This post was authored by Charlotte Stark, a Marketing Communications Associate at Dunham. If you have questions concerning today's topic, please call us at (858) 964 - 0500. Hold us to a higher standard.

Public speaking is an essential part of the client-interfacing process, especially when serious networking or sales are involved. Below are a few tips to help listeners invest in what you're saying and improve your talk-focused goal achievement.

Speak to Connect, Not to Gain

This relates back to our post about communication's vital role in relationship-building. While we usually speak publicly with some kind of self-invested goal, it's important to remember that every listener is an individual person with their own goals and aspirations as well. Connecting to them on an emotional level and allowing them to see you as a person instead of a salesperson will increase your chances of them performing your desired outcome. Put simply, if you speak to the person and not the potential guest, they may identify with your goals and listen more intently.

Know Your Audience

This may seem like a no-brainer to some. After all, if you've elected to speak in public, chances are you know where and for whom you are presenting. December 5th, you'll speak for the UVA College of Science and Technology - easy! However, to make headway into addressing the crowd correctly, you'll need to focus in closely. What is the average age of your audience? Their potential ambitions defined by what brought you to them? Their current environmental context? These are just a few of the factors that could help you tailor your message to better connect with an audience.

Oh, the Places You'll Practice!

Maybe you've practiced a speech in front of a mirror before, reciting it a few times, checking your cue cards, and feeling good to go until you're in front of a live crowd and suddenly your lines aren't landing how you'd hoped. The key to improvement is to practice your delivery in several ways. Invite co-workers, friends, or family to a private recital, and ask them for feedback on your message and delivery. You'd be surprised at what a new pair of eyes will notice! You can also film yourself delivering the speech and then watch playback. Being able to fully focus on your presentation means you can critique delivery, body language, and flow without the distraction of having to do them.

If you're looking to improve your public speaking, try implementing these practices into your routine. They might make all the difference in inspiring action or pushing through that sale or deal you've been working toward!