Public speaking training tips to avoid being the rambling party!
You’re on a conference call. It’s Friday at 4pm. In July. The most gorgeous day is outside your window, and your car is packed for a weekend at the beach. You have at least an hour and a half of work in front of you (once this call is finished!) before you can head out. And one of your colleagues will Not. Stop. Speaking!
Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand said it best in their 1979 duet “No More Tears (Enough is Enough)”- enough IS enough! The ability to be concise is incredibly important in all areas of business. A rambling and repetitive speaker unwittingly sends a few strong messages to their colleagues- your time is not important, your capacity for understanding is questionable, and I don’t trust my own information. Here are some tips to ensure that you are not the rambling party and that your next meeting has No More Tears:
1) Outline your thoughts: Have a few points to make? Keep it clear and organized. Let everyone know by saying something like “I have three thoughts to share, and they are…” Outlining your thoughts will help keep you on track, and allow your audience to quickly and easily follow your points. (Added bonus- if you lose your place, those you are speaking to can help remind you where you are!)
2) Enough is enough!: This requires building a bit of self-awareness. Listen to yourself as you speak. Are you repeating the same thought over and over again? Sure, some things bear repeating. However, too much repetition is a time waster and calls the understanding of your audience into question. Trust that you are conveying your message well and that your colleagues are receiving it.
3) Check in: Let your audience tell YOU what they need to hear again. Share your thoughts in a brief, concise manner, and then check for understanding. “Are there any questions about what I’ve just covered?” If there is anything that needs further discussion, they will let you know. Then you can decide what would be the best venue for the continued discussion- in the moment or offline later.
You know the song is in your head now- go ahead, give it a listen!