Don't like to talk in front of a group? Want to do your work by email only? Nope, it's not going to work. The world has changed so drastically that there's nowhere to hide. In all organizations you're really required to have both content and delivery.

How you deliver what you want and need to get across is key in this very visual world of ours. You can thank smart phones, YouTube, and the millennials for changing the world so fast and furious.

"Not fair." I hear this all the time. "I'm an introvert and I hate speaking out. I'm smart, I do a great job, why do I have to sell myself too?"

Look, some were born with a silver tongue, however, the rest of us must learn how to be in front of a group and find ways to wow them. That goes for giving a presentation or taking a customer to lunch.

If you're smart and fun and can hold a stage without any discomfort you are in the lucky minority.

Most who are leaders or on a leadership development track need to practice and practice and then practice some more before there's a comfort level.

It's time to tackle personal communication challenges.

  • Develop your personal style: Rise to the challenge and start to see yourself differently. That does not mean you copy other people. It means you develop a personal style that is yours and yours alone. If you love to laugh find a joke to tell. If you are a deep thinker get a quote or two that has personal meaning for you. If you love puzzles, then find a quiz for folks to fill in while you are presenting to them. If you love gossip find something fascinating about a present day celebrity. Just make sure you take what is relevant to you and add it into the mix of your discussion.
  • Take your time to prepare: Make sure you use data coupled with a story or two to keep people attentive. If you are a data driven type, that's okay, just romance the data with a story. Without some type of story to pull what you are saying together you will have yawns instead of applause.
  • Be a storyteller: Find two or three "evergreen" stories about you and your work. Evergreen means they're interchangeable and can be used any time you talk. Tell a story about how you got started or about something you learned as you prepared for the present discussion. Don't let data kill the interest in what you have to say, make it alive and fun.
  • Be vulnerable: This can be tough in the hard driven world of today. Yet, letting someone know you sweat when you give a speech can be heart- warming and put others at ease. It is a "you too" kind of sentence. Just saying it will help give you more comfort and courage and bond you with your team or audience. Please remember to make it a sentence of inclusion not a cry for acceptance.
  • Simplify: Make sure your sentences are short and to the point. Run on sentences and paragraphs get low grades. Be specific. Know where you want to go and find the shortest route to get there. People will love you for that.

When you are in front of a group take the opportunity and run with it. Remember we all respond to language that is optimistic, realistic, clear and active. You can win and learn to engage those around you by keeping your communication alive, fresh, crisp and cheerful. We are communicators and creators by nature.

Paint the dream with words and let it catch fire.

Published on: Dec 7, 2015