It is clear that every company is public in its own way. In different business models the personal brand of “top officials” has different meaning. It is beyond all doubts that any modern businessman must possess basic public speaking and communicative skills with mass media. These are, to some degree, informational safety rules, which are essential even for the most reserved leaders. A shellfish is safe in its shell until a man with a knife decides to open it.
Communicating with media is a particular case of public speaking. The difference is in the goal. Recorded interviews with a journalist or a video are intended to further general public broadcasting. Public speaking of any other type is more valuable. Live video broadcasting or the usage of expressed thoughts for materials preparation by the media has a second-order effect.
So what are the basic effective public speaking rules? They are easy to make up but hard to do:
- Speak only in that case when you are conscious of what you need it for. The public and media treat business intentions according to the presumption of guilt with all its consequences. Apart from benefits the company and its representatives may suffer a reputational damage as every word can be used and interpreted in different ways nowadays.
- Focus on the content and its visualization. The air is full of “Captain Obvious” speeches and video formats as well as populists’ appeals. The audience is allergic to clichés. Directness, sincerity and statement integrity are highly appreciated.
- Speak to the audience, which you really need. First of all, try to define who will receive your message directly (being present in the room) or indirectly (through speech broadcasting, media product or rapid reaction of social network audience).
- Get prepared for your speech:
- Think over your speech in advance, at least for a couple of days, choosing the key massage you want to convey.
- Do not try to put all points of your interest in one massage. Two or three topics will be enough for one speech.
- Do not rely on your speechwriters. Even the smartest can go too far. Just think of the passage about “corrupt oligarchy” in the recent “letter of the three”. So, double-check the basic statistics, find unknown words in the dictionary, and substitute doubtful word combinations with clear ones.
- Do not try to make a complicated speech. To be persuasive, you need to address the audience in your natural casual style.
- Speak only about the things that you are confident of.
- Speak the language you are comfortable with. Alexandre Duma made an obvious and brilliantly easy remark in his “Twenty years after”: “This rough admonition delivered with the species of eloquence characteristic of Mazarin when he spoke Spanish or Italian but which he entirely lost when speaking French”. Even the appreciation of people with different linguistic preferences or respect for any other country is not the reason to look ridiculous or to be misunderstood.
- Do not tell anything that you do not want to appear in informational space. Even closed events with audio and video recording ban do not guarantee confidentiality.
- Be sincere in your desire to be useful for the audience. It really works and not less than charismatic speaker talent.
Not everybody due to talents given by nature is able to achieve perfect public speaking skill level like Cicero or Demosthenes.
However, everyone who is able to run a business can perform decently, to convey their message to the target audience and not to create a reputational risk. You just need a bit of effort and a serious attitude to every public appearance.
If you know how to run a successful business, don’t be afraid of speaking about your success.
Text: Elena Derevyanko, the vice-president of Ukrainian PR-League, the partner of PR-Service Agency.