Almost everyone will have to give a speech at some point in their life. Whether you are promoting your business at your local Chamber of Commerce, speaking to a M.O.P.S. group, or talking through a live stream on social media, you need to know how to speak well in public. Presentations and speeches can be a very effective way to grow your business and pass along your knowledge to others if done properly. If public speaking is makes you uneasy you can quickly gain confidence and skills by working with a communication coach who can provide feedback to help you do your best.
The very same skills I teach to people who want to give a killer speech can be used to connect more effectively on a personal level with loved ones.
Public speaking skills can also be applied to communication with your spouse and family. The very same skills I teach to people who want to give a killer speech can be used to connect more effectively on a personal level with loved ones. Connecting with them really is the most important thing, so do everything you can to learn how to do it well. Practice communicating, make adjustments where necessary, and keep improving your skills throughout your life.
Whether you want to deliver an impactful speech or communicate better with your spouse and kids, follow these tips:
Know Your Audience
In public speaking, you must know something about the people you’re speaking to. You would speak differently and give different information to a group of engineers than you would to a group of elementary children. It’s important to know your audience’s age range, education level, interests, gender, and expectations so you can tailor your talk to be most relatable for those you’re speaking to. The same applies to your spouse and family. Knowing each person’s different personality type is vital to giving each person the information they need in a way they can best understand. “Personality Plus” by Florence Littauer is a great book to help you understand those around you and how best to relate to each one. It’s the book I recommend most often, and it’s fun to read and study (especially with your spouse!).
Use Good Body Language
On stage, you have to be careful to control body language like facial expressions and whether your arms are crossed. You can’t fidget or pace around. You shouldn’t play with your hair or chomp on gum. You should make good eye contact with those in the audience. The same is true with your family. Body language is an important way to understand the meaning behind your message, so be sure your body language lines up with what you’re trying to say. Uncross your arms to be more approachable, sit forward without fidgeting, and make good eye contact so your family knows you’re listening.
Keep it Simple
No one wants to Google every complicated word you use during a speech, and neither does your family. Express your information in the simplest terms possible. If you’re speaking about a difficult topic, be sure to have illustrations, graphs, or charts to help your listener better understand your point. It’s the same with your family. Try not to go off on tangents, and speak to the level of your listener. No one wants to listen to a showboat who uses big words for no reason.
When giving a speech, there is nothing better than hearing the audience laugh or answer your questions out loud. An approachable speaker invites and encourages her audience to interact, speak up, and be involved in the speech. Do the same with your family. Speak with your kids rather than speaking at them. Encourage them to express themselves and share their opinions. Provide a safe environment where everyone can freely share. Be especially careful with your husband. If you often bite his head off for expressing himself, he will eventually stop sharing with you. It’s okay to disagree; just be respectful. Learn from each other.
A speech or presentation should end with a strong, powerful conclusion. Speakers need to wrap up their speeches by repeating their main points for clarity and emphasis. The same is true with your spouse and family. At the end of a conversation, repeat back the main points to show that you were listening and that you understand what was said. Write down anything that needs to be remembered long-term.
As a Communication Consultant and Speaker, I coach folks through the public speaking process, helping them develop their speeches and providing feedback for improvement. I use the five tips outlined in this article to help people craft the best speeches they can and to deliver them in the most interesting, memorable way. I use the same general tips with the couples I coach on marriage communication because the same principles apply. If you follow them for public speaking and in your home, you will be well on your way to strengthening your relationships and connecting on a much deeper level both on stage and in your home.
By Carrie Sharpe
Carrie Sharpe is a Communication Consultant and Speaker at He says, She says. She has been married to her husband, Ryan, for over eighteen years. They have five children, including twin daughters. During their marriage they have experienced everything from financial strain to miscarriages to the life-threatening illness of their son, Maverick. Carrie describes that experience in her signature talk, “Trusting God With Our Maverick.” She writes articles about a variety of communication topics and has been published on Huffington Post.