As a journalist for 20 years, I have seen many different styles and techniques used in public speaking. From people who are very confident, to those who use humour to keep the audience engaged and others where I have been left wondering, what was their key message?
Let me share with you some of my top tips to being an influential spokesperson.
Keep your key messages and language simple, so everyone can understand. If you are presenting, make sure the structure of your speech flows naturally. Speak clearly with confidence – trust yourself.
Do Your Research
Who is your target audience? Ensure that your content is relevant to the target audience. Research your topic thoroughly so you can answer any impromptu questions. It’s good to practise Q&As with a colleague or friend prior to speaking at a public or media event. You want the audience to think you are the expert on the topic.
The way you present yourself goes a long way in how you will be perceived by the audience. If you are representing a business, wear the uniform or something that suits that industry. Be well groomed – tidy hair at a minimum. Be kind and respectful in every encounter that you have.
Many media trainers teach clients to speak in short sentences, so a journalist can easily get a quick soundbite. Please don’t do this! It just sounds awkward. It’s best to speak naturally. Also never memorise your presentation word for word as it’s too easy to make a mistake and it can be hard to recover. Instead, write key points to speak to and practise those.
Finally, I am going to finish on the golden rule for whenever you speak at a public event or a press conference. Treat all microphones as though they are live!
You can find more tips on how to be a successful spokesperson in our Engaging the Media course here.
About Yvette Gray
Yvette is our communications specialist, who has almost 20 years’ experience in the media industry. She is an award winning journalist, working as a report, presenter and producer for TV, radio, print and online. Yvette is also experienced in public relations, having worked as a senior media adviser and manager at Life Saving Victoria. She knows what it takes to make a good story and how to gain media interest.