When you think of speaking in a business context, you probably think about PowerPoint slides and conference rooms.
While speaking in key presentations and critical meetings is important, there are other opportunities for demonstrating your communication skills that are often overlooked. I’m talking about end-of-the-year parties, award banquets, and other ceremonies.
Events like these may not be as high-stakes as speaking to the board, but you still want to be at your best. How can you make the most of your opportunity to shine? Here are three tips for great ceremonial speaking:
1. Express the collective feeling
First of all, you want to establish an immediate connection with the audience by getting everyone on the same page. The audience may be filled with people who are very different, but you are all there for the same reason.
Everybody knows what you’re celebrating, of course, but you still need to express that explicitly to set the right tone. By getting to the point right away, you will get everyone to forget about their side conversations and remember the reason for the occasion.
2. Add a personal touch
Another way you can add impact to your ceremonial speaking is by adding a personal touch. Revealing something about yourself — some sort of personal connection to the reason for celebration — is a great way to endear yourself to your audience. Whether it’s a heartfelt story, a funny anecdote, or a surprising fact about yourself, make it clear to your audience why this event is meaningful for you as well.
3. Pack an emotional punch
Finally, you need to make sure your speaking contributes to the emotional tone of the event. Both your rhythm and your language should align to express the level of passion that you want to express.
One of the ways you can heighten the emotional tone of your speaking is by using a rhythmic build. A rhythmic build is a group of phrases that use the same words in the same place. For example:
Through your efforts, you have shown stamina.
Through your actions, you have shown power.
And through your decisions, you have shown courage.
Rhythmic builds like this one can pack an emotional punch and enhance your impact on your audience — just what you want out of a great ceremonial speech.
A ceremony represents a chance to unwind and reflect — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take your speaking seriously. By using these strategies, you can become a true “master” of ceremonial speaking.