There are lots of ways to think about how we speak, and the way we deliver our message in the workplace. There is no one single standard for what is required and what is considered “great.” Authenticity always needs to rule the day, and we all need to have the confidence to speak in our own voice and with our own style.
But beyond the global rule of “authenticity first,” my colleagues and I at The Latimer Group have a way of thinking about and teaching delivery skills that may be helpful to you. We think about delivery on three levels:
LEVEL 1 – At this level, your delivery skills are not yet world-class, and you have plenty of possible improvements to make. But at a minimum you have your speech patterns and behaviors in check so that you do not distract your audience from hearing your message. You have limited verbal pauses (“um”), you don’t mumble, you don’t speak too fast, you don’t have any super distracting body language, etc. There is nothing strong or memorable, but at least you don’t distract your audience with something truly annoying. At this level, we are not yet where we need to be, but it could be far, far worse.
LEVEL 2 – Here, in addition to not distracting your audience, you have developed your delivery in such a way that you now possess the techniques to help your audience retain the key information. You have a toolbox full of skills that help you get the key information across, and be retained. You use techniques like speaking in bullet points and the pause and repeat, you speak with some WIIFY, your pace is measured, you give your audience a chance to absorb what they are hearing. You probably won’t be invited in to be the keynote at the company conference, but you do a professionally competent job.
LEVEL 3 – This is the top level, where in addition to not distracting AND helping the audience retain information, you now have delivery skills that impact the outcome. You have a strong presence. You command the room. You impact the energy and the experience of the audience with your voice, body language, facial expression, and vocabulary. You have the full arsenal of skills at your disposal.
Where do you think you fall today? And what is your plan to bring your skills to the next level?
Have a great day.