We’re nearly there, It’s nearly election time! It will soon be over and we can all get back to what we need to do!

Unfortunately Australia has had more than it’s fair share of elections over the past five years and I have become a jaded voter. I am over the pontificating, hyperbole and bombastic style of speaking that we have had to endure over the last month.

It’s time to stop talking like a politician.

Here are five ways to eliminate political speak form your next presentation.

1. You can see the elephant – it’s stepping on your foot – talk about it!
An anxious mind cannot learn. If we are blinded by the elephant, we cannot take in anything else you say.

George Bradt author of The New Leaders Playbook suggests there are three elephants we need to be aware of and offers tips on how to manage them:

  1. The ignored elephant – Confront it head on
  2. Imagined elephant – Talk about it and make it disappear
  3. Insistent elephant  – Resolve the issue or let their owners take them away

You can read more about how to manage the three elephants here.

2. Be Human
It’s okay to be human, in fact it may make you a more persuasive speaker. Research shows that university lecturers who share personal stories are perceived as being more credible.

Todays leaders need to be authentic, approachable and tolerant. Being human is okay. The power of vulnerability was discussed eloquently by Bene Brown in her TED talk. You can view it here.

3. Answer the question
Yes, that question, the question you don’t want to answer. Questions are a gift; they are an opportunity for you to see into the hearts and minds of your audience. Address them with honestly and clarity and you will earn their respect.

4. Don’t make promises you cant keep
There is a saying in customer service “Under promise and over deliver.” Trust, like repairing a broken Ming vase, is hard, expensive and takes a long time. Be realistic about what you can offer and don’t promise the moon. You’ll do better in the long run.

5. Resist the temptation to be a shock jock
Shock Jocks are radio DJ’s who love to provoke, exaggerate and push the limits of acceptable social behaviour. As the election continues you can see the candidates sink to the lowest common denominator.

These are usually fear and greed. We see them rile up the masses: “Watch out! They are coming to get us! Batten the hatches” and “If you elect us we’ll give you all a fist full of money!”

Cheap shots are tempting because they are easy and will get you in the papers; unfortunately they are also divisive and may get you in the papers for the wrong reasons.

So here’s to communicating like a real person and if you need further guidance remember the words of William Butler Yeats:

“Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”

Sharon Ferrier
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All Good Presentations Start With a Confident Speaker

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