There they sit with an attentive ear. They sit in silence with anticipation of what you will say. As a leader you are about to address your audience with something important.
What have you done to prepare for this event?
I have been an assistant coach for a head coach who was never prepared for his team meetings. It showed. Before practice even began he had lost the team. How do you follow or respect your leader when they seem to have no idea where they are going themselves?
Knowing what to say and how to say it is crucial to being a leader.
Here are 6 easy steps to help you:
Spend some time thinking about what you want to say. Ernest Hemmingway has been attributed to saying, “Write drunk and edit sober.” Think like that. Put everything down, brainstorm, and get all your thoughts out on paper. Then read it over again, edit and organize your thoughts.
Put your thoughts in order. Basic psychology states that people will remember the first and last thing you say. Organize your speech with that in mind.
3. Your Delivery
How are your going to say what matters? Some issues you must be passionate and inspirational about. Others you can breeze through. You audience will become conditioned to pay attention more or less based on your different tones of voice. Don’t mix this up.
4. Stay Focused
Keep ideas clear, relevant, and simple. If you say too much, too much will be lost. I personally believe in addressing only 3-4 things at a time. If I miss something, I’ll get to it tomorrow.
I don’t always practice my speeches out loud or in front of a mirror, but I always go through them in my mind before hand. A quick rehearsal helps me keep all the steps in mind and is beneficial for my delivery.
6. Work the Room
Make eye contact with individuals. Be seen. Napoleon was supposedly short. I’m sure most of his speeches were from his horse. I’m sort of vertically impaired, so I have my team sit or take a knee so everyone can see me. Get feedback. Have another trusted leader watch you and give you feedback. Ask them to tell you if you have any weird ticks or habits. Do you say “um” too much?
As the leader of the group it is your job to cast vision, objectives, and goals. You are the face of the program, organization, or group. However, getting up in front is the first step. Know what you are going to say, organize your thoughts, prepare your delivery, stay focused, and rehearse. Now watch your group soar!