that goal. Stay on that beam. And keep a firm grip on time management.
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6. Pause. It's hard to say too much when you're not saying anything. Pauses are valuable for all kinds of reasons. Among them: they are a barrier to running on. You should probably pause more in presentations than you do now. That's sound advice for all speakers. If you tend to babble, help stop yourself in your tracks.
7. Use a pointer. A pleasant surprise here, perhaps. A laser pointer in virtual speaking keeps you on the "points" at hand without adding new ones. There are connections between the ideas you are sharing that words on a slide don't reveal. The laser pointer allows you to show those connections visually, with arrows, circles, check marks, etc. Brilliant!
That's it. Thanks for listening.
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Gary Genard is an actor, author, and expert in public speaking training and overcoming speaking fear. His company, Boston-based The Genard Method offers live 1:1 Zoom executive coaching and corporate group training worldwide. In 2021 for the eighth consecutive year, Gary has been ranked by Global Gurus as One of the World’s Top 30 Communication Professionals. He is the author of the Amazon Best-Seller How to Give a Speech. His second book, Fearless Speaking, was named in 2019 as "One of the 100 Best Confidence Books of All Time." His latest book is The Online Meetings Handbook, now available at The Genard Method and at Amazon. To know more about TGM's services, Contact Gary here.