Increase your influence!
5 tips for speaking with authority
by Catherine Ahern
To be an influential speaker, you must earn your audience’s respect. Fortunately, if you present yourself as an authority in your field, that respect will quickly follow. Follow these tips to deliver your message with authority:
- Know your material. While it’s not necessary to memorize your speech, it’s imperative that you understand your subject matter inside and out. Spend time thoroughly researching your topic, discuss it with other experts, and read relevant articles and blogs. If you only know your subject on the surface level, you’ll be unable to respond intelligently to questions. Furthermore, if you feel insecure in your understanding, that lack of confidence will be apparent to your audience.
- Adopt a strong posture. Stand tall, with your shoulders back. Put one foot in front of the other, and rest your weight on your back foot. Lean your torso forward just slightly. Don’t lean on the lectern, cross your feet at your ankles or stand with your hip jutted out to the side. Those stances all undercut your authority. Crossing your arms in front of you also can make you seem less secure.
- Control your voice. Avoid speaking quickly. Doing so makes it hard for your listeners to understand you, and it can raise the pitch of your voice, making you sound younger and less authoritative. Pause and breathe naturally. Also avoid inflections that could undermine your message, such as raising your intonation at the end of a statement, making it sound more like a question.
- Stick to the point. People in positions of authority don’t generally feel the need to overexplain. Follow their lead. Provide the information your audience needs, but don’t go on and on about every detail. It’s more powerful to reach the point quickly, without a lot of rambling.
- Use confident word choice. Steer clear of qualifying language that comes across as uncertain or self-doubting. Examples: “This might be obvious, but …,” “I think …,” “In my opinion …,” “I’m guessing that …,” “It seems to me that …,” “Perhaps,” or “Maybe.” Instead, speak with certainty. You know what you’re saying is correct.
Every Person’s Guide to Public Speaking
Give an outstanding presentation and the high fives and pats on the back keep coming. Stumble through a painful presentation and you’ll receive lots of pity—and maybe a few hidden snickers or eye rolls.
When it comes to presenting to a group of people, the devil is in the details. With enough preparation, anyone—everyone—can execute a presentation that wows. So even if you are terrified at the thought of public speaking, you can use your words to influence, motivate and spur people to act. And you can do it without anxiety and pain.
Every Person’s Guide to Public Speaking guides you through each step in the process, from creating the perfect presentation to overcoming challenges that might throw you off your game. Commit to learning and implementing the training and you will build your confidence and become an impressive speaker.
This multimedia resource includes:
- The 15-minute videoNo Sweat! Overcome Your Fear of Public Speaking, with a companion Trainer’s Guide and Viewer’s Guide.
- The 60-minute audio conference presentation Ensure That Your Message Is Heard and Understood: Tips for Communicating Clearly and Concisely.
- A 68-page workbook stuffed full of best practices, guides, tips, quizzes and more.
- A Customizable, Print-Ready Forms CD that trainers and trainees can reference again and again.
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