Here are my top public speaking tips to help you so the next time you speak, you do an excellent job and feel great!
- Pay attention to logistics.
Set-up your room properly, know how to use the microphone and the PowerPoint. Make sure everyone can see you and you can see them. Keep the lights on so you can see people’s eyes. And ‘zen’ the space, remove mess and distractions every time.
- Analyse your audience.
As you know, audiences are made up of a variety of different people with different ideas, different attitudes and different approaches to tasks and challenges. They attend your presentation with all sorts of things going on in their minds, distractions and agendas, many of which are not related to your presentation! So at this stage you need to step into your audience’s shoes and decipher what they are thinking about you and your message, so you can shift them to your way of thinking.
You need to analyse what they are they thinking, feeling and doing before you present and what do you want them to be thinking, feeling and doing when you are finished. Make sure everything you say and do is completely in line with what your audience needs to see and hear so they change their thinking and/or behaviour. For example if you were speaking to real estate agents, you would want your speech to be focused on communication skills, dealing with difficult parties and providing solutions.
Related: How to engage an audience
I suggest you aim to take your audience members on a journey: one that transports them from their current mindset, to where you need them to go in terms of what you want them to think, feel and do. This approach will work much better than simply expecting your audience to adopt your views, interpret information or reach conclusions in the same way as you.
There is no substitute for rehearsing parts of your speech over and over until the words flow easily. Just don’t rote learn it – your brain won’t handle it.
- Be yourself and let them ‘know’ you.
Create rapport by telling your audience a bit about yourself. Always make sure that your personal details link to your content – otherwise it’s a story for the sake of a story.
- Feel it.
What do you want your audience to feel? Make sure you feel it too! Want them to feel ‘confident’ in you and your message? Then you must feel ‘confident’ too!
There are lots of things you can do to facilitate the group dynamics in a positive way to support the individuals whilst maintaining the good of the group. Work hard to maintain everyone’s focus and achieve the outcomes with minimal distractions.
- Be funny.
Public speaking provides you with the chance to entertain your audience. When we laugh we learn better and retain the information for longer. Find something that they genuinely find amusing and be sure to cleverly link it to your content.
- Use props or slides that help you make your point.
Slides should reinforce your key messages. Awesome slides help people recount what you said in a context outside of the presentation. Use www.unsplash.com or www.pixels.com for gorgeous, free, memorable images.
- Bring solutions.
If you’ve researched your audience well, it should be easy to bring needs-based solutions to their problems. People listen to speakers who can solve their problems!
- Call your audience to action.
What do you want them to ‘do’ with your information? Make sure you are explicit about this – so people know exactly how to change as a result of your message.
For more information on how to present with confidence, clarity and influence please read How to Present: the ultimate guide to presenting your ideas and influencing people using techniques that actually work (Wiley) Or consider attending Michelle’s public 2-day Persuasive Presentation Skills Masterclass.
Michelle Bowden is an authority on presentation & persuasion in business. Michelle is a CSP (the highest designation for speakers in the world), Founder of Speakers’ Club, co-creator of the PRSI (a world-first psychometric indicator that tests your persuasiveness at work), best selling internationally published author (Wiley), 8 x nominee for the prestigious Educator Award for Excellence, editor of How to Present magazine, producer of Michelle Bowden TV, and a regular commentator in print, radio and online media. Sign up for Michelle’s FREE How to Present magazine TODAY https://michellebowden.com.au