Here are the 7 best public speaking tips that will help calm your nerves and get you through your speech or presentation in one piece.
1. Understand your topic
The most essential part of a good speech or presentation is to understand your topic in a deep way.
The reason most business presentations are so mind-numbingly boring is because the presenter only has a cursory understanding of the topic. They rely heavily on slides or notes to guide them (thus, they sound anxious, monotone, and un-listenable).
Have a good understanding of your topic and your talk instantly becomes easier — You’re talking about what you know.
2. Understand your audience
Understanding your audience is essential to delivering a good talk. When you understand your audience you know exactly how to frame your presentation. You know their wants and needs.
Remember, the wants and needs of customer-facing employees will likely be very different to that of the executive management team.
3. Frame for your audience
It is critical to frame for your audience and show them how your talk will benefit them.
Dry speeches and presentations that deliver boring facts will not excite your audience.
Explaining upfront how the facts you are going to present will improve their lives is much better.
Opening with, “I’m going to show you how to save 30 minutes of admin work every day” is much better than, “I’m going to update you on the progress of the Benson project.”
4. Plan in 3’s
If you understand your topic well you don’t need to write out a script. You simply need to draft out your main talking points.
It’s important, though, that you keep the talking points to three points or less. That way you will be able to remember them easily (and so will the audience).
5. Push to the audience in your first line
Your first few seconds on stage is when you feel the worst. This is where your anxiety, and the audience’s expectations, are the highest.
Take the pressure of by pushing to the audience.
Do this by asking a question as your first line.
When you ask the audience a question the focus shifts from you to the audience. Even if the question is rhetorical, and you don’t expect an answer, it gives you a vital second or two to orient yourself and become more comfortable on stage.
6. Take questions throughout
A cool way to avoid a run of tough (and potentially negative) questions at the end of your talk is to encourage the audience to ask questions throughout. This has the added benefit of turning your presentation into more of a conversation, thus taking the performance pressure off.
7. Close your presentation with a focus on the audience
Just as you framed for the audience at the outset to show them how they can benefit, make sure you wrap up by reiterating those benefits. This makes your talk positive and memorable.
Closing with, “Remember, when this project is complete you’re going to be less stressed and doing less busy-work.” is better than, “Thank you for listening to my presentation.”
What do think? Let’s chat in the comments below.