While many CEOs and executives are thrown into the spotlight to deliver moving speeches and presentations, it’s important to note the behind-the-scenes training that goes into effectively commanding a stage or boardroom. Having worked as an executive in the aviation space for 20 years, Stephanie Chung observed the mistakes and pitfalls that many professionals were making when public speaking to both intimate and large crowds.
“The most important thing for all leaders is they really have to get a clear understanding and have their own reality check in terms of where they are with their communication capabilities,” Chung tells Black Enterprise.
Shedding light on how to command attention when speaking, Chung offers the below tips for executives looking to perfect their speaking skills in the boardroom and beyond.
Public Speaking Tips
1. Be a good listener: “People think communication in the sense of speaking, but really what I like to work with executives on is listening. Unless you’re on stage doing a presentation, then you should not be the one speaking the most,” says Chung. “The people who really have the most power are the ones who tend to be the most humble, they certainly listen more than they talk and they know how to ask questions and be engaged.”
2. Plan and prepare: If you are asked to speak at a public event or office event, Chung says that the best way to ensure that you nail your speech is to plan and prepare. “It’s great when you have teleprompters and all those other things, but at the end of the day you don’t really want to rely on those things because they can break down,” says Chung, while adding that you always want to speak on topics that you are passionate about and have credibility on.
3. Master storytelling: “People don’t want to just hear you stand up there and lecture them or tell them your top three points,” says Chung. “At the end of the day, the best way you can relate to your audience is to have them see you and feel like you’ve been there, and the best way to convey that is to really get involved in telling stories.”