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Be an A-List Communicator

By Glen Gerreyn

I am a big believer in the art of oratory communication. This is different from giving a speech or being the master of ceremonies at a wedding. Oratory communication has the capacity to bring about a visceral shift in a person's character and attitude. Winston Churchill once said, "The ability to speak well in public can turn a commoner into a king and turn a king into a court jester if he lacks such talent. Eloquence is power; it is freedom."

Below is a list of my top ten tips for being an A-List Communicator.

1. Analyse

The first key to being an A-List Communicator is to commit to daily study so you can become an expert or thought leader in your field. Analyse copious amounts of information and create your own message, modules and infographics to display your knowledge in a palatable way.

2. Be Accurate

Deliver well documented information and personally find the reference for all data and information presented. Practise your presentation in a deliberate way to ensure you have mastered every element.

3. Be Articulate

Daily increase your vocabulary by using a new word from the dictionary each time you present. Words are the tools your use to frame your thoughts. Make sure your tools are sharp and that you have the right tool for the task at hand.

4. Be an Assembler

Create a digital storage file on every topic you are passionate about. Then collect stories, illustrations, statistics and quotes on each subject. Break your desk into two spaces a creative space and a digital space. In the digital space collate all your information and in the creative space (which holds your pens, pencils, blank paper and crayons) create and design your thinking using mind maps.

5. Acclimatise to your Audience

Research your audiences' socio-economic status, age, profile, religion and culture. Get a handle on their hopes and dreams. Exegesis the culture. Never lose touch with the audience. An amateurs best advice is to imagine them naked, but they deserve more respect than that. If you don't respect your audience, they will not respect you.

6. Be an Athlete

Study like you workout - daily. If you are tired it affects your articulation, you will start to breath heavy and it will be noticed. Be disciplined and train yourself mentally, physically and spiritually. Develop the mindset of a champion when you speak. Demosthenes placed rocks in his mouth and ran up hills whilst declaring his speech. This trained his voice for vocal strength to enable him to speak to the masses.

Michael Jackson had a way of commanding himself into flow. He did this with complete immersion in his task. Michael had been performing since he was five years old. He had a great instinct for the groove. Complete and utter focus is what is needed to trigger oneself into flow and sanction a state of complete immersion. Achieving a state of flow always follows focused attention.

7. Alternate your Audio

Monotone speakers are the worst to listen to, they send us off into Lala Land as they lull us off to sleep. There are five ways to alternate your audio.

Flow states are similar to hypnotic states where people become disassociated and detached from their surroundings. This kind of quasi-mystical experience can only be obtained through deliberate practise and focus in the moment. This is the point were action and awareness merge. This is where the violin player merges with the violin and actually becomes the music they play. It seems effortless and automatic, yet it takes years of deliberate practise for this sensation to occur.

  • a) Volume - speak louder than normal conversation. Project your voice to the back of the room. Vary your volume from loud to soft to moderate. 
  • b) Pitch - speak with melody and rhythm. Turn some of your sentences into a song or a rhyme. 
  • c) Rate - vary your speed from very fast to fast to medium to slow to very slow. Increase your range of gears. 
  • d) Pause - Learn the art to a long silent pause to bolster a point. 
  • e) Speak with empathetic enunciation, vary your tone.

8. Accentuate

Stop giving a speech, and communicate. Find your power zone and accentuate it. Your power zone could be humour, encouragement, motivation, content, emotion, intellectual thought or strategy to name a few.

9. Be an Artist

Paint a picture when you speak. Build tension, raise questions and create contrast and conflict. Ambiguity can be your friend if it is used to create tension. When we hear a presentation we all know if will end happily but any good story poses challenges. We all know Katniss is going to make it, but we just want to see how much trouble she is going to get into along the way.

10. Provoke Action

At the end of every speech have the audience respond and take decisive action. It has been said, when Cicero spoke the people stood and cheered, but when Demosthenes spoke the people stood and marched. Get them to march and you will be well on your way to being an A-List Communicator.

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