This is #2 of a series on “5 Steps to Fearless Speaking” each part covering one of the 5 parts, Confidence, Clarity, Authority, Authenticity, and Engagement. In Part 2, we delve into how to boost your public speaking with clarity. In this blog post, you will discover how clarity captivates audiences, enhances your impact as a speaker, and builds your confidence. First, let's take a look at what happens when a speech is not clear.
Examples of Speeches Without Clarity
Because a confused mind never buys, it is incredibly important that you speak with clarity. If you are not clear, your audience will be confused. And, if you want “buy-in” from your audience, it is extremely important for you to be clearly understood.
You might be thinking, “I would never give a presentation that is not clear.” You would hope!! But it happens.
One example of a speech where the speaker was not clear was Sarah Palin's speech at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Palin was criticized for lacking clarity in several ways.
One of the main criticisms was that her speech contained numerous factual errors and misleading statements. Additionally, her use of metaphors, jokes, and folksy language made it difficult for some listeners to follow her main points. Some of her statements were also criticized for being too vague and lacking in specific policy proposals. Overall, while Palin's speech was praised for its energy and enthusiasm, it was also criticized for lacking clarity and substance.
Here are 3 additional examples of speeches that are not clear and why:
- A speech given by a politician that is filled with vague promises and generalities, without any specific details or plans of action.
- A technical presentation by a scientist that is filled with jargon and technical terms that the audience may not understand, without any clear explanations or simplifications.
- A motivational speech that is overly emotional or filled with metaphors and analogies that are difficult to follow or understand, without clear guidance or actionable advice.
Lack of clarity or coherence can detract from the impact of your message and make it more difficult for the audience to fully engage with the content of your speech.
Clarity is important in public speaking for these 4 reasons:
- 1To Ensure Your Message Is Understood: The primary goal of any public speaking engagement is to convey a message to your audience they can understand. But, If your message is not clear, your audience can become confused and disconnected, lose interest, and possibly walk out or log off.
- 2To Establish Credibility: When you are clear, you establish credibility with your audience. This is because clear and concise language conveys to your audience that you have a firm grasp on and are knowledgeable about your topic.
- 3To Engage Your Audience: Clarity helps to keep your audience engaged. When your message is delivered in a clear and concise manner, it is easier for your listeners to follow along and remain interested in what you have to say.
- 4To Boost Your Confidence: When you speak with clarity, it can also boost your own confidence. Clarity helps to eliminate uncertainty and self-doubt, making it easier for you to deliver your message in a powerful and convincing way. Clarity = Speak with Confidence.
7 Tips for Achieving Clarity in Public Speaking:
Overall, clarity is essential in public speaking because it ensures that your message is properly understood, helps to establish credibility, keeps your audience engaged, and boosts your own confidence as a speaker.
There’s no argument that clarity is important. The better question is how do you ensure that your speech is clear and easy to understand? Here are 7 actions you can take to ENSURE you come across with clarity and your audience follows you and is ENGAGED.
Start at the Right Place
You need to start where your audience is. In other words, what do they already know or don't know about your topic? If it’s your own event, gather key information from the attendees at registration (website, social media links, and what they want to get out of your event). If you are speaking at someone else’s event, ask the organizer for the same information. Try to speak to the attendees prior to the event to get to know them. Understand the background, level of understanding and interests in your topic, and tailor your message to them.
Create Objectives for Your Audience
First and foremost, and before you create the outline for your talk, write down 3 to 5 things you want the audience to learn/take away from your talk. Once you have these objectives, then create your outline with each of these take aways as the main points of your talk. Keep tailoring your talk as you learn more about the audience beforehand.
Don't Go Down a Rabbit Hole
Sometimes you might feel like you need to go into great depth when it's not really necessary. Do you use any jargon, complex words, or technical terms? If so, see if they can be replaced with something simpler or be sure to explain what they mean. It’s better to use everyday language that is familiar to your audience and to avoid "over explanation."
Clarity Beats Accuracy
Check your outline. Does it have a clear and logical structure? Can your audience follow the flow of information? Make necessary changes so that it flows logically. Have a friend, coach, or trusted colleague review it as well and provide you with feedback. Clarity is much more important than accuracy!
Become familiar with your speech so that you feel confident in delivering your talk in a clearly understood manner.
Rushing through your talk is distracting and difficult to follow. Pacing yourself means to slow down and to use pauses for emphasis. Pacing helps you to connect with and tune into your audience to ensure they are with you.
Use Engagement Techniques
Engaging your audience means involving them. Involvement comes in a myriad of forms. Some ways are to ask questions, make eye contact, tell them to write something down and/or raise their hand, calling someone out, using props or visuals, having a door prize, and any other way that gets your audience involved and leaning in.
Clarity in public speaking is a key trait of fearless and compelling speakers. When you clearly communicate your ideas and information effectively and in a way that is easy for the audience to understand, your confidence will be boosted and your audience will feel like you are speaking directly to them and that they know you, like you, and trust you. When you combine clarity with confidence, authenticity, authority, and engagement techniques, you are going to be on UNSTOPPABLE!!