Possibly one of the greatest overlooked skill sets for all leaders is the ability to communicate. For some, speaking, teaching, and communicating in public comes as naturally as taking a sip of water. For others, the simple thought of standing up in front of anyone is terrifying. Regardless, the ability to communicate effectively and with efficiency is a key aspect of leadership development. This is true for not just for the corporate world (CEO’S, managers, supervisors, team leads, etc) but also for various aspects of home and personal life (mom, dad, leading church Bible study).
For work I have to get up and communicate how awesome Logos Bible Software is in small group settings with pastors/academics to large conference center venues with up to 5,000 people. Regardless of the size of the crowd I’ve found that there are really a foundational 3 B’s of public of speaking that will set anyone up for success.
This may seem counter productive. Actually, one of the biggest myths in public speaking is that you have to communicate for an extended period of time. The truth is, brevity is your friend as a communicator. Now, don’t be so short that you never actually unpack the content you are communicating, but don’t draw it out so long that people start shifting in their seats and wonder if you actually know what you are talking about. Sometimes it’s hard to find the sweet spot on how long you should communicate. The way I figure this out is pretty simple. My core goal in communication is to clearly unpack the point that I am trying to make. Any more or any less will be more harmful than helpful. The other benefit of brevity is that you are able to sharpen your delivery and really consider what is essential and non essential. The human brain is processing so much information, so you want the people listening to you to grasp the essentials.
This is actually much easier than it sounds. The goal of every time I get on a stage is to have people listening to me go through an “Aha” moment. The moment when they realize something they never knew was possible. The moment they realize their dream of effectively studying the Bible could be a reality! The moment that a dream that lay dorment for some time came to life through a simple scripture, quote, or phrase that I used. As you communicate, consider the “aha” moment. Often your “brilliant” moment will be a simple phrase that you spent hours crafting. Other times, it is something that you said on the fly that later people comment on how profound that was!
Pro Tip: Write down each of those moments! In the past I’ve had people comment after my presentations about how great it was and they would share something specific that touched them. In the past I would just nod and say thanks. Then I realized, I am missing a huge opportunity to add some great content to my presentation! Sometimes this is a joke or an illustration, but if it worked one time on the fly I know it can work multiple times in various audiences!
Take every opportunity to give valuable content to your audience. Also remember, that something you think is not that great, may be of great value for your audience. Keep a pulse on this and remember that communicating may be one of the most selfless things you do. Really, you are there to communicate valuable content for your audience, not for yourself!
After your done take a seat. If you get a round of applause great. If its quiet in the room, great! I’ve made the mistake before thinking that I absolutely ruined a presentation because I stopped getting the “ooh’s” and “aahs”. What I found out was that people had reached their receptive capability point and they were just waiting to jump to the Logos booth so they could get a base package for themselves! Another danger is going longer than you intended. I’ve felt the need to expound on a topic if I felt that it was not received well, only to break my first rule of being brief. So, when your done simply sit down.