Leading With Change + Innovation

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“If you really want to know about business, you should refer to Scott Steinberg.” -Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group

Corporate Speaking: How to Give Better Speeches

In part one of our corporate speaker’s guide to giving better business speeches, we revealed several initial hints, tips, and pieces of expert advice on how to wow any business audience. In part two, we’ll take a deeper dive into what it takes to get your message across – and how to keep attendees at any meeting, tradeshow, conference or similar setting well engaged. Below, you’ll find a number of insights that can help you give better presentations – and get an edge up when delivering keynotes, presentations, or brief TED-style talks of every kind.

Draw on Real-World Experience and Research

Like any good corporate speaker knows, inspiration and motivation are key elements of running a successful business – but so are a sense of hard-nosed practicality and eye for operational detail. As important to executives as the raw facts and figures associated with any scenario are strategic considerations and real-world context: Accordingly, case studies and practical examples can prove powerful touchpoints in any presentation.

Many businesses, and business owners, are dealing with commonly-recurring issues such as managing growth or change, attracting and retaining key talent, and juggling shifting consumer patterns. Few may possess insight beyond their specific vertical or industry as to how other organizations are successfully adapting to and addressing similar challenges, faced by leaders across the board.

To this extent, underlying themes and metaphors can help you paint a broad overarching framework – however, concrete examples and comparable situational analyses should serve as the rungs which more effectively tie messaging together. That doesn’t mean anecdotes need to be dry or boring: All can provide helpful storytelling devices that underscore key points and drive sustained audience attention. Merely, that it pays to support your claims with facts, and show how they apply in context – and can make powerful statements when designed to better resonate or ring familiar.

Present a Clear Call to Action

The outcome of a successful corporate speaking engagement shouldn’t simply be providing the motivation and inspiration needed to overcome the challenges an enterprise faces. It should result in attendees walking away with the knowledge needed to capably and immediately act upon both.

Note that even a single 60- to 90-minute session is enough to provide audiences with a wake-up call, shift in mindset, and the basic tools needed to begin putting new insights into practice. While opportunities such as seminars, master classes and workshops certainly provide extended forums for corporate speakers to help drive positive learning and skills transfer, it doesn’t take hours to spark audiences’ interest in researching and exploring subjects further. Brief though they may be, even passing presentations provide an opportunity to provide powerful tools for driving awareness and embracement of new models or methodologies. Often, all it takes is a starting point and subtle nudge in the right direction to prompt further self-guided research.

Your goal in every case: To better the client and audience’s condition, and provide viewers with the means of driving forward progress and momentum. Specific and actionable advice is most highly sought-after by practically-minded business audiences – every presentation you give should aim to provide practical tips, training and advice to accompany core messages. But simply presenting a roadmap to success isn’t enough… you’ve also got to provide impetus and incentive. To maximize value, don’t let audience members leave the room without recognizing the value of undertaking the journey, and how to take their first steps down its path. The way forward is seldom hard for well-educated and -experienced audiences to see — rather, they simply need a reminder why it’s vital one pursue it to its ultimate destination.

 

Needless to say, executive audiences may seem among the most imposing and intimidating you’ll ever face in your professional speaking career. But they’re secretly on your side – a win for your program is a win for the entire organization.

It may also help to remember that as a corporate speaker you don’t need to connect with every individual in the room: Just the handful of stakeholders that can serve as champions for supporting ideas, and help them take root throughout the enterprise. As ever, big things start with small steps.

Having used the techniques above to better connect with audiences, communicate the value of key messages, and drive positive momentum, you’ll be well on your way to climbing the corporate ladder.

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