How Can CIOs Command the Room During a Speech?

When CIOs give speeches, the room is hoping to catch a glimpse of the future of IT. Whether or not you actually know what that future looks like, you still want to at least sound like you have it altogether. Dr. Jim Anderson discusses at his blog how CIOs can command the room.

The Iron Fist of Public Speaking

When someone wants to sample your chicken broth, you do not throw the whole steaming pot at him or her; you offer a measured spoonful instead. Likewise, when speaking, you do not want to do an info dump of everything you know. Instead, cater and curate your information so that it addresses a pressing problem that is relevant to your audience. Persuade the audience that your solution is worth trying.

Another thing you need to do is leave time for questions. However, while most people think that leaving time for questions at the end is smart, it is actually even smarter to take pauses for questions at the 20- and 40-minute marks, because the average adult attention span only lasts 20 minutes. In this way, you maximize engagement with the audience.

And after all this, Anderson addresses the tried and true topic of PowerPoint:

All too often we are in a rush when we’ve been asked to give a speech and we end up throwing our slides together at the last minute. When we do this, we’re often not quite sure what we are planning on saying… One additional downside to looking at our slides while we talk is that our hand gestures are made towards the screen. Studies have shown that your audience will only be interested in motions made towards them. When you direct your motions towards the screen, you are giving them permission to start to ignore you.

If you can address a problem, tactically schedule Q&A, and use slides to pull the audience instead of push it away, you are sure to come across well in your speech. Well, hopefully. No promises.

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