Effective communicators know how to get their message across by using established methods. They know who the audience is and what they expect to hear. The successful speaker uses words and terminology that appeal to their audience; they avoid confusing listeners. The following 10 qualities make it easier for audiences to absorb and take action on the information shared.
- Leadership qualities such as trust and integrity are essential.
Strong leaders strive to gain consumers’ trust. To do this, they rely on integrity and adherence to moral and ethical principles. (Low, 2018)
- Authenticity is the foundational motivation that helps leadership and similar ideas spring to life.
During interpersonal communication, the top quality is consistent honesty. A speaker must not deviate from the facts of their story with honesty or frankness, essentially presenting themselves with measured personal sharing or expression. Moreover, an authentic speaker invites listeners to see their humanity. (Low, 2018)
Social decorum/competence. Great speakers understand that too much personal sharing could overwhelm the audience. Therefore, a speaker’s content must be in good taste and decency; the depth of personal sharing should relate to the type of audience and topic. For example, using words and terms that adequately stay within the audience’s ability to relate to the subject. (Low, 2018)
- Presence requires the above-bolded content and clearly outlining their purpose and goal. They need to stay on topic to engage listeners. Hildegard Von Bingen’s quote, “dare to declare who you are,” speaks to a speaker’s starting point. (Low 2018)
- The ability to resonate with their audience. In other words, speakers must fine-tune their message for the listener, not ask their audience to tune into the presenter. “Being true to yourself involves showing and sharing strong emotion. The spirit that motivates most great storytellers is ‘I want you to feel what I feel,’ and the effective narrative is designed to make that happen. That’s how the information is bound to the experience and rendered unforgettable;” a quote from Peter Guber (Duarte 2010).
- Understand emotions. Aristotle said that a speaker who wants to persuade someone to do something (call to action) must be able to name emotions and know what causes them. If two products have the same features, the speaker appeals to an emotional need to sell their story, product, etc. (Duarte 2010)
- Make the audience the hero. A successful storyteller considers what makes their audience tick. Speakers should invest enough time in learning about their perspective listeners. They discover what makes their audience laugh, cry, and unite or unite them. (Apps, 2019)
Maintain a conversational tone. Presenters must think of their audience “as a line of individuals waiting for a face-to-face conversation. The goal is to make them feel like they are having a personal exchange with the storyteller. Listeners should leave the presentation feeling more confident in the speaker’s message. (Apps, 2019)
- Present a new perspective. Nothing will turn off an audience like listening to worn-out repetitive content. Instead, find a unique way to present a well-known topic. For example, Donald Trump’s slogan “Make America Great Again” or Joe Biden’s “Build back, better.” Overall the words mean the same thing, but the listener needs more context. A speaker should take the opportunity to introduce a new idea about these slogans. Doing so has a better chance the audience will remain engaged. They won’t be bored. (Hogan, 2016).
- Speakers should forget about rules about not using filler words, like um, uh, and like. Those rules are for writing. When a speaker naturally uses filler words, it validates the storyteller’s authenticity. (Apps, 2019). Belinda Huckle explains that filler words are part of a person’s unique language personality. Furthermore, “If we are trying to communicate a complex idea, we often use filler words to give the listener more time to process the information, to digest it, and to catch up to what we are saying.” (Huckle, 2022) However, caution must be taken not to overuse filler words because using them too often could lower the listener’s ability to grasp the speaker’s intent fully.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Productivity Press: The GuruBook: Insights from 45 Pioneering Entrepreneurs and Leaders on Business Strategy and Innovation; by Jonathan Loe (2018)
John Wiley and Sons: Resonate: Present Visual Stories that Transform Audiences; by Nancy Duarte (2018)
John Wiley and Sons: The Art of Communication: How to be Authentic, Lead Others, and Create Strong Connections; by Judy Apps (2019)
A Book Apart: Demystifying Public Speaking; by Lara Hogan (2016)
Second Nature: How To Reduce Them In A Presentation; by Belinda Huckle