Great communicators have two things. Confidence and empathy.

Confidence comes from knowing your material. It’s as simple as that. Knowing your material, in terms of: what order it should be delivered in, what quotes should be used, what jokes work, what visuals bring the information to life and what outcome you want your material to achieve.

‘Knowing’ not in a cursory way but in an in-depth, fully focused, thought through and reflected upon kind of way. In a way that has you rehearsing and reworking until you know 100% your communication will provoke the action you intended.

Empathy comes from respecting your audience. Respect comes from taking the time to think about what they need, what problem they want you to solve, what constraints they have on their time, knowledge and attention that will prevent them from getting the best out of your talk.

The only reason why you have your audience’s attention whether in conversation or presentation is because they want you to give them something. This may be knowledge, insight, instruction or even entertainment. Understand this and your communication will be much more powerful.

Do this one thing: Ask yourself – in the context of my agenda, what single piece of advice can I ‘gift’ my audience that will help them go about their business more effectively. Whatever your answer, keep this as your reference point and I can guarantee you a more engaged audience.

I help engineers, scientists and technologists to be more effective communicators because I think they are awesome and want them to get the understanding and recognition they deserve. Sign up today for the next Presentation Skills & Networking workshop being delivered at RINA headquarters in London on October 19th 2016.