How to sound competent 👩💻
We send out this newsletter every two weeks, talking about how organizations and individuals can better communicate with their audience. Read past issues. In this issue, we look at how to know what to say before saying it.
If you aren’t blessed with the ability to speak at length off-the-cuff, then we’re in the same boat. There is no end to the moments where I have been lost for words when speaking to someone or in a meeting. It’s a frustrating situation to be in.
Make no mistake, speaking is not all there is to it. We want what we say to be memorable, and effective. To talk about something in a way that your points are well structured and make sense to people is a skill that can be practiced and improved over time, whether you’re approaching it as a shy introvert, or someone well versed in the art of talking.
A simple, yet effective thing you can implement before going into an important call or meeting, is to prepare a list of talking points.
Just a little bit of prep
Talking points are a list of key points that you plan to speak on in a meeting, presentation, discussion, etc. They are concise and often compiled as a bulleted list.
Identify your main points
Too much to say in any given conversation, and the important stuff is going to get lost. Identify a few of the most important things that you want to convey, list them out, and add sub-points as supporting arguments.
We already mentioned that bulleted lists are a good way to organize your talking points. If you have more than one main point to make, even this list format can be hard to refer to when speaking. Segmenting these points and their supporting sub-points can further help you when using them as reference.
Ex. Use a slide deck to organize your points, with each point and its supporting arguments on a separate slide.
Note: If relevant, consider adding examples for the major points you will speak on to help illustrate the importance of what you’re talking about.
Convey next steps
If you want people to do something based on what you say (this is often the case), add what exactly the required action is to your list of points. For something that takes multiple steps to do, this is especially important.
Before you finalize, it’s a good idea to go through your talking points, if possible, with someone you know. This will help you identify any areas you missed covering, and they can let you know if your message is able to come across.
Even spending a minimum 5 to 10 minutes to prepare a list of talking points can help you remember them. When the time comes to refer to your list, you may find that you don’t need to, most of the time.
More often than speaking occasions where you have time to prepare, are those that you find yourself in without notice. What then? Watch out for next week’s (bonus!) email.
See you next time,