3 Tips for Communicating Your Message with Authority

Have you ever noticed that even some of the best actors have a difficult time as talk show guests?

They may be very good at delivering a role that follows a script – but without one there are gaps that leave a space for all kinds of things to happen – some of which undermine the authority they have previously earned.

There are many rules for communicating well with all types of media, though nearly all of them can be explained by that very common adage – less is nearly always more.

Eliminate needless content from your communications by being intentional about what to include and what to leave out.

Here are three tips for making that happen.

#1 – Start in the Middle:  You’ll Get to the Good Stuff Faster

When you jump right into the action of your communication, you accomplish a number of things.

You respect the audience by honoring their time and attention.  When you do this, they honor you in return by giving you more of both.  Fail to do this and they will walk away from your blog or Facebook page.

This is also just as vital when one is speaking to a live audience.  Just as a great film starts with a carefully planned opening scene, so does a great speech.  And the best way to start a speech is with a compelling story.

A few months ago I gave a keynote presentation to my ideal audience – mainstream small businesses.  I had half the time to give this presentation than usual.  So, I made the tough choice to cut out my usual beginning and ending.

Guess what?  It made it better.  Start in the middle.  That’s where your audience wants to go.

Take them there without hesitation.

#2 – Take a Stand:  It Brings out Your Authenticity

When you have a clear personal vision and never waver from it, you simplify what to include and what to exclude from your message.  As a result, your delivery is more streamlined and natural.

During our annual convention for the National Speakers Association, one respected past-president noticed an increase in the use of profanity by some of the speakers at the event.  The subject created quite a discussion on Facebook – with opinions nearly equally split down the middle.

The important thing is to take a firm stance. My opinion on profanity in communications is the same as for using words whose meaning I may not be 100% sure about.- when in doubt, leave it out.

When you take a stand you run the risk of losing a portion of your audience. However, by not doing so you risk losing everyone!

Let your audience know what you stand for – it brings out your authenticity.

#3 – Pause:  It Gives You and Your Audience Time to Think, Laugh, and Learn

When you use purposeful pauses in your communications, both written and verbal, you give your audience an opportunity to do what they want to do.  This may include digesting the content you have just delivered, or fully appreciating it with laughter or a round of applause.

Give them that opportunity – often.

The other benefit of pausing is that it gives you the same opportunity.  Once I was quoting one of my favorite poems in front of a live audience and my mind went completely blank. During what probably amounted to no more than three seconds I just looked at the audience – paused and smiled.

Not only did the words come to me, but I promise you I had everyone’s full attention when I delivered them.

The pause lets your message breathe – and that gives it life.

It also respects your audience by giving them an opportunity to act – even if that response is nothing more than a gentle nod.

Earning a reputation as a communicator of authority allows you to do less and accomplish more.  It takes time to develop that reputation, but the surest path to getting there is the shortest one.

Just like your message.

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Until tomorrow,  Jeff