Speak Like a Leader - How to Command Attention, Respect, and Cooperation Every Time You Speak

When you're a leader, you have to look and sound like a leader -- every time you speak. Your organization's success
and your reputation are on the line. Try this:

1. Project an Authentic Sense Of Presence.
You don't have to wow your audience with charisma. But you do have to let them know who you are and what you stand
for. Speak with conviction about what matters to you, and let your image take care of itself. Be your best self,
speaking the truth as you know it, and audiences will think you're charismatic even if you don't.

2. Build Each Speech Around a Single, Clear Message.
The more you try to say in a speech, the less you will accomplish. Whittle your message down to one sharp idea.
Make it as pointed as possibly. Say it in as few words as necessary. Say it again, if it bears repeating. Maybe even
say it a third time. Then sit down.

3. Serve the Best Interests of Your Audience.
Leaders -- good ones, at least -- are servants. So are good speakers. Don't talk about what you want or need. Talk
instead about how your idea -- proposal, product, or service -- will help your audience solve a problem, achieve a goal,
or satisfy a need. Care about them, and they'll care about what you say.

4. Earn Your Audience's Trust and Goodwill.
If they like and trust you, they'll take your side. They will laugh at your humor, nod at all the right moments, and
agree with you even if they don't quite follow your logic. So get them on your side. Begin by respecting them. Talk
about their interests and concerns. Look them in the eye, one person at a time.

5. Be Brief.
When is the last time you wished a speaker had gone on longer? Audiences are overwhelmed by too many demands on
their time and attention. They won't complain if your speech is shorter than your assigned time. Get to your
point. Make it as powerfully as you can. And stop talking.

6. Be Bold.
Everyone gets nervous -- even experienced speakers. Instead of trying to get rid of your fears, focus on your audience
and their welfare. Care about what you want to tell them. Your concern will keep your fears at bay long enough for
you to say your piece.

7. Eliminate Weasel Words.
Weak, fuzzy, and evasive words -- weasel words -- are the tools of slugs and cowards, not leaders. Avoid sounding
like the annual report of a company that tries to make a bad year sound good. Shun trendy words and phrases like
action item, at the end of the day, bottom line, client-centric, functionality, impactful, interface, leverage, operationalize, paradigm, proactive, pushing the envelope, synergize, value-added, win-win, and world class. As a general rule, short words are strong words. And strong words are the choice of leaders.

When you speak like a leader -- even if you don't have the position or title -- people will think of you as a leader. And that's a good thing.

Chris Witt, a speech coach and consultant based in San Diego, works with executives and business owners who want to speak like leaders. He also helps technical teams plan, create, and rehearse oral proposals for large government contracts. His website, www.wittcom.com, has over 70 pages of how-to advice.