Join Jeff Ansell for an in-depth discussion in this video What makes a good speaker, part of Communicating with Confidence.
- To me, a good communicator is not somebody who's smooth, polished and never says "uh." Everyone says "uh" sometimes, including me, and I'm not bad at this. Being a good speaker has nothing to do with being glib and articulate. To me, being a good speaker, a confident communicator, means looking like you mean what you're talking about and sounding like you mean what you're talking about. A good speaker draws you in and engages you. A good speaker makes you feel they're talking directly to you, even though dozens or maybe hundreds of thousands are watching.
To me, that's charisma. That's the recipe for being a confident communicator. Look like you mean it and sound like you mean it. Pretty simple, huh? Okay, start off by asking yourself, who is a good speaker? It could be someone famous or someone you know. Now, what is it that makes this person a good speaker? Is it that this person seems to care about their subject? Could it be because their facial expressions are genuine and they sound so animated? Yes, all that, and likely more.
A confident communicator is grounded, comfortable in their own skin, at ease and natural whether it's in a one-on-one conversation, a meeting at work or school, or a large presentation setting. Confident communicators connect to others through words, gestures, and voice. Of the three, words, gestures, and voice, which do you think is most impacting when people are determining your attitudes and emotions? A study conducted by UCLA determined that people interpret the attitudes and emotions of others on the basis of three factors.
I call them the three Vs. The visual, how we look and carry ourselves, our facial expression. The vocal, how we sound, our tone, our volume. And the verbal, words we use to communicate. So which do you think is most important? How you look, how you sound, or what you say? Now, all are important, but here's what the study discovered. The study found that 55% of the way people interpret your attitudes and emotions is through the visual.
38% of the way people interpret your attitudes and emotions is through the vocal. 7% of the way people interpret your attitudes and emotions is through the verbal. Despite that low number, words are important. And of equal, if not greater importance, is having the ability to deliver words with conviction. Inspiring words can change the world, and have. A confident communicator is someone who's thoughtful with words, who recognizes the impact of language and has facial expression that reflects the mood and texture of what's being said.
Someone whose voice owns the message. A good speaker has the three Vs flying in formation, the visual, the vocal, the verbal, all soaring in the same direction. So you look like you mean what you're talking about and sound like you mean what you're talking about. To do that, we have to know how we want to come across and be seen by others. For instance, if you're delivering a presentation on a bold new plan, what words would you use to describe how you want to see yourself and have others see you? Words, I'm sure, like confident, knowledgeable, and engaging, to name a few.
If you're in a conversation, delivering a tough message, what words would you use then to convey how you want to see yourself and how you want others to see you? Words, perhaps, like genuine, concerned, empathetic. A good speaker is also someone who's willing to be vulnerable in front of others. Sometimes it's through a heartwarming story of loss or failure. Other times it's through the sharing of an experience that holds meaning for you, as well. A good speaker touches you. A good speaker makes you listen. A good speaker can make you act.
A good speaker is connected. Connected to themselves and connected to those they talk to. All of these qualities come together so the speaker sounds and looks like they know what they're talking about.
- Organizing your thoughts
- Speaking slowly, naturally, and confidently
- Breathing properly
- Using your body to reinforce speech
- Managing facial expressions
- Handling nervousness
- Integrating voice modulation, eye contact, and hand gestures into a powerful and engaging communication style