Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Part 1: 5 Things Fundraisers Can Do to Enhance Public Speaking Skills

This post begins a 3-part series of guest blogs written by Communications Coach Kealah Parkinson. Kealah has almost 20 years experience in the communications industry and is the founder of Kiki Productions, Inc., a communications coaching practice.

Kealah's got 5 things that you can do to enhance your public speaking skills. In this blog, we'll share the first 2.


1. Know your audience. While some fundraising presentations are meant for the general public, others are created for specific audiences, such as local community healthcare workers or regional hospital CEOs. How refined is your message to the demographic? What is that audience's relationship to your organization? 

Whether you're handing out awards in recognition to the group or strategizing a pitch for further involvement, your organization likely has some key information on the attendees -- more than just their names and contact info. Use the demographic research at your fingertips to learn about what's important to the donors (and soon-to-be donors) involved. When you speak to the audience's needs, wants, and wishes, you build a rapport based on trust and credibility. And that makes people want to give.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Grabbing your listeners' attention.

2. Target your message. What you say is just as important as how you say it. Now that you know your audience, you can use that knowledge to pepper in keywords that resonate with attendees. Use trade words that make sense to them. Splash in some colorful phrases that underscore the theme of your event. Be creative! But don't overdo it and bury your message. Hooking your audience is important and so is keeping them interested. Remember that each aspect of what you say publicly during your presentation has a purpose. Take some time to write down that purpose so that it stays in the forefront of your mind. When you know why you're saying something, you're more likely to say it how it needs to be said in order to hit home with the receiver.

You can also use anecdotes to bring your stories to life. The better your storytelling skills, the more compelling of a speaker you will be.

Remember, memorizing your (short) speech or reading from a script may help you to stay on point if you're too nervous to retain information or if you are a natural ad libber who wanders frequently off-point or can't keep track of time. However, for more informal speech moments, these tactics can be barriers between you and your audience, so when it's time to be personal, simply speak from the heart. Knowing the purpose behind what you're saying will help you to do just that.

SKILL SET ENHANCED: Being a compelling speaker.

Tune in next week for more public speaking tips from Kealah!




Kealah (KEY-la) Parkinson is a Communications Coach who teaches clients how to stop the fight-or-flight cycle early and intentionally using Key Mottos™ and other proprietary tools, as well as techniques for speaking with confidence in their businesses and personal lives. She is currently working on her third book, 365 Days of Mood Tools. Learn more at www.FindYourMotto.com.

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