One of the first things that we need to work on when it comes to public speaking is to figure out the right way to get the message across. While there will be some variations in how you do this based on the audience and the topic that you need to discuss, there are some general rules that you are able to follow, regardless of the situation.

 Many people who get into public speaking think that they need to be impressive all the time or no one will listen to them at all. They want to use big words and complex thoughts to get the point across. But this does not work all the time. It can make it hard for the audience to figure out what is being said and may ruin the message. Plus, when you are trying to be impressive, rather than focusing on the message at hand, you may get in over your head, which will make you more nervous than before.

 Instead of worrying about all of that fancy talk and big words, it is time to take it in the other direction. Speaking plainly is going to be a more effective tool to getting the message out to the audience you are working with. This doesn’t mean you have to dumb down all of the information that you are presenting. It simply means that you can work with plain language and find that it is more powerful than some of the other options.

 If your ideas are important, you should not try to hide them behind a veil of words just to sound impressive. You can use all of the fancy wording that you would like, but if the idea is hidden, no one is going to notice the great ideas. Some of the ways that you can speak plainly, rather than letting the speech get in front of the ideas, include:

 Honor the Idea

 Being able to speak plainly is going to start and end with your ideas. No matter what the main idea of the speech is, you need to make sure that the idea is front and center and let that do the work for you. Do not ruin all of that work by making it look fancy. A good idea can stand on your own. Try not to soften the idea either. Using things like “think”, “feel”, and “believe” can make the idea look more like an opinion instead and can make things harder to share with others. Research the idea and then own it during the presentation.

 Be Yourself

 When you are giving a speech and working to use all of the fancy information and words, it is because they are trying to appear to be something they are not. This can be smarter, better educated, more professional, cooler or something else. This causes them to hide behind their real self and act in a different way. This is going to appear a bit odd when you give the speech and can make the audience focus more on those bad actions rather than the message that you are giving.

 Use the Shorter Word

 Big words can sound impressive, but sometimes they will hide the true message that you are trying to share with others. Rather than letting that happen, you will need to pick the word that makes the most sense for your needs. When you have the option between two words, it is always best to go with the shorter one. That will ensure that your message is not hidden behind some of those big words and can be so much better for the message (plus easier for you to remember).

 Cut Down the Description

 There are times when you will need to use a description. But there are times when the speech giver is going to try and add some more “oomph” to the story. Adding a lot of adverbs and adjectives around the idea is going to just bury it in details that are not that important. It is usually best to just cut to the chase and save the descriptive language for something else. Your focus is on the message, not on all of the extra stuff that is all around the idea.

 Communication is Your Top Priority

 Sometimes when you are speaking or writing, you may find that there is an urge to step the language up. You may look at the work and feel like the language is not pretty enough or that the audience is not going to enjoy it as much. This means that it is working though. Unless you are working through a ballad or a poem, you need to keep your first priority to communicate the message, rather than make it all flowery.

 Add the “You” and “Me”

 Another way that you may be trying to use language in order to hide some of your ideas is a vain attempt to sound impressive is to use an impersonal and distant tone. While there are some forms of writing where you can do this, such as journalism, you will find that this is not the case often when you are doing public speaking.

 To change this around a bit, you will need to add some I and me to the mixture. This is going to be a great way to make yourself seem more impressive and will help the audience to feel like they are being brought into the conversation more than anything else. You will see that it makes your conversation seem more human, which will engage the audience more than before.

 You can also engage the audience more fully when you speak directly to and about them instead of using “one” or “we” in the sentences that you use. Instead of trying to make the speech done in third person, you should address them directly and see what the difference is between the two speeches. You can choose to work with a recorder to see what the differences in the two speeches before you make a decision.

 While it is tempting to spend your time working with flowery language in order to get others to listen to you and be impressed, this can hide the message and will not help you to really showcase your ideas and what you want to say. Keeping the language plain and simple will not only help you to showcase your idea, but can make it easier to do a great speech where you do not need to remember all that flowery and complex language. 

If you would like personal assistance to elevate your speaking, storytelling, and presentation skills, please reach out to me, Al Jensen, at I specialize in transforming mere mortals into confident-speaking Super Stars.

If you’d like a free copy of my report “How to Avoid the Three Biggest Mistakes Speakers Make,” click:

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