Public speaking can be intimidating and challenging, especially if it is in front of other business professionals. Chances are, if you work in a business environment you will be required to speak in public at some stage in your career, whether it’s for a presentation, meeting, or seminar. Here are three tips to help you improve your public speaking and deliver your message effectively.
Prepare and practice:
Spending enough time preparing your notes, pace, presentation visuals, and timeliness before the day is crucial; it can help tame your nerves and provide you with reassurance that you know what you’re going to talk about. Try preparing an opening line or run over a personal story you might want to use to engage the audience and show charisma.
As well as this, you should also prepare your material to run slightly under time, i.e, a 15 minute speech if you’re given a 20 minute time slot. This accounts for audience interruptions, comments and questions, and allows you to implement thought-provoking pauses. Prepping if you are going on a stage is also useful in preventing embarrassing blunders during your presentation, so make sure to test your microphone, presentation slides and lighting if possible.
A common mistake people make when they are nervous is to talk too quickly. Mumbling or talking at a fast pace to rush through the content and end the ordeal shows your nervousness and is one of the easiest ways to lose your audience’s attention. It is a good idea to speak slowly and use pauses throughout your presentation, and not just at the end of phrases or sentences. You’ll often find that if you go quiet for a moment, the audience will wait for you and anticipate what you will say next. This way you retain audience engagement while also getting a chance to take a full breath and slow down.
Speakers that show passion exude confidence and engage with their audiences. If you focus on giving to your audience rather than appearing to speak for your own benefit, you can almost guarantee that your audience will respond positively. Showing that you want to benefit your audience and that you care can be done through tactics like explaining high-level topics thoroughly, asking questions to ensure they understand what you’re saying, or even sharing a funny, moving, or relatable anecdote. Don’t hold back when discussing subjects that evoke emotion in you; if you feel strongly about something then convey it. Passionate speakers are much more likely to be remembered, and even favoured, for their authenticity.