The following article was prepared by Mike Taylor, C.P.M. for distribution to NAPM affiliate newsletters. 


Speak to me!

Have you ever been to a conference, presentation or other public forum and wondered what the speakers was trying to say? Did you ever watch vendor loose a sale because they couldn't organize their thoughts? My guess is that most buyers have "been there, seen that". I am continually amazed at the people in positions of authority, responsibility and leadership who fall flat on their face in front of a group.

Even if public speaking is not our primary function, Buyers, as company representatives, are often called upon to talk at a meeting, present a plan or lead a discussion with a group of managers or suppliers. With more emphasis cross-functional work groups and supply chain management, being able to clearly present ideas verbally is a valuable skill for a buyer. 

Here are some hints:

  1. Make your point a real point. Don't just ramble and hope everyone eventually gets the idea. 
  2. Decide ahead of time the message you want the group to remember most and say it first and say it clearly. 
  3. If you feel like you need to keep saying the same thing twenty three different ways, it's probably because you didn't do enough thinking about how to say it before you started. 
  4. Stand up and talk to the back row. The people in front will still be able to hear just fine.  
  5. If you say " I won't spend a lot of time on this......"; don't. 
  6. Say what you intend to say; keep to the topic; don't add needless sidebars and comments.  
  7. If you spend too much time explaining why or how or when, you may not have enough time to say what you intended to say.
  8. Write the last slide in your presentation first. It's the most important. Then add the rest. 
  9. First, convey information in your presentation then add humor if it adds value. 
  10. Save the cute stuff for the family Christmas letter. 
  11. Finish each sentence and each point. Don't dribble off at the end or jump into the middle of a different idea. 
  12. Look at the people you are talking to, not somewhere else. Don't look at the projector, the screen, your notes, your watch, etc. 
  13. Practice with family, friends and coworkers until you can articulate a thought or idea clearly. Every time we open our mouths to say anything is another opportunity to practice doing it well. 
  14. Get experience wherever you can. Attend a few Toastmasters meetings. Take a college course in public speaking. Stand up and speak in front of groups when your job doesn't depend on it. 
  15. Make a decision to add public speaking to your personal toolbox. 

As our younger colleagues might say, " NO FEAR. JUST DO IT!"


MLTWEB is assembled and maintained by Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M. 
Materials and articles prepared by Mike may be shared for purchasing education provided that this source is cited and no fee is charged. The rights for any other use are withheld.
Copyright;  Michael L. Taylor, C.P.M.
Last Updated: 11/26/2016