How to Speak and Deliver With Confidence

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Picture this: a bustling conference room during a Salesforce Dreamin’ event is filled with eager minds, all abuzz with excitement and ideas. Amidst the sea of Salesforce Consultants, one person stands out – not for their technical abilities, but for the command they possess over something equally powerful… words!

We’ve all been there, drawn to the person who has the ability to turn complex topics into captivating stories and transform befuddled faces into nods of understanding. You might have even asked yourself: Can I learn how to do that?

But, here’s the twist: this skill doesn’t come overnight; it’s a journey, it’s practicing, it’s learning how to communicate with effective body language, as well as how to deliver. This practice comes from working with clients, co-workers, and even with people at the grocery store. Overtime, you’ll learn the ‘how tos’.

In the article ahead, get ready to dive into a journey that mixes real-life stories with tried-and-true advice. Our goal is to demystify effective communication in the world of Salesforce consulting. Whether you’re a pro at expressing yourself or you’re working on improving your skills, there will be something intriguing to uncover as you move forward.

My Personal Journey

In August 2022, Christine Marshall and I received email confirmation that our presentation had been accepted – we were to be first-time speakers at Dreamforce! After a few days of being over-the-moon excited that we would be speaking at one of the world’s largest tech events, we quickly realized that we had a lot of preparation ahead of us if we wanted to deliver an effective presentation.

We dedicated hours to reviewing our material. With each iteration, something remarkable occurred: our communication prowess expanded. While Christine and I were no strangers to public speaking, as we worked as a team and became highly engaged in the process, our speaking abilities began to really flourish.

Together, we identified areas where we could improve and focus on our efforts: our delivery and pace, as well as ways to make our audience feel that our content was relatable and accessible.

Megan and Christine

Fast forward to Dreamforce – the day of presentation. As Christine and I walked towards the stage, we were nervous, but we also knew that all our practice was about to pay off. Once we got on stage, I will admit, our ‘flow’ remained the same, but the energy we got from the crowd, and confidence from each other skyrocketed.

All this being said, we know that our skills are the result of practice, hours devoted to being open to constructive criticism and tips, along with multiple people giving their feedback.

Whatever your goal is, whether it be speaking at an upcoming Salesforce event, presenting for a user group, or speaking with confidence in general, the best advice is to learn techniques and design them to fit who you are and your personality. This skill is one we can all learn, but what’s most important is how you redesign the skills to take on opportunities and practice- for example, this article is a great starting point. We hope our story and the following tips will help build that confidence to do so! Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us for tips as well!

Presenting with Christine Marshall at Dreamforce 2022

Strategic Tips

Now that you’re equipped with insights into the art of storytelling, it’s time to delve into a treasure chest of strategic and practical tips you can start applying today.

Tip 1: Allow Your Audience to Digest Your Topic

When I started my own public speaking journey, I learned an essential tip that I had not previously practiced – I soon realized how important it is to incorporate when speaking to an audience. It’s important to remember that some concepts might be new to your audience, which might require time to process. This is why pausing is essential, both to emphasize critical points and to allow people to absorb your words.

Cultivating an in-depth grasp of your subject matter is paramount for effective communication. By presenting information in a clear, organized manner and addressing potential complexities as you go, you pave the way for your audience to absorb and engage with content fully. When the audience understands the topic better, your message is even more valuable. It also helps build a strong connection between you and your listeners, making your communication more effective and memorable.

Tip 2: Eye Contact and Gestures

Whether you’re speaking in person or online, it’s crucial to remember that eye contact and hand gestures play a role in your delivery and how you present yourself confidently to your audience.

Hand gestures are essential when speaking because they help to emphasize and reinforce your message, making your presentation even more engaging and dynamic – they can also convey your enthusiasm and confidence about the topic you are discussing.

Try incorporating small hand gestures while speaking to someone and observe their reactions. It can create a sense of comfort and connection for your audience. This conveys confidence and trustworthiness, and also helps to keep your audience focused on your message – which, in turn, increases your confidence.

Tip 3: Practice

Practicing is crucial when it comes to speaking with confidence. The more you practice, the more comfortable you will become with your material and delivery – you will be less likely to stumble over your words or forget important points. Practice can also help you refine your delivery, so you can better convey your message and engage your audience. Here are some tips on how to get the most out of your practice.

Asking for feedback will help give you ideas for new phrases or approaches you can take when speaking. The reasons receiving feedback is crucial for improving your public speaking skills. It can help you identify areas where you may need to improve, such as your delivery, body language, or vocal expressions. Remember the importance of feedback and always stay open to hearing how you could build your confidence as a speaker.

Tip 4: Tone

Tone is crucial because it sets the mood and emotion of your communication; it can influence how your message is received and interpreted by others. The way you convey your ideas through tone can convey confidence, empathy, authority, or even humor. A well-chosen tone ensures that your intended message aligns with the feelings you want to evoke, leading to clearer understanding and better engagement.

Here are suggestions to help you practice…

Read aloud: Choose various texts, from formal to informal, and read them aloud. Pay attention to how your voice naturally changes based on the content. Experiment with adjusting your tone to match the intended emotion or message.

Record yourself: Use a recording device to capture your voice as you read different passages. Listen to the recordings and analyze how your tone comes across. Are you conveying the right emotions? Are you sounding confident, empathetic, or enthusiastic, as needed?

Listen critically: Pay attention to how professionals, such as news anchors, podcast hosts, or actors, use their tone to convey different emotions. Analyze their techniques and try to replicate them in your practice, but try to make it your own style.

Get feedback: Always ask for constructive feedback – how did you come across to others?

Tip 5: Remember Your ‘Why’

Retaining your why while addressing an audience holds profound significance as it keeps you anchored to your purpose, ensuring seamless communication of your message. This purpose serves as your guiding star, steering your selection of information, framing the message structure, and determining the appropriate tone and delivery style.

Consider this… if your objective entails imparting knowledge on a complex subject, you’ll likely need to dissect it into manageable fragments and employ lucid language. Conversely, if the aim is to evoke inspiration or motivation, emotive language intertwined with personal anecdotes can foster relatability. By embracing your why, you not only unlock the path to effective message delivery and audience engagement, but also set the stage for the accomplishment of your intended objectives.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to speak with confidence is a journey. In many cases, it provides a way for you to redefine yourself. Each step taken towards mastering the art of confident communication reshapes not only how others perceive you, but also how you perceive yourself.

As you start to incorporate these tips, remember that every time you practice, receive feedback, and seek opportunities to lead conversations or participate in speaking engagements will help you; each time you put yourself in situations where you can learn and grow, you’re sculpting that confidence within you. I hope these tips will help guide you towards finding your voice and true potential.

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