Tips To Public Speaking
Some people are just naturals when it comes to public speaking, and for others, it induces nothing short of “the fear”! You’re not alone if you fall into the terrified camp. In fact, 80% of people admit getting nervous before taking to the stage with many losing sleep over the mere thought. You may never have suffered from a stammer in your entire life until you hit the conference floor and whether you’re presenting to an intimate audience of ten or to a whole room of avid listeners ready to soak up your every word, the challenge can be no less daunting.
Safe to say that public speaking is most definitely a skill, but the great news is, you can absolutely master that art yourself. Those butterflies in your tummy, they’re a good thing! That adrenalin coursing through your veins can be harnessed to your advantage. Want to know how? Then read on as we exclusively reveal our ultimate tips to public speaking, rocking your confidence, and owning the audience.
Fail To Prepare And Prepare To Fail!
You are only as good as your preparation. Very few of us, no matter how confident we may or may not be speaking in public, can pull it off without preparation. You need to know your content and understand your audience, ensuring that what you have planned provides value and is relevant. That involves identifying the context of the event and why specifically someone with your background has been chosen to give a keynote speech? Perhaps it’s not even a professional speaking gig, maybe you’ve been asked to say a few words at a wedding or a memorial service? The same rules apply. Know your audience, organize your content, and make sure that you tailor it to your audience demographics in terms of tone, language, and relatability.
Put Some Structure Behind Your Presentation
For your benefit as well as that of your audience, it pays to follow a structure rather than being too fluid. Most experts will agree that the best format to follow is to start out with a Hook, follow up with a Middle, and finish with a Conclusion. Translated into sales lingo, we’re talking Problems, Solutions, and Call to Action. Flesh each of these acts out with substance but rather than being too organic, stick to your plan and you’ll feel far more ground and comfortable in front of a (hopefully) captive audience.
Be As Completing And Captivating As Possible
If you’ve been given a particularly “dry” subject matter to talk about, think about how you can bring this to life and make it flow more naturally. Everyone knows that the first 30 seconds are crucial. This is your best opportunity to grab their attention and reel in your audience, so make sure that you start out strong. Even if your voice is faltering slightly, make sure that your content is on point. Here are some excellent ways of grabbing attention that are tried and tested and audience approved!
- Relevant and relatable anecdotes
- Fun and interesting analogies
- Credible and notable quotes
While you may not exactly be a storyteller, putting some thought and structure into your presentation will stand you in good stead. Try and actively encourage your audience to participate in the dialogue by posing provocative questions or presenting scenarios and challenges for them to visualize and overcome. If you are going that one step further and thinking about incorporating visual aids to bring your speech to life, again, make sure that they’re relevant and interesting and support rather than distract from the content you’re delivering.
Conquering That Stage Fright And Channeling Your Nervous Energy
Sweaty palms, racing heartbeat, and stage fright. They are all familiar enough occurrences, and while it may well help to visualize your audience naked, depending upon the circumstances, that might not really be the best idea! Instead, own and embrace that fear. It will give you an edge so harness it early on and use that surge of adrenalin to help you connect with your audience. Chances are, they’ve been in your shoes before and totally understand how you’re feeling right now.
Always Strive To Be Authentic And True To Yourself
Try not to fixate on the number of people in the audience and instead think about how you would feel if you were addressing just one individual in a more intimate tete-a-tete? Scary? No, thought not. So imagine that you are connecting with your audience as individuals, rather than as a whole, and you may find the experience far less overwhelming. Know your content, memorize the concepts, and practice your speech then try and let your natural and authentic personality shine through. Have some handy prompts and script triggers by your side in case you need them, but if you can, avoid rigidly reading from a script and try to engage with your audience in a more genuine way.
Don’t Forget About Your Body Language
Consider throwing in a few strategic hand gestures. They will automatically make you appear more confident and help you to connect with your audience. We’re not talking about arms flying around all over the place, but a few natural hand gestures, standing tall and firm with your feet shoulder with apart will go a long way to giving you a dignified air of confidence. Consider your tone of voice and delivery too. Use rise and fall and change your pitch according to the context. Try and match your emotions to the ideas and concepts you’re discussing and use pause and emphasis to your advantage to reinforce important topics and to bring a sense of occasion and drama where it’s appropriate.
Practice Your Timings
Don’t sell the audience short and try not to hog the limelight by overstaying your welcome either! Practice your speech in advance with a stopwatch and know your timings. Most importantly of all, never try to wing it! As that old saying goes, practice really does make perfect.