Whether you’re addressing your team, presenting to your company or a conference full of people, public speaking can be a nerve-wracking experience. But there are ways to overcome your nerves and avoid stuttering, stage fright and sweaty palms. By the end of this article you’ll be a prepared, confident and inspiring public speaker! Here’s our top 5 public speaking tips…
Obviously the easiest way to ensure success is to properly prepare. This is where you will be doing the bulk of the work on your presentation/speech. Follow these steps in advance and it will cut down on the stress on the day:
- Make sure you have all the relevant information you want to convey. Then structure your presentation in a simple and effective way that your audience will enjoy. Think about presentations you’ve enjoyed and why you enjoyed them.
- Break it down into three parts – the introduction where you state the purpose, the middle which is the bulk of the presentation and the conclusion, with the point you want your audience to take away.
- Think about your message, almost like constructing a debate. You need to know your argument and anticipate questions people may ask and provide the relevant answers.
- Include keys facts, statistics and figures as these are generally what people are most likely to remember.
- Think about how you can present information, whether with notes, PowerPoint slides etc and try to include rich content such as images, colourful diagrams and video. This will keep your audience interested.
2. Don’t focus on your fears
Time to look at why you’re dreading this. If you identify what you fear about public speaking is, you can then address the issue and mitigate it. If you are worried about forgetting information then have prompt points or slides. If it’s more talking in public you fear then practice at home with friends or family until you feel comfortable.
On the day do not focus on what can go wrong! Think about what you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve it. Focus on your strengths and the information you have prepared. No one has come to see you speak hoping you will fail, they want to hear what you have to say because you are a voice of authority. Remember, the audience is willing you to do well.
3. Tell a story
It’s easier to convey information and have that information accepted by an audience if you can personalise it. Take your information and create a story around it, using personal examples or experiences to make a point. This makes more complex concepts relatable and therefore it’s more easily absorbed. Telling a story also makes you more memorable as a speaker and if you can make the story inspiring then that’s even better!
4. Speak with passion
No one wants to listen to a speaker who is monotone and despondent. You need to speak with passion about your chosen topic and show that you are excited about what you are sharing. Move around and be animated, enthusiastic and it’s okay to smile once in a while. Ask questions of the audience and keep them involved in what you’re saying. You can create a discussion nearer to the end of your presentation which is also a good marker of how much you said was absorbed and understood by your audience.
5. Convincing Conclusion
When you go to a restaurant for a three course meal, you know the memorability of dinner lies with the dessert! There is no point creating a fantastic presentation that then ends with a lackluster conclusion. Your conclusion should not just be a summary of your speech but also the message you want your audience to take away. Perhaps make a bold statement or pose a question that can lead on to a discussion or debate. Take a look at a few famous speeches and see how they conclude to help you end on a high note.
Follow these simple tips, take a deep breath and you’ll be great!
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