Speaking To Engage And Influence

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speaking to engage and influence

Speaking To Engage And Influence

Whether we’re delivering a presentation or leading a meeting, our hope is others will understand the point we’re trying to make. But the truth is, retention and memory is often quite low. 

Recent research has revealed that just one week after a presentation, people tend to retain a mere 10% of the information. 

leadership communication skillsOur CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a Soulcast Media | LIVE event on LinkedIn, where she interviewed Chairman at Citibank South Asia, Lung-Nien Lee. They shared tips and personal stories about speaking to engage and influence.


1. Be Engaging

For many of us, when we speak, we share exactly what’s on our mind. However, if we want to be an effective communicator, we’ve got to think about keeping the conversation engaging. This includes our tone, being authentic, and including storytelling. The quickest way to have people disengage is to speak in a monotoned voice. Jessica and Lung discussed various techniques during the Soulcast Media | LIVE to  capture and maintain an audience’s attention. 

Consider the following:

  • Tone – Your tone of voice plays a significant role in engaging your audience. If you speak in a monotone manner, it can make your message less engaging and it might cause your audience to lose interest. Conversely, by varying your tone of voice and infusing energy into your speaking, you can create a more captivating and engaging delivery. Your enthusiasm and energy are contagious, and they can help keep your audience attentive and interested.
  • Body Language – Our body language plays a crucial role in engaging our audience. To keep them interested, we must use confident and positive body language, such as good posture, making eye contact, and using expressive gestures. When we stand up straight and establish direct eye contact with our audience, it signals confidence. In fact, research has found people also find it attractive. By consciously using our body language to enhance engagement, we can effectively capture and hold our audience’s attention.
  • Authenticity – Being engaging also means staying true to ourselves. It’s important not to come across as fake or scripted. Instead, we should relax and embrace our true selves and believe what we’re saying. Both Jessica and Lung emphasized the importance of authenticity during the Soulcast Media | LIVE. If we try to memorize a script, we may appear insincere, causing our audience to disengage.
  • Storytelling And Humor – Storytelling and humor can be powerful tools for keeping our audience engaged. People tend to remember stories more effectively than plain facts or data, making storytelling a valuable tool for creating engaging conversations. Humor is also effective, as it can capture the audience’s attention and reengage them, ensuring they stay focused on our message. Don’t shy away from using (workplace appropriate) humor to lighten the mood. Showing a bit of personality is part of showing authenticity.

Employing positive body language, staying authentic, and infusing energy into our presentations are effective ways to keep our audience engaged and attentive. These strategies not only make our message more relatable and approachable but also help establish a connection with our audience, making them more likely to stay engaged throughout our presentation.


2. Practice 

Speaking to engage and influence is a skill that requires practice. To effectively engage and influence our audience, we need to be comfortable with our message and deliver it in a memorable and impactful way. This means refining our communication techniques and working on these skills.

Consider the following:

  • Verbalize Out Loud – Preparing for a presentation or meeting involves practicing our message out loud. It may seem silly, but for high-stakes meetings, the ROI is worth it. This entails speaking as if we were addressing our actual audience. One effective method is recording ourselves delivering the practice presentation. By reviewing the recording, we can take note of our tone, body language, and work on eliminating filler words. The more we practice verbalizing our presentation, the more confident we are in our delivery.speaking to engage and influence
  • Bullets – At times, we might find ourselves overwhelmed with the amount of information we want to convey. To boost our confidence, we can outline our key points and practice discussing them. Instead of scripting or memorizing verbatim, we can jot down three main bullet points and develop three subpoints for each. This approach helps us become more at ease with our message because we’re not memorizing things word by word, which can quickly throw us off if we forget!
  • Clarify Your Point – Sometimes, we might find ourselves in a situation where we can tell we’re speaking in circles. This can often happen when we’re nervous and we lose our train of thought. To combat this, one powerful way to get back on track is to say these words,”the point I’m trying to make here is…” It’s a simple but easy way to get both you and the audience re-engaged.

When it comes to engaging and influencing through our speaking, it all boils down to the connection we build with our audience, whether it’s just one person or a whole auditorium. Remember, engaging others is a skill. Practicing these tips can ensure you continue to captivate an audience, whether it’s one, two or two-hundred people.

If you want to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Lung’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.


Whenever you’re ready, there are 3 ways we can help you:

  1. Discover your communications style so you know where to start. Over 4,000 people have found theirs here.
  2. Attend our monthly communication workshop to build communications confidence (new topics: public speaking, advocating for yourself, building credibility, etc) here.
  3. Get your brand in front of 43k+ people by sponsoring our newsletter or Soulcast Media | LIVE LinkedIn events [contact: hello@soulcastmedia.com]

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