[Image by Gerd Altmann of Pixabay]

As a public speaker it’s always about the other person (or people). We know that—but the trick is to be inclusive when we’re conducting our presentation. Sometimes we think we’re doing just that but in fact we’re not. Before I present recommendations for speaking inclusively let’s revisit the value in doing so.  By speaking inclusively, we’re far more likely to help our listeners recall what we’re saying, and we potentially can be more influential and persuasive.  All good reasons to speak inclusively so now let’s address how we accomplish that by asking ourselves these five questions.

  1. Do you tend to begin by talking about yourself?  If you do this, you run the risk of losing your audience.  As interesting as you make it sound, your focus should not be on what you’ve accomplished.
  2. Do you use phrases like “We can solve this and get results that matter to you.” By using this type of language, you’re spotlighting your listeners and helping them feel they’re part of the solution. That’s meaningful to them.
  3. Do you ask questions that assist your listeners to implement what you’re saying? Periodically, you can say “How will you apply this to your role?” or “What next steps will you take to ensure results?
  4. Do you break participants up into small groups or a paired share? Most attendees want to have their voice heard by others and breaking them into smaller groups is one way to accomplish that. It serves as a non-threatening way to integrate information, ask questions or convey new ideas. It also helps to mix things up and have attendees interact with others.  Be sure to set a time limit so you know when the activity ends. You’ll also want to factor this time into your presentation.
  5. Do you gather useful information from your listeners? You may opt to do this electronically (with a poll or app) or you may choose to do this manually.  If you select the manual option, you may ask listeners to stand or raise a hand, write a response, fill-in-the-blank, or select from choices that you provide.

Most important is that you engage people to create activated (vs. passive) listeners.  This is one way to be more inclusive the next time you conduct your presentation. If I may clarify for you or discuss your unique needs, please contact me at 518-664-6004 or dale@profitablespeech.com