by Mary Cantando, Founder of The Woman’s Advantage, Guest Contributor

I hope you’re not one of those women who thinks she adds value simply by talking longer. In fact, just the opposite is true. If you make your point with fewer words, in a shorter length of time, you are actually a much more effective speaker.

The key is to present your information in as efficient and memorable a style as possible. Here are five ways to do that.

Five Ways to Add Value When Speaking to an Audience

1. Speak with individual members of your audience before you present.

I go through audience and individually introduce myself to people to tell them I’m happy to be there and thank them for having me.

2. Decide on ONE big idea and focus your entire presentation on that.

Be clear on your single idea and drill down to get your point across.

3. Have a strong, impactful opening and move quickly to your big idea.

4. Edit your presentation down to remove any fluff.

And after you’ve done that, edit it down again. Wouldn’t you rather have a speaker present 10 minutes of solid content than 20 minutes of fluff? Why would your audience be any different?

5. Before you close, ask for questions.

Then be prepared for several seconds of silence. Know that this silence will occur and be comfortable with it, rather than rushing past it to close. You’ll be rewarded with powerful questions as a result of waiting.