Article: The Manager as public speaker

Any manager has some element of public speaking among their duties.

You might be holding a one-to-one meeting with a staff member for disciplinary, development or assessment purposes, requiring the delivery of some important information.

You might be presenting the morning shift briefing, chairing a meeting or cascading some information or training to a small group of staff.

You might be speaking to a large group of employees at conference or an emergency meeting.

Whether the audience consists of one person, several or many, the same principles apply:

  • Know your stuff as well as possible in advance
  • Gain and keep control over your breathing
  • Achieve a poised, graceful posture – you’ll feel more comfortable and convey physical confidence and status
  • Slow down and use a variety of pace and delivery, to help keep their interest
  • Pay attention to your consonants – these carry clarity, authority and status
  • Cultivate an air of confidence, which suggests attention to detail and thoughtfulness
  • Stop speaking if you are looking at a flipchart or powerpoint slide – if you speak with your face turned away from the audience, your vocal presence and personal impact will drop and you’ll lose them
  • Make eye contact and speak directly to them, not to your notes – bullet points and keywords rather than a full script will help