08 Aug Top Tips for Public Speaking
According to a survey conducted by Newspoll, public speaking is up there with things we’re most commonly afraid of including spiders, heights and even death. The fear of public speaking is widespread but it’s also an important skill for marketers and PR professionals.
Public speaking isn’t easy and given its inherently difficult it’s important to pay attention to the detail and so here are eight tips to improve your presentation skills.
The first challenge in public speaking is tackling nerves and fear. Fairfax Lifestyle Journalist, Sarah Berry recalls her public speaking experience as “a flush of fear accompanied by a rush of dizziness. My heartbeat hooked into to the PA system (at least I was sure it did) and my tongue wound itself into wordlessness.”
You can go to all sorts of lengths to tackle this common emotion but knowing your audience, the environment and your material, which should be structured so that you can remember it, is a good starting point. It’s very common for speakers to be unprepared and this is when the nerves show the most.
Watch the clock
The last thing you want to do is present a boring presentation. Always ask how long your speech is intended for in the program and if you’re the MC set your own time per section. This ensures you don’t waffle on and enables you to stay on message.
You’ve been invited to speak publicly to an audience because of who you are and your personality resonates well with the topic or scope of the event program. Ensure you use your own presentation style and be confident in what you’re saying.
Practice, practice, practice…
If you’re organised, fundamentally know a lot about the topic you’re presenting and practice enough then all you need to do is channel your energy in presenting an informative and engaging presentation to your audience. Your practice sessions will allow you to become more confident with your own presenting style and tone.
Have fun with it
In your practice sessions, allow for you to creatively inject some tone into your voice – mix it up because audiences hate monotony. Try to also swap uhms and ahs with natural pauses between your phrases.
Speak eloquently, make eye contact with your audience and refrain from sitting. Standing and perhaps taking a few steps around the stage will allow you to relax and connect with your audience.
Mix it up
Your content is really important and so don’t be afraid to break up your presentation by presenting your information in different mediums like sharing a You Tube video, images or directing a question to an audience member. Humour always breaks the ice and creates a relaxed environment. If you’re not confident in naturally cracking a joke then you can rely on a video or clever question for an audience member to answer.
Cover all bases
People learn differently and consume information in a variety of ways. Try to appeal to different senses, so you engage with everyone in the audience. Some people absorb information best by just listening. Others are visual, so use PowerPoint pictures and diagrams, or some people learn by doing, so, weave in activities.