Speaking for Ambassadors 101

Words matter. From your first interview to your farewell address, what comes out of your mouth has the opportunity to leave a lasting impact, positive or negative. As an ambassador, speaking is the key to a successful reign. You don’t have to be a word wizard or the next Shakespeare, but you better believe that you’ll need to put some time and effort into your words in more ways than you probably thought. Speaking is one of my favorite topics to discuss because 1) improvement comes with practice (what you put in is what you get out) and 2) this skill is arguably the most important and transferable of your year that you take and apply to the real world.

General tips

  1. Practice, practice, practice10527885_10204347077019933_9088825874254368143_n
  2. Cut the “umm’s,” “uhh’s,” “like’s,” and “well’s”
  3. Lose the slang and jargon
  4. Practice enunciation and pronunciation
  5. Say “young women” or “ladies” instead of “girls” when referring to fellow ambassadors
  6. Never re-welcome the crowd once the host has done it (i.e.: “Good evening,” “welcome”)
  7. Avoid reintroducing yourself
  1. Practice, practice, practice
  2. Energize your tone—if you aren’t excited and show you care about what you’re saying, why should your audience be?
  3. Always speak with conviction—an easy way to convince the crowd what you’re saying is legitimate
  4. Learn from yourself—review recorded interviews and speeches, and give yourself a friendly critique
  1. Practice, practice, practice
  2. Be aware of hand movements
  3. A podium is a prop, not a crutch
  4. Make eye contact
  5. Keep your chin up, shoulders back and feet planted
  6. SMILE!

Area-specific tips

  1. Record and watch yourself before the real deal
  2. Take a deep breath right before beginning a speech—it slows you down
  3. If you screw up, you can start over (judges are just as human as you)
  4. Add personality to your content
  5. Make the judges laugh
  6. Think outside of the box on content and presentation
  1. Avoid negatives and repeating negatives
  2. Bridge, bridge, bridge—it is the key to talk about what you want to (*wink* key messages *wink*)
  3. Know your messages before you begin—especially for radio interviews
  1. Keep it short and sweet
  2. Outline three key talking points mentally
  3. Try to draw personal connections to your crowd


The bottom line: your speech, interview or conversation will never go as perfectly as planned. Practice does not make perfect because perfect does not exist. Aim for progress, not perfection. With that in mind, remember that there will always be opportunities to improve for anyone at any level and any age.

Get practicing and happy speaking!

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