As promised today’s post is all about public speaking. Whether we are presenting on a stage, hosting a meeting or seminar, communicating via phone or through video calls these tips will assist you in making the best impact on your audience.
Tips for Pubic Speaking
- Know your purpose and show up to give- you need to know what you hope to achieve and what you hope to give to your audience. People respond better to persons that teach them something, inspire them and allow them to form opinions.
- Understand your audience – remember your speech is for the people you are presenting to so you need to tailor your message to empathise with them. Think about them: Who are they? What are they interested in? Put yourself in their shoes and anticipate their their feelings and needs. What do they know? Will they understand your jargons and have you tailored you message to make it easy for them to understand.
- Research your topic- you need to know your topic well enough so that you can answer questions and clarify misunderstandings from the audience. Be authentic and do not be afraid to admit that you are not sure about something.
- Prepare- now that you have the information you need, create an outline so that you get the main points across in a concise and meaningful way. Be aware of how much time you have with your audience so you adjust your content to suit. Include anecdotes, examples and / or visual aids to help your audience remember the information. Be mindful not let audio-visual aids take over the presentation.
- Practice – it is okay to be nervous, by practicing in front of a mirror or “dummy” audience you can prepare yourself to deal effectively with your anxiety. How about reinterpreting your body signals. Instead of seeing clammy hands, rapid heartbeat, tension or shaking as signs of nervousness, see it as signs of excitement. After all excitement and nervousness produce similar physiological responses. It is your attitude towards them that determines how you interpretation those signals.
- Prepare your voice – warm up your voice before presenting so that you sound your best.
- Do not speak right away – walk out on stage quietly, take a deep breath and allow your audience to settle down before starting. On video give your audience time to adjust and make sure they are hearing and seeing you clearly.
- Capture your audience – you need to grab and hook your audience attention within the first 30 seconds of your speech to get them engaged. Provide them with the main ideas and points so they can follow along. Keep them engaged by involving them: ask questions, use visualization or ask for volunteers.
- Make eye contact – hold the eyes of each individual for an entire sentence or point before moving on to the next person. Holding individual attention instead of just sweeping your eyes across the audience makes them feel connected to you.
- Take your time – speak slowly and clearly, your audience will appreciate this over a rapid and garbled speech that they can not understand. In incoherent speech is a sure where to put off your audience and loose their attention.
- Avoid reading off of paper – presenting with your eyes down constantly while reading off your notes is not a great way to engage your audience. Try using cue cards , they should have only an online of your speech in bullet points, to nudge your memory if necessary.
- Pay attention to your audience – focus on your audience and observe their body language and facial expressions. This enables you to gauge how well they are understanding your message and whether they are in agreement. You can make minor adjustments in you speech to get most of the audience to where you need them to be.
- Ignore naysayers- avoid focusing too much on those persons shaking their head no and frowning so that you do not get discouraged and lose your confidence.
- Be aware of your body language – your verbal message and non verbal cues need to match or the audience will pick up on this discrepancy. If you are promoting something you don’t believe, don’t because they will feel that and not trust your content.
After the presentation:
- Say thank you – remember your audience have taken part of their valuable time and attention to listen to and attend your presentation, so show your appreciation and say thank you.
- Questions and Feedback- Do not forgot to leave time to answer questions and clear up any misunderstandings expressed during or at the end of the presentation.
Additional (video calls)
- Use mute when you are not speaking but be mindful of your body language.
- Look at your audience and not yourself.
- Consider sending an agenda to your audience before hand with the date and time of the call, instructions for connecting, the topic, main points and any pre-reading material.
- Use an external microphone or headset.
- Choose a quiet room with good lighting.
- Have a glass of water within reach.
- Do not forget to smile.
- Test your equipment before hand and make sure any visual aids are working.
I hope these tips will help you in your next venture into the world of public speaking.
Thank you for reading.
Love generously, inspire daily, learn constantly.