We know Aristotle as a great Ancient Greek philosopher. But how could he have shared his wisdom if he wasn’t a good speaker? Here are his three tips to consider in your next speech:

  1. Think About Your Audience, Not Yourself.

Preparing a good speech often means endless hours. But what do most people think about? “What if I fail?”, “What if I seem incompetent?”, “Can I answer potential questions?” Aristotle advises forgetting these worries and focusing on the people you’re addressing and trying to engage. Simple, right? Yet, it’s hard to do.

Start by asking: Who is your audience? How many will there be? Their age? Gender? What do they know about you and your topic? Why are they there? How can you help them? Before writing, think about your speech’s goal – to entertain, inform, or inspire?

2. Understand and Please Your Audience.

You may think your speech is about quarterly sales, company policy, or a new invention. But your audience is focused on something more personal – happiness.

Aristotle lists several things that make people happy: health, family, wealth, position, etc. Success as a speaker mainly depends on addressing the topic from the audience’s perspective – speaking in a way they truly understand.

Let’s say you’re offering a financial product. You know it’s good and beneficial. The numbers prove it. But what makes your audience happy? A long lecture on numbers or an explanation of how these numbers improve their lives?

3. Speak in Your Audience’s Language.

Regardless of what you offer, the audience’s decision to agree with your ideas depends on how trustworthy they find you. Aristotle wrote, “If speakers behave inappropriately, their credibility is questioned – even if they speak the truth.”

Intuitively, uncomfortable body language or inappropriate attire can distract from your message. Instead of worrying about dos and don’ts, focus on framing your presentation in the audience’s cognitive universe. If your audience uses the metric system, don’t talk in inches.