Two weeks ago, Mark, Shane, and I were thrilled to attend Nonprofit Roundtable’s conference CommMission: Leveraging Communication. The conference featured CEOs of several major nonprofits, and was interspersed with roundtable discussions amongst the attendees. There were four main topics of discussion: executive communications, crisis communications, advocacy, and media relations. Speakers shared their unique perspective, tempered by years of experience. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing some of the advice given by the CEOs, and discuss how nonprofits can apply that advice to their own marketing and communications. First up, Jim Dinegar of the Greater Washington Board of Trade.
Jim discussed executive communications, and made excellent use of props to get his points across. His speech was short and sweet, and emphasized the following tactics: be a good speaker; have a point; be clear; and don’t waffle.
Jim started out by playing music from his smartphone. The music was tinny, and hard to hear in such a big room. His point? In order to get your message across, you have to be a good speaker. You don’t have to be the next great orator, but you must be able to share your message in a clear and concise manner without stumbling over your words.
An arrow was Jim’s next prop, and he joked about the stares he got carrying that onto the Metro. But the arrow had a point, which is that your communications must also have a point. If you aren’t able to come away from a speech with a clear understanding of its purpose, it wasn’t a very good speech.
Jim next pulled out a bottle of Windex. Just like windows, you want your communications to be clear. So when planning your communications, make sure that you (and your audience!) understand what you’re trying to get across.
Finally Jim removed a box of Eggos from his bag. Above the laughter that spread through the room, Jim emphasized that you cannot waffle. Don’t go off on tangents; don’t be distracted by side topics. Stick to your point and your speech will be that much more effective.
While all this may seem like simple advice, take a moment to think about it. How often have you heard someone get up on stage to talk who is clearly nervous about speaking in public? Or listened to a speaker that can’t seem to stick to one topic? By analyzing your message before hand and incorporating these four tactics, you can hone and perfect your speech to communicate exactly what you want to.