It’s very rare that you’ll find someone who loves public speaking or someone who is completely comfortable and confident in getting up and talking in front of a crowd. Yet, despite this, most of us will have to face the prospect of public speaking at some point throughout our lives, whether it’s a university presentation or giving a talk at a big event. It wouldn’t be right if you didn’t get some kind of nerves beforehand, but that doesn’t have to mean a feeling of dread; you are allowed to enjoy it. With that in mind, here are five top tips for public speaking.
1. Prepare, practice, perfect
We all know the saying, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”. Well, there’s never been a truer word spoken when it comes to speaking in public. As soon as you find out you’re giving a talk, you should research your audience and your topic. Never rush your presentation planning. It’s not uncommon for someone to do an hour’s prep for every one minute of talking time, in order to look and sound both confident and professional. Practise in front of a friend or family member, take their feedback on board and perfect any bits that need ironing out.
2. Consider your audience
Just remember that, whoever you’re speaking to, it’s to benefit them and not yourself. You need to keep your end goal in sight. What outcome do you need to achieve for them? Whatever it is that they need to get out of your speech, keep that in mind at all times while you’re talking to ensure you stay on track. Build up and finish on your key point to end on a high and be sure to keep things relevant to your listeners.
3. Don’t rely on technology
As tempting as it can be to turn your talk into an all singing, all dancing presentation, it’s not good to rely heavily on technology. It’s not unheard of for laptops to crash, Wi-Fi to be down or batteries to go flat at the worst time possible. If you need to, make a PowerPoint presentation with some simple bullet points to help trigger your memory and share with the audience, but don’t read everything word for word from the screen. Instead, use captivating imagery to give people something to look at and take some of the focus off you.
4. Be yourself
The best way to come away from giving a speech and feel like it was a complete success is to be yourself. You’ll engage your audience more and hold their interest if you let your individual personality shine through. People will sense if you’re trying to be someone you’re not and you won’t have as much confidence either. You need to show that you’re authentic and an expert in what it is that you’ve come to talk about. Smile, be natural and don’t be afraid to not be boring.
5. Get some help
If all else fails and you’re seriously dreading doing the speaking yourself, then why not enlist the help of someone else? If that’s an option for you, then there are people who can help. Companies such as Speakers Corner will chat to you, understand your needs and then find and book the perfect speaker for you; be it an industry expert, a motivational speaker or even a comedian.
Public speaking is a way of giving something to others while also helping to develop yourself. Follow these simple tips and your pre-speech worries will soon be a thing of the past.