Dear League Leaders,

This the time of year when League leaders, well, do a lot MORE speaking! Here are some skills you can apply when you're communicating face-to-face, over the phone, moderating a debate or during presentations.


Um, what perception, like, do you create, you know, when you hear, um, someone using, uh, words that clutter, you know, their language? Knowledgeable, credible and confident probably don't come to mind.

These are non-words or filler words. As I travel the country, the number one challenge League leaders need to overcome if they want to speak with influence, is the ability to replace their non-words with a pause. We use non-words to buy ourselves time to think about what we want to say. These words become distracting and your potential member or audience misses your message. Instead, give your audience time to hear, understand and absorb your message. Speak in shorter sentences to communicate a clear and concise message.

Benefits for You

  • Think on your feet.
  • Get to the point and avoid rambling.
  • Hold their attention.
  • Gain control over your message and how you communicate your message.

Benefits for Your Audience

  • Hear and understand your message.
  • Act on what you say.

2. Eye Connection

When you forget what to say, you will look at the ceiling, floor, PowerPoint slides or anywhere away from your audience. When you disconnect you'll say: "uh" "um" "so" "and", etc. You communicate to your members you don't know what to say.

When speaking to more than two individuals, connect with one individual for a complete sentence or thought. Take a moment to pause as you transition your eyes from one individual to another.

3. Get to the Point

  • Stay focused. When you find yourself going down the path of saying too much and you begin to feel like a train about to derail, put the brakes on and get yourself back on track…PAUSE!
  • Keep your objective in mind. Think in terms of what your audience needs to know rather than what you want to tell them.
  • Focus your message on no more than three significant points that will provide your audience with value.
  • Pay attention to your listener. Are they hanging on your every word or are they dazed? Are they attentive or fidgeting?
  • Oh yes, and remember to have fun!