Success in Public Speaking.
Public speaking can be a nerve-wracking business for some and for others it seems to come very naturally.
While you may never wish to make your living from public speaking, by following our tips below you can feel much more prepared and at ease.
In fact, sometimes once you get into the way of public speaking and have a few successes under your belt you can’t help but improve and want to do more of it – there are loads of opportunities for that too.
Our top tips are as follows:
Know your subject matter inside out and back to front. It’s the old adage of fail to prepare – prepare to fail. You will need to set aside plenty of time in advance to prepare your speech. If its a short 5 – 10 minute speech try and give yourself at least a week or two in advance to ensure that you are fully prepared. If its longer than that, you may need more time. The general rule of thumb is as follows:
Define your Audience
Who is your audience ? What message are you looking to communicate with that audience ? What level will you pitch it at – what is their understanding of your subject ? What feeling do you want to evoke in your audience ? Make sure that you are preparing a speech which will have a good fit with your audience so that they are engaged in what you will say.
Construct your speech
Different people will have different preferences for this from writing or typing out draft pages to using mind maps, bullet points and more. Trial different methods and find one that you feel most comfortable with. You need a strong opening to capture the attention of the audience and keep them engaged throughout the duration of your speech and you want to leave them with a strong ending. What action do you want them to take having listened to your speech?
Practice as often as you can in advance. Know your speech inside out and back to front so you are familiar with every word and sentence and commit as much as you can to memory. Practice as you drive to work, are in the shower or have a few spare minutes.
Once you know the content inside out – practice individual elements to make it stronger – think about what effects you could add in. Think about practising with friends or family or try filming yourself and watching it back and keeping to your allotted time. If its a new venue, if feasible to go to the venue in advance and think about where you will stand, how you will ‘use your stage’ – if appropriate.
Will you be using any voice projection equipment – if so, see if you can practice so you aren’t caught out on the day.
Like everything in life, making speeches gets easier the more you practice. Taking a few moments before it is your turn to deliver your speech can be invaluable in terms of getting yourself into the right frame of mind. Deep calming breathes, thinking about a positive outcome and how you will feel afterwards will help.
Go deliver your speech. You would not have been invited to do it had the organisers not thought you were capable. This is your chance to shine and engage your audience in a way that elevates you and allows them to get to know you better, be entertained, persuaded or furnished with new information. Enjoy the experience, many people really get into it once they get over the initial fear factor which builds confidence for the next one.
If you want a friendly community to practice and improve your presentation skills, I can’t recommend Toastmasters International highly enough. Don’t let the name put you off, there will be a local group in your area and are represented worldwide. You will meet an interesting mix of people from seasoned performers to first time speakers all looking to improve their skills and help others improve theirs too plus there is often a great social element attached to the clubs.
In addition, if you prefer one to one coaching for your speeches, please contact me.