Here’s how to be a better public speaker in a few simple steps:
- Be clear about the outcome you want
- Become a subject matter expert
- Draw up a simple presentation plan
- Frame your message
- Create some support tools
- Final practice
- Don’t be afraid of mistakes
1. Be clear about the outcome you want
Most public speakers and presenters become a dithering mess on stage because they are not clear about the outcome they want from their presentations. The first step to successfully deliver a speech is to be clear what you want.
Write a short sentence about your outcome.
For example, I want to drive the audience towards purchasing my software.
Now that you are clear about your outcome, everything else becomes easier.
2. Become a subject matter expert
Knowing your topic in-depth will allow you to talk about your subject matter confidently and clearly. If you don’t understand the subject you need to talk about your presentation is unlikely to go well.
Before you go any further make sure you have a deep understanding of your subject matter.
3. Draw up a simple presentation plan
Subject matter expert? Check.
Now draw up a simple outline of your presentation. Use a mind map format and try to outline your presentation into no more than 3 key points.
4. Frame your message
Before you start to practice your presentation consider what will drive your audience to take action.
Imagine you are selling remote controls for televisions in 1980. Which message is more likely to sell a remote control?
A. If you buy our remote control you will be able to change the channel from a distance
B. Using our remote control you’ll be able to relax and drink a refreshing beer while you flip to another channel during commercial breaks
Sentence B is more persuasive because it is framed with the listener/audience in mind. This is how you should be thinking about your presentation content so it is easier to drive your audience to action.
With your outline in hand, practice your presentation delivery.
As you practice, make sure you are delivering each point of your message clearly and persuasively.
6. Create some support tools
Time for your slides or other props…
Now that you have practiced your speech you are in the perfect position to create slides that will support your delivery.
Whatever you do, don’t overuse words on your slides.
7. Final practice
Now that you have slides and props, it’s time to practice again.
The purpose of this practice is to make sure you are comfortably delivery your speech without the slides and props over-shadowing your speech.
8. You’re ready to go!
It’s time to get on stage… Good luck!
9. Don’t be disheartened if you make mistakes
A focus on perfection can be the death of both your speech and confidence.
It is impossible to be perfect so trying to achieve perfection is setting you up for failure and potentially making more mistakes.
Focus instead on being conversational and getting the appropriate information across.
10. Learn and develop
After your presentation, reflect on what happened. What went well and what didn’t go as well as you expected?
Self-reflection helps you take a kaizen approach to your delivery so that you are always improving.
The above steps are a clear plan to follow. Let me know how you go on your journey to be a better public speaker.