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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.

Clear Communication

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.

Be Professional

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.

Speak Naturally

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.

Conversation Co

Conversation Co proudly acknowledges and celebrates First Peoples of Australia and their ongoing strength in upholding some of the world's oldest living cultures. We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands throughout what is now Victoria – where we live, conduct pop-ups, and engage with our communities – and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present. Conversation Co acknowledges First Peoples' sovereignty has never been ceded. The strength, resilience and pride of First Peoples, their cultures, communities and identities continue to grow and thrive today despite the impact of colonisation and ongoing experiences of racism.

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